Vienna Theater II

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

4 semesters (5 recommended) of College level German, or proficiency in German acquired in other ways (bilingual family, etc).


Additional student cost: 

Approx. € 25-40 for tickets and textbooks.


This course will provide students with elementary knowledge about academic treatment of theatrical texts, both from the perspective of Literature and from the perspective of Drama, in a practical form, and it will further familiarize students with Viennese theater life. The students’ understanding of theater texts in German, both classical and modern, and of modern performance practice will be enhanced. Part of the class will be organized in form of a workshop. In varying functions (acting, directing), students will study, prepare, and then perform one or two short theatrical scenes towards the end of the semester. A positive side effect of the course will be an improvement of the students’ German language skills.


Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be:

  • Introduced to the theaters in Vienna and thus get an inside view of one of the most lively and sometimes also controversial segments of culture in Vienna
  • Introduced to concepts of the theater usually lesser known in the US, such as“Regietheater”
  • Understanding of the differences between theater in the USA vs. Europe
  • More fluent in German by reading the texts and hearing actors perform the plays
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Theater Performances
  • Films of Historic Performances
  • Reports


Required work and form of assessment: 

I expect both physical and intellectual presence of participants. Grades will be computed considering the following components:

  • regular participation, including extra times, such as performance visits - 20%
  • two to three written performance critiques, totalling at least 10 pages - 20%
  • two oral reading reports of approx 15 min. each, and one written reading report of 3-4 pages - 25%
  • active engagement in the course’s workshop-component - 25%
  • a written course resumé of at least 3 pages - 10%



(note: the actual plays discussed in any given semester depend on the repertoire and playing schedule of theaters in Vienna and will be introduced in the first week of classes. The following is a pattern that ideally will be used, but may vary due to performance dates in Viennese theaters.)

Week Content
  • Introduction to terms and methods.
  • Introduction, reading and selection of performance workshop scene. Text reading and discussion: Ilse Aichinger: Fenster-Theater
  • Text discussion: play 1
  • Text discussion: play 1
  • Theater evening: play 1.
  • Performance critique and discussion: play 1
  • Workshop session 1.
  • Text discussion: play 2.
  • Text discussion: play 2.
  • Theater evening: play 2.
  • Performance critique and discussion: play 2.
  • Workshop session 2.
  • Text discussion: play 3.
  • Text discussion: play 3.
  • Theater evening: play 3.
  • Performance critique and discussion: play 3.
  • Workshop session 3.
  • Text discussion: play 4.
  • Text discussion: play 4.
  • Theater evening: play 4.
  • Performance critique and discussion: play 4.
  • Workshop session 4.
  • Text discussion: play 5.
  • Text discussion: play 5.
  • Theater evening: play 5.
  • Performance critique and discussion: play 5.
  • Workshop performance.



Required readings: 

(i.e., texts of plays to be studied): 5 dramas will be read and seen every semester, which ones entirely depends on plays showing and performance dates in Viennese theaters. Ideally, the texts will include:

  • 2-3 plays from the Germans classics and Viennese Volkstheater
  • 2-3 20th century and contemporary texts; depending on the performance schedule,
  • A translation of a play by Shakespeare can also be included

The range of theaters should ideally reflect the vast variety of theatrical stages in Vienna, from the famous Burgtheater to smaller venues. It is guaranteed that the selection of plays will not be repeated in Theater in Vienna 1 and 2. Therefore, this course is available to full year students in both semesters.

Reading for the Workshop Component:

Arthur Schnitzler: Reigen (Excerpts) or Anatol (Excerpts)

  • Example of Reading/Seeing List (for Spring, 2011, in order of author’s age)
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe: Faust II (Burgtheater)
  • Franz Grillparzer: Die Jüdin von Toledo (Burgtheater)
  • Josef Roth (Bearb. Koen Tachelet): Hiob (Volkstheater)
  • Ödön von Horváth: Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (Akademietheater)
  • Thomas Bernhard: Heldenplatz (Theater in der Joefstadt)
  • Silke Hassler u. Peter Turrini: Jedem das Seine (Theater in der Josefstadt)