Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Theories of Performance: Critical Perspectives

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Theatre Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit introduces students to critical and cultural theory as it relates to theatre and performance. Fundamental theoretical approaches (such as Saussurean semiology, Lacanian psychoanalysis, ideological perspectives, post/structuralism, and gender studies) will be introduced and discussed within the frame of theatre and performance practices. Students will be expected to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt in a written analysis of a specific live performance event.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit provides students with theoretical and philosophical tools for a sophisticated analysis of performance practices within historical and cultural contexts. It aims to do so by facilitating semiotic, ideological, pragmatic, and ethical reflection. The unit will consist primarily of lectures and seminar presentations, where discussion by students is encouraged.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply a range of critical and cultural theory to theatre and performance events;
- Analyse performance as a socio-cultural phenomenon through specific case-studies;
- Interrogate and critique, beyond review or description, performance events with the appropriate tools;
- Locate performance within the wider spectrum of its cultural context.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate skills in sophisticated thought, self-reflection, and independent learning;
- Demonstrate communication and presentational skills in writing, debate, and peer presentations;
- Demonstrate skills in teamwork and research organisation and presentation.

Main Text/s:

- C. Balme, The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (Cambridge: CUP, 2008)
- C. Counsell and L. Wolf eds, Performance Analysis (London: Routledge, 2001)
- M. Fortier, theory/theatre: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2002)
- R. Schechner, Performance Studies: An Introduction, second or third edition (London: Routledge, 2006 or 2013).

Supplementary readings:

- R. Barthes, Image-Music-Text (London: Fontana, 1977)
- S. Bennett, Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception (London: Routledge, 1990)
- P. Campbell ed., Analysing Performance: A Critical Reader (Manchester: MUP, 1996)
- J. Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (London: Routledge, 1978) (includes. ‘The Theatre of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation’)
- J. Milling, G. Ley, Modern Theories of Performance (New York: Palgrave, 2001)
- J.G. Reinelt & J.R. Roach eds, Critical Theory and Performance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007)
- P. Zarrilli, Acting Re-Considered: A Theoretical & Practical Guide, 2nd Ed (London: Routledge, 2002).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Fieldwork and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (30 Minutes) SEM2 No 40%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Caldon Mercieca

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.