Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Modern Theatre and Performance

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Theatre Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit investigates theatre and performance practices and theories within a modernist context, focusing on the turn of the twentieth century and the interwar years. It introduces this period as a reaction to Realism and Naturalism, and links it to the rise in the figure of the director. Major theatre and performance practitioners of the time will be identified and examined, with particular emphasis on their (a) persistent challenges to conventional modes of doing and appreciating theatre and performance (b) political implications.

Students will have set readings for each session, and their formative development will be gauged and monitored through class contribution.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim behind the study-unit is to identify the main milestones that define modern theatre and performance practice. It will give a broad view of the director's work and how relevant techniques reflected and were reflected in the social and political currents of the time. Different staging techniques and performance practices will be covered. Performance screenings, discussions, and coverage of source material will enhance the understanding of the subject.

Considering (a) the way that, in reacting to Realism and Naturalism, theatre practice evidenced a marked diversity, and (b) the trajectory that led towards postmodern theatre, this unit will also assist students to better understand material covered in other areas of Theatre Studies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Identify the major theatre and performance practitioners that best characterized the modernist context;
- Articulate in writing and verbal contexts about the work methods of these practitioners;
- Analyse the relationship between theatre practice and the major social and political upheavals of the time;
- Link these practices to contemporary theatre and performance activity.

2. Skills:

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

- Apply different theories and approaches discussed in class to a practical/performative event;
- Carry out research using the appropriate research methodologies;
- Undergo creative, reflexive and independent thinking about concepts, ideas and issues discussed;
- Communicate effectively in writing and debate.

Main Text/s:

- C. Innes, Experimental Theatre: from Stanislavsky to Peter Brook (Parts of) (London: Routledge, 1996)
- R. Drain, ed., Twentieth Century Theatre – Sourcebook (Parts of) (London: Routledge, 1995)

Supplementary readings:

- K. Rudnitsky, trans. Roxanne Permar, ed. Lesley Milne, Russian and Soviet Theatre (London: Thames and Hudson, 1988)
- D. Whitton, Stage directors in modern France (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987)
- M. Patterson, The Revolution in German Theatre, 1900-1933 (London: Routledge, 1981)
- K. Bradley, Rudolf Laban (London: Routledge, 2009)
- R. Beacham, Adolphe Appia: texts on theatre (London: Routledge, 1993)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Martina Rizzo
Stefan Aquilina

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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.