Theatre Arts 140




Professor Mazer

Spring 2003


519 Annenberg Center, 8-7382 and 3-2659;

Office Hours:  Tu, 1:30-2:45, Th 10:30-11:45, and by appointment



January 14:  Introduction:  What is Theatre History?


January 16:  Theatre, Theatres, and Cities

Marvin Carlson, The Places of Performance, Chapters 3 (“The Urban Hub”), 4 (“The Facade Theatre”), and 5 (“Interior Space”), pp. 61-162.


January 21:  The Theatre and the City-State

Simon Goldhill, “The Great Dionysia and Civic Ideology” (bulkpack).


January 23:  Ancient Greece I:  Architecture and Stagecraft

David Wiles, Tragedy in Athens:  Performance Space and Theatrical Meaning, Chapters ­*1 (“The Problem of Space”) and 2 (“The Theatre of Dionysus), pp. 1-62 (bulkpack).


January 28:  Ancient Greece II

Aeschylus, The Eumenides.

Prepared in-class staging:  ___________.


January 30:  Ancient Greece III

Euripides, Hippolytos.

Prepared in-class staging:  ___________.


February 4:  Recreating Classicism:  Italian Renaissance Theatres

A.M. Nagler, A Source Book in Theatrical History, pp. 73-86; Carlson, Places of Performance, Chapter 2 (“The Jewel in the Casket”), pp. 38-60.


February 6:  Recreating Classicism:  Italian Renaissance Scenes and Machines

Nagler, pp. 86-102.


February 11:  English Renaissance Popular Theatre I:  Architecture.

Nagler, pp. 118-119.


February 13:  English Renaissance Popular Theatre II:  Stage Conventions

Alan C. Dessen, “Shakespeare and the Theatrical Conventions of his Time” (bulkpack)


February 18:  English Renaissance Popular Theatre III:  Audiences

Andrew Gurr, Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London, pp. 13-79. (bulkpack); Nagler, pp. 133-138.


February 20:   English Renaissance Popular Theatre IV

Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging:  ___________.


February 25:  English Renaissance Popular Theatre V:  The Theatre and the City

Steven Mullaney, The Place of the Stage:  License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England, Chapters 1 (“Toward a Rhetoric of Space in Elizabethan London”) and 2 (“The Place of the Stage”), pp. 1-59 (bulkpack).


February 27:  The Stuart Masque (with slides)

Ben Jonson, Oberon (bulkpack; BRING THE SCRIPT TO CLASS); Stephen Orgel, The Illusion of Power.


March 4:  Recreating the Rules:  French Neo-Classicism I

Pierre Corneille, Le Cid (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging:  ___________.


March 6:  Recreating the Rules:  French Neo-Classicism II

Le Cid (cont.); documents from the controversy over Le Cid (bulkpack).


[Spring Break]


March 18:  Recreating the Rules:  French Neo-Classicism III

Molière, The School for Wives and The Critique of The School for Wives (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class stagings:  ___________; ___________.


March 20:  Baroque Theatres and Scenography



March 25:  Recreating the Rules:  French Neo-Classicism IV

Jean Racine, Phèdre (bulkpack); Roland Barthes, excerpts from On Racine (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging:  ___________.


March 27:  Recreating the Rules:  Neo-Classicism reconsidered

Roger W. Herzel, “‘Playing by the Rules’ in Seventeenth-Century France” (bulkpack).


April 1:  Recreating a Theatre for a Nation:  Wagner

Wagner, selected essays (bulkpack); Frederick Spotts, Bayreuth:  A History of the Wagner Festival, pp. 29-78 (bulkpack).


April 3:  Reconstruction:  Victorian Elizabethanism

Cary M. Mazer, “Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Revival, from Shakespeare Refashioned:  Elizabethan Plays on Edwardian Stages (bulkpack).


April 8:  Reconstruction:  The Globe I

J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt, Chapters 2 (“Shakespeare’s Globe:  A History of Reconstructions and Some Reasons For Trying,” by Andrew Gurr) and 8 (“The Iconography of the Globe,” by Siobhan Keenan and Peter Davidson), pp. 24-47, 147-156.


April 10:  The Globe II:  Performances and Audiences

Mulryne and Shewring, Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt, Chapters 9 (“Staging at the Globe,” by Andrew Gurr) and 10 (“Playing the Globe,” by Mark Rylance), pp. 159-176; Alan C. Dessen, “’Taint Not Thy Mind...’:  Problems and Pitfalls in Staging Plays at the New Globe” (bulkpack); Alan C. Dessen, “Globe Matters” (bulkpack).


April 15:  The Globe III:  The Shakespeare Industry

Dennis Kennedy, “Shakespeare and Cultural Tourism” (bulkpack); W.B. Worthen, “Reconstructing the Globe:  Constructing Ourselves” (bulkpack).


April 17:  Recreating an Aesthetic I

John Russell Brown, Free Shakespeare, skim first three chapters, and then read Chapters 4 (“Elizabethan Shakespeare”), 5 (“Original Shakespeare”) and 6 (“An Alternative Shakespeare”).


April 22:  Recreating an Aesthetic II

Screening (to be arranged):  video version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1976 production of Macbeth (directed by Trevor Nunn, with Ian McKellan and Judi Dench).


April 24:  Catch-up and conclusions



You are responsible for participation in ONE prepared scene, to be presented during the classes noted.  BRING YOUR SCRIPTS TO CLASS THAT DAY, even if you are not participating in the prepared in-class staging; if no one has signed up in advance to stage a scene, we might work through a scene and put it on its feet during the class hour.  There will be TWO take-home essay assignments, plus ONE final research project, due at a date to be announced, on a topic that must MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE.  Attendance in class is crucial; CHRONIC ABSENCE OR LATENESS WILL BE COUNTED AGAINST YOU.


The following books can be purchased at the Penn Book Center:


Marvin Carlson, Places of Performance; The Semiotics of Theatre Architecture.

Aeschylus, The Oresteia.

Euripides; Hippolytos.

Alois M. Nagler, Source Book in Theatrical History.

Stephen Orgel, The Illusion of Power:  Political Theater in the English Renaissance.

J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, eds., Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt.

John Russell Brown, Free Shakespeare.


The bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 34th and Sansom.


The listserv for this course is .  An electronic version of this syllabus can be found at:*mazer/140sp03.html.  Make a bookmark for this site on your web browser.


Please aquaint yourself with the University’s code of academic integrity, at