Theatre Arts 240/English 346 (Benjamin Franklin Seminar)



Professor Mazer

Spring 2008


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00-Noon; and by appointment


January 17: Introduction


January 22: First principles:

Reading: Laurence Senelick, The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, Introduction, pp. 1-12..


January 24: Ancient Greece:

Reading:Senelick, Chapter 2: "The Greek for it is 'Gynaikiseos,'" pp. 39-52.


January 29:Ancient Greece (continued):

Reading: Eurpides, The Bacchae; Froma I. Zeitlin, "Playing the Other: Theater, Theatricality and the Feminine in Greek Drama" (blackboard)


January 31: Early Modern England:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 6: "Playboys and Boy Players" (partial), pp. 127-147, Chapter 7: "Arms and the Woman" (partial), pp. 159-162; Lisa Jardine "Boy Actors, Female Roles, and Elizabethan Eroticism" (bulkpack); Stephen Orgel, "Nobody's Perfect: Or, Why Did the English Stage Take Boys for Men?" (bulkpack)


February 4: Early Modern England (cont.):

Reading: William Shakespeare, As You Like It


February 7: Early Modern England (cont.):

Reading:Ben Jonson, Epicoene (bulkpack).


[APPROXIMATE DATE: first take-home assignment due]


February 12: Japanese Theatre I: No:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 4: "Orientations," pp. 79-100; Zeami, Kinuta (The Fulling Block) (bulkpack); Motomasa, Sumidagawa (The Sumida River) (bulkpack)


February 14: Japanese Theatre II: Kabuki:

Reading: Sukeroku:  Flower of Edo (bulkpack)


February 19: English Restoration Theatre: Enter the Actress:

Reading:Katharine Eisaman Maus, "'Playhouse Flesh and Blood': Sexual Ideology and the Restoration Actress" (Blackboard); Thomas A. King, "'As if (she) were made on purpose to put the whole world into good Humour': 

February 21: The Baroque:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 8: "Monstrous Pleasures of the Baroque," pp. 179-200; Henry Pleasants, "The Castrati" (bulkpack)


February 26: The Breeches Convention:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 9: "Breeches Birth," pp. 206-223; Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro (bulkpack)


February 28: Opera and the Breeches Convention:

Listening Assignment (and/or video viewing), Ormandy Listening Room, Van Pelt Library: W.A. Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, Le Nozze di Figaro.


March 4: Nineteenth-Century England and America:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 10: "Beldames Sans Merci," pp. 228-257; David Mayer, "The Sexuality of Pantomime" (bulkpack)


March 6: Nineteenth-Century England and America (cont.):

Reading: Chapter 11: "Prince, Pauper, and the Pan" (partial), pp. 258- 280; W.S. Gilbert, The Princess (bulkpack)

Listening Assignment, Ormandy Listening Room, Van Pelt Library: Gilbert and Sullivan, Princess Ida.




March 18: Nineteenth-Century England and America (cont.):

Reading: Chapter 11: "Prince, Pauper, and the Pan" (cont.), pp. 280-285; J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan.


March 20: Nineteenth-Century England and America: Male and Female Impersonation:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 12: "Putting on the Drag," pp. 295-318, and Chapter13 (partial), "Impersonators of the Perverse," pp. 326-340.


[APPROXIMATE DATE: second take-home assignment due]


March 25: Modern Japan:

Reading: Ayako Kano, "Visuality and Gender in Modern Japanese Theater: Looking at Salome" (Blackboard).


March 27: Contemporary Japan: Takarazuka:

In-class Video showing.


April 1: Contemporary Japan: Takarazuka (cont.):

Reading: Senelick, Chapter13 (cont.): "Impersonators of the Perverse," pp. 340-345, 348-349; Jennifer Robertson, "The 'Magic If': Conflicting Performances of Gender in the Takarazuka Revue of Japan" (bulkpack)


April 3: Gender and Performativity:

Reading: Judith Butler, from Gender Trouble, pp. 175-203 (bulkpack).


April 8: Drag:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 15: "Queens of Clubs," pp. 377-408.

Video Viewing (times TBA): Jennie Livingston, Paris isBurnin


April 10:Camp:

Reading: Susan Sontag "Notes on 'Camp'"; Jack Babuscio, "Camp and the Gay Sensibility" (bulkpack); Senelick, Chapter 16: "Alternatives," pp. 409-443.


April 15: Camp (cont.):

Reading: Charles Busch, The Lady in Question.


April 17: Satire, Politics, and Drag:

Reading: Senelick, Chapter 18: "Glad-Ragging the Establishment" (partial), pp. 471-478; John Lahr "Playing Possom" (bulkpack); Daniel Lieberfeld, "Pieter-Dirk Uys: Crossing Apartheid Lines."


April 22: Transformations: Old Conventions, New Scripts; Old Scripts, New Conventions:

Reading: Rhonda Blair, "'Not … but'/'Not-not-me': Musings on Cross-Gender Performance"; Jams C. Bulman, "Bringing Cheek by Jowl's As You Like It out of the Closet: The Politics of Gay Theatre" (bulkpack); Senelick, Chapter 6 (cont.), pp. 147-156.


Catch-up and Conclusions

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, 34th and Sansom Sts.:

Laurence Senelick, The Changing Room:Sex, Drag, and Theatre

Euripides, The Bakkhai

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan & Other Plays

Charles Busch, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife and Other Plays


The bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut.


The listserv for this course is Blackboad site is at The syllabus for this course is available in electronic form at