Fall 2011

ARTS 681
Shakespeare's Couples: Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth


09/12/2011 - 12/09/2011
Tuesday -

"To bed, to bed, to bed . . . ," Lady Macbeth whispers and later cries as she exhorts her husband to come to bed. The bed on stage, in several of Shakespeare's plays, serves as a central image for the raveling and unraveling of these three tragic love stories: Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth. How has Shakespeare crafted structure, language, and sensory images, sight and sound, to deepen and elevate the audience's empathy for these tragic characters? How do the plays in performance orchestrate rising tension, suspense and opposition?

Great plays pose and explore dramatic questions; and these plays question the impact of different kinds of love, young and old, creative and destructive, erotic and chaste. Have attitudes toward, and evaluations and theories of love changed over the centuries? In terms of morality and ideology do we as modern audiences respond to Shakespeare's representation of love's passion in these tragedies any differently from how his audiences may have responded?

This course, "Shakespeare's Couples," focuses on the plays as scripts for performance, rather than literature to be read. It gives the students experience in analyzing and interpreting them through discussion, writing, and most importantly, scene enactments.

Two response papers, two pieces of scene work, and participation in discussion will form the basis for a final grade.

Enrollment is limited to 18 students.

This course is open to auditors.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Friday, September 16 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
ARTS 681

Gay Smith (B.A., M.A. University of Hawaii; Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles), professor of theatre emerita, is author of the theatre and cultural history, Lady Macbeth in America: From the Stage to the White House (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2010), and seminal books on George Sand's theatre work. Professor Smith has worked professionally as a dramaturg for over thirty years with the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Denver Performing Arts Center, Padua Hills Playwrights in Los Angeles, and 7-Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, Idaho. She has translated, adapted and directed plays by Moliere, Beaumarchais and Sand. Her current book projects are "A Painter (Degas), an Actress (Rejane) and the Dreyfus Affair," and an anthology , "Irish Plays and Politics." Before her twenty-year tenure on Wesleyan's faculty, Professor Smith chaired the theatre departments at California State University, Los Angeles, and the University of LaVerne.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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