Friday, April 16, 2010

New CMU School of Drama course

History of Drama:
Drama 54382 Mini A2

Fintan O'Toole wrote recently: "Eugene O'Neill's artistic career moves backward. The normal trajectory of a writer is from the particular to the general, from family to society, from the autobiographical to the impersonal, from more or less unmediated realism to experiments in form. O'Neill travels in the opposite direction." The only thing more surprising than the searching experimentation of the early plays is the fact that he found a band of collaborators, the Provincetown Players, who believed in them.

How did O'Neill, literally a child of mainstream theatre, discover a voice based in extreme theatrical conventions and wildly original structures? How was his artistic restlessness entwined with his radical politics?

Plays discussed will include Bound East for Cardiff, Abortion, "Anna Christie", The Hairy Ape, and Desire Under the Elms. We will also look at the crazily ambitious epics The Great God Brown (in which all the characters are masked), Dynamo (in which one of the central characters is a machine), Lazarus Laughed (originally produced with a cast of 177), and Strange Interlude, which serves as a kind of hinge in O'Neill's career. We will view Ric Burns's documentary Eugene O'Neill, the classic Paul Robeson film of The Emperor Jones, and Reds (with Jack Nicholson as O'Neill).