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Le voyage n'est nécessaire qu'aux imaginations courtes.

—Colette

French 124A: Modern Theatre

Readings/Films:

See Description

Course Description:

By some estimates France has more than 200 theatres in Paris alone.  In this class we will examine French theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Theatre is a composite form; it involves text and performance, visual and sound experiences, and, increasingly, multimedia.  Contemporary theatre involves not only new texts, but also new ideas concerning mise en scene and performance; it can include reinventions of celebrated plays from the past.  In this class we will examine various movements — theatre of the absurd, avant-garde theatre, engaged theatre — as well as various sites of performance — different types of theatrical spaces — from the ComĂ©die Française to the Festival at Avignon and its various theatres large and small.

We will consider how film and social media have both challenged theatre as an institution and have nourished it, as well as ways in which theatre is deployed to engage with social issues. We will study texts and, wherever possible, films or YouTubes of performances. When it comes to very current work, we will also consider interviews in which directors talk about their projects or present “teasers” of performances to come.

We will examine works by Alfred Jarry, Anouilh, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Genet, Artaud, Duras, and Sarraute among others,  and consider the theatre projects of very contemporary artists such as Mohamed El Khatibi, Aurélie Ruby, Christiane  Jahay, and Wadji Mouawad (Incendies, 2003).

Prerequisites:

French 102 or equivalent.

Additional Information:

This course satisfies 1 “Literature/Genre” or 1 “Elective” course requirement in the French major. Satisfies one course requirement in French Minor.  Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature or International Studies.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes