Environmental Themes in Theatre

Professor: Andrew Hepburn
Institution: n/a
Course Number: 320

Dr. Andrew Hepburn
Communication Arts 320 Spring 1996

Study of selected plays which treat environmental issues. Focus on questions oftheme, dramatic action, character, comedy, tragedy, dramatic metaphors and style in plays which dramatize environmental issues. Reflection on differing views of nature, including themes of materialism, dehumanization, exploitation and deception.

1. To deepen our understanding of environmental issues as dramatized in selected plays from modern and classical drama.
2. To examine theories and techniques of dramaturgy as seen in plays with environmental themes.
3. To apply Aristotle’s theories in The Poetics to questions of form, content and style in selected plays.
4. To study conflicting values about the environment.
5. To examine our own views and other views of nature and society.
6. To improve critical writing skills.
7. To deepen our understanding of acting and playwriting.
8. To examine the function of theatre, particularly in relationship to the dramatization of social and environmental issues.

1. Read and discuss selected plays and view selected films listed below.

2. Mid-term and final exam.

3. Major paper or project; one of the following options:
a. Write a major critical paper (10 pages minimum) or two shorter papers
(five pages minimum,).
b. Rehearse and perform three scenes from plays discussed or original playwriting done by fellow students.
c. Write a one act play (minimum 15 pages) or three scenes treating
environmental questions and conflicts

4. Keep a weekly journal or log of your goals, growth, insights and thoughts about theatre and environmental questions.

5. Participate in class discussions.

1. “Enemy of the People” by Henrik Ibsen
2. Playbook (“Windfall” and “The Furies of Mother Jones”) by Maxine Klein
3. “The Brown Pelican” by George Sklar
4. “The Bacchae” by Euripides
5. “Pristine Condition” by Andrew Hepburn
6. “The Field” (starring Richard Harris and Tom Berenger)
7. “The China Syndrome” (starring Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda)
8. “Say Goodbye” (documentary on animal rights)
9. “Manon of the Spring” (film based on novel by Marcel Pagnol)
10. Scenes from “The Cherry Orchard” (Lophakin’s speech) and “The Three
Sisters” ( Vershinin’s speech) by Anton Chekhov
11. “Sarcophagus” (by Russian journalist on Chernobyl incident)
12. “Fire in the Lake” by Karim Alrawi (selected scenes)

1. Ecocide in Indochina: the Ecology of War by Barry Weisberg
2. The Death of Nature by Carolyn Merchant
3. Earth Mind by Paul Devereaux
4. Earth in Mind by David Orr
5. The Rights of Nature by Roderick Nash

1. Participation in class discussion 15%
2. Mid Term and Final Exams 30%
3. Paper(s), Play(scenes) or Acting 40%
4. Journal 15%