THTREMUS 328 - Theater of Politics
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Theatre and Drama (THTREMUS)
Department: Music: Theatre and Drama
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Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of department.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


ENGLISH 311/THTREMUS 328 will support a humanities-based study in theater and politics beginning with a historic perspective and proceeding through current times.

In Washington DC, the theater scene has discovered a wealth of material. Not surprisingly, some of it — though hardly all — is political in nature. What does it mean to present “political theater” in a political The Washington theater scene and discovered a wealth of material on DC stages; some of it — though hardly all, surprisingly (or not) — political in nature. What is “political theater” historically, what does it mean in a political town, and what does it mean more practically today? The narratives being told reflect how we view the past, the present, and how we envision the future. We’ll have a chance to think about the role of theater in society in this unique city. We consider why Washingtonians have gone to theater traditionally, why they are attending now, what stories they want to see, and how theaters program for the current body of theater-goers. As theaters try to engage new audiences, they are defining themselves and their current mission. Looking at theater in previous decades, what are theaters showing us about the times we’ve lived in and the perspectives they bring now? We explore the theater’s various functions, for example in times of affluence and ascendancy. In times of anxiety and descent, in may serve to prick the conscience and allow for escape. Clearly, we need a theater that lifts us up. This semester, we’ll see Washington’s answer by learning what theaters are announcing for their upcoming seasons, how they’ve arrived at those decisions, and what those decisions mean. At its heart, this is a Theater Appreciation course, with an emphasis on viewing plays in performance, responding to them in post-show discussions, in journal entries, on student-led public panels, and in creative presentations shared with the class and sometimes even an audience. The line-up of plays in production offers a useful survey of contemporary American voices as well as the historical continuity starting with adapted Greek tragedy. By the end of the course, all the theater companies we’ve visited will have announced new seasons, allowing us to examine those choices as we announce our own proposed seasons as well.

Course Requirements:

Weekly journaling, student-led public panels, creative in-class presentations, attending performances, and responding to performances both in-class and in public post-show discussions. See syllabus for details.

Intended Audience:

All students accepted to the Michigan in Washington program

Class Format:

1.5 hours/twice weekly


THTREMUS 328 - Theater of Politics
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person

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