2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Dionysia: Enlivening Greek Theater

Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Rose Jang China studies, theater, Andrew Reece classical art and literature

Fields of Study: classics and theater

Winter: CRN (Credit) Level 20101 (16) So - Sr  

Spring: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 30108 (16) So - Sr; 30659 (1-16) So - Sr  Signature Required Students will ideally have experience in dramatic performance and/or classical literature; if not, they will need to demonstrate themselves to be responsible and energetic.  Please contact faculty by phone or email to arrange a meeting and have copies of evaluations from previous programs available for the faculty to read.    

Credits: 16(W); 16(S)

Class Standing: Sophomore - Senior

Offered During: Day


Twenty-five centuries ago, in Athens, Greeks would gather excitedly at dramatic festivals honoring their gods and introducing the latest productions by their tragic and comic poets. The theater was for these Greeks a spectacle, a rite, a source of wisdom. It helped them figure out who they were: it showed them situated precariously between civilization and savagery, between the bestial and the divine, between the sublime and the ridiculous. In tragedy, Greeks relived their aspirations for nobility and justice and their despair at their all too human fragility. In comedy, they laughed at their politicians, their gods, even the playwrights themselves. In ancient comedy, nothing was sacred, perhaps because everything was.

Twenty-five centuries later, on the other side of the world, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes still invite us to answer the call of Dionysus, to gather round the stage and to join our stories with those of Orestes, Oedipus, Phaedra, and even Athenian war widows of the fifth century BCE. In his festivals, the Dionysia, the god taught Greeks to see themselves more clearly by standing outside themselves, whether on stage or in the audience. In the schools since then, the poetry of the plays continues to illuminate; the centuries have scarcely dimmed or softened the harsh light to which, and by which, we are exposed by theater’s first masters. At the same time, that poetry has too often been left on the page, while the poets meant it to be spoken and sung. In this program, we intend to study Greek drama but also to perform it, to understand it and to enliven it.

In winter quarter, we will read and interpret selected works of the three ancient Greek tragedians, and their one contemporary comedian, who are represented by plays that survive in their entirety. These will include, among others, Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy; Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus; Euripides’ Hippolytus, Medea, and The Bacchae; and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. Students will also learn about the history of Athenian drama. We will write extensively about the texts and discuss them in seminar. Students will also begin to learn to act, to use their voices and bodies to interpret the characters and embody the poetry. In spring quarter, we will devote ourselves to full-scale productions of one tragedy and one comedy. During both quarters, we will view and discuss local theater performances as the opportunities arise.

Maximum Enrollment: 50

Required Fees: Winter $40 for theater tickets; Spring $100 for theater tickets and field trips to local theatrical sites.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: ancient Greek tragedy and comedy, acting, play production, theater, literature, and other studies and careers demanding good written and oral communication skills.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 7th, 2011 This program will accept new enrollment with signature.
November 29th, 2010 Fees updated.