Theatre theory—or the ways we think about drama and performance—informs how we approach theatre as theatre makers and spectators. Is theatre primarily an art, designed to entertain and to help us reflect on our lives? Should theatre perpetuate or challenge established social values? Who goes to the theatre and why? How should theatre be funded?
This course teaches some major contemporary methods for analyzing drama and performance, as well as the larger philosophical assumptions underlying these methods. We will study the major theories related to how critics and practitioners have answered the questions above throughout the twentieth century and during the first decades of the twenty-first. We will talk about how each of these methods can contribute to contemporary theatre-making and spectatorship.