The First 25 Years of the Abbey Theatre
Foundation Course of Modern Irish Drama
The Abbey Theatre is the oldest continually performing nationally supported theatre in the world. Founded by Lady Augusta Gregory, W. B. Yeats, and John Millington Synge, the National Theatre of Ireland (generally known as the Abbey Theatre) has been the cradle of Irish drama for over 100 years. This course is an introduction to the plays and playwrights of Ireland from W.B Yeats to Sean O’Casey. All of the plays to be discussed were critically important to the Abbey Theatre and to shaping Irish identity in the years 1904-1929. We will begin with an overview of Ireland’s geography and history (including the founding of the Abbey Theatre in 1904), and then use seven plays to explore the unique art, history, and culture of this complicated and beautiful island during the first quarter of the 20th Century. After the first session, each class will consist of discussions of at least two plays students will have read in advance. By the end of the course, participants will be able to: describe the basic geography of Ireland, articulate nine important dates in Irish history, identify seven playwrights from Ireland’s early modern period, recognize and articulate the relationship between seven modern Irish plays and the culture and history of their creation, and identify consistent themes in the plays studied.
Course Text: Irish Drama 1900-1980, Edited by Colin D. Owens and Joan N. Radner, 1990, The Catholic University Press. The instructor can supply copies if needed.
5 sessions: Wednesdays 6:30-8:00 p.m. February 24 – March 31 [No class March 17]; 2/24; 3/3; 3/10; 3/24; & 3/31.
Class fee: $100
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