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DRA 27 — Making Fun: A History of Farce on Stage

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Mondays/Wed
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jul 10—Aug 14
Time: See below
Drop Deadline: Jul 23
Unit: 1
Tuition: $285
Instructor(s): Alex Johnson
Status: Open
Please Note: Full schedule: Class sessions: 5 Mondays, July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, and August 14, 7:00 – 8:50 pm; Preview of 33 Swoons: Wednesday, August 9, 8:00 pm
Summer
On-campus course
Mondays/Wed
See below
Date(s)
Jul 10—Aug 14
6 weeks
Drop By
Jul 23
1 Unit
Fees
$285
Instructor(s):
Alex Johnson
Open
Please Note: Full schedule: Class sessions: 5 Mondays, July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, and August 14, 7:00 – 8:50 pm; Preview of 33 Swoons: Wednesday, August 9, 8:00 pm
To call something a farce is to insult it; whether it’s a political proceeding, a business venture, or even a dinner party, nobody ever says “This is a farce!” without some edge of disdain. But what actually is a farce? This course, connected to Stanford Repertory Theater’s 2017 season of short farces by Anton Chekhov, explores the history of that genre. Class sessions will consist of lectures, text analysis, and performance exercises, all aiming to answer these questions: How is fun made? What are its ingredients? We will study the use of juxtapositions and the role of social norms and rituals, social status, and romance in three of Chekhov’s farces (The Bear, The Proposal, and The Anniversary). We will also read from Albert Bermel’s seminal history of the form, Farce, and consider the role of farce in our contemporary culture: Is farce a way to critique a flawed social and political order? Or is it simply a light diversion, a way to avoid the pressures of a changing world? Special class sessions will include a trip to a working dress rehearsal of Stanford Repertory Theater’s workshop of 33 Swoons, and a panel with the Stanford Repertory company and visiting artists. Come join us for some serious laughs this summer.

The course is offered in partnership with Stanford Repertory Theater. For more information on Stanford Repertory Theater’s summer program, please see stanfordreptheater.com.

Alex Johnson, Associate Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater

Alex Johnson received an MA in theater and performance studies from Stanford. For Stanford Repertory Theater, he has acted in Brecht’s Galileo and in the World War I tribute, Words to End All Wars. He also serves as the director of outreach for the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild in Boston.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vera Gottlieb, Chekhov and the Vaudeville (ISBN 978-0-521-13698-3)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)