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TAPS 102 — Theaters of Memory

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jun 23—Aug 11
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jun 25
Unit: 1
Tuition: $430
Instructor(s): Branislav Jakovljevic
Limit: 25
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jun 23—Aug 11
8 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 25
1 Unit
Branislav Jakovljevic
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Theater is an art of memory: it asks actors to memorize playwrights' words and serves as a physical site at which actors share those words as part of a community's cultural memory. In exceptional cases, theater personalizes memories of its participants and makes them public. In these rare instances, the very act of remembering becomes an art form.

In this course, we will explore the art of public remembering by studying the works of three major 20th-century creators of theater. In the first unit, “Memory of the Present,” we will look at the great American raconteur Spalding Gray’s Rumstick Road, in which he painstakingly reconstructed his mother's psychological crisis, which ended in suicide. In the second unit, “Memory of the Past,” we will study the ways in which theater director Tadeusz Kantor staged his memories of Holocaust-ravaged Poland. In the last segment, we will look at how Nobel Prize–winning writer and director Samuel Beckett engages the “Memory of the Future” in his play Endgame, which was originally perceived as a commentary on the world on the​ brink of nuclear disaster, but today, appears as a stunning portrayal of the world in the near future, transformed by climate change.

The aim of this course is not just to undertake an academic exploration of certain theatrical plays, but also to use them as a​ starting point in an effort to explore how we remember, what we remember, and for what purpose.

Sara Hart Kimball Professor of the Humanities, Stanford

Branislav Jakovljević teaches in the Department of Theater & Performance Studies at Stanford, where he also served as chair. He is the author of award-winning books and articles on theater and visual culture. He received a PhD in performance studies from NYU.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Samuel Beckett, Endgame (ISBN 978-0802144393)