Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of Part 1 Drama.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Lecture 1 x 2 hour per week
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar 1 x 1 hour per week (Students will be informed of their group allocation)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (2,500 words)  40%
Semester Exam 2-hour Examination  50%
Semester Assessment Class Contribution  10%
Supplementary Assessment Essay to a new topic  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   Examination Paper  50%

Learning Outcomes

Typically, upon completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the relation between their reading and viewing of modernist theatre texts of the period covered in the module (late 19th century to mid 20th century) to broader historical developments of performance modes (Realism, Expressionism, Epic Theatre, etc.).
  • participate knowledgeably in debates (written and oral) about the relationship between theatrical theory and practice.
  • critically read dramatic texts as indicators of complex theatrical events.

Brief description

This module focuses on a selection of 19th and 20th century European theatre texts in order to examine a variety of performance modes, theatre practices and dramatic theories.


  • To introduce students to significant developments in theatrical theory and practice in Europe from the onset of realism to the 1960s.
  • To develop appropriate methods of analysing specific texts, chosen because they manifest significant differences in theatrical method.
  • To examine how drama serves as a means of mediating the social discourse of a given time.


The course is structured as follows (and the nine play-texts will be studied in this order). The titles given here are just an indication of some of key themes to be addressed during seminars and lectures.

1) Introduction to Modernism in the Theatre: Focus on Ibsen's Ghosts
2) Maeterlinck's Pelleas and Melisande - Symbolism in the Theatre and the Liminal
3) Chekhov's Uncle Vanya - Realism on the Modernist Stage
4) Strindberg's A Dream Play - Further excursions into Symbolism and Surrealism
5) Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author - The Unreal Real Explored
6) Lorca's Yerma - Music, Poetry and Lyricism in the service of the Political Real
7) Brecht's Galileo - Historical Reality, Epic Theatre and Audience Involvement
8) Genet's The Balcony - Extending the Theatrical Space/Confusing Dramatic Boundaries
9) Weiss's Marat Sade - Artaud, Brecht and "Affect"
10) Summation: Competing Modernist Influences and an Overview of the Avant-Garde Theatre

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number NOT DEVELOPED
Communication Communication skills will be developed in seminar sessions (class contribution).
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will receive feedback on class contribution and written assignments.
Information Technology IT and information handling skills will be demonstrated in students' individual research (library and web-based) and in their written work (word processing).
Personal Development and Career planning Students will have the opportunity to explore specific areas which reflect and strengthen their individual career needs.
Problem solving NOT DEVELOPED
Research skills Students will demonstrate the results of individual research in the form of essays.
Subject Specific Skills Students are encouraged to develop the use of a critical and analytical vocabulary in their written and oral response to the module contents.
Team work Group discussions in seminars will develop group work skills.

Reading List

Essential Reading
BRECHT, Bertolt Galileo Primo search CHEKHOV, Anton (2005) Uncle Vanya Methuen Student Edition Primo search GENET, Jean The Balcony copies available from the Department Primo search IBSEN, Henrik Ghosts (in Plays One) Methuen Primo search Lorca, Frederico Garcia transl. Gwynne Edwards (2007) Yerma Methuen Student Edition Primo search Maeterlinck/Debussy (1982) Pelleas and Melisande Calder Primo search PIRANDELLO, Luigi Six Characters in Search of an Author Primo search STRINDBERG, August A Dream Play (in Plays Two) Methuen Primo search WEISS, Peter Marat/Sade Primo search
Recommended Text
Fischer-Lichte, Erika. (2004.) History of European drama and theatre /Erika Fischer-Lichte. Routledge Primo search
Recommended Background
Brandt, George (ed.) (1998) Modern Theories of Drama Primo search Dukore, B.F. (1974) Drama Theory and Criticism Primo search Elam, K (1983) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama Primo search Pavis, P (1982) Languages of the Stage Primo search Pfister (1988) The Theory and Analysis of Drama Primo search Szondi, P (1965) The Theory of Modern Drama (trans. M. Hayes 1987) Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6