Drama as Text and Performance

Students learn about the origins and categories of drama through ancient and contemporary texts and the conditions of production and reception of dramatic texts and performance.

This course continues the context’ series with a close emphasis on a single form: Drama. Drama came across as the appropriate form for this third course in the series because it combines aspects of textual analysis and performance in a literary genre, and the stage and audience become important aspects of the course. Drama is a powerful tool for personal and social transformation especially in terms of performance. Students will discover the ways in which dramatic texts and performances examine and critique socio-political issues like class, race, caste, gender and sexual orientation. The course is offered in two broad sections: one addressing questions of form (sub genres) and the other, drama as social transformation (drama in context with an emphasis on Indian theatre). Overall, students will learn to look at the socio-political and cultural context of the playwrights and the conditions of production and reception of dramatic texts and performance. This would help them with the process of interpretation and meaning-making, which is generated by new concepts of performance, role of the audience, space and the idea of the body. This would, in turn, enable students to become insightful readers of dramatic texts and keen interpreters of the politics of performance. At the end of the course, students will work on an independent project on a form of folk theatre that they choose.