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AMST 677 01 (10636) /ENGL962/CPLT914
Modern Drama and Mass Culture
Joseph Roach
W 9.25-11.15 LC 319
Fall 2015 
 
Taking account of the genealogy of modern drama in eighteenth-century performance, this seminar considers critical theories of the culture industry in relationship to selected canonical plays and popular theater-historical events from Oroonoko (1695) to Oroonoko, a new adaptation by Biyi Bandele (1999), and from The Beggar's Opera (1728) to The Threepenny Opera (1928). Topics include the transformation of classical genres into the drame, the commercialization of leisure through the mass-marketing of vicarious experience, and the emerging culture of celebrity. Critical readings include selections from the Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, Raymond Williams, Roland Barthes, and Jean Baudrillard. Plays are drawn from popular comedies, Sheridan to Shaw (Pygmalion and My Fair Lady), and long-running bourgeois dramas, beginning with Lillo's The London Merchant. Readings are supplemented by selected materials on theatrical production, acting, and management.