Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2PS1014

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon

Course Coordinator and Team: Benil Biswas and SCCE Faculty.

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Compulsory for all Performance Studies first semester students, no prior knowledge assumed.

Course Objectives/Description:

This course is envisaged as an attempt to look at the history and historiography of performance through a non-hegemonic perspective. In order to attain this vision, this course would implement a genealogical model, breaking away from the linear model of historical studies. The attempt is to devise a course that will cut across geographical divisions and categories of performances and performative practices in terms of performance-based categories such as conventions, devices, sites, genres, approaches etc. The course requires reading and viewing of documented videos of different styles and conventions of performances.

The books and videos are available in different libraries across Delhi including Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi, libraries in Max Mueller Bhavan and French Cultural Centre, apart from video documentations of performance accessible in sites such as Global Shakespeare and Hemispheric Institute. These resources as well as personal resources of faculties will be used for teaching.

Course Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop basic familiarity with key theatre performance practices through an examination of genres, forms, styles globally.
  • Learn to cultivate conceptual and critical awareness regarding the study of various expressions as mentioned above with a special focus on Historiography.
  • Read, and critically comprehend academic literature, which facilitates exploration of contemporary practices of interpretations of history through performance.
  • Understand the issues related to the relationship between performance and history: performance as a mode of theorizing or doing history and performance as an object of analysis in history.
  • Develop analytical skills and independent thinking to interpret creative arts and foster research skills, which is informed by a strong social quotient, as a pre-requisite for research in history of performance.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Week # 1 & 2: Introduction to Performance Perspectives:

History, Historiography and Processes in between. Historical Thinking!

Week # 3 & 4: Origin theories of performance: Theatre, Ritual, Performance

Week # 4 & 5: History/Memory/Myth and Performance

Week # 6: Greek Performance Culture in Ancient Greece: 5- 4th C Athens & Theory of Tragedy: Poetics and Catharsis

Week# 7: Christian Theatre and Liturgical Performance

Week# 8: Theatre Mundus (Theatre of the World) in Medieval, Elizabethan and Modern Age with special reference to interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays

Week # 9: Performance Traditions of Japan-1: Noh and Kyogen

Week # 10: Performance Traditions of Japan-2: Kabuki and Bunraku

Week # 11: Sanskrit Theatre-1 :Natyashatra

Week# 12: Sanskrit Theatre-2: Sanskrit Drama in Performance

Week# 13: Commedia dell' Arte

Week# 14: Issues in Historiography- How Societies Remember.

Assessment Details with weights:

The assessment involves students submitting Three Response Papers, One Presentation, and One end-semester paper in each semester. The response papers are short responses to the readings and discussions of a unit. These require no outside reading (other than the assigned readings and discussions in the class), and require students to take any concept, problematic, or performance piece and provide a close analysis. The response papers need the students to pay attention to specificities, details and nuances, working through the central problem they have taken up and bringing into tension the possible different perspectives for analysis. For the final semester presentation, students are required to choose one performance practice, site, conventions etc from the entire semester, and with the help of additional academic readings on the area make a presentation and write a research paper. Grade break-down for these assignments are as follow:

  • Class Participation, Presentations & Write up 30%
  • Response papers (3) [3x10] 30%
  • Presentation of End Term paper Proposal 10%
  • End Term Paper 30%

*All students must participate in all course assessments to obtain a passing course grade.

Reading List:

  • Cartledge, Paul. “Deep Plays: Theatre as Process in Greek Civic Life”. In. P. E. Easterling Ed. Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy. Cambridge University Press, 1997. pp. 3-35.
  • Connerton, Paul. How Societies Remember. Chapter 2. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Dharwadker. “Myth, Ambivalence, Evil”. Theatres of Independence: Drama, Theory, And Urban Performance in India. University of Iowa Press. 2005. pp 165-217.
  • Dox, Donnalee. "The Eyes of the Body and the Veil of Faith." Theatre Journal 56.1 (2004): 29-45.
  • Easterling. “Show for Dionysus”. In. P. E. Easterling, ed. Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Frances Yates. Chapter VIII. “The Stage of the English Public Theatre: The Stage in Robert Fludd’s Memory System” in Theatre of the World, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, 1969.
  • Ghosh, M. Natyasastra. Introduction; Chapter 1-8; Chapter 20-21. Transl. Manmohan Ghosh. Asiatic Society, 1950.
  • Pettys, Rebecca Ansary. “The Ta'ziyeh of the Martyrdom of Hussein.” Transl. Pettys, Rebecca Ansary. The Drama Review, Volume 49, Number 4 (T 188), Winter 2005, pp. 28-41.
  • Pollock, Shledon, “Introduction”. Rama’s Last Act (Uttararamacharitam). Transl. Sheldon Pollock. New York University Press and JJC Foundation, 2007.
  • Raghavan. V. “Sanskrit Drama in Performance”. Sanskrit Drama in Performance. Rachel Van Baumer and James R. Brandon. University of Hawaii Press, 1981.
  • Taylor, Diana. ““You Are Here”: The DNA of Performance”. TDR, Spring 2002, Vol. 46, No. 1 (T173), Pages 149-169.
  • Tedlock. Rabinal Achi (text with Introduction). Transl. Tedlock. Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of War and Sacrifice. New York: OUP, 2003, pp 1- 125.