Choosing one of the following topics, each student is to submit a concise essay that integrates primary and secondary research with original critical insights.
A. Aristotle’s Poetics is certainly the most influential of all commentaries on the nature of drama and tragedy. But has it any relevance to our understanding of, appreciation for, work in today’s theatre? Select a concept (only one) in the Poetics that resonates with you (that you find interesting, illuminating or even compelling). Explain why you have selected it, explore critical interpretations of the concept, and then apply it to a play of your choice (other than assigned plays), showing how the concept has helped to “unlock” the play for you and thereby to enhance your critical understanding of the play’s themes, characterization and/or narrative structure.
B.The classical Greek tragic theatre made liberal use of theatrical conventions –a set of rules or particular ways of doing things that were familiar to and accepted by both theatre artists and their audiences. These included the use of a chorus; a limitation on the number of actors (three); the use of masks; the absence of onstage violence; the formal structure; heightened poetic language, etc. Selecting one convention, research its value and Application using secondary sources and present your findings. Is this convention still used today? If so, give an example of a play/performance that uses it and assess its artistic value. Conclude with a personal statement explaining how researching this topic has enriched your understanding of theatrical art.
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