Comedy, Italian style, from ancient Roman stages to the international scene. Laughter, farces, cartoons, films, and the use of comic masks. Students read plays by Plautus, Machiavelli, Fo, Shakespeare, Moliere and others. Explores the rich comic tradition that began in the Roman republic and continued to flourish through the stages of the Renaissance and to the movie screens and concert halls of early 21st century Italy. Spectrum of topics includes the moral and legal status of the comedian; relationship of comic authors and performers to political and religious authority; comic mockery, inversion, Saturnalia and Carnival; comic performances of gender and parodies of sexual roles; the dynamic duo of master and servant; family, fools, and foolery; slapstick farce and political satire, and the rise of professional theatre companies. Also examines the profound international impact of Italian comedy. Theater excursions. Student performance option. All non-English works read in translation. Meets with DRA 325.
Course fee: A fee will be charged to cover the costs of a day trip to Parma and Sabbioneta; Florence site visits (2023-24 fee = $160).