Theater relies on the physical and emotional vulnerability of live bodies to experience the pity and terror that plague, war, systemic injustice, and more ordinary forms of disease and death inflict. As we face the twin pandemics of our own time, what can "plague drama" (prompted by outbreaks of typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, AIDS, etc.) tell us about how writers use literal and metaphorical diseases to give shape to a given cultural moment? We'll look at a wide variety of mostly theatrical texts to explore how playwrights use the medium of the theater to literally embody and thus make visible physical, social, and metaphysical "dis-ease".
THR 220 / COM 246 / ENG 226 / GHP 320
Michael W. Cadden