Contemporary American Drama

ENGL 203-02 Fall 2018

Professor Melanie Blood

Course description

This course will use plays written by and about Americans in the last fifty years, heavily weighted toward plays of the last ten years, as an introduction to the study of English literature and to examine the contested signification of “America” and “American” on stage from the 1960’s to the present. Examples of texts will include African American dramas like Suzan Lori Parks’ The America Play and August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, plays examining LGBTQ Americans’ experience like Tony Kushner’s Angels in America pt 1 and the musical Fun Home based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Feminist plays like Fun Home and Lynne Nottage’s Ruined, plays addressing the immigrant experience like In the Heights, by Lin Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes, and plays specifically addressing American history and politics like Anna Deveare Smith’s Fires in the Mirror and Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced. Genres will include American realism, theatre of the absurd, political theatre, and postmodern pastiche texts, as well as less often studied genres like docudrama, musical theatre, devised scripts, and performance art. This course will also introduce you to various theoretical lenses through which we can analyze plays both as literature and in performance.


If the syllabus isn’t visible below, or you have difficulty reading it there, you can go to it in Google docs.