Class 8: Tudor Drama - The Royals [36:10]
The 16th Century and the rise of the Tudors. Henry VIII: independence from the Church and the ascendancy of the English language. Henry's reign was a tragic-comedic drama in itself. A dizzying array of successors culminating in Elizabeth I. Her coronation was a Mystery Play, written and directed by John Dee. Elizabeth was the first "star," a celebrity-Queen whose reign was to support a golden age of English drama.
Class 9: Tudor Drama - The Common People [22:00]
Outdoor plays popular during Henry's reign, particularly Robin Hood. Sports banned because of their hazards, and hunting big game only a royal prerogative; only "bear baiting" and traveling theater remained as amusements. Elizabeth had theaters built in London, the first theaters in Europe since Justinian's time. The physical structure and social structure of the London theaters.
Class 10: The Life of William Shakespeare [36:10]
Remarkably little is known about Shakespeare. Of all the great playwrights who lived in England and Europe at this time, Shakespeare had the least formal education. Once he found his way to employment in the Globe Theater he rose quickly though the ranks, and by his mid-twenties he was an established playwright and business partner. Three periods of dramatic creation: Histories, Comedies, and Tragedies -- and a fourth period of plays that are "unclassifiable."
Class 11: Shakespeare's Histories [27:25]
Although they served as propaganda for the Tudors, Shakespeare's historical plays body presented English monarchs of flesh-and-blood. Shakespeare dramatized their inner life as much as their outer deeds, and revealed how the struggles of fathers and sons reverberated in the wars of nations. We explore Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.
Class 12: Shakespeare's Comedies 1 [36:50]
If "Fathers and Sons" is the ongoing theme of Shakespeare's Histories, then "Love and Marriage" (or "Husbands and Wives") is the motif of his Comedies. Histories are placed in England and France, but the comedies range all over Europe and encompass myriad time periods. They mark the first time that the experience of "falling in love" was carefully scrutinized and joyfully celebrated. We look deeply at the complicated relationships of twins and namesakes in the comedy Twelfth Night.
Class 13: Shakespeare's Comedies 2 [27:45]
We continue our close reading of Twelfth Night. Elizabethans learned much more through hearing, and much less by seeing, than we do. The images and metaphors in Shakespeare's lines are also "characters" in the plays and have a life of their own. The interplay of blank verse and rhyming couplets -- Shakespeare is masterful at both -- also play an important role in this comedy.
Although he was devoted to live theater, Wilder recognized the power of film, and wrote a successful screenplay for an Alfred Hitchcock movie. (The actual film is not as lurid as its poster!)
Thornton Wilder was one of the few American playwrights to be placed on the cover of Time magazine . . . .
. . . . And he was the first playwright to appear on an American postage stamp.