Shakespeare in the City

See the plays, meet the artists, take a role! We’ll follow Shakespeare across the stages, campuses, and archives of Philadelphia, and we’ll do a weekend field trip to historic Staunton, Virginia, to see plays at the American Shakespeare Center.

Shakespeare in the City (D/DN, A, H)

Shakespeare wrote for performance, and this class will make the most of the city’s resources: we’ll see local productions and visit rehearsals, archives, and other campuses in the area. We’ll also make a long weekend trip down south to Staunton, Virginia, to visit The American Shakespeare Center and see their pairing of Othello with an award-winning new play, Keene (Oct. 23-25; alternate dates Oct. 9-11).

We will study four plays, each alongside at least one performance. Each play will start with a group reading, and our class meetings will incorporate guest lectures by actors, directors, and other Shakespeare experts. We’ll meet once or twice a week, depending on field trips and performances.

Fulfill the “Diversity and Inequality” and/or “Arts” and/or “Humanities” Requirement(s)

We meet the “D/DN” requirements by following the plays’ deep engagement with questions of diversity and inequality. We’ll look at race, religion, gender/sex, and sexuality in the plays, and we’ll mix in some contemporary analogues (for Othello, for instance, we’ll study the new play Keene, and we’ll watch the Jordan Peele film Get Out, to consider the role of storytelling in how we think about interracial romance). The “A” credit comes from our attention to performance and related questions, culminating in a group performance of a scene from one of the plays we study.