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Drama Course

Drama course: 2nd Year Graduate Students (2019-2020)

Introduction to Drama


Different Approaches to Modern Drama

 The course should develop the students' knowledge of the dramatic literature of the period in question, with specific regard to a number of major genres and intellectual issues, in particular the crucial issues of staging and performance. It should enhance their ability to read critically and comparatively and engage with an area of specialist research not otherwise available to students in Egypt.The following plays are suggested for reading and discussion:


Hansberry, Loraine. A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

O'Neill, Eugene. All God's Cillun Got Wings (1924)

Brecht, Bertolt. The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948)

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot (1953)

Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz & Goldenstern Are Dead (1966)

A Study of Documentary Plays. Ex. My Name is Rachel Corrie (2005)

 Brittain, Victoria and Gillian Slovo. Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom (2005)

Gamal, Mahmoud. 1980 and Upwards (   )

Questions on Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle:

1.     Compare and contrast between Brecht’s Epic theatre and the Aristotelian drama.

2.     What is the importance of episode 4 (scene 4) in the play? Is it a deviation from the action of the play?  Explain its significance.

3.     Describe the importance of each of the following in the play:

a.      The Singer.

b.     The Chorus.

c.      The Prologue.

4.     Has Brecht succeeded in applying his theory of epic theatre on The Caucasian Chalk Circle? Elaborate.

5.     Describe the character of Azdak. What is his importance in the play? What is the author’s attitude to Azdak? To the Prince? To the Grand Duke?

6.     Is there an organic unity in the play? What is the link between Brecht’s CCC and the extract from the old Chinese play? What do you think is the playwright’s vision? Do you agree?

7.     Is the music, including the songs, an integral part of the play, or is it just an addition for entertainment?

8.     Who is the protagonist of the play, if any? Why?

9.     Describe the scenes between Grusha and Simon. Are they traditional love scenes? In what way are they different?

10. Can we describe the play as a social and political satire? Explain.

Questions on A Raisin in the Sun:

    1. Discuss Hansberry's poetic manipulation of her theme in A Raisin in the Sun.

2. Discuss the use of symbolism and motifs in the play. 

3. What is the importance of the character of Mama in A Raisin?

4. In A Raisin, the Youngers stand for African-Americans with their dreams and aspirations. Explain.

5. Discuss how minor characters such as George Murchison, Willy Harris, and Mr Lindner represent the ideas against which the main characters react.

6. What's the importance of the character of Mama in the play?

7. Is Walter Younger justified in his rebellious actions? Explain.

8. How has Hansberry answered Langston Hughes's queries in his poem Harlem about what happens to a raisin in the sun?


Questions on Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

1.  Act II of Waiting for Godot is almost a repetition of Act I. Why? What does the writer wish to reiterate? What do the slight differences in the two acts indicate?

2.  Do you observe any development in the action of the play? Some critics believe that the play ends where it began. Is this true? Why? Why not? Is there a sense of hope at the end? Clarify your point of view.

3.  What is the play about? What is the main theme? Is the play connected with the age, the 1950s?  Is it symbolic? Do we learn anything from the play? Explain.

4.  Waiting for Godot is described as an ‘absurd’ play. What is the meaning of this term in drama? What are the features of the absurd in the play?

5.  Although Vladimir and Estragon differ from each other they cannot be separated. Does the same idea apply to Pozzo and Lucky? What is the implication of that? Do you think that characters are presented in pairs to emphasize human dependency? Discuss.

6.  What is the significance of the title? Does the word ‘Godot’ refer to God? Why? Why not? Is the play about ‘Godot’ or about ‘waiting’? What does Godot represent?

7.  Do you believe Waiting for Godot has any religious implications? Explain.

8.  Comment on the structure of the play. Is it traditional?

9.  Comment on the language of the play. Guiding words: poetic- symbolic- realistic- ironic- philosophic- futile- absurd- comic- meaningless- repetitive- inharmonious.

10.  Can we consider the play a tragicomedy as subtitled by the playwright? Give reasons.

Questions on Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Goldensturn:

1. Draw a contrast between Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Goldensturn Are Dead.

2. Do you cosider Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Goldensturn Are Dead an Absurd play? Give your reasons.

3. Stoppard's play is perceived as a derived play. How far do you agree? Discuss.

4. What is a metadrama? Can we cosider Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Goldensturn a metadrama? Why? Why not?

5. Write an essay on Stoppard as a modernist playwright.

6. Rosencrantz and Goldensturn are identical figures. How far do you agree? Explain.

7. What are the main themes propounded in Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Goldensturn Are Dead? Explain.