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Special Topics (Group A)

2017-18 Offerings

DRM385H1 F The Police of Performance/ The Performance of Police

What can Sherlock Holmes tell us about 19th-century theatre? What can we learn about 21st-century street art from Banksy’s stenciled coppers? What happens to the plot of a play when a terrible crime has been committed and there are no police at all? And, finally, what can happen when citizens perform *back*? In this course we will be examining the complex relationship between police and policing, and theatre and performance. Beginning with the introduction of the Metropolitan police in 1829, we will move through the 19th and 20th centuries examining the close relationship between police and performance. We will explore concepts including Victorian phrenology and physiognomy, domestic space and personal liberty, the vision of the detective and fears of the government spy, as well as addressing questions like who owns public space and who polices the streets. As we move through time toward the present day we will be exploring the ramifications of capturing police performance; asking how doing so might allow people to perform back, to undermine and destabilize these performances of power.

Prerequisite: DRM100Y1/DRM101Y1/UNI102Y1 or any 4.0 FCE
Recommended Preparation: DRM220Y1/DRM230Y1

DRM386H1 S Middle Eastern Theatre and Performance

This course is a survey of performance traditions, dramatic forms, and theatrical movements that reflect the artistic vision, national identity, and theatre culture of mostly Muslim Middle Eastern countries. Until about 20 years ago, Middle Eastern drama and theatre received scant attention in Euro-American academia and scholarship. The artistic history of the Middle East, however, is rich, comprising oral narratives, musical clowning, shadow/puppet shows, passion plays and western-style spoken drama.

Students will be familiarized with the dramatic stories, styles, and practices in the Middle Eastern theatres and to examine that theatre’s complex relationships with its social, historical and religious contexts. Class topics starts with examples of performance traditions and as well as theatre and performance created by Middle Eastern artists, in their countries and diaspora, from mid-20th century to the present. In each session, in addition to background and theoretical readings, we will read two plays and/or watch videos of performances. Students will be asked to analyze the plays using historical and theoretical writings. Individual projects will allow students to apply and expand this analysis.

Prerequisite: DRM100Y1/DRM101Y1/UNI102Y1 or any 4.0 FCE
Recommended Preparation: DRM220Y1/DRM230Y1

DRM387H1 F Queer Theatre/Queer Theory

This course is an introduction to queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender representations and aesthetics in theatre and performance in Western culture. Throughout the course, students will read and analyze creative works of diverse form and genre, using contemporary queer theory as a framework for analysis. The course will examine queer creative practices and question what is gained from the inclusion of LGBT and queer content/aesthetics. Through discussion, creative projects, and readings, students will be encouraged to examine whose voices are excluded from mainstream queer narratives and to problematize the universal concept of a monolithic queer theatre. Together, we will consider how LGBT performance can be both a tool of resistance against mainstream heterosexism and simultaneously a tool of normalization, which upholds and perpetuates hierarchies of oppression and privilege.

Prerequisite: DRM100Y1/DRM101Y1/UNI102Y1 or any 4.0 FCE
Recommended Preparation: DRM220Y1/DRM230Y1

DRM388H1 S Performing Freaks and Monsters 

This course traces the emergence and rise of the so-called “freak” within theatre, performance, and popular visual culture. Beginning with sites such as the ethnographic display, medical theatre, and freak show, this course considers the cultural labour enacted by these sites in inscribing bodies as either “normal” or “freakish.” Our analysis of these sites will utilize an interdisciplinary approach that includes theoretical texts from the neighbouring fields of performance studies, critical race theory, crip theory, and gender studies. The course will also consider how contemporary playwrights, performers, and artists engage the figure of the freak and freak show within a variety of theatrical and artistic works. We will explore the many ways in which the freak continues to permeate contemporary popular and visual culture as well as how such contemporary (re)imaginings of the freak point to broader questions related to the theatrical (re)presentation and (re)production of Othered bodies in contemporary performance and visual culture.

Prerequisite: DRM100Y1/DRM101Y1/UNI102Y1 or any 4.0 FCE
Recommended Preparation: DRM220Y1/DRM230Y1

DRM487H1 Senior Seminar: Documenting Performance

This seminar will explore different ways of documenting, disseminating, and preserving performance. By examining a variety of documentary media (writing, photography, film and video), styles, and strategies, the seminar will encourage a reflection on the notion of “documentary” in relation to live performance: How, and to what extent, do documentary artifacts provide reliable access to performance? What specific ways of re-presenting, translating, and distorting performance do different media offer? Can documentary artifacts become artworks in their own right? What strategies can artists adopt to retain some measure of control over the way their work is circulated and preserved? What can be learned about the nature and value of the “live” by looking at it through other media? The seminar is intended for theatre artists, dancers, performance and visual artists, and for anyone interested in live performance from a historical or critical perspective.

Prerequisite: DRM220Y1/DRM230Y1, online application due November 10th 2017
Recommended Preparation: DRM331H1

DRM488H1 Senior Seminar (not offered in 2017/18)


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