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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: The Craft of the Playwright II (ENLI11177)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis 40 credit course builds on The Craft of the Playwright I: Through seminars and workshops on students own developing folio, it develops students knowledge of the theory and practice of writing different genres such as tragedy and comedy, the uses of politics, history, music and ritual in dramatic writing, and to working in different contexts such as writing for children and devising theatre. As with The Craft of the Playwright I, this course will develop students to write, clear, informed and perceptive criticism of writing for performance through engagement with critical texts, theatre history, philosophy and visits to the theatre. These seminars are much more interactive, with students encouraged to respond to provocations on each seminar topic and to engage in discussion and debate. Input from established professional theatre-makers into the workshop element of the course will introduce students into the role of the writer in the process of developing script for live performance.

Please note that this course is ONLY available to students on the MSc Playwriting programme.
Course description 1. Genre 1: Tragedy- 'Strangers to the purpose of tragedy.' Aristotle

2. Genre 2: Comedy- 'Make the audience laugh, never never never bore the hell out of it.' Noel Coward

3. Genre 3: Political plays versus Plays about politics-'It is possible for writing that is not about politics to be intensely political.' David Greig

4. Genre 4: Writing for Children and Young People-'You must write for children in the same way as you do for adults, only better.' Maxim Gorky

5. Genre 5:Ritual and Music-'After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.' Aldous Huxley

6. Innovative Learning Week - workshops with Artist in Residence, John Wright

7. Genre 6: Epic-'The epic poet collaborates with the spirit of his time in the composition of his work. That is, if he is successful; the time may refuse to work with him, but he may not refuse to work with his time.' Lascelles Abercrombie

8. 121 sessions with course leader on work-in-progress

9. Genre 7: Non-text based & Devised Theatre, and Verbatim-'As far as I'm concerned all theatre is physical. As Aristotle says, you know, theatre is an act and an action, and he didn't mean just the writing of it, he meant that at the centre of any piece there is an action, a physical action.' Simon McBurney

10. Genre 8: The Uses of History-'History is nothing but a pack of tricks we play upon the dead' Voltaire

11. Plot: the Sledgehammer-'We must stop telling the audience stories they can understand.' Howard Barker
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 18, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 3, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Other Study Hours 16, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 372 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Professional Development work with theatre makers on students own scripts
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Folio comprising of writing for performance of 50 minutes
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Deepen their knowledge and understanding of different techniques for writing text for live performance in relation to specific genres
  2. Writing writing for performance as a social and political act through looking at specific play texts within a range of historical and socio-political contexts
  3. Develop a greater ability to critically reflect upon their own and others work within a particular theatrical tradition and socio-political context
  4. Deepen their understanding of their own unique voice as a playwright
  5. Further develop their ability to give and receive critical feedback on their own and others work, and how to evaluate, and respond to that feedback in the future development of their writing for the stage
Reading List
Reading List:
N.B. If texts are difficult to find, contact the course organiser.

Albee, Edward, The Goat or Who is Sylvia?
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex,
Euripides, Medea & Trojan Women,
Locchead, Liz, Thebans,
Shakespeare, King Lear, Hamlet, Coriolanus,
Miller, Arthur, Death of a Salesman,
McCartney, Nicola, Heritage, Faber & Faber, 2010.
Poole, Adrian, Tragedy: a very short introduction, OUP, Oxford, 2005
Wallace, Jennifer, The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy, Cambridge Introductions to Literature 2007.
Eagleton, Terry, Sweet Violence: the idea of the Tragic, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.
Tremblay, Michel, Solemn Mass For a Full Moon in Summer,

Aristophanes & Sommerstein, Alan H., Lysistrata and Other Plays (Penguin Classics), Penguin Classic 2003
Jonson, Ben, Volpone,
The Bald Primadonna, Eugene Ionesco
Simonh, Neil, The Collected Plays of Neil Simon: Vol 1, P Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (30 Nov 1986)
Neilson, Anthony, Neilson Plays: 2 Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness!, The Lying Kind, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Realism (Contemporary Dramatists), Methuen, 2008.
Gogol, Nikolai, The Government Inspector,
Malarcher, Jay (Ed.), Theatre Symposium: Comedy Tonight! Vol 16, The University of Alabama Press; New edition 2008
Gerould, Daniel C. & Duffy, Meghan, Comedy: A Bibliography of Critical Studies in English on the Theory and Practice of Comedy in Drama, Theatre and Performance, Theatre Communications Group 2006

Brecht, Berthold, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Mother Courage,
Greig, David, The American Pilot
Friel, Brian, Translations,
Burke, Gregory, Blackwatch
McGrath, John, Six Pack: 6 of the Best from John McGrath, Polygon, 1996.
McGrath, John, A Good Night Out
Thomson, Peter & Sacks, Glendyr, The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (Cambridge Companions to Literature), Cambridge, 2006.

Lifeboat, by Nicola McCartney (will be provided as PDF)
Yellow Moon, by David Greig
Warhorse, by Michael Morpurgo and Nick Stafford
King Matt by Stephen Greenhorn (will be provided as PDF with his permission)

The Crucible, Arthur Miller
The Crucible in History, Arthur Miller (will be provided)
The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil, John McGrath
White Rose, by Peter Arnott (will be provided as PDF with his permission)
Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, Liz Lochhead
The Contemporary British History Play, Richard H Palmer, Greenwood Press 1998
(secondary reading)

Roadkill, by Cora Bisset & Stef Smith
The Riots, by Gillian Slovo
Talking to Terrorists, Robin Soanes
My Name is Rachel Corrie, by Rachel Corrie, Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner

Brecht, the complete works
Kushner, Tony, Angels in America, pts I & II
Passing Places, by Stephen Greenhorn
The Mahabarata, by Peter Brook
The Kentucky Cycle, Robert Schenkkan

The Waltz of the Cold Wind by Paddy Cuneen (will be provided as PDF)
Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer by Michel Tremblay
Don Giovanni, by W.A.Mozart (Dover Series)
Other texts tbc

Measure for Measure, The Winter┐s Tale, by Shakespeare
Howard Barker Plays Five: Hated Nightfall; Seven Lears; Wounds to the Face; The Last Supper , Oberon 2009
Homebody/ Kabul, Tony Kushner
Plays: "Glengarry Glen Ross", "Prairie Du Chien", the "Shawl", "Speed-the-Plow" Vol 3 (Methuen World Classics), David Mamet, 1996

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Poetics, Aristotle
The Hidden Plot, Edward Bond
State of Play, various,
Death, the One and the Art of Theatre, Howard Barker
Theatre Histories: An Introduction, Phillip B. Zarrilli, Bruce McConachie, Gary Jay Williams, Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei
In-yer-face Theatre: British Drama Today, Aleks Sierz, 2001
The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Theatre (Cambridge Introductions to Literature), Simon Shepherd , 2009
There Are No Secrets, Peter Brook
The Presence of the Actor, Joseph Chaikin
True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, David Mamet, Faber and Faber, 1998.
The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre, by Scott Graham and Stephen Hoggett
Devising Theatre: A Practical and Theoretical Handbook, by Alison Oddey

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserMs Nicola Mccartney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3629
Course secretaryMiss Kara Mccormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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