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Unit information: Chekhov on the World Stage in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Chekhov on the World Stage
Unit code RUSS20014
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Connor Doak
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit examines the major plays of Russia’s foremost playwright, Anton Chekhov, and his lasting influence on world theatre in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Often praised for their formal experimentation and keen psychological insight, Chekhov’s plays remain a staple for theatres around the globe. They are often adapted for television and film, or even transposed to different times or places. In this course, we seek to understand the lasting appeal of Chekhov’s plays both by studying them in their own right, and by evaluating the success of recent adaptations. We focus particularly on Chekhov’s innovations in character and plot, his representation of fraught sociopolitical issues, and the peculiarities of Chekhovian psychology. We read the adaptations in dialogue with the originals, examining how new writers have re-drawn Chekhov’s characters and plots to speak to audiences in diverse countries including Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.

Intended learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes: (a) Students will acquire a knowledge of Chekhov's drama, including an understanding of the specific innovations that he introduced in theatre and their lasting impact on world theatre. (b) They will learn to evaluate contemporary adaptations of the plays, and become familiar with the debates surrounding adaptation and transposition of literary works. (c) They will develop critical thinking and communication skills as they construct arguments both in class discussion and in essays.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught in a combination of lectures and seminars.

Assessment Details

Two 2000-word essays (50%/50%)

Essay 1 (50%). Analysis of a specific innovation in Chekhov's drama, whether related to plot, character development, formal experimentation, or treatment of a theme. Tied to learning outcome (a): students will acquire a knowledge of Chekhov's drama, including an understanding of the specific innovations that he introduced in theatre and their lasting impact on world theatre. Also provides initial development of learning outcome (c): they will develop critical thinking and communication skills as they construct arguments in essays. . Essay 2 (50%). Comparative analysis of how a contemporary dramatist or filmmaker has adapted or transposed Chekhov's plays trans-culturally. Evaluation of the success of the transposition/adaptation. Tied to learning outcome (b): Students will learn to evaluate contemporary adaptations of the plays, and become familiar with the debates surrounding adaptation and transposition of literary works. Also provides further refinement of learning outcome (c): they will develop critical thinking and communication skills as they construct arguments in essays. However, while Essay 1 required students to create an argument about one particular writer, Essay 2 poses the more challenging task of developing a comparative argument about two writers from different cultures and historical periods.

Reading and References

Chekhov, Anton. Selected Plays. (Norton, 2004) Friel, Brian. Aristocrats. (Gallery Press, 1983) Suzman, Janet. The Free State. (Metheun, 2000) Allen, David. Performing Chekhov. (London: Routledge, 2000) Gottlieb, Vera and Paul Allain (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. (CUP, 2000) Senelick, Laurence. The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of Plays in Performance. (CUP, 1997)

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