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BDBA 6750A - All the World's a Stage Within a Stage (Shakespeare)

Type d'enseignement : Workshop

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Proficient level of English - students should be able to read and understand Shakespeare in the original

Course Description

Be it to unmask a usurper, seduce a lover, amuse a friend, or scare an enemy, Shakespearean characters often find themselves implicated, willy-nilly, in plays within plays, or otherwise role playing on stage. By multiplying levels of theatricality and turning his characters into actors, directors, and stage-managers, Shakespeare advances the plot while offering insights on theatre as a medium. The students, themselves alternatively actors and directors, will explore the following questions: what are the stakes of a play within a play, and why does the author use this technique? Is acting different when it is directed at the audience on a stage and at the actual audience — and if so, how? What does the distance created by the embedding of levels reveal about theatre, and about the way it touches us? The class will revolve around scenes from Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest. Class 1 : Introduction - key concepts (theatre, play within the play, and embedding of levels), Shakespeare's world, presentation of the 3 plays; physical warm-up; working method and plan for the semester Class 2 : A Midsummer Night's Dream (I,2) : characters-actors: planning a play within the play Class 3 : A Midsummer Night's Dream (III,1) : characters-actors: representing a rehearsal on stage Class 4 : A Midsummer Night's Dream (V,1): characters-actors: a performance within the performance Class 5 : Hamlet (II,2): Hamlet: the madness of playing - or playing mad Class 6 : Hamlet (III,2): the play within the play as instrument of truth Class 7 : Hamlet (III,2): role playing and character building Class 8 : The Tempest (I,2): playing within the play to hide one's game Class 9 : The Tempest (III,2): directing to unmask someone else's acting Class 10 : The Tempest (IV,1): playing and enchanting Class 11 : Dress rehearsal Class 12 : Final presentation: performance of the chosen scenes, and conclusion


ORDINAIRE, Mirabelle (Comédienne et dramaturge)

Pedagogical format

Understand the theatrical medium from the inside thanks to the mirror provided by the embedding of theatrical levels Explore the spatial possibilities between stage and house, actors and audience Understand what is at stake in the relationships between director, actors, and audience

Course validation

The students will receive three grades: the first will evaluate their involvement as actors, and their capacity and willingness to collaborate with their acting partners; the second will evaluate their involvement as directors, the creativity and originality of their concept, and their ease in directing others; the third will evaluate the final presentation.

Required reading

  • Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest