Through a structured, guided reading of Troilus and Cressida, one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known but most complex plays, students will gain:
Background knowledge on the Trojan War, and Homer’s seminal Iliad
An understanding of Shakespearean dramatic structure, and how it influences modern theater, cinema, and television.
Increased comfort with spoken English through performance exercises that employ poetry, prose, and everyday speech
Exposure to Shakespearean performance through video, in-class performances, and live theatre
A chance to perform in an adaptation of Troilus and Cressida, written specially for this class, thereby honing public speaking, performance, and organizational skills
Minimum requirements: Intermediate level of English.
The course is planned around the 5-act structure of a Shakespearean play, according to the following structure:
SEMESTER 1 — WEEKS 1 — 8
WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE
Background: who was Shakespeare?
«What is Shakespeare?»
Review of Shakespearean verse: how is it structured? How do you read it?
Exercises in reading Shakespearean verse aloud: excerpts from verse and prose monologues, dialogue from Shakespearean plays and poetry
Review of Shakespearean dramatic structure
5 acts; what they do
Tracing the influence of Shakespearean structure on drama/film:
4 acts: Chekhov (and European/American realism)
2 acts: (comedy)
acts: film screenplays
What is Troilus and Cressida and what was the Trojan War?
WEEK 2: INTRODUCING TROILUS AND CRESSIDA
Comparison between Shakespeare’s characters and those from history
WEEKS 3-8: READING THE PLAY
Acts I-III: three classes
Act IV: two classes
SEMESTER 2 — WEEKS 9 — 12
WEEK 9: THE CONCLUSION
Act V: leaving time for summary and reflections
Each of these classes will take time to review vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical devices.
Adaptation for performance
Summary discussion of key themes and most memorable moments
Review of dramatic structure — how to preserve dramatic structure with o Introduction of new material (teacher’s own adaptation proposal for the class production) •
WEEK 12: REHEARSAL FOR CLASS PERFORMANCE
We will be using the Bantam Edition of the play, which has scholarly commentary, vocabulary and grammar notes in the margins.