Lectures: 7:30–9:00 pm: January 8, 15, 29, March 4, 18, and May 6 and 20, 7 sessions
Performances: Wednesday, January 22, Goodnight, Nobody; Wednesday, March 11, The Sleuth; Wednesday, May 13, The Refuge Plays
Meaning in all written work is shaped by both the author’s intention and what the reader brings to the text. Plays are unique in offering a third dimension of meaning: that created by the director, actors, and designers. This course will focus on the two plays offered this fall at McCarter Theatre, as well as an additional production either at another regional theatre or broadcast through the National Theatre Live initiative. We will discuss each play and its meaning before each performance; see the play as a group, if you wish; and then explore what has been revealed by the production.
The plays to be included are: Rachel Bonds’ Goodnight, Nobody, directed by Tyne Rafaeli, is an original McCarter commission about a group of old friends who look to stay connected to one another as they age into their 30s and their lives begin to change and their paths diverge with the growing complexities of adulthood (e.g., intimacy, motherhood, illness). Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, directed by Adam Immerwahr, is a suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse and brilliant parody of an Agatha Christie thriller, filled with plotted murders, jealousy, and revenge.
Nathan Alan Davis’ trilogy The Refuge Plays is a world-premiere production, directed by Patricia McGregor, the trio of plays traces an eccentric, mystically inclined Black family who share their home, speak their minds, and store their secrets through four generations, as they carve out an existence in a southern Illinois forest.
Tickets and Texts: Manuscript copies of Goodnight, Nobody and The Refuge Plays will be provided to students in hard copy form by the instructor; manuscripts will be collected after the study of each play has been completed. Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth will be available for purchase at Labyrinth Books in Princeton. In addition, the students will be given a promotional code to purchase discounted tickets for Goodnight, Nobody; Sleuth; and The Refuge Plays during the first class. These tickets will be priced at $40 per play. (Each student may purchase one additional ticket for the same performances at the same price.) Students who already have reserved tickets for these plays may exchange them if they wish.
NOTE: This class will meet in the President’s Lounge Board Room on the lower level of McCarter’s Matthews Theater. It is accessed through the 91 University Place Administrative Services entrance. Copy costs for the first and third play are included in the cost of the course.