Modern Drama

Subject ENGL20030 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 A 1-hour lecture and a 2-hour tutorial/workshop per week.
Total Time Commitment: 102
Prerequisites: Completion of at least 12.5 points at first year in English or Theatre Studies or one of the Faculty of Arts' Interdisciplinary Foundation (IDF) subjects.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 673-339 Modern Drama
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the 3Disability Liaison Unit website: 4


Assoc Prof Denise Varney


Denise Varney

Subject Overview:

This subject will introduce students to modern drama through a study of seminal dramatic texts representing the various dramatic and performance movements that emerged from around 1890 to the mid 20th century. These movements will include, among others, realism, expressionism, symbolism, absurdist theatre, kitchen-sink, modern tragedy and political theatre. The texts and the genres they represent will be analysed through lectures, seminars and workshops, and there will be a focus on the plays in performance.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • understand the theories and practices of modern drama and theatre and its historical and cultural contexts;
  • work effectively in a team to present the results of research through both rational argument and the presentation of performance material;
  • develop appropriate research methodologies in the field of modern drama and theatre;
  • critically analyse and evaluate arguments and theories regarding the practice and development of modern drama and theatre;
  • identify and critically analyse the traces of modern drama in contemporary theatre practice.

Work equivalent to 4000 words: comprising an essay of 2000 words 50% (due after the end of semester), a creative play presentation equivalent to 1000 words 25% (due during semester) and a tutorial presentation equivalent to 1000 words 25% (due during the semester). A hurdle requirement of a minimum 80% attendance applies.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Alfred Jarry, Ubu Roi. The Ubu Plays, London, Methuen Drama.
  • Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters. Plays, Penguin Classics.
  • Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, Methuen Drama.
  • Arthur Miller, All My Sons, Penguin.
  • Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party, Faber and Faber.
  • David Williamson, The Removalists, Currency Press.
  • Joanna Murray-Smith, Honour, Currency Press.
  • Caryl Churchill, Far Away, Nick Hern Books.
Recommended Texts:
  • Antonin Artaud, Artaud on Theatre, Methuen.
  • Bertolt Brect, The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht, Methuen.
  • Konstantin Stanislavsky, An Actor Prepares, Methuen.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who sucessfully complete this subject will be able to:
  • demonstrate sound and independent critical and ethical thinking in their choice of materials and processes;

  • present written and oral communication to a professional standard regarding their treatment and material choices.


This subject is available to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Creative Arts students and may be credited towards a theatre studies or English major in either course.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Creative Arts
Diploma in Creative Arts
Graduate Diploma in Creative Arts
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major
Theatre Studies Major

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