Classics 305/Theatre 389A - Make 'em Laugh: Ancient Comedy in Performance
Spring 2009 Monday/Wednesday – 3:30-5:40 PM           244 Fine Arts/Lecture Hall 8

Binghamton University, State University of New York, Department of Classical & Near Eastern Studies

Instructor: John H. Starks, Jr. (607)777-4524
Library Tower 1102 - Office hours 11-12 MW, 1-2 Th

Synopsis: The core of this course is a detailed look at Greek and Roman comedy as passed on to us in the primary sources of classical literature (Greek - Aristophanes; Roman - Plautus and Terence). But the script of a play does not make it comedy. Comedy is drama, first and foremost, so alongside the texts from the ancient world, we will examine ancient theater structure, masks, costuming, actors and acting, festivals, artistic representations, minor comic genres (mime, farce, satiric verse), and most of all LIVE PERFORMANCE. Comedy must be read, seen and heard to be truly funny. Most unique to this course is the required public performance of Aristophanes' Femme Phantasmagoria (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival), on Friday evening April 17.

This course satisfies the O(ral communication) and A(esthetics) GenEd Requirements because in it you are encouraged to present well-organized, carefully crafted comedic scenes, a self-reflective study of your sense of humor, and a comic video critique, as well as the full live production.

Texts, Course Requirements, and Grade Distribution

Daily Assignments/Syllabus