One thing you’ll be thinking about this week is how a live performance is different from a virtual (either recorded or broadcast in some way) performance. While we won’t have a chance to attend a play for this class, we did get the opportunity to read and listen to scenes from plays in class this week. For this discussion question, you need to discuss the difference between a live performance and a virtual performance. If you’ve had the chance to see a play performed live, you can compare that to the reading of a text. But experience going to the theater is not a prerequisite for joining in this discussion. Consider the differences between attending a sporting event or concert live and watching it on television. You can even think about personal interactions: what is the difference between having a discussion with someone face-to-face and doing it over the phone or through email or text messages or video chat? Is there a difference between being somewhere, with all your senses active, seeing things as they happen, and watching it from another place or at another time? Is the audience more involved at a live performance? Why? With technology advancing so rapidly, some say that the theater, and live performances in general, are becoming less and less important, and may ultimately become unnecessary. Would you agree with this argument? Why or why not?
Drama, and in general all works of literature, have become more and more open-ended and ambiguous over time. While the themes of a play like “Oedipus the King” are made clear to the reader, discovering the themes of modern drama takes a little more work, asking the reader to engage in more critical and creative thinking. For this discussion question, you need to state what you see as the main theme in one of the plays you read for this week’s class. What do you see is “the author’s comment on the Human Condition”? If you’re having a hard time discovering the theme, think about what happens to the main character in the play, how things end for that character, what he/she has learned through the course of the play, and how he/she has changed from beginning to end. As always, use textual evidence to support your argument.