English 252—Theater in England
Instructor: Katherine Mannheimer
Theater in England will be conducted in London from December 30, 2015–January 10, 2016. We will see approximately 20 plays. We do not yet know what the full schedule of plays will be, but you can be certain that we will see the best of what's available in the world's theater Mecca. In recent years we have seen distinguished productions such as Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in Hamlet, Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night, Michael Gambon and David Bradley in Pinter's No Man's Land, Ralph Fiennes and Clare Higgins in Oedipus, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem, Eddie Redmayne in Richard II, James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors, and such award winning productions as August: Osage County, Matilda the Musical, and the rarely performed Family Reunion, by T.S. Eliot. We always see several world premiers such as, in years past, David Hare's Gethsemane, Marina Carr's The Cordelia Dream, Zorro the Musical, Emma Rice's Don John, and, this year The Orphan of Zhao, sometimes referred to as “The Chinese Hamlet.” The historical spread of the plays is terrific; only in London is such a range of theater possible.
There will be ample time to do and see much besides plays. Each year many in the group go to free music performances at St. Martin-in-the-Field or attend services at Westminster Abbey and sit in the choir in the Queen's scholars' pews directly adjacent to the musicians. And many will visit the National Gallery, the old and new Tate Galleries, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum where last year we see special exhibits such as the First Emperor of China's Terracotta Army. Or some will go to the Royal Academy of Art, the Courtauld Institute, the London Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and historical sites like the Tower, Dickens' House, Parliament, and the Inns of Court. There will be time to witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and to explore Covent Garden, Camden Town, the antique shops of Islington or Portobello Market, and to go to Harrods. And you will be able to sample the atmosphere of many a historic pub, like the Sherlock Holmes, on your way to attend evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral, go to the Neal's Yard Cheese Shop, or Belgo Centrale to feast on North Sea mussels.
We will stay at the Harlingford Hotel, 61-63 Cartwright Gardens, a couple of blocks from the British Museum and the new British Library. The course is restricted to 21 students and carries four credits. The fee will be $2850.00, which includes tickets to all plays and housing. Students must obtain passports and make their own travel arrangements to and from London. To learn more about what students have seen in previous years, various aspects of the seminar are available on this website — the archive of syllabuses from 1992 to the present, student journals, information about the Harlingford Hotel, in Bloomsbury, where we always stay, and student photos of the London Theatre scene in general.