Spring 2024

Who's Laughing Now? Comedic Plays as Social Commentary

Listed in: English, as ENGL-393  |  Theater and Dance, as THDA-278


SEVAN Tavoukdjian (Section 01)


Comedian Eric Idle notes, "LIfe doesn't make any sense, and we all pretend it does. Comedy's job is to point out that it doesn't make sense, and that it doesn't make much difference anyway." This course examines and analyzes the many forms of stage comedy. What might the comedic play teach us about the self and culture(s), espeicially when we come to understand its patterns of transgression to subvert social norms through jokes and laughter? Starting with the Greek humorists, we will traverse genres, periods, and cultures to reflect on various types of humor: satire, farce, parody, dark comedy, and absurdism. You will read for laughter, but also, you will read for how that laughter informs cultural ideologies and constructs social identities. How does comedy comment on politics, philosophy, and other socio-cultural topics? Readings may include a selection of works from among the following playwrights: Aristophanes, Moliere, Neil Simon, Christopher Durang, Robert Asking, Noel Coward, Larissa Fasthorse, Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood, Clare Boothe Luce, Aybu Kahn Din, Mae West, Laruen Yee, Tori Sampson, Yussef El Guindi, Samuel Beckett, and Susanna Centlivre, among others.  Spring semester. Professor SEVAN.

THDA 278 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM WEBS 122
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM WEBS 122


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2024

Course Description Addendum

Submitted by SEVAN Tavoukdjian on Wednesday, 12/20/2023, at 12:34 AM

There will be a class field trip (in conjunction with three other classes) to see Katori Hall's Hot Wing King at Hartford Stage. This will be a part of the class requirement. It will likely be a matinee performance on a Saturday in March.