I'm nearing the end! All I have left to do in my classes is take two finals tomorrow. And study for them today, but that's not a big deal. Yesterday, I turned in my final essay for Comparative Lit, so now I'm thinking about all the plays I read for that class this quarter.
The Good Person of Sichuan by Bertolt Brecht, Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, The Emperor Jones by Eugene O'neill, The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, The Balcony by Jean Genet, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, The Caretaker by Harold Pinter, Offending the Audience by Peter Handke, Biography: A Game by Max Frisch, and Indians! by Arthur Kopit.
Thirteen plays in ten weeks. My favourites, I think, were The Skin of Our Teeth, The Zoo Story, Offending the Audience, and Biography: A Game. I can't quite say what sets these apart. They're not all the most experimental or all the least, they're not all from the same country or language. Two American, one Austrian, one Swiss. I think they all just had certain qualities, whether of story or language, that I liked. The Skin of Our Teeth is cheerfully absurd, I liked something about the language in The Zoo Story, Offending the Audience just rolled so nicely, and Biography had a fascinating premise (the main character gets to go back and re-do his life like it's all a rehearsal for a play he's trying to perfect).
All these plays, though, are worth reading. Some of them wouldn't have struck me as experimental if I hadn't been told they were, but they all are. Something we spent a lot of discussion on in class was the theatrical illusion, and how it is broken or maintained in these plays. It's something to think about, if you ever read or see any of them.
I'm so glad I took this class. I started it out thinking myself extremely knowledgeable about theatre, just by loving it and having done a few plays, but there's a lot I don't know and a lot of plays I haven't read or seen, and the class taught me to push at the boundaries of what theatre is and what I expect from it.