Instructor: Drury TR 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM
This course, which combines reading and creative writing, will focus on dramatic monologues, whether in verse or prose. Often called “persona poems,” the main requirement is that the author assume the identity of a character and not speak in their own voice. Speaking through a mask (the root meaning of “persona”) can be liberating and imaginatively stimulating. As Robert Browning says, “I’ll tell my tale as though ’twere none of mine.” We will begin by focusing on Shakespeare’s monologues and soliloquies, some in blank verse and some in prose (especially those spoken by Falstaff). We will go on to dramatic monologues by Browning, Randall Jarrell, Ai, Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, and many others, as well as a play full of monologues, Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. Although our primary focus will be persona poems, we will also consider the techniques of method acting and the theories and practice of Stanislavsky. You don’t need to be an actor to take this course, but actors and others interested in drama are welcome. Requirements include the composition of six dramatic monologues, one essay on a monologue, and active participation in our discussions and performances.