In the advanced course “The forms of Italian Theater: History and Practice,” students engage in a study of various forms of Italian theater from the Renaissance till the Twentieth century, including Commedia dell’Arte, and the work of playwrights such as: Niccolò Machiavelli, Carlo Goldoni, Carlo Gozzi, Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Eduardo De Filippo, and Dario Fo. The literary, cultural, and historical discussion is integrated with the development of communicative proficiency, through various exercises and creative activities. For example, during the last five weeks of the semester, students write and perform their own short plays inspired by the style and themes of their favorite Italian authors.
In the Italian/Honors course “The Puppet Metaphor Across Media,” students explore the theoretical and historical significance of the myth of the puppet by examining its cultural history and its life across media boundaries. After examining traditional and modern forms of puppetry in Italy and beyond, and its interpretations in literature, film, and animation, students focus on individual projects. This spring, for example, students examined historical topics such as the use of the puppet metaphor by politically engaged Syrian theater troupes today, theoretical questions like the relationship between subject and object in film mise-en-scene, or engaging on a creative level as when designing an original dance adaptation of Pinocchio.