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Theater of Apocalypse

This course examines themes of apocalypse that are reproduced through contemporary plays, film and other media, primarily (but not exclusively) in the United States. We will analyze different meanings of the term (i.e. the end, catastrophe, renewal and others), and compare interpretations and stagings between two primary currents of thought, the Millenarian and Mayan, in theatre and other performance practices. We include depictions of end of times in various historical and contemporary literature, visual art and media, highlighting some of the pinnacle events that inform cultural (mis)understandings of apocalypse. From close reading to a broader look at the 'unveiling' of apocalypse, this course opens up questions of the nature of time, religion and politics with the stakes of planetary destruction --or is there an alternative in expanding our cultural imagination? Our aim is to become familiar with the terms and debates in the study of 'apocalypse,' and to gain a critical understanding of the historical and political dimensions of both theological and secular versions of ‘apocalypse’ and 'revelation' alongside theater and performance of our time.

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