Metatheater, Then and Now

In 1963, Lionel Abel invented the term “metatheater” to discuss self-referential, anti-illusionist devices—introduced, as he thought, by some Renaissance playwrights—which had become ubiquitous in the theater of his day. “Very meta!” was soon used to describe almost every play ever written. But some plays are more “meta” than others and the methods and motives of their authors vary considerably. This seminar will spend six weeks focused on Greek, Renaissance, and Modern examples of the genre before turning to contemporary American playwrights who have found new and often jaw-dropping uses for metatheatrics.




Mondays + Wednesdays,
11:00 AM - 12:20 PM


Michael Cadden