Theater and the Plague

Theater relies on the physical and emotional vulnerability of live bodies to experience the pity and terror that plague, war, systemic injustice, and more ordinary forms of disease and death inflict. As we face the twin pandemics of our own time, what can “plague drama” (prompted by outbreaks of typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, AIDS, etc.) tell us about how writers use literal and metaphorical diseases to give shape to a given cultural moment? We’ll look at a wide variety mostly theatrical texts to explore how playwrights use the medium of the theater to literally embody and thus make visible physical, social, and metaphysical “dis-ease”.




Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM


Michael Cadden