Required Readings / Viewings

  • Amazon logo Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead: A Play in Three Acts. Samuel French, 1967. ISBN: 9780412771209.
  • Amazon logo ———. The Real Inspector Hound and Other Plays. Grove Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780802135612. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo ———. Travesties. Grove Press, 1975. ISBN: 9780394499307. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo ———. Tom Stoppard: Plays 5: Aracadia, The Real Thing, Night & Day, Indian Ink, Hapgood. Vol. 5. Faber & Faber, 2000. ISBN: 9780571197514.
  • Amazon logo ———. The Invention of Love. Grove Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780802135810. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo ———. Rock 'n' Roll: A New Play. Grove Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780802143075. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo Churchill, Caryl. Serious Money. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2002. ISBN: 9780413771209.
  • Amazon logo ———. A Number. Theatre Communications Group, 2003. ISBN: 9781559362252.
  • Amazon logo ———. Top Girls. Methuen Pub Ltd, 1985.
  • Amazon logo Smith, Anna Deavere. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2002. ISBN: 9780822218418. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo Barker, Howard. Scenes from an Execution. Oberon Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781849434683. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo Kohout, Pavel. Poor Murderer: A Play in Two Acts. Samuel French, 1977. ISBN: 9780573614422.

Additional Readings / Viewings

Also to be read or watched (if never read): Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth.

Additional plays, films and readings will serve as the basis for student reports. These may include:

  • Amazon logo Beckett, Samuel. "Waiting for Godot." In The Complete Dramatic Works. Faber & Faber, 1986. ISBN: 9780571138210. [Preview with Google Books]
  • The Importance of Being Earnest. Directed by Anthony Asquith. Color, 95 min. Pinewood Studios, 1952.
  • Night Must Fall. Directed by Richard Thorpe. Black and White, 116 min. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, 1937.
  • Amazon logo Stoppard, Tom. Albert's Bridge & Other Plays. Grove Press, 1977. ISBN: 9780394170008.
  • Amazon logo ———. Jumpers. Grove Press, 1974. ISBN: 9780394178660. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo ———. The Coast of Utopia: A Trilogy, Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage. Grove Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780802143402. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Amazon logo Lord Byron. The Poetical Works of Lord Byron: Complete in One Volume. D. Appleton and Company, 1847.
  • Amazon logo Housman, Alfred Edward. A Shropshire Lad. Dover Publications, 1990. ISBN: 9780486264684. [Preview with Google Books]
  • Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine. Samuel French, Inc., 1979. ISBN: 9780573618741.
  • Amazon logo Frayn, Michael. Copenhagen. Methuen Books, 1998. ISBN: 9780413724908.
  • The History Boys. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. Color, 20th Century Fox, 2006.
  • Top Girls. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark. Color, 115 min. BBC, 1991.
  • Shakespeare in Love. Directed by John Madden. Color, 123 min. Miramax Films, 1998.
  • Peter Cook's Mining Skit (PDF)
  • "Beyond the Fringe" and "First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics." (PDF)
  • Farndale, Nigel. "Sir Tom Stoppard Interview," The Telegraph, January 19, 2010.
  • Dunlap, David W. "A Memorial Inscription's Grim Origins," New York Times, April 2, 2014.
  • & more!
1 Introductions; British comedy and you  
Travesties and Traditions
2 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1966 / 7).

Read Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1966 / 7).

Watch a film version of Hamlet (if you are unfamiliar with this).

3 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, across media.

Watch the film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. 

Attend MIT DramaShop's production of Arcadia.

4 The Real Inspector Hound (1969 / 70).

Read The Real Inspector Hound.

If you would like to watch a relevant film, check out Night Must Fall. (1937, based on a play by Emlyn Williams)—it isn't Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, but still has (perhaps more grisly) applicability!

5 Travesties (1974 / 75); discussion of Aracdia in performance; exchange of essay on Travesties with a partner.

Watch the film The Importance of Being Earnest (dir. Anthony Asquith, 1952) of the play (first performed in 1895) by Oscar Wilde, before reading Travesties.

Read Travesties.

6 Presentations of one another's ideas about Travesties, with commentary. Watch the film Top Girlstelevised version of the play by Caryl Churchill (dir. Max Stafford-Clark, 1991), and/or read the play.
7 Travesties and Top Girls (play first performed in 1982).  
Serious Comedy
8 Scenes from an Execution (1985 radio version; 1990 staged). Read Scenes from an Execution.
9 Scenes from an Execution and Serious Money (1987). Read Serious Money.
10 Serious Money; exchange of essay on Serious Money with a partner.  
11 Hapgood (1988); exchange of reader's report on partner's essay on Serious Money. Read Hapgood.
12 Hapgood and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1994). Begin reading Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.
13 Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Finish reading Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.
Imagining Beyond
14 Arcadia (1993). Read Arcadia.
15 The Invention of Love (1997). Read The Invention of Love.
16 Class discussion  
17 Class discussion Watch the film Shakespeare in Love, screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (1997, dir. John Madden).
18 Labors of love, where we've arrived.

Read Poor Murderer.

Optional: Watch the film The History Boys (2006, dir. Nicholas Hytner, from the Alan Bennett 2004 play).
19 From Kohout to Cahoot, from Wittgenstein to Dogg.

Read Dogg's Hamlet

Read Cahoot's Macbeth.

20 Class discussion  
21 Rock 'n' Roll (2006); voluntary sharing of students' Stoppardian scenes. Read Rock 'n' Roll.
22 Rock 'n' Roll.  
23 Exchange of reader's report on partner's major essay / project. Read A Number.
24 A Number (2002).  
25 Student presentations on major project  
26 Student presentations on major project (cont.)