Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Why Study Theatre History?
So tomorrow I begin teaching "History of Theatre I," which runs from the Greeks to the Elizabethans. And the question I have for the theatre blogosphere is: why? Is there a reason to study the dead past in something like the theatre? The usual reason to study history is the old saw that "those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it." Would that it were so! Would that we could repeat Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Plautus, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Johnson, and Webster simply by ignoring them! So that reason is out the window. So what works better? Remember, I teach at a liberal arts school, so these kids can repeat "it important to be a well-rounded person" right along with me. So as I look them in the eyes, what can I tell them? Help!