Review Comment

[ENTH BC3147] Shakespeare, Theory, Performance

May 05, 2011

Worthen, William Gold_nugget
Theatre History I and [ENTH BC3147] Shakespeare, Theory, Performance

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor WB Worthen is a really terrific teacher who inspires you to engage with all the aspects of theatre, and analyze how performances work to make artistic meaning.

His classes are mainly lecture based, with him doing most of the speaking and the entire class feverishly attempting to write down his exact words. The lectures always have a very strong focus on a single element of a play or production that then can be used to discuss other plays or other concerns, which helps you first get a grasp on some of the complicated epistemological/artistic concerns he is interested in (illocution, embodiment, authenticity, and many more), and then you are expected to apply them on your own to other work.

Some people complained about how fast he spoke in Theatre History, but I found the pace to be more about the train of thought than every point that got him there. If you don't understand things, Prof. Worthen is super accessible (especially for the head of a department) through e-mail or at his office hours. Though he is a lecturer, he always asks questions and genuinely responds to questions and comments. He appreciates class participation.

Something that I especially appreciate about WB's classes is that he is always bringing in topics of conversation from NYC performances, always wants to hear what people "saw over the weekend," and generally encourages people to go see and critique shows out in the city. The fact that he is teaching heavily historical and critical classes, but remains a passionate consumer of contemporary theatre makes the material he teaches all the more relevant and important.

Anyone who is interested in performance, literature, or art criticism should definitely leap at the chance to take a class taught by Professor Worthen.


2 papers, 1 final for the courses I took. The first paper is generally shorter and pointed (ie has a very specific topic that everyone has to address), while for the second, longer paper you choose your own topic, which he has to approve. He grades fairly, but expects high quality thought in your paper. Definitely favors content over structure/pretty writing.

Reading load is moderate but manageable. Maximum is a long play and 2-3 critical/background readings per week.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
THEB / ENTH THEB ENTH BC3147: Shakespeare, Theory, Perfrmnce William Worthen 2011 Spring MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1