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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Speculative Fiction in New Plays

Instructor(s): Holly Derr, Theater

Speculative Fiction, such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and superhero stories, is enjoying a renewed popularity, allowing artists a wider canvas for addressing social, political, and economic problems. What specific issues are artists attempting to address using Speculative Fiction? What has historically been the role of live entertainment in performing these genres and what is it now? Students will explore these questions through a combination of readings in literary and art theory, history, comparative mythology, gender studies, and new plays, analyzing plays according to their genre and the social, political, and economic questions they raise. The class will integrate theory with practice by reading scenes aloud, proposing possible staging and designs, and hosting playwrights, designers, and gore experts to talk about their work. A practical project will address the physical challenges of creating genre theater by requiring students to stage a scene involving a special effect without the aid of tools like computer graphics and editing used in film and television.


Course Offered: