Who am I? Is my lover faithful? For what and for whom am I responsible? How do I know wrong from right? How do I know you understand me? We all face and seek answers to such questions. At times, perhaps too often, we claim certainty for our answers.
CERTAINTY! It’s seductive. It’s intoxicating. It can be dangerous. And, if certainty is sometimes dangerous, then what is the role of doubt in our thinking? In our decisions? In our conduct? During our week together, we will explore the benefits and hazards of doubt by reading and discussing The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Othello by William Shakespeare, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Prior to the seminar, participants will view film versions of these three plays. The films will supplement our discussions of the scripts. During the seminar, we will also screen and discuss David Mamet’s film, Oleanna.
The essence of drama is conflict. And the conflict in a play makes it an especially good vehicle for investigating complex issues. An audience witnesses a clash of ideas, motives, and personalities. These clashes are embodied in the characters, the action, and location of the drama. In our seminar, we will also take time to look at plays as a literary form and as a performing art by discussing the work of the actors, directors, designers, and the role of the audience.
“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”