University of Pittsburgh


 

CLASS ACTS II
Exploring Roman Comedy and its Reception

 

opening act of class acts ii - Film Feature

"A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM"

SOMETHING APPEALING, SOMETHING APPALLING, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE...A COMEDY TONIGHT!!

 

When a wily, witty, lying, lazy cheating slave discovers that his master's son is in love with the girl next door - a virgin courtesan - he promises to help win her heart in exchange for his freedom.  But the road to romance is blocked with amazing surprises, cunning sidguises - and an awesome chariot race!

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015
6:00 p.m.
CATHEDRAL OF LEARNING G13

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                     CLASS ACTS II
Exploring Roman Comedy and its Reception

An Interdisclipinary Conference for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Organized by the Departments of Classics, University of Pittsuburgh, the Department of Classics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Facultad de Filologia Latina, Universitad Autonoma de Madrid  
 

MARCH 20-21, 2015

3rd FLOOR OF THE UNIVERSITY CLUB,
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH  

 

SCHEDULED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Dr. Sharon L. James, Associate Professor of Classics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"The Lost and Found Department of Roman Comedy, or: What to Do About a Daughter"

The boy in love is fundamental to Menander’s Greek New Comedy.  But in Roman Comedy, citizen daughters are a far greater concern—in terms the genre’s themes, concerns, anxieties, and depictions of social realities.  Roman Comedy’s concern for the daughter (whose possible fate is often a genuine tragedy, where the boy’s love trauma is offered almost exclusively as comic) represents a social anxiety both deep and socially widespread.  These perspectives and con­cerns are specific to Rome and Roman foundational values.  Thus Roman Co­me­dy’s serious social and emotional priorities have to do with protecting daugh­ters—both their bodies and their hearts—rather than with promoting the amorous desires of young men.


Dr. Carmen Gonzalez-Vasquez, Profesora Titular, Facultad de Filologia Latina, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

"Greeks, Romans and Spain: performances beyond theatre"

I try to analyse how, when, and why the productions of Greco-Roman plays began in Spain under the Republican Government (1933–9) and revived after the hiatus of the Civil War and the consequent social disruption experienced by the country under the Franco’s regime (1939). Our main aim is to deal with these theatrical performances within their sociocultural context, in an attempt to clarify as far as possible the reasons for which they were staged. Our methodology  consist of the following: (1) drawing up a catalogue of the plays performed; (2) analysing the legislation with regards to culture that may have influenced the decision to stage Greco-Roman theatre and its European context; (3) studying the directors, companies, and writers that took on each project; (4) evaluating how the plays were received by the public after their premieres. I have paid particular interest to the press of the time as a source of information, since there are no recordings that give an account of the technical aspects of each performance (with the exception of the reports of the plays’ promoters and attendees). For this reason, I  have to reconstruct the historical context of each of the performances. 

 

Dr. T.H.M. Gellar-Goad, Assistant Professor of Classical Languages, Wake Forest

"Reception ex nihilo: Doubling, improvisation, and metatheater in Plautine comedy and Seinfeld"

This paper presents a focused comparative study of two of the most influential and most metacomedically aware sitcoms in the Western world: the Roman comedy of Plautus and the 1990s NBC series Seinfeld.  Three kinds of dramatic techniques are particularly rich points of comparison.  Both Plautus and Seinfeld use doubling of characters, plots, and scenes to tie together episodic narratives, to bring out aspects of characterization latent in stock types, and to draw attention to underlying themes or social issues.  In each, both improvisation and especially scripted "improvisation" by characters drive plots forward (or derail plots in favor of funny business).  And metatheater -- in its basic "play within a play" form, in fourth-wall-breaking jokes and storylines, and in comic parody of other genres -- is central to the character of Plautine comedy and Seinfeld both.  While there are no direct allusions to Plautus in Seinfeld, paired close readings of comic routines and techniques illuminate understandings of each.  Plautus helps us better see how the humor in Seinfeld functions, and Seinfeld vividly illustrates the successful staging methods and subtle acting choices that enlivened Plautine performance but have largely evaporated in the manuscript tradition.

 

PERFORMANCE:

University of Pittsburgh Improvisational Comedy Group Ruckus
 

 

 


UNDERGRADUATE and GRADUATE CALL FOR PAPERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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