UC Berkeley Extension Offers Summer Shakespeare Courses

Posted on June 6, 1997

This summer, UC Berkeley Extension, in cooperation with the California Shakespeare Festival, will present the perfect vehicle for contemplating this spectacle: "Midsummer Madness: Comedy and Romance in the Plays of William Shakespeare." The course will coincide with the Festival's 1997 season, and in addition to traditional lectures, participants attend live performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Pericles" and converse with members of the cast.

The course follows the development of Shakespeare's thinking about the relations between the sexes, starting with the lighter romantic comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and continuing with the more mature "As You Like It."

The themes are re-examined from the perspective of a dark or "problem" comedy, "All's Well That Ends Well," in which Shakespeare seems to have lost faith in the possibility of resolving sexual conflicts. The course concludes with a look at the late romance "Pericles," where reunion of male and female principles restores social order and harmony.

Along with close reading of the plays, the course will emphasize live performance. The course will be held Thursdays, from June 19 to Aug. 21, 7 to 10 p.m., Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts. Two evening class sessions, July 17 and Aug. 7, will be spent attending performances at the California Shakespeare Festival, Burns Amphitheatre, Orinda. Guests from the California Shakespeare Company enrich class discussions. The fee is $260, including performances. For more course information, please call 415/252-5250.

The instructor, Jill Steiner, Ph.D., wrote her dissertation at UC Berkeley on theatricality in Shakespeare's late plays. She has also taught western civilization at UC Berkeley and seminars at St. Mary's College.

Other courses in the humanities being offered in Contra Costa County this summer include: "Women's Lives Through Women's Eyes," Wednesdays, June 11 to Aug. 13, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; "Generating Ideas for Fiction: A One-Day Writing Workshop," Saturday, June 28, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; "Getting Your Book Published," Thursdays, June 26 to July 3, 7-9:30 p.m., UC Extension Contra Costa Center, San Ramon; "Wines of California and Europe," Mondays, June 23 to Aug. 25, 7-9:30 p.m., Mudd's Restaurant, San Ramon.

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