Doubleness (DRA4109.01)

Sherry Kramer

Doubleness is one of the fundamental building blocks and one of the most elemental and profound aspects of art. It is the way a thing can be more than one thing at once that is both mysterious and precise. It is the heart and blood of metaphor–to say one thing and mean another in a way that saying it straight out could never mean. Dramatic doubleness is a form of rhyme that lives in meaning, not in sound.

When we talk about something in terms of another, say when we compare thee to a summer’s day, or we walk in beauty like the night, we are borrowing the essence of one thing to give to, and sometimes to create, another thing. We constantly steal the meanings of things, and stuff them into other things that we want to share that meaning. We cut those other meanings off from their previous cause and effect chains and claim them for our own, much in the way that rhyme asserts its ownership when it claims two words for each other.

In this class, we will read and watch works that are profoundly organized by doubleness. We will do short writing and thinking exercises throughout the semester. Works we will examine will include Groundhog Day, by Harold Ramis, Moonlight, by Barry Jenkins, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 and 1915, by Jackie Sibblies Drury, Cloud 9, by Caryl Churchill, King of the Yees, by Lauren Yee, Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, Intimate Apparel, by Lynn Nottage, Indecent, by Paula Vogel, Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu, and Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. We will see the power of doubleness as it manifests in character, story, and plot.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will learn how to see and recognize how doubleness functions.

They will acquire the ability to see the organizing power of a work outside of the constraints and limitations of narrative.

Since doubleness is a fundamental building block for meaning making, learning to understand its power to organize will help students in any endeavor, creative or critical.

Delivery Method: Hybrid
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Send two paragraphs about why this class is of interest to you, with writing samples. Send a five-page sample of your critical work, if you prefer not to submit creative work. If you are a writer, send 10 pages of poetry, prose, of a play or screenplay. If you are a visual artist, give me at least 10 images. If you are a composer, send me something to listen to. Submit to by May 4. Students will be notified by email on May 10.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Drama , Hybrid