Upstairs Artspace: Evening classes to study philosophy of theater

Published 10:00 pm Friday, February 19, 2016

Many philosophers have written about the nature of theater, have influenced playwrights and have also had an influence on the production of plays. While Plato called for the banishment of playwrights and actors because of their “suspect imitations of reality,” others such as Aristotle argued that theater, especially tragedy, was essential for stimulating the emotions and helping us to understand ourselves.

The Upstairs Artspace will offer a rare opportunity to examine the relationship between philosophy and theater in a series of Wednesday evening classes beginning Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. The six-session series will look at the philosophical views of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre and some Post-Modernist philosophers and their influence on theater.

In the process, there will be discussion of playwrights such as Sophocles, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill, Bertolt Brecht, Edward Albee, David Mamet, Tom Stoppard and Annie Baker, among others. For those who enjoy the diverse range of theatrical offerings in our area, this is an unparalleled opportunity to enhance one’s enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of regional theater.

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The classes will be taught by Deborah Fitzgerald, Ph.D., whose area of expertise is the intersection between philosophy and contemporary art. She excels at interpreting complex philosophical theories in an easily accessible, always insightful format tailored to the non-philosophers among us.

Classes begin Wednesday, Feb. 24, and continue every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. through April 6, except for March 16 when there will be no class. For information on class prices and to register, contact the Upstairs Artspace at 828-859-2828, or Deborah Fitzgerald at

– Submitted by Tom Madison