ACT219 Comedy and Tragedy (8)

Comedy and Tragedy provides the focus for a survey of classical theatre drawn from Ancient Greece, medieval mystery cycles and morality plays, the rise of the professional players within the commedia dellarte of the Renaissance, Elizabethan and Jacobean England, and the theatre of Moliere. Play scripts are studied through a systematic approach to dramaturgical research and analysed as texts for performance. Special attention is paid to the analysis of dramatic structure, and how the development of dramatic tension is associated with the ethical and moral dilemmas that confront the central characters within a play.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ACT219. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Communication and Creative Industries

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to articulate and demonstrate a practical working knowledge of theatrical forms and performance traditions from different classical genres of comedy and tragedy;
  • be able to effectively collaborate with others to accurately analyse the dramatic structure of plays; and
  • be able to collaborate with others to research, select, and then facilitate options for using improvisation to interrogate key decision-making moments for characters within a play.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The history of European theatre including Ancient Greek comedy and tragedy, medieval mystery, morality plays, commedia dell'arte, Shakespeare and Moliere
  • Differences in basic stagecraft exploring ancient Greek, medieval and Renaissance styles of performance
  • An exploration of the origins and contrasting nature of tragedy in the Greek, medieval, and Renaissance worlds and the counterbalancing purposes of comedy and the carnivalesque aesthetic
  • Strategies for analysing plays, examining character motivations, and facilitating dynamic rehearsal strategies and practices


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.