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 dell'arte 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.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Bathurst 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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ACT219 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Seminar presentation
Improvisation/ facilitation lesson plan
Research essay

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.