English (ENGL) 431

Canadian Drama (Revision 2)

ENGL 431 Course Cover

Temporarily closed, effective May 5, 2017.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalent first year English course(s). A knowledge of the history of drama is advised.

Precluded Course: ENGL 331 (ENGL 431 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for ENGL 331.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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ENGL 431 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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English 431: Canadian Drama is a senior–level, three–credit course which provides a survey of Canadian plays from the 1960s to the present. English 431 examines a diversity of theatrical styles and themes in works from across the country, and interrogates the nature of Canadian drama.

English 431 focuses primarily on the analysis of individual plays as theatre and as literature. Special attention will be paid to the use of theatrical innovation or derivation, recurrent themes, sociological or psychological orientation, use of language, and stage imagery.

Students will study sixteen plays by English– and French–Canadian playwrights: George Ryga, Michel Tremblay, John Herbert, John Gray, David French, Sharon Pollock, Michel Marc Bouchard, Joan MacLeod, Morris Panych, George Walker, TomsonHighway, Judith Thompson, Robert Lepage, Guillermo Verdecchia, Djanet Sears, and Lyle Victor Albert.


The plays are grouped in six “Scenes” according to commonalities in the social, political and philosophical issues they address, and not according to chronology, although students are encouraged to consider the historiographic context of each play.


  • Scene I: Developing an Indigenous Drama
  • Scene II: Interrogating Values
  • Scene III: Deconstructing Families
  • Scene IV: Dramatizing the Absurd
  • Scene V: Cultural Collisions
  • Scene VI: Acting the Self
  • Epilogue: Imaging a Nation


To receive credit for ENGL 431, you must achieve a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent)and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Scene Analysis (1000 words) 10%
Essay 1 (2000 words) 25%
Essay 2 (2000 words) 25%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Conolly, L. W., ed. Canadian Drama and the Critics, Revised Edition. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1995.

Wasserman, Jerry, ed. Modern Canadian Plays, Volume I, 4th edition. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2000.

Wasserman, Jerry, ed. Modern Canadian Plays, Volume II, 4th edition. Jerry Wasserman. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2001.

Albert, Lyle Victor. Scraping the Surface. Edmonton: NeWest, 2000.

Sears, Djanet. Afrika Solo. In Afrika, Solo, edited by Ric Knowles. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2011.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a student manual and a study guide.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ENGL 431 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least 50 per cent on the examination, and a grade of at least D (50 percent) overall.

Activity Weighting
Critical Essay 50%
Exam 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, May 7, 2004.

View previous syllabus