HUMS 320, Representations of the Underworld

Meeting Time: 
M 9:25am-11:15am

Course Description:

What is the underworld? What questions have different ideas about the underworld posed about mortality, freedom, and goodness? Topics include dreams, hell, ghosts, the unconscious, and string theory.

Sophomore standing required.

Led By:

Toni Dorfman's picture

Professor Toni Dorfman

At Yale since 1999 Toni Dorfman has taught acting, directing, and playwriting, and served as DUS in Theater Studies from 2003 to 2012. At Yale she’s taught production seminars in Beckett, Stoppard, Pinter, Orton, Wilder, Chekhov, and Molière. She oversees the annual Yale Playwrights Festival, which she cofounded in 2003 with Laura Jacqmin ‘04. For the Yale Baroque Opera Project she’s stage-directed a string of 17th-century Venetian operas in University Theater: Cavalli’s Giasone (2009), Sacrati’s La Finta pazza (2010, American premiere), Cavalli’s Scipione Affricano (2010, East Coast premiere), and two by Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (2012), and L’Incoronazione di Poppea (2014) – all in collaboration with musical director Grant Herreid.

She’s acted and directed all over the country as well as in New York and is a member of SAG, Actors’ Equity, and SDC. In her twenties Dorfman co-founded the Shade Company, a repertory theater doing old and new plays by Plautus, Goldoni, Brecht, Betti, Ionesco, Don Ferguson, and Israel Horovitz, among others; the Shade was a charter member of the Off Off Broadway Alliance, now ART/NY.   

She holds a B.A. in philosophy (University of Iowa) and an MFA in theater  (Columbia University, 1990). Before Yale she taught at Spence, the University of Missouri–Kansas City, and Ohio University, where she led the School of Theater 1993-98. She’s served on the national board of directors of the University/Resident Theatre Association and the editorial board of Shakespeare Bulletin.       

Her first play, Rounding Cassiopeia, was optioned by the Bridewell in London. Her second, Family Wolf, was presented at the Soho Theater and Writers Centre in London and directed by Astrid Hilne. Other plays include The King of the CimbriOne of the Damned Few (co-written with Beckett actor Bud Thorpe and premiering in 2009 as part of the Yale World Performance Project), Third Wave Fems (directed by Stella Powell-Jones ’09 in New York in 2011), and Topology