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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: L’État de siege (State of Siege)


Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Anthropology
  • Classical Studies
  • Classical Civilization
  • Comparative Literature and Languages
  • English Language and Literature
  • Global and Intercultural Study
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Sociology
  • Theatre & Drama
  • Education
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work


  • Explore the life and later reception of Albert Camus, who is considered not only a great playwright but a journalist, diarist, editorialist, novelist and philosopher, in this New Yorker article.
  • Albert Camus: Critical Insights edited by Steven G. Kellman, is a compilation of scholarly essays devoted to unpacking Camus’ complicated body work (Salem Press, 2012).  Additionally, read his best known philosophical essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus“, written in 1942.
  • Connect Camus to his theatrical contemporaries in Martin Esslin’s landmark book The Theatre of the Absurd (Vintage Books, 2004).


  • Albert Camus contributed massively to the rise of the philosophy known as “absurdism,” which states that the efforts of man to find meaning in life will ultimately and inevitably fail, thwarted by the vast realm of the unknown.  How does this piece reflect those beliefs? How does the direction of this piece support or decry this philosophy?
  • Camus detested being classified as an “existentialist,” despite the popular notion that he was a proponent of the philosophy. He was once quoted saying, “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked.” Why might he be commonly classified in this category? What aspects of this work categorize him as an existentialist?  Which aspects contest this idea?
  • The play uses the medieval plagues as an allegory for Camus’ own time. What connections are drawn between these two periods? How might the play serve as an allegory for our own times?