|ENGL3650||BRAY, DANIELLE||MWF||1::2 AM||0144|
According to the UGA Bulletin, English 3650 is a study of “Drama in English. Focus may be historical development of the genre, representative themes, the relation between theory and practice, or the relation between text and performance. The course will include critical writing.” This section will explore both examples of plays from theatrical movements throughout theatre history and more recent works grounded in these traditions, with a focus on plays in performance and on theatre as a collaborative act.
One 2000-level ENGL course or one 2000-level CMLT course.
This is a class in which we will study drama, and thus the bulk of assessment in this course will be performance-based. Energetic, prepared, and respectful participation in class discussion is expected. There will be some formal performance- and presentation-based assignments (see below), but in addition, participation during regular class discussion and during your classmates’ presentations and performances is a vital component of your success, and thus your grade, in this course.
A Note Regarding Portable Electronics: While some classrooms ban the use of personal electronics during class time, I find that increasingly, there are legitimate uses of laptops, tablets, and yes, even *gasp!* smartphones that enrich class discussion and broaden the accessibility of class materials. For this reason, I encourage students to feel free to bring electronics to class and use them in ways that benefit our study of the course material. However, as the word “respectful” above suggests, your timely arrival to class and staying until the class is formally dismissed, as well as your attentiveness not only to my remarks but also – and really, especially – to those of your classmates (i.e., listening when others speak, present, or perform, without the distraction of conversation with others whether digital or face-to-face), do factor into your participation grade. I trust my students to use course materials – whether paper or digital – appropriately, but I reserve the right give an weekly participation grade of zero (0) to any student sleeping, doing outside work, or using portable electronics for non-class purposes during class. This is especially important in a class like this, where so much time is devoted to student performance; this class must be a safe place for all participants.
Each student will receive a grade out of ten points for in-class participation every week, and these grades will be averaged to determine the student’s participation average in the course. Participation is worth 10% of your final grade.
UGA Theatre Productions
This semester, there will be four productions as part of the Department of Theatre & Film Studies’s 2013-2014 season. You will be required to see all four of these productions, the dates, locations, and student ticket prices for which are listed below. I will collect students’ play tickets in class on the Monday after each show closes. I will not accept late or reproduced tickets; if you need to show your tickets in another class as well, please let me know early in the semester so that I can make an accommodation for you.
UGA Theatre Productions for the Spring 2014 semester are as follows:
Bray’s Plays 2/4-2/9 Seney-Stovall Chapel $7 ($12 for non-students)
Flyin’ West 2/20-3/2 Cellar Theatre (Fine Arts Bldg. 55) $12 ($16 for non-students)
The Bakkhai 3/25-3/30 Cellar Theatre (Fine Arts Bldg. 55) $7 ($12 for non-students)
Spring Awakening 4/10 – 4/19 Fine Arts Theatre (Fine Arts Bldg. 200) $12 ($16 for non-students)
Please note that this is not the only class that requires its students to attend the UGA Theatre Department’s plays, and that productions do tend to sell out. Having tickets sell out on the day you had planned to attend a performance does not excuse you from attending, so be sure to get your tickets early! You can purchase tickets online at < pac.uga.edu/calendar/event-list.aspx> or save yourself the “convenience charge” and buy them in person at the Performing Arts Center box office. The PAC does accept Bulldog Bucks. Play attendance will be graded on a pass/fail basis, and is worth 10% of your final grade.
(Note: You may observe that one of these production titles has my name in it! My husband, Dr. John P. Bray of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, is the author of the short plays that make up the evening here called Bray’s Plays. Since you will be expected for your final exam to write and produce a ten-minute play, I thought it important for you to see an evening of one-acts this semester, and your attendance at Bray’s Plays is thus required; however, to prevent any perceived conflict of interest, we will not devote time to class discussion of these plays. If you have questions about writing/producing/acting/etc. in a ten-minute play, please don’t hesitate to ask!)
Group Discussion Leadership
Because theatre is both a performative and a collaborative process, the majority of your assignments this semester will be group presentations and performances. One of these will be to lead, as part of a small group (3 or fewer participants), class discussion on one day of the semester. All discussion leader days will be the first day that we discuss a new work in class (dates are noted in the Schedule of Readings and Assignments at the conclusion of this syllabus), and the group should coordinate to cover the following topics: (1) present some background information about the playwright, the play, and the theatrical movement to which it belongs (about fifteen minutes, not fewer than ten or more than twenty) and (2) be prepared with a set of questions to facilitate class discussion for the remainder of the class period (about thirty-five minutes, but not more than forty or fewer than thirty). It is not required that everyone in your group do the same amount of talking in front of the class, but everyone should talk some, and everyone should contribute some to the research about the play and the crafting of the discussion questions. Each student will have the opportunity to sign up for a discussion leader slot early in the semester, and group make-up will be determined by who signs up to lead discussion on what date. The group will be graded collectively on content and delivery, and Group Discussion Leadership will be worth 10% of the final grade.
Your other in-class group assignment this semester will be to perform a stage-reading of a scene from one of the plays we read for class. Your group (of 5 or fewer students) should select a scene that you can read in about ten minutes and be prepared to support your choice of scene in class. Remember when you choose a scene that everyone in your group must read, and that in addition to the characters in the scene, one group member will be needed to read stage directions. When there is more than one play included in a unit (e.g., two versions of The Bacchae or a selection of Medieval plays), your group may choose the play as well as the scene, and may elect to read a play in its entirety if it’s about ten minutes long. Be sure to rehearse your reading outside of class at least a couple of times, but also remember that it’s a reading: you do not need to memorize lines or stage elaborate blocking for this assignment. As with Group Discussion Leadership, each student will have the opportunity to sign up for a scene slot early in the semester, and group make-up will be determined by who signs up to read on what date. The group will be graded collectively on scene selection and delivery, and the Group Scene will be worth 10% of the final grade.
Midterm Exam: Audition Monologue
Your only solo performance this semester will be a 1-2 minute monologue performed during Week 8 of the course as your midterm exam. You may select any monologue from a play we discuss during the first half of the semester, as long as the monologue meets the same requirements that a director would expect you to meet at an audition: (1) the monologue must be 1-2 minutes long, (2) it MUST be memorized and you should look up the pronunciations of any unfamiliar words or names, and (3) it should be for an actor of your age and sex, unless you have a particular reason for breaking these conventions, which your performance should justify. Students are expected to report to class each day of Week 8 to serve as an audience for their classmates’ monologues, and negative participation during this week will count against a student’s midterm exam grade. The Midterm Exam Audition Monologue will be worth 10% of the final grade.
Your major written assignment this semester will be a paper of eight to ten (8-10) pages (typed, double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman or similar font, about 2,000-2,500 words, hard-copy ONLY, conforming to MLA style for margins, headings, pagination, etc.), engaging one of the plays we will discuss in class this semester by presenting a formal proposal for your fantasy production of it. For the paper, you are to select any ONE (1) play on the syllabus for the semester (excluding the ten-minute play unit) and to write a scholarly, analytical essay in three phases: (1) give basic historical background, with secondary source-based support, about the playwright, the play, and the theatrical movement to which it belongs; (2) discuss at some length, again drawing on secondary source material (e.g., reviews and theatre company web sites), one production of the play that has taken place that you HAVE NOT SEEN (so, NOT one of the UGA Theatre’s productions from this semester); and (3) spend the bulk of the paper discussing how YOU would produce the play, identifying the concept you would use for your production and explaining how you feel that this concept foregrounds an important theme or themes of the play, and also explaining how you would weave this concept into the design elements of the play (set, costume, sound, lighting, props), the actors’ performances, etc. Please bear in mind that you are strongly encouraged to be as “high-concept” as you choose in your production, but that you are NOT permitted to alter the text of the script you select for your paper; the alteration of scripts is generally not permitted when licensing a play, so when high-concept directors work with plays, their great challenge is to make the concept succeed within the constraints of the blueprint provided by the playwright’s script. In your paper, whenever you refer to specifics from your primary source, the play script, or from your secondary sources, in the form of summaries, paraphrases, or direct quotations, you should include an in-text citation for the reference, and your paper should conclude with an MLA-style list of works cited on its own page. The Final Paper is due at the beginning of Week 16, at the START of CLASS on Monday, 4/21. Late papers and electronic copies of papers will NOT be accepted. The Final Paper will be worth 25% of the final grade.
Final Exam: Group Ten-Minute Play
For your final exam this semester, you will be assigned to a group, and each group will draw from a hat a theatrical style we’ll have studied this semester. Then, the groups will be responsible for the work of writing, directing, designing, and acting in a ten-minute play in that style. It is the responsibility of the group to determine who will act, who will design, who will direct, etc., and it is expected that each group member will have to wear more than one hat, as is usually the case in environments that develop and produce new works. Your group may decide how the play should acknowledge the theatrical style it is working in, as long as that style is acknowledged in some way (for example, if you draw Early Modern, you don’t necessarily have to write your full script in iambic pentameter, but it should in some way be clear from your production that you’re writing an homage to Shakespeare – perhaps you include a balcony scene, quote some well-known lines from Shakespeare, borrow a plot, etc.). Each group will be allotted a total of fifteen minutes, of which at least ten minutes should be the performance of the play and the remainder may be used for load-in and strike. Be courteous to the other groups and to your audience by making sure ahead of time that you can set up, perform your play, and knock down in fifteen minutes! Groups will be evaluated collectively on content – particularly how clearly and creatively the play adheres to the conventions of the assigned theatrical style – and delivery, and the Final Exam Group Ten-Minute Play grade will be worth 25% of the final grade.
Your final grade in this course will be based on your completion of the following requirements:
• Participation 10%
• Attendance at UGA Theatre Productions 10%
• Group Leadership of One Day’s Discussion 10%
• Group Scene 10%
• Midterm Exam: Audition Monologue 10%
• Final Paper 25%
• Final Exam: Group Ten-Minute Play 25%
Plus and minus grades are assigned only to a student's final average for the course. For the course grade, the grade-point average and the numerical range for each plus/minus grade is as follows:
A 4.0 (92-100); A- 3.7 (90-91);
B+ 3.3 (88-89); B 3.0 (82-87); B- 2.7 (80-81)
C+ 2.3 (78-79); C 2.0 (70-77); C- 1.7 (68-69);
D 1.0 (60-67); F 0.0 (<60)
The bulk of the work in this course is both collaborative and performance-based, which means that attendance is vital not only for the student’s own success, but also out of respect to one’s group-mates. Students will be permitted four (4) absences from this class for any reason (i.e., excused or unexcused). Beginning with the fifth (5th) absence, a penalty of one letter grade (10 points) per absence will be assessed against a student’s final average.
Hwang, David Henry. M. Butterfly. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1998. Print.
Soyinka, Wole. The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite. New York: Norton, 2004. Print.
Wedekind, Frank. Spring Awakening. Trans. Jonathan Franzen. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2009. Print.
Wise, Jennifer, and Craig S. Walker. The Broadview Anthology of Drama: Plays from the Western Theatre. Vols. I and II. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview, 2003. Print.
These texts are all available for purchase at the UGA Bookstore. Please purchase the specified edition of the Broadview Anthology. For the other texts, I’ve endeavored to order the most affordable versions of the titles I could find, but please feel free to purchase any edition and format – print or ebook – that is accessible and affordable for you, as long as you have each book in time to read from it for class. In addition to these texts, there will be some plays on the syllabus that you will have to locate on your own; these are either available online for free at sites like Project Gutenberg or else I’ll make copies of them available on ELC.
- Makeup Policy
Late assignments will not be accepted in this course, and make-up assignments will not be granted except in the case of extreme and well-documented extenuating circumstances. Your absence from class on the day an assignment is due does not, in itself, constitute an extreme extenuating circumstance. If you feel you have a life circumstance that justifies the granting of a make-up assignment or the acceptance of a late assignment without penalty, please schedule a meeting with me to discuss this circumstance, bringing appropriate documentation with you to the meeting. Please note that because of the nature of the final exam, no make-ups or alternate exam dates will be permitted for the Group Ten-Minute Play.