|ENGL4890||TEAGUE, FRANCES||M||1 :25 PM||0274|
Description and Organization: This course was the first class in UGA’s special collections library, working with rare materials connected with plays, and it has had enough success that you now get to benefit from what we have learned. You will learn about the basic work and methods of being a dramaturg (a researcher focused on performance) and about the special materials that UGA owns.
If you have ever wanted to do research on the background of a script/screenplay or on past productions, this course will teach you how. We’ll also be talking about how a production company develops new work, how to prepare educational materials for the general public, and how to make a library work for you. You’ll carry out a series of scavenger hunts to learn the tools, as well as reading about the work that a dramaturg does. (This introduction to research tools for Libraries and Performance will take up about a third of the class.)
In the second third of the class (the “ooo and ahhh” weeks), we’ll get our hands on rare materials and produce background books for real productions. The special materials we’ll see include manuscript materials by such figures as dramatist Tennessee Williams, the 19th-century actress Fanny Kemble, and the character actor Charles Coburn. We can also see original design work and archival posters for major Broadway productions. Finally, we will have access to the incredible riches of the Peabody Awards.
In addition, you’ll be exercising your skills and creating background books for the plays that the Department of Theatre and Film Studies plans to present next year. Your other big assignment in this section of the course will be preparing and revising an independent research project proposal for this class.
The final third is devoted to you: you’ll develop an independent project and present it to the class with plenty of guidance and assistance. If you want to develop a one-woman show based on Fanny Kemble’s remarkable story, write an essay about the changes that Tennessee Williams made to a script, examine how a small touring company was the basis for a successful Hollywood career, or investigate the making of Sesame Street or Gone with the Wind, you’re in the right place.
Grades: Once we have a few weeks under our collective belt, I’ll ask you, as a group, to decide how you want the assignments to count toward your final grade. You’ll have four short reports on your scavenger hunts, a background book, a formal proposal, a presentation, and a final project. If need be, we can revisit that grading formula.
The Details: The course is offered as THEA 4700/6700 OR as ENGL 4890/6890. This class is split with undergrad and grad, but since each student will work on an independent project, the split should cause few problems.
Everyone is bound by the university’s academic honesty policy. Thank you for that, by the way! If you have special letters about accommodations that I’ll need to make (because you must travel on university business, because I need to make special testing arrangements, or whatever), please get them to me asap.
I am Fran Teague, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Theatre and Film Studies and of English. My office is in Fine Arts 365, and the easiest way to catch me there is to make an appointment (preferably via email), since I spend a great many hours in meetings elsewhere on campus or doing work at home. Alternatively, email me and set an appointment to meet me at Hendershot’s on Prince Avenue (two doors away from my home) and I’ll buy you coffee. We are fortunate to have the assistance of the Russell Library staff. If you have specific questions about the library’s holdings, they can help you.
Attendance and Late Work: Since we meet only once a week, you should bear in mind that if you miss a class, you have missed 1/15 of the course. So don’t miss class. Late work is terribly frustrating because I set aside time to grade assignments, and having to find extra time is, as you know, difficult. More to the point, you all realize that having extra time to do an assignment can mean a better grade. Late work, then, is unfair to your classmates who did not get that extra time. Yet crises do arise. I have the policy of allowing every student one (and only one) deadline extension to be taken when you wish. You can move one deadline by a week. After that deadline option gets used, I penalize any other late assignment. So save your deadline option for the week you have flu, your sister’s wedding, or whatever.
Michael Chemers, Ghost Light.