[P]lays like mine...aim at making the reader or spectator feel that during the reading or performance he is actually experiencing a piece of real life...Henrik Ibsen
When you watch movies you are so wrapped in the dark that you can be persuaded to believe almost any nonsense. It's part of the fun of movies.... Live theatre is something very different. There is all that light coming from the stage. You are never unaware of surrounding members of the audience, or of the fact that you are observing actors impersonate other people. The result is that you develop bifocal vision, which allows you to appreciate both the fiction taking place on the stage and the skills of the people making it possible.Vincent Canby, New York Times theater critic
This course will explore how authors'
dramatic forms and techniques allow their audiences to re-experience
the world around them. As we read, discuss, write about, and perform
their plays, we will investigate how each play accomplishes its task
through the cultural language of dialogue, props, costumes,
theatrical tradition, and the relationship between actors and
audience. As a writing course, the goal of this class is to develop
critical skills for reading and writing about texts, particularly
dramatic literature. We will talk about writing in class, through
peer reviews, and individually in conference.
"Fight The Powers That Be"
Ibsen, A Doll House
A Society of Substance or Style?: "In matters of great importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing"
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oscar Wilde)
Congreve, Love For Love
Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Back to the Future
Beckett, Waiting For Godot
Chekhov, Three Sisters
Wilder, Skin of Our Teeth
Politics of Self and Society
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
Fugard, "Master Harold"...And the Boys
Hacker, The Bedford Handbook For Writers, 5th ed.
During the next four weeks, you will write four papers of varying lengths; you will revise the first and second of these papers. The papers will be based upon the material we read in class. Upon consultation with me, you may also choose to revise any paper for which you receive lower than a "C" grade. The grade for revisions will be counted as another paper grade, not substituted for or averaged with the grade received for the original paper.
Papers must be typed, double-spaced
with one-inch margins, with the pages numbered as well as stapled or
paper-clipped together, spell-checked and proof-read.
If you are handing in a revision, you must include the first, marked
version of your paper. Papers are due at class time on the dates
listed on the syllabus. Late papers will be penalized one grade
increment (e.g., B+ to B) for each day late.
When you turn in a paper, you pledge
that the work is your own and that you have faithfully abided by the
guidelines for documenting sources. Vanderbilt's Honor Code obliges
you to cite the source of any idea that is not your own. If you
quote, paraphrase or use another's ideas, you must give credit to the
person whose ideas you are using. The Bedford Handbook For
Writers provides guidelines for documentation, and please ask if
you have any questions.
A response paper for each play will be due the class day we begin our discussion. Response papers are intended to help to prepare you for class discussion, improve your writing, and generate ideas for longer papers. For your response paper, select a short passage (no more than 2-3 sentences), or even a phrase from the play; type your selection out in full, and then write a commentary in which you aim to articulate why your selection strikes you as important or significant to your reading of the play. In other words, use your selection to explore the play's theme(s) and form. Your response should not be a summary of the play's action; instead, you should discuss a critical aspect of the play which interested or perplexed you. These short papers should be no less than one and no more than two double-spaced, typed pages.
During the four weeks, you must also
write one performance review; you may write more for extra credit (.5
points each) towards your response paper grade. Reviews can discuss
plays performed in the Nashville area, or videotaped screenings of
the plays on our syllabus; they should be no less than one and no
more than two double-spaced, typed pages. Dates for evening
screenings will be announced throughout as soon as possible.
Attendance and class participation
are required. More than two unexcused absences will be reflected in
your final grade for the course. Each absence over the allotted
unexcused absences will lower final grade by one grade
increment (e.g., B to B-).
You are expected to have read and to be prepared to discuss the readings assigned for each class session. Your class participation grade will be determined by your ability to engage in productive class discussion and by your preparation for class readings. You must be present and be an active presence in class discussion and peer review groups.
Any in-class quizzes will be part of
your class participation grade.
By the end of the first week, I will
divide the class into production troupes. Troupes work together to
perform a scene (or scenes) from a play on the syllabus (about 10-15
minutes of performance). You will meet outside of class with your
troupe and with me to prepare for your roles as directors, costumers,
and actors. The troupe's in-class performance of their scene(s) as
well as a written production review (details following the syllabus)
will count towards your final grade for the course.
Garland Lab Sessions
Over the course of the semester we
will meet about six times in the Garland Microcomputer Lab, where you
will participate in various activities using the Daedalus Integrated
Writing Program (DIWE). These sessions are designed to improve your
writing skills and communication skills, especially for an
increasingly technological world.
You will all meet with me
individually after the first and third papers, but I am always
available for conferences. Please feel free to stop by during Office
Hours (M, W 1:00 - 2:00 pm), or to arrange a more convenient time to
(subject to change)
June T 2 Staging a Play: Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants"
W 3 Antigone (Response/1st Paper Due)
R 4 Antigone; MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
F 5 No Class: Work on Revision of 1st
Paper & Read Ahead
M 8 A Doll House (Response Due); Revision of 1st Paper Due (3pp); MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
T 9 A Doll House
W 10 A Midsummer Night's Dream (Response/2nd Paper Due)
R 11 Midsummer; MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
F 12 Midsummer
M 15 Writing Workshop: Draft of 2nd Paper Due (5pp, 3 copies); MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
T 16 Love for Love (Response Due)
W 17 Love for Love
R 18 Love for Love and The Importance of Being Earnest (Response Due); MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
F 19 Importance; Revision
of 2nd Paper Due
M 22 Waiting for Godot (Response Due)
T 23 Three Sisters (Response Due)
W 24 Three Sisters; 3rd Paper Due (5pp)
R 25 Skin of Our Teeth (Response Due); MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
F 26 Skin of Our Teeth
M 29 A Streetcar Named Desire (Response Due); MEET IN GARLAND COMPUTER LAB
T 30 Streetcar; 4th Paper Due (7 pp)
July W 1 "Master Harold"...and the
Boys (Response Due)