ENGL 345 Drama
Summer 2002 - MTWRF 9:50-11:50 a.m.

Schedule of Classes | Bulletin Board

Professor Westman
108 Denison Hall; 532-2171
Office Hours: T, W, R 8:30-9:30 a.m. and by app't
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.
A performance is a spooky, ephemeral thing. Without you, it doesn't exist. When it's over, it's gone. It's never to be repeated in quite the same way again, unlike movies and live-on-tape television that, being frozen in time, are essentially inert.
-- Vincent Canby, New York Times theater critic
Required Texts
Drama: A Pocket Anthology, edited by R.S. Gwynn (Longman)
Sophocles, Antigone, Trans. Richard Braun (Oxford)
Wilder, Three Plays (Harper Perennial)
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (Signet)
Fugard, Master Harold . . and the Boys (Penguin)
Course Pack #1 and Course Pack #2 (Available at A&S Copy Center in Eisenhower Hall on 6/10/02)

Course Description
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 consider the performance of 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.

Course Objectives
To become familiar with drama as a literary genre and its historical and formal conventions
To develop and apply critical skills for reading, thinking, and writing about drama
To acquire new skills and to develop existing skills related to research in English literature and various technologies

Readings and Class Participation: Any summer literature course is a reading-intensive experience, so plan accordingly! You are expected to complete each reading assignment before coming to class. You are further expected to think carefully about what you read and to make notes in the text prior to each class meeting. For each class, bring the appropriate book or xeroxes and additionally mark passages that we discuss; this process will help you understand, remember, and review.
This class will be based on discussion, so class participation is expected and will count for 20% of your final grade. "Class participation" is not the same as just showing up and taking notes: you must be an active presence in the class. This grade, then, includes your contributions to our discussions in class (in large and small groups) and to our discussions on the Electronic Bulletin Board. I will expect at least two postings a week from each student on the Electronic Bulletin Board; the guidelines and instructions for using the Bulletin Board appear on a separate handout.

Attendance: Obviously, you can't participate effectively if you aren't in class. Since the University requires that students attend all classes in which they are enrolled, there are no excused absences. If you are absent for more than nine classroom hours - that is, five (5) class periods during our summer session - you will fail this class automatically. If you are absent for more than two, you jeopardize your final grade for the course: each absence over those two will lower your final course grade by one grade increment (i.e.: A to B). Two tardies will count as one absence. If you wish to receive a passing grade in this class, then, attendance is very important. Classroom work or homework assignments missed due to absence cannot be made up. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out from another class member any announcements or assignments.

Quizzes/Response Papers: In most cases, you will have a quiz or a response paper due each day we begin our discussion of a play. Quizzes and response papers are designed to test your knowledge of the reading assignments and the analytical skills we develop and practice during our discussions. The quizzes will consist of identifications and interpretive questions which will help you improve your close reading skills and to evaluate your comprehension of the material; the response papers will be in response to a particular interpretative question. Quizzes and response papers will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 points: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. I will average the points at the end of the course after dropping the lowest grade. Extra credit opportunities will go towards your quiz/response grade. Should you be absent on the day of a quiz or response paper, you will receive a zero, unless the absence is excused.

Papers: You will write only one paper (4-5 pages) in this class, given our short time together and the other projects you'll be working on. If your paper is late, it will be penalized a full letter grade (i.e.: A to B) for each day it is late. Papers must be typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins (one page = 250 words); the pages should be spell-checked, proof-read, numbered, and stapled or paper-clipped together. Your name, my name, the date, and the type of assignment should appear in the upper-left hand corner of the first page.

A note on sources: a "Works Cited" page should accompany any assignment that refers to outside sources, and you should use the MLA method for documenting sources. 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. The University'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. Otherwise, you have plagiarized. If you have any questions, please ask. If you do plagiarize, you will fail this course.

Performance Review: You will write one performance review. The review will discuss the video-taped performance of one of the plays on our syllabus. Further information will follow shortly.

Performance Troupes: By the end of the first week, I will divide the class into performance troupes. Troupes work together to perform a scene (or scenes) from a play on the syllabus (about 10 minutes of performance). You will meet outside of class with your troupe and, if needed, with me to prepare for your roles as directors, costumers, and actors. The troupe's in-class performance of the scene(s) as well as a written production review (a Director's Checklist and a Character Analysis) will count 15% towards your final grade for the course; please see the details following the schedule of classes.

Computing: Our section of ENGL 345 will emphasize technology as we discuss our plays. Not only is technology now a component of the state licensure requirements, including the standards for English Language Arts, but it plays an important part of your academic and professional careers. Consequently, we will be meeting in EH228, a computer lab classroom, and we will use the computers on some days. You will be asked to participate in some different kinds of technology: an Electronic Bulletin Board and Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment, and electronic resources for research. Our work with computers is designed not only as another forum for discussing our reading, but as a way for you to sharpen your communication skills, media skills, and web skills for an increasingly technological age.
Email: I highly recommend email as a way of touching base with me about your work for the class - a kind of virtual office hours. You can send me queries about reading or writing assignments, your thesis statement for an essay, or anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check my email in the morning before class, in the afternoon, and in the evening before 10pm.
Electronic Bulletin Board: Beginning the first week of class, I'll establish an electronic bulletin board for our class. Each week, each student is required to post at least one paragraph-length comment about the materials we're studying in class. I will monitor these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness both to our readings and to your classmates' comments in class and on the list. Your postings do not need to be long; however, they need to be substantive: they must be long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will offer models of helpful comments early in the semester. Your grade for these postings will become part of your class participation grade.

Examination: You will have a cumulative final exam. A missed exam counts as a zero; no make-up exams will be offered without a dean's excuse.

Conferences: I want you to succeed in this course, and I am happy to meet with you about your work and your progress. I encourage you to see me before writing assignments are due, or if you have questions about material we discuss in class. Please feel free to stop by during office hours (T, W, R 8:30-9:30 am), or contact me by phone or email to arrange a more convenient time to meet.

Note: If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability that will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me in the first two days of the course.

Quizzes/Responses 20%
Class Participation 20%
In-class 10%
Postings 10%
Paper 15%
Performance Review 10%
Performance Troupe 15%
Final Exam 20%

Schedule of Classes (Subject to change.)

Note: The full text of the play should be read for the first day of discussion.
[CP1], [CP2] = Course Packs.

June M 10
Introduction: Staging a Play
T 11
Gwynn, from "Introduction" (1-20)
Sophocles, Antigone (Quiz/Response #1)
Selected Online Resources for Antigone: "Study Guide Questions," "Selected Resources on Sophocles," "Antigone's Age: How old was Antigone? ," "Ismene - notes for a director or actress," and "Creon: The Importance of Being Persuaded."
W 12
Gwynn, " Medieval Drama," "Elizabethan Drama," and "The Comic Genres" (20-24)
R 14
No class: Read Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream [CP1]
Selected Online Resources for A Midsummer Night's Dream: "A Teacher's Guide to the Signet Classic Edition of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Hazel K. Davis, Federal Hocking High School, Stewart, OH (includes plot summary by act and scene, study questions, teaching suggestions); "Shakespeare Web Sites" by Professor Mark Aune offers links to several categories of web sites; "Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet" (an award-winning site of resources); the Folger Shakespeare Library has an archive of lesson plans for teachers.
F 15
No class: Prepare posting for Bulletin Board on Midsummer
M 17
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
T 18
Midsummer; Historical Context for Midsummer [CP2] (Quiz/Response #2)
Performance Troupe #1
W 19
Gwynn, "Realistic Drama, the Modern Stage, and Beyond" (24-25)
Ibsen's A Doll House (Gwynn 209-277) (Quiz/Response #3)
Selected online resources for A Doll House: "Ibsen A Doll House Links"
R 20
A Doll House
Glaspell, Trifles (Gwynn 278-292) (Quiz/Response #4)
Selected online resources for Trifles: A well-chosen series of links assembled at Web English Teacher on "Susan Glaspell, Trifles."
F 21
Wilder, "Preface" and The Skin of Our Teeth (Quiz/Response #5)
Selected online resources for The Skin of Our Teeth: A page about a recent production of the play at the University of Colorado-Boulder, with links to resources about Wilder, the play, and critical terms like "metatheater" and "allegory"; notes from another production, this one in Germany by the Bamburg University English Drama Group, which offers some critical interpretation of the play (link courtesy of the Internet Archive); a page with links to three production photos and two production designs from a performance at University of Pennsylvania; a page with a link to the poster designed for a production at MIT in 1995; a page about Thorton Wilder from the Library of Congress's American Memory website provides a photo (taken by Carl Van Vechten) of Wilder as Mr. Antrobus; a performance review of a production in the Berkshires, with links to other performace reviews; and a biography of Thorton Wilder.
M 24
Skin of Our Teeth; Performance Troupe #2
T 25
David Ives, Sure Thing (Gwynn 521-532)
Selected online resources for Sure Thing: a series of study questions from Longman; a brief biography of Ives from Bedford/St. Martin's.
Paper due by 4pm to my mailbox in DE 122 (4-5 pages)
W 26
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (Quiz/Response #6)
Selected online resources for A Streetcar Named Desire: a range of resources are available from the page created by the Hippodrome State Theater (Gainesville, FL), "Tennesse Williams, The Playwright," including a biography and links to letters exchanged between Williams and the actress Jessica Tandy (who played Blanche in the NY premiere), discussion topics, and information about the poetic references in the play; a web page on Williams' play, assembled by two instructors, includes a definition of expressionism, detailed study questions, an image of the Van Gogh painting Williams refers to in his stage directions, and a link to the transcript of a PBS discussion of the play, among other links; the New York Times theater review (4 Dec 1947) of the play's opening performance (notable for what is left unsaid about Williams' themes).
R 27
F 28
Wilson, Fences (Quiz/Response #7)
Selected online resources for Fences: Professor Bill Dynes' "Fences" page has discussion questions and links to information about the Negro League; the web page for the Curious Theater Company's production of Fences in 2001 (Denver,CO) provides their publicity poster and links to production stills and discussion questions and great resources; Dr. Sharon Sellers provides a series of discussion questions by character and themes; a biography compiled by Dartmouth College in honor of Wilson's visit there in 1998; another biography, as a time-line of Wilson's life, as well as some critical interpretations of his plays.
July M 1
T 2
Fugard, "Master Harold"...and the Boys (Quiz/Response #8)
Selected online resources for "Master Harold"...and the Boys: Professor Paul Brians' excellent Study Guide for Fugard's play; a web site on Athol Fugard, with links to information about his life and his plays; a brief biography.
W 3
Performance Review Due (Guidance for citing online resources.)
Review for Final Exam
Optional Session for taking Final Exam (1-3pm)
R 4
No Class - Independence Day
F 5
Final Exam: Short Answer and Essay

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Last updated 26 June 2002