2014-2015 Drama Course Descriptions

Course Title: Traditions of Theatre and Drama

Course Code: DRE/ENG121H5F

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: This introductory course surveys plays and performance techniques from the Ancient Greeks to the end of the 18th Century, including Western and selected non-Western dramatic works. We will consider these texts as products of their own times—works shaped by specific historical moments, belief systems, and theatrical economies—while also trying to understand what they offer to contemporary readers and performers. Essay assignments will emphasize close reading, critical thinking, and rudimentary dramaturgical analysis, which the course’s tutorial sections will help students’ to hone.

Required Reading: One long play or two short plays each week. Selections from The Broadview Anthology of Drama Volume 1 and the Penguin Japanese Noh Drama collection, both available at the UTM bookstore; other readings to be made available Blackboard.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Aeschylus, Plautus, Zeami

Method of Instruction: Lectures and tutorial discussion sections

Method of Evaluation: One short and one medium-length essay; 5 short scheduled quizzes and a final exam to test retention of course content.

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Course Title: Modern and Contemporary Theatre and Drama

Course Code: DRE/ENG122H5S

Instructor: Justin Blum

Course Description: This introductory course surveys plays and performance techniques from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. We will study a number of theatrical forms and movements, with an emphasis on North American and European scripted theaters but with attention to other global theatrical traditions and to performances not relying on dramatic texts. Or focus will be on the way in which theatre creates worlds through representation that interact with the real world of the audience; to this end we will study the conditions under which our objects of study were originally created and received and their social and political impact. We will pay special attention to the relationship between plays that have achieved status as part of the literary canon and popular forms of theatre and entertainment.

Required Reading: Students will be required to purchase The Norton Anthology of Drama, Volume Two: The Nineteenth Century to the Present (2009).

First Three Texts to be Studied: Assorted Suffrage dramas; The Bells by Leopold Lewis; Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

Method of Instruction: Instruction in this course will include lecture and tutorial sessions, both of which will have large- and small-group discussion components and involve student presentations.

Method of Evaluation:Shot paper (15%); Midterm test (15%); Final Paper (20%); Final Exam (30%); Participation and Attendance, including formal and informal presentations (20%)

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Course Title: Canadian Theatre History

Course Code: DRE200H5S

Instructor: Nancy Copeland

Course Description: An introduction to the history and historiography of theatre in Canada, mainly in the 20th and 21st centuries. While we investigate significant events, institutions, companies, and individuals, we will also critically examine the materials and methods used to construct Canadian theatre histories. This course takes a document and artifact-based approach to theatre history. Readings will consist mainly of primary documents and critical articles, supplemented by visual materials.

Required Reading: Don Rubin, ed. Canadian Theatre History: Selected Readings (2004); additional materials will be available on-line or from the HMLC.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Timelines; excerpts from Rubin.

Method of Instruction: Lecture/discussion.

Method of Evaluation: Mid-term test; short historiography assignment; essay; class discussion; exam.

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Course Title: The Performance Text

Course Code: DRE222H5F

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: This course is designed to familiarize intermediate-level students with theoretical and practical perspectives on the creation and use of texts in and around performance. In addition to addressing major theories and examples of dramatic structure (Classical, Naturalist, Modernist) and examples of how a director or dramaturge may “interpret” or “remake” a drama, we will look at modern and contemporary performances that use documentary texts, sampled or “stolen” texts, hypertexts, and the “social texts” that we follow in our everyday behavior.

NOTE: This course is designed for students who have already taken one or both of the department’s introductory drama and theatre courses (DRE/ENG 121 or DRE/ENG122).

Required Reading: Aristotle’s Poetics; a selection of short plays and at least one full length play, most of which will be available at the UTM bookstore; critical and theoretical works made available through Blackboard. Performance recordings held on reserve at the library or screened in class. Mandatory attendance of performance events, including at least one Theatre Erindale production.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Aristotle, Poetics; Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters; critical texts TDB.

Method of Instruction: Mixture of lecture and seminar-style discussion, with periodic practical group work and informal presentations. One extended group project in dramaturgy.

Method of Evaluation: Attendance and participation, including participation in group work and presentations; a series of short scheduled quizzes on reading and lecture content; two essays; a group dramaturgy project.

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Course Title: Studies in Twentieth Century Performance Styles

Course Code: DRE342H5S

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: An exploration of major theatre and performance styles during the 20th-Century. The course will emphasize the major “systems” (Stanislavski, Biomechanics, Bauhaus/Expressionism, Epic Theatre) and “anti-systems” (Artaud, Grotowski, Performance/Conceptual Art) that were developed concurrently with (and in some cases in resistance against) the rise of the “auteur” director. Many of the readings will be from theoretical texts, historical sources, and manifestos, but performance recordings will also be used to provide practical examples. Students will also have the opportunity to test out these systems and “anti-systems” through practical presentation projects.

Required Reading: Assorted theoretical and historical texts, including some books that will be available at the UTM bookstore and other texts that will be posted on Blackboard. Performance videos that will available on reserve at the library or screened in class.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Stanislavsky, excerpts from My Life in Art and An Actor Prepares; Eisenstein, “The Montage of Attractions”; Meyerhold, excerpts from Meyerhold on Theatre

Method of Instruction: Seminar discussions, including segments led by student facilitators, with occasional informal practical exercises and demonstrations.

Method of Evaluation: Marks for seminar participation, including group presentations and assistance in facilitating classroom discussions with prepared questions; one essay; a final project

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Course Title: Studies in Theatre and Drama 1/Performing Arts Management

Course Code: DRE344H5F

Instructor: Pil Hansen

Course Description: Artistic visions depend on tailored management strategies for success. Indeed, a vision becomes realizable the moment it is paired with an artistic plan of action, a financial plan and fundraising strategy that is fully responsive to changing circumstances, meaningful audience relationships and outreach initiatives, an anchor in the arts community/industry, and a strong understanding of how one’s work and choices contribute to the continued development of the art form and its value in society. All of these aspects are deeply interconnected. Awareness of the interconnections is a powerful tool to increase the impact of creative work.

This course will introduce students to models of arts funding and marketing of relevance for small to medium sized theatre and dance companies. Examples of fundraising, audience outreach, and marketing strategies will be presented. We will also discuss the relationship between these models, artistic visions, strategic planning, and politics of culture. The course will be taught in topic specific modules. Within each module, we begin with analytical discussions of models, progress to case-studies of practice, and arrive at the students’ supervised production of plans, pitches, and management documents.

Performing Arts Management is a first step towards starting up a new theatre/dance company or facilitating the success of an established company while supporting and strengthening the performing arts.

First Subjects to be Studied: Varbanova, Ryan, and Osborne.

Method of Instruction: Lectures, discussion, and workshops.

Method of Evaluation: Postings, participation, individual marketing and fundraising documents, and a written group pitch of a strategic marketing or fundraising project for one of the studied cases.

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Course Title: Studies in Theatre and Drama: Theatre, Environment, and Ecology

Course Code: DRE346H5S

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: Every work of theatre happens within a specific material and spatial context—within an environment. This seminar will cover several of the conceptions of environment and ecology that have informed theatre and performance work from the 1880s to the present. Topics will include environmental and site-specific theatre, eco-tragedy, eco-activist performance, animal performance, and interactions between “natural” and “virtual” environments in new works. Likely featured artists will include Henrik Ibsen, Heiner Müller, Caryl Churchill, Rachel Rosenthal, and Annabel Soutar. Students will have the option of writing a research paper or creating an eco-performance project.

Required Reading: 8-10 plays, which will be available at the UTM bookstore or online; performance videos available online or on reserve at the library; critical and theoretical texts available online or as handouts; possible mandatory attendance of a live performance event.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Una Chaudhuri, “Land/Scape/Theory”; Heiner Müller, Despoiled Shore Medea-material Landscape with Argonauts; Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

Method of Instruction: Seminar discussions about course readings, co-led by weekly student facilitators; optional practical research through development of eco-performance projects

Method of Evaluation:
- Participation (including in-class presentations and discussion facilitation): 40%
- Midterm Essay: 20%
- Final Project: 40%

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Course Title: Developmental Dramaturgy

Course Code: DRE360H5F

Instructor: Pil Hansen

Course Description: This course will introduce you to dramaturgical sites, models, and tools of script-analysis and New Play Development. We will also reach beyond these often familiar terms and address some of the complex materials and strategies you need to be aware of when navigating areas of physically or conceptually based creation in which text is not a product in itself – areas such as theatrical devising and modern dance. In the first half of the course we cover analytical tools and knowledge about dramaturgical functions that will serve as your foundation for engaging with Canadian sites of developmental dramaturgy in the second half of the course. Finally, students will be invited to apply their artistic and analytical skills to the developmental of a new play. Practical performance training is not necessary, but if you have such training we will make use of it. This course is designed for students with a healthy portion of analytical curiosity and a wish to discover how it can be useful in practice.

First Subjects to be Studied: Aristotelian, Hollywood, Epic, Montage, and Perceptual Dramaturgy.

Method of Instruction: Lectures, class discussion, student presentations, workshops, in-class group analysis, group supervision.

Method of Evaluation: Reading note postings, script analysis reports, developmental workshop reports, participation.

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Course Title: Classical Challenges: Receptions of Greek Tragedy, Shakespeare and Chekhov in 20th- and 21st-Century Theatrical Culture

Course Code: DRE420H5F

Instructor: Martin Revermann

Course Description: What constitutes a theatrical ‘classic’? And how to respond – artistically, intellectually, creatively – to a ‘classic’? With awe and respect, or with irreverence? Are ‘classics’ stifling and oppressive, or can they function as vehicles for artistic innovation? In sum: how to respond to the challenges posed by a ‘classic’?

Focusing on the three most notorious ‘classics’ of the Western theatre repertoire (Greek drama, Shakespeare and Chekhov), this course examines landmark artistic responses, from the 20th and incipient 21st century, to those classical challenges. Artists discussed in detail include Richard Schechner, Roman Polanski and Robert Wilson. Texts to be discussed include Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Euripides’ Medea, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Coriolanus and Hamlet, and the four major Chekov plays.

Course objectives:
- Provide a ‘capstone-experience’ to Specialists and Majors/Minors which, towards the end of their programme, both integrates and deepens previously acquire knowledge and skills.
- Stimulate and develop further key academic skills: critical analytical thinking; presentational skills; discussion skills.
-Create a class-environment which is comparable to a seminar at the graduate (MA) level and enable participants to function and grow within such an environment.
- Develop close-reading skills.
- Develop research and writing skills.
- Instil the notion of academic ownership and initiative.

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Course Title: Senior Seminar 1/Performance Psychology

Course Code: DRE422H5S

Instructor: Pil Hansen

Course Description: In this course we will examine a series of acting methods and ideas about audience reception (historical and contemporary) with a focus on the concepts of the human mind and psyche they originally were based on. These very same methods and ideas have recently been evaluated and discussed from contemporary perspectives on the embodied mind that derive from neurobiology, the cognitive sciences, and cognitive philosophy. We will work through and discuss what this new understanding of psychology does to the studied acting methods and reception ideas in terms of how we interpret them as well as how they can be practiced in theatre and performance. Finally we will also look at some of the new artistic questions and approaches that are arising in response to this cognitive turn in performance psychology.

First Subjects to be Studied: Naturalistic acting methods: Stanislavsky and Blair. Improvisation: Spolin and Lutterbie. Avant-garde performance reception: Berghaus and Di Benedetto.

Method of Instruction: Lectures, class discussions, and in-class analysis.

Method of Evaluation: Participation, postings, presentations, and essays.

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