2015-2016 Drama Course Descriptions

Course Title: Traditions of Theatre and Drama

Course Code: DRE/ENG121H5F

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: A theatre history and dramatic literature course surveying plays and performance styles from the Ancient Greeks to the 18th Century, with an emphasis on Western works. We will examine plays 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 formal analysis, while presentation assignments require students to engage in practical experimentation with pre-modern performance styles.

Note: DRE121 and ENG121 are the same course. Whether you register for DRE or ENG does not affect the content or requirements.

Required Reading: Selections from The Broadview Anthology of Drama Volume 1 and the Penguin Japanese No Drama collection, both available at the UTM bookstore; other readings to be made available on Blackboard. Attendance of a production at Theatre Erindale may also be required.

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

Method of Instruction: Lectures and tutorial sections

Method of Evaluation: One short and one medium-length essay; group presentation; 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: Grace Smith

Course Description: This is an introductory survey course that will examine theatre traditions and texts from the 19th century through to the present day. Lectures will emphasize the historical context of performance texts, techniques, and styles; though we will use plays as our jumping off point, we will also make use of visual forms of performance documentation such as images and film. Tutorials will focus more on group discussion, textual analysis, and academic skills for engaging with play-texts and other performance documents. Assignments will be designed to develop skills in close reading, critical thinking, and performance analysis.

Required Reading: The Norton Anthology of Drama Vol. II: The Nineteenth Century to the Present (2014).

First Three Texts to be Studied: Büchner, Ibsen, Wilde

Method of Instruction: Two one-hour lectures a week, plus a one-hour tutorial.

Method of Evaluation: Two essays (one short and one medium-length); several short quizzes; participation and attendance; final comprehensive exam.

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Course Title: Canadian Theatre History

Course Code: DRE200H5F

Instructor: Image indicates that adjacent link to the right opens a new window Nancy Copeland

Course Description: An introduction to the history and historiography of theatre in Canada in the 20th and 21st centuries. The course will focus substantially, though not exclusively, on Toronto: Toronto been a theatre hub since the nineteenth-century, important historical sites are still extant and accessible, and significant companies are still active. We will 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 selected, historically-significant plays.
Note: This course is reading and writing intensive.

Required Reading: Don Rubin, ed. Canadian Theatre History: Selected Readings (2004). Plays: Merrill Denison, Brothers in Arms; Oscar Ryan, et al. Eight Men Speak; Theatre Passe Muraille, The Farm Show; Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters; Anna Project, This Is For You, Anna; Guillermo Verdecchia, Fronteras Americanas. Additional materials will be available on-line.

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

Method of Instruction: Lecture/discussion.

Method of Evaluation: Document analysis; mid-term test; brief annotated bibliography; historiography assignment; class discussion; exam.

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Course Title: The Performance Text

Course Code: DRE222H5S

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 approaches to structuring and performing dramatic texts (Classical, Naturalist, Modernist), we will look at modern and contemporary performances that use found, sampled, or “stolen” texts and consider how a performance’s scenography and choreography function as readable texts in their own right.

NOTE: This course is for students who have already taken ENG/DRE 121 or ENG/DRE 122. You may enroll only if you have met this prerequisite.

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. Attendance of a performance at Theatre Erindale may also be required.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Aristotle, Poetics; Anonymous, excerpt from Rabinal Achi; Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters

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; one long essay; a group dramaturgy project.

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Course Title: Studies in Twentieth Century Performance Styles

Course Code: DRE342H5F

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: The course will explore some of the major “systems” (Stanislavski, Eurythmics, Biomechanics) and “anti-systems” (Artaud, Grotowski, Chaikin) that were developed concurrently with (and in some cases in resistance against) the rise of the “auteur” director in the 20th Century. Many of the readings will be from theoretical texts, historical sources, and manifestos, but performance recordings will also be used to provide practical examples. Some course meetings will include extended practicum sessions, co-led by student presenters, devoted to first-hand experience with the theories discussed in class.

NOTE: This course is only open to third- and fourth-year students that have completed both DRE200 and DRE222.

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 be available on reserve at the library or through Blackboard.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Kirby, “On Acting and Not-Acting”; excerpts from Gordon, The Purpose of Playing; excerpts from Meyerhold, Meyerhold on Theatre

Method of Instruction: Seminar discussions; occasional short lectures; demonstrations and practicum sessions co-led by students.

Method of Evaluation: Marks for seminar participation; two essays; group presentation or group facilitation of a practicum

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Course Title: Production Dramaturgy

Course Code: DRE348H5S

Instructor: Sasha Kovacs

Course Description: This class examines the history and practice of dramaturgy through multiple theoretical, social, political, and practical perspectives. By the end of the course students should develop a critical understanding of the history of dramaturgy, and apply a diverse set of its vocabularies and practices to various creative undertakings and public contexts.

But who are, or were, "they"? This question will be of central concern, both on a theoretical and a historical level. A significant amount of time will be spent on reflecting what makes theatre audiences different from other audiences, and what precisely happens at various stages of the playgoing experience. A wide range of case studies will be integrated into all sessions.

Required Reading:
Tannahill, Jordan. Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2015. Print.
Turner, Cathy and Synne K. Behrndt. Dramaturgy and Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.

First Three Texts to be Studied:
Luckhurst, Mary. “Introduction.” In Dramaturgy: a Revolution in Theatre. New York: Cambridge UP, 2006. Print.
Excerpts from Turner, Cathy and Synne K. Behrndt. “Introduction.” In Dramaturgy and Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.
Zelenak, Michael X. "Why We Don't Need Directors: A Dramaturgical/Historical Manifesto." Theatre Topics 13.1 (2003): 105-109. Web.

Method of Instruction: Seminar

Method of Evaluation: Weekly written responses, seminar participation, final dramaturgical project.

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Course Title: The Audience and the Theatre

Course Code: DRE358H5F

Instructor: Image indicates that adjacent link to the right opens a new window Martin Revermann

Course Description: Any actor feels the presence of the audience. They are always there (often in the dark), watching, evaluating, engaged or disengaged, granting or denying collaboration. Being “co-producers” of the theatrical event, their responses are crucial for the success or failure of a production. There is no theatre without an audience (real or imagined), and vice versa. Actors and audiences, however, are not on an equal footing in that their relationship is informed by a fundamental asymmetry of power: regardless of whether actors love or despise their audiences, they need them. The history of actor-audience interaction is, in other words, also a history of manipulation, across times and cultures. Actors, directors and playwrights cannot take the audience’s collaboration for granted: they have to “work them”.

But who are, or were, "they"? This question will be of central concern, both on a theoretical and a historical level. A significant amount of time will be spent on reflecting what makes theatre audiences different from other audiences, and what precisely happens at various stages of the playgoing experience. A wide range of case studies will be integrated into all sessions.

Required Reading: Bennett, S. (1997) Theatre Audiences. A History of Production and Reception. 2nd ed. London.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Handke Offending the Audience, Punchdrunk Sleep No More, Shakespeare As You Like It

Method of Instruction: Lectures, in-class discussion

Method of Evaluation:
Participation: 20%
Mid-term: 20% (October 12th 2015)
In-class final test (110 minutes, November 23rd 2015): 25%
Research paper: 35%

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Course Title: Playwriting

Course Code: DRE362H5S

Instructor: David Yee

Course Description: This course is intended to introduce students to a broad range of issues and methods related to the process of playwriting. Through a series of readings and practical exercises, students will be encouraged to explore the unique properties of the theatrical environment, with a strong focus on actual text creation and in-class dramaturgy. Topics for investigation will include general issues (such as structure, language, characterization, metaphor and symbolism, etc.) as well as issues specific to the theatrical context (such as theatrical time and space, movement, engagement with an audience, relationship to other theatrical elements, etc.). Methodologies of adaptation, devised creation, creator/performer, and standard playwright-as-author will be examined and used to determine the student’s best personal artistic practice. The major focus will be on actually writing and creating performance text.

Required Reading:
Banana Boys by Terry Woo (novel)
Banana Boys by Leon Aureus (play)
Riot by Andrew Moodie
I, Claudia by Kristen Thomson
Winners and Losers by Marcus Youssef and James Long
carried away on the crest of a wave by David Yee
The Shipment and Lear by Young Jean Lee
The Golden Dragon by Roland Shimmelpfennig

First Three Texts to be Studied: Riot/Moodie, Winners and Losers/Youssef and Long, carried away on the crest of a wave/Yee

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion and practical in-class writing

Method of Evaluation:
Participation and in-class exercises; weekly out-of-class exercises; final project and ongoing class presentations

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Course Title: Senior Seminar I: Naturalsim and Its Critics

Course Code: DRE420H5F

Instructor: Image indicates that adjacent link to the right opens a new window Martin Revermann

Course Description: Naturalism is arguably the most influential Western theatre style of all, with its repercussions being felt throughout the 20th and the incipient 21st century. To the present day, the vast majority of theatre available, certainly theatre with a strong commercial bias, is more or less heavily influenced by naturalism and naturalist staging techniques. Naturalism also continue to influence very heavily actor training, especially in North America (including the TDS Specialist Programme at U of T/Sheridan).

This course sets out to explore the naturalist theatre movement of the late 19th century and its influence until today, in part by analysing plays, playwrights, directors and theorists close to this movement (esp. Strindberg, Ibsen and Shaw), in part by looking at critics of naturalism (esp. Brecht and Artaud). More recent post-dramatic theatre forms will also be analysed as a particular form of anti-naturalist theatre (the case study will be Glass/Wilson Einstein on the Beach). Practical, performance-based scene- or character-studies may be integrated into our sessions.

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.

Required Reading: Innes, C. (2000) A Sourcebook on Naturalist Theatre. London.

First Three Texts to be Studied: : Strindberg (Miss Julie, The Father, Ghost Sonata); Ibsen (Doll’s House, Ghosts); Shaw (Mrs Warren’s Profession, Heartbreak House)

Method of Instruction: In-class discussion

Method of Evaluation:
40% Research paper
30% Participation
30% “Journal”, i.e. written statements on the set weekly “lead questions” + formulation of one or two own lead questions (marked journals will be returned at the beginning of the subsequent session).

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Course Title: Senior Seminar II: Documentary and Reality Theatre

Course Code: DRE422H5S

Instructor: Timothy Youker

Course Description: This seminar will trace the development of modern documentary, verbatim, and “reality” theatre from the 1920s to the present, along with a handful of pre-20th-century antecedents, addressing how the “old” medium of theatre can absorb and respond to “new” media and other technologies that claim superior access to truth, reality, or the immediate present. Playwrights/companies likely to be discussed include Georg Büchner, Sergei Tretiakov, Peter Weiss, Alecky Blythe, Theatre Replacement, and the Builders Association. Students will also gather materials for their own documentary projects, which they will have the option of performing at the end of the course, and learn about some of the practical and ethical challenges involved in creating research-based art.

Required Reading: Course readings will include 10-12 plays. Most of these will be available at the UTM bookstore, while the rest will be made available on Blackboard.

First Three Texts to be Studied: : Georg Büchner, Danton’s Death; Erin Bone Steele, “Melodramatic Borrowings: Life, Stage, Screen”; Montagu Slater, Maria Marten

Method of Instruction: Class discussion, brief lectures, practice-based research

Method of Evaluation: Seminar participation; weekly discussion questions; midterm essay; final project

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