2016-2017 Drama Course Descriptions

Course Title: Traditions of Theatre and Drama

Course Code: DRE121H5F

Instructor: David Jansen

Course Description: This course introduces students to a selection of major works in world drama, from antiquity through to the late nineteenth century. Across this span of time and culture, we will examine original performance practices and conditions, considering these plays within their respective historical and cultural contexts, while also examining current theatrical manifestations. A primary goal of the course will be to help students develop their ability to closely read, interpret, and write about plays, not only as literary texts but also as blueprints for performance.

Required Reading:
We will examine plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Hrosvitha, Zeami, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Calderón, Molière, Behn, Congreve, Lessing, Büchner, and Gilbert. Most of these plays can be found in The Bedford Introduction to Drama, 7th edition, Lee A. Jacobus, ed., 2013. Additional texts will be made available in course pack or online.

First Three Texts to be Studied: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex; Euripides’ The Bacchae; Seneca’s Thyestes.

Method of Instruction: Lectures/discussion (2 hours per week) and tutorials (1 hour per week)

Method of Evaluation: One short (10%) and one medium-length essay (20%), four short quizzes (20%), final exam (35%), engaged participation(15%).

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Course Title: Modern and Contemporary Theatre and Drama

Course Code: DRE122H5S

Instructor: David Jansen

Course Description: This course introduces students to a selection of major works in world drama, from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Like its companion course, DRE/ENG121, we will examine original performance practices and conditions, considering these plays within their respective historical and cultural contexts, while also examining current theatrical manifestations. Some of the topics discussed will be naturalism, the epic theatre, feminist, post-colonial, and postdramatic theatre. A primary goal of the course will be to help students develop their ability to closely read, interpret, and write about plays, not only as literary texts but also as blueprints for performance.

Required Reading:
We will examine plays by Ibsen, Wilde, Chekhov, Brecht, Miller, Beckett, Bond, Churchill, Kane, Crimp, Parks, Mouawad, and Cardinal. The majority of the plays can be found in The Bedford Introduction to Drama, 7th edition, Lee A. Jacobus, ed., 2013. Additional texts will be made available in course pack or online.

First Three Texts to be Studied: : Ibsen’s A Doll House; Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest; Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

Method of Instruction: Lectures/discussion (2 hours per week) and tutorials (1 hour per week)

Method of Evaluation: One short (10%) and one medium-length essay (20%), four short quizzes (20%), final exam (35%), engaged participation (15%).

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Course Title: Canadian Theatre History

Course Code: DRE200H5F

Instructor: Johanna Lawrie

Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of Canadian theatre playwriting and production, with an emphasis on developments since the mid-twentieth century. We will discuss a diverse assortment of plays and theatre companies and examine the ways they emerge from and respond to Canadian cultural, social, political and economic conditions. Students will be expected to read plays and texts each week, and to participate in class discussions.

Required Reading:
Most weeks we will read a Canadian play, at times supplemented or replaced by other texts and documents.

First Three Texts to be Studied: : TBA

Method of Instruction: Lecture and discussion.

Method of Evaluation: In-class presentation, short writing assignments, two quizzes, final exam, participation.

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Course Title: Studies in Twentieth Century Performance Styles

Course Code: DRE342H5F

Instructor: Jacob Gallagher-Ross

Course Description: The twentieth century witnessed a profusion of attempts to reimagine the work of the performer and its wider social and cultural significance. Auteur directors devised radical schools of actor training to produce new bodies capable of realizing their radical visions; holy theaters strove to re-enchant a profane world with new rituals and new ideas of the sacred; visual artists borrowed performers (or deployed themselves) as aesthetic material; live performers shadowboxed with mediated images; politically-charged performances modeled new societies and new ways of being. This class will survey the major theories and theorists of acting that transformed twentieth century theatre and performance—and that still cast a long shadow over the beginning decades of the twenty-first century.

Required Reading:
Course readings will include theoretical texts and manifestos by major theatrical thinkers, short plays and performance texts, and selected historical and contextual material. These will be available online or distributed as handouts in class.

First Three Texts to be Studied: The Thespian Preceptor (selections); selections from Stanislavsky’s writings; readings on Method acting.

Method of Instruction: Lectures, student presentations, class discussion

Method of Evaluation: Class participation, written assignments, in-class presentations, creative research

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Course Title: Women and Theatre

Course Code: DRE366H5S

Instructor: Heather Fitzsimmons-Frey

Course Description: What can a gendered lens reveal and theatre and performance? How do stage politics expose and mask the socio-political conditions of the communities in which creative work is produced? Female actors, directors, dancers, designers, stage managers, playwrights, educators and performance artists profoundly influence what drama is and can be. Following a short sampling of significant moments prior to the nineteenth century, the course primarily examines women and depictions of women in post-eighteenth-century Western traditions, with some Asian examples. In order to draw out ideas that directly relate to students’ own interests, will use feminist, queer, performance, and critical race theoretical keystones to discuss scripts, iconic figures, memorable characters, influential moments in Western theatre history, contemporary practice, and online performance culture. Topics include performing cross-gender (men playing women, women playing men), racialized performers, stock characters, women and political theatre, nudity and the body, the aging woman, working female theatre practitioners and Canadian socio-political realities, and star culture and child stars.

Required Reading: Scripts (3), journal article excerpts and excerpts from book chapters; occasionally viewing requirements (websites or youtube); and other creative writing (ie poetry)

First Three Texts to be Studied: Nellie McClung "Should Men Vote?" excerpt from A Women's Parliament. Pauline Johnson "Cry from an Indian Wife" and "A Red Girl's Reasoning." Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

Method of Instruction: Lecture, seminar discussion, praxis.

Method of Evaluation: Reading responses, interview, praxis assignment (with analytical reflection).

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Course Title: Senior Seminar I: Performing Auto/Biography

Course Code: DRE420H5S

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

Course Description: This course will explore the theory and practice of auto/biographical performance. The term auto/biography recognizes that autobiography and biography are often intertwined. Readings will include auto/biographical theory and examples of auto/biographical performance. Examples may include work from the current Toronto season. There will be an option of drafting an auto/biographical performance in place of a final essay.

Required Reading:
Deirdre Heddon, Autobiography and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008; selected auto/biographical performance texts: TBA

First Three Texts to be Studied: Heddon; TBA

Method of Instruction: Class discussion.

Method of Evaluation: Participation; in-class presentation; short written assignments; final essay or practical project.

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Course Title: Senior Seminar II: Re-Enchanting the World: American Theaters of the Everyday

Course Code: DRE422H5F

Instructor: Jacob Gallagher-Ross

Course Description: This seminar uncovers a submerged but vital current in American theatrical history, one that runs from the pioneering modernist experiments of the 1920s to today’s leading-edge contemporary performance: the theater of the everyday. Rejecting both the cosseting strictures of realism, and the shock tactics of the European avant-gardes, the American theater of the everyday sought a third path, balancing innovative form with democratic availability. Eschewing conventional definitions of dramatic action, these artists focused attention on smaller but no less profound dramas of perception, consciousness and day-to-day affective life. To them, the least important day—with its discarded words, fleeting sights, castoff gestures, and forgettable objects— is more than important enough. By deliberately choosing such mundane subject matter, they dedicate their theater to transforming spectators’ conceptions of what constitutes importance, both on and offstage.

Artists and topics likely to be discussed include: Thornton Wilder, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Method acting, Fluxus and Happenings, the Judson dancers, Stuart Sherman and 1970s ‘performance art’, W. David Hancock, Richard Maxwell, Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

Required Reading:
Course readings will include approximately 12 full length plays (or equivalent combinations of shorter works), and selected theoretical and historical readings. These will be available at the UTM bookstore, in a course reader, or online.

First Three Texts to be Studied: : Thornton Wilder, Pullman Car Hiawatha, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, The Long Christmas Dinner; Langston Hughes, Don’t You Want To Be Free?, Soul Gone Home; Gertrude Stein, What Happened

Method of Instruction: Class discussion, lectures, creative research

Method of Evaluation: Seminar participation; midterm essay; final project

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