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Thr 102 Play Analysis

Theatre  102 Play Analysis (script analysis)
Fall 2015  Professor Richard Kalinoski

Meeting time and place : Tuesday/Thursday 8 to 9:30 AC South 150

“The Educated differ from the Uneducated as much as the living from the dead.” Aristotle

Theatre as a part of the Liberal Arts

The liberal arts engage students in the study of the human condition by exploring the disciplines broadly defined by the sciences, the arts, culture, literature and history.  THEATRE is a small component of these human endeavors but its reach is ambitious. Theatre has been historically dedicated to the act of imitating, replicating and representing our lives. In many ways it is the ultimate “liberal” art if one understands the word “liberal” to mean generous or broadly encompassing. In the Western world theatre  evolved from religious practice and story telling….and was afforded a place of reverence and respect by early civilizations: The Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians.

Theatre’s mandate is to explore any and all facets of our lives. It demands intellectual rigor and artistic inspiration because theatre is primarily interested in uncovering the truth about how we live. It is this search for truth that puts theatre into the very core of liberal pursuits.  Theatre is a genuine liberal art.

Office Hours
Tuesday and Thursday 1:40 to 2:50  PM 218 ACW (arts communication west) and by appointment:
920 424 0937  e-mail:
Students are encouraged to speak to me during office hours to discuss their progress in the course. The office hours are for you… make use of them.

Richard Kalinoski  website:

SPECIAL NOTE: Please refrain from looking at, touching, embracing, encircling, invoking, and/or involving your cell phone/Iphone, your earbuds (or your budding ears), your headphones,or any other bit of electronic wizardry which may lead to your utter distraction, the distraction of others, or the intercession of the techno gods or minions.

On e-mail communication:
First---do not attempt to submit your papers through e-mail. Bring them to class.
Second---you should expect a response to an e-mail you write to me with a question within 24 hours IF it is a weekday. Do not expect a response on a given weekend. I MAY respond anyway but please do not expect it.

The Norton Anthology of Drama Gainor, Garner, Puchner  Norton and company, New York and London, 2014.
Plays you need to see: OUR TOWN, October 8-12; THESE SHINING LIVES Nov. 19-23—UW Oshkosh Mainstage.

On Play Analysis in general:  The act of reading plays is an act of the imagination—there is more to a play than what is suggested on the printed page. There is performance.
Performance of a play allows it to come into its intended existence. Merely reading a play is always going to be insufficient for realizing the play’s potential. A script of a play is in some ways a plan for it. Not until actors motivate, move and speak the lines (and actions) can a play be said to be realized. Our work in this class fortunately combines both reading plays and witnessing them. The plays presented by the theatre department this semester will be critical to our ANALYSIS of what a play is. We will also be addressing how a play may look in performance and what challenges an artistic team may face in presenting it. Seeing a produced play is valuable in ways that cannot always be readily identified.  Attending a play is an act of faith.

In simple language the most important objective of this class is to help students improve and increase their understanding of the way a play works—how it communicates.  In educational terms this can be expressed as follows:

a. students will be able to articulate the meaning of plot, character, thought, spectacle, diction and music—the essential components of a play. Students will demonstrate understanding of what THOUGHT a given playwright is attempting to get his/her audience to contemplate.

b. students will be able to write thoughtfully about the components of a performance of a play by attending two main stage productions, thinking about them, discussing them and completing an essay (response paper) about them.

c. students will be able to demonstrate (by speaking and writing)  an understanding of the implications of the interpreters of the playwright’s craft---actors, directors and designers.
Students will be able to articulate the contributions made by the artists and craftspersons
who help to realize a play.


1.You will be expected to identify a play from the accepted canon of plays (of the world) and present an analysis of that play to the overall class. Your presentation will be a profile (written and spoken) of your main character (you must determine who your main character is). You will reveal to the class the motivation of your main character and describe (with your visual aid) the personality of the main character…you may wish to enact (act out) moments from the play while you portray the character—or you may wish to simply read from the text of the play (after rehearsing.) THIS IS YOUR FINAL PROJECT. There will be guidelines handed to you to help you prepare your presentation.

2. Monologues of a particular character of your choice from the plays in this syllabus (cannot be from the two performed plays on our mainstage). Guidelines to follow. To be
presented on November 10 and 12.

Extra credit: You may earn extra points (to be added to your test/quiz grades) if you volunteer for either of the main stage productions this semester—this includes if you are cast in OUR TOWN  or you work backstage in a non paid capacity on the show. The same opportunity applies to THESE SHINING LIVES.  Depending on the number of hours you devote to a production you may earn up to 35 extra points: examples follow.
Crew position (make-up, costume, run crew, running light or sound board) = 35 points
Cast in play=  35 points .

Permission must be given FIRST by your director and by Kathleen Donnelly and/or Mick Alderson.

Grading :
The breakdown of grades in this class.
Class participation  15% (includes attendance)
Quizzes                   20%
Tests                        20%
Written responses    20%
Monologues from syllabus plays 10%
Oral presentation    15%
100 %

Note: particular emphasis is given to written responses to the plays you will see because performance is a key ingredient in the class. Note below that you can earn a 59 on a given quiz or test and still pass.

93 to 100  = A
90 to 92= A-
87-89    = B+
83-86    = B
80-82    = B-
77-79    = C+
73-76    = C
70-72    =  C-
65-69    =  D+
59-64    =   D
Below 59 = F


You will earn a letter grade on your responses to the performed plays. The letter grade will be shaped by both your insights and the mechanics of your written communication with approximately 60% insights and 40% mechanics (spelling, proofreading, usage, diction etc.). Understand that diction refers to your choice of words in your essay response. Do not rely entirely on your computer to proofread for you. REPEATED
mechanical mistakes within the same paper will definitely lower your grade. Take the time and energy to proofread.

Attendance: This is an 8 AM class. A class which starts so early in the day is a challenge to many students. I urge you to accept the challenge and come on time. If you are ill don’t come to class. If you accrue more than 3 unexcused absences your entire grade will be lowered by one increment (an a turns into a b, a b turns into a c…..). Come to class.

The schedule for Theatre 102 Script/Play Analysis Fall 2015:

September 10
Introduction. Handout of Arthur Miller’s thoughts on plays.
Auditions for OUR TOWN
Profile of students in the class.
Syllabus distributed and discussed.
Assign: Trifles page 931 in text.

September 15
Quiz 1  Trifles Reading of the entire play; discussion of the play’s strategy. Assign: pages 4 thru 7. Assign:  Oedipus the King—pages 89--95; .

September 17
Reading and discussion of pages 4 thru 7 and 89-95—Oedipus. Assign pages 96—101. 

September 22
Reading from pages 96—101. Assign pages 102 thru 120. 

September 24
Quiz 2 on pages 89—120. Reading and discussion of pages 111—120. Assign pages 121—134 (end of play). 
Assign English theatre pages 38 thru 42.

September  29
READING of end of Oedipus—discussion of same. Assign …Assign final project—select a play; research it and offer a presentation on—guidelines to follow.

October 1
TEST ON OEDIPUS THE KING. Hand out guidelines for final project/ presentation.
Assign: pages 365 thru 369 on HAMLET.

October 6
Detailed discussion of GUIDELINES for final project. Discussion of English Theatre and introduction to Hamlet (38—42 and 365—369). Read pages 375 thru 380 in class. Assign pages 380 thru 390 in Hamlet.

October 8
Read aloud pages 380 thru 390 in Hamlet. Discussion of same. Handout guidelines for responding to OUR TOWN. Assign: 391—400. Handout guidelines for monologues for play chosen from syllabus.

October 13
Quiz on Hamlet thru page 400. Our Town OPENS October 15. Reading from Hamlet inside pages 391—400. Assign: pages 401—410 in Hamlet---students will prepare a section for next class. Declaration of chosen play for final project. 1st declaration.

October 15
Assignment: Choose a character from one of the plays from the syllabus—identify a character and that character’s monologue—memorize the monologue and prepare to
perform it November 13 or 18 (to be determined). Students read aloud parts of 401—410 in Hamlet and explain their sections.  Assign: pages 411—420—individual parts assigned.  

October 20
Students will read aloud their sections (parts) from 411—420 in Hamlet. Responses to OUR TOWN due and discussion of the play and the production. Assign: pages 421 thru 435 in Hamlet---students responsible for preparing their assigned parts.

October 22
Quiz on Hamlet from pages 401 thru pages 435. Students read aloud their assigned parts from HAMLET from pages 421—435. Assign: Pages 436—460 from Hamlet.

October 27
Students read aloud from assigned parts—436—60. Assign pages 461—to end of play (at last) of Hamlet.

October 29
Reading and discussion of end of Hamlet. Assign: Miss Julie by Strindberg

November 3
Test:  Hamlet Assign: Miss Julie pages 684 thru 693.

November 10
Reading aloud from Miss Julie. Discussion of same—including the preface section.  Assign: Miss Julie—pages 694—717.

November 12

Reading from MISS JULIE.

November 17
Reading from MISS JULIE aloud. Second and final declaration of chosen play to present as final project. No changes after today’s declaration. 

November 19
Test on Miss Julie. Assign:  A Streetcar Named Desire Pages 1196 thru 1210.
These Shining Lives opens.

November 24
Responses to THESE SHINING LIVES due in class. Discussion of These Shining Lives.   Reading aloud from STREETCAR.
Discussion of same. Assign: pages 1211 thru 1262 in Streetcar.

Classes dismissed after evening of 24 November thru 29 November.

December 1
Discussion of STREETCAR—viewing dvd of the film (made from the play.)

December 3
QUIZ on Streetcar. Viewing of the film of STREETCAR.

December 8

Viewing of the film of STREETCAR. 

December 10

Final oral presentations begin approximately 7 students present.

December 15

Final oral presentations (analyses of chosen plays).

December 17
Final oral presentations—class wrap up.

by Alderson, James M last modified Sep 06, 2015 02:19 PM