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Thr 102: Script Analysis, 3 cr.

Theatre 102  Play Analysis
Professor Richard Kalinoski
Fall, 2010

Meeting time and place : Tuesday/Thursday 8 to 9:30 AM AC North 231   

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


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 multifarious 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 2 to 3: 45  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.


1. Stages of Drama, Klaus, Gilbert, Field.  Bedford/St.Martin’s Press Isbn:  0-312-39733-x
The Plays:  Trifles,  Oedipus Rex, Everyman, The Cherry Orchard, The House of Bernarda Alba, Fences, Angels in America.  

2. Two main stage plays: Censored on Final Approach by Phylis Ravel September 29, 30 Oct. 1,2 at 7:30 PM and October 3 at 2 PM in the Fredric March Theatre;
My Soldiers by Richard Kalinoski, November 10 thru 14, 2010.  

Extra credit: Diary of Anne Frank  Appleton Arts Center

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 causes the play 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) of a play can a play be said to be realized. Our work in this class fortunatelycombines 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.


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.

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

SPECIAL PROJECT:  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. You must have your play approved by your professor on or before November 1, 2010 (the absolute final deadline is November 4—after which you may not change the play you wish to analyze). Part of your presentation will be a picture you will draw 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.

Extra credit: Extra Credit will be available for students in several areas of the theatre department’s work including working at the HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE FESTIVAL, ushering at main stage shows and working backstage (crew). You may also earn extra credit by attending The Diary of Anne Frank (Barter Theatre) at the Appleton Arts Center, Oct. 21.

Grading :
The breakdown of grades in this class.

Class participation  15%
Quizzes                   20%
Tests                        25%
Written responses    25%
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.). Do not rely on your computer to proofread for you.

Attendance: This is an 8 AM class. A class which starts so early in the day is a challenge to some 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.


September 9   Introduction to the class. Student profiles ( a set of questions).
In-class essay. Discussion of syllabus.  Introduction to the text. No formal assignment yet.

September 14  Lecture on the nature of play analysis—the Aristotelean concept of a play; the component parts. What is a play? (as opposed to a film and other).  Theatre in America today.  
Assignment: Read pages 13-17 in Stages of Drama—on Greek theatre.

September 16  Discussion of Greek theatre.  Assign: Trifles, pages 4-11 Lecture and discussion regarding the viewing of a play. Reading a play as opposed to seeing a play.

September 21 (Tuesday) Quiz on Trifles.  Reading from TRIFLES. Discussion of  Trifles and the intention of the playwright.
Assign: pages 52-57 Oedipus Rex.

September 23  Reading from Oedipus Rex. Discussion of Prologue.
Assign: pages 57-62. Hand out of guidelines for responding to a play.

September 28 Reading from Oedipus Rex. Assign:  oral presentation project for December.   
Assign: 62-71.  

September 30 (Thursday) Quiz on Oedipus Rex. Reading from Oedipus…
Assign: pages 183—189. Intro to Everyman and begin Everyman.

October 5 Responses to Censored due. Discussion of the play. Reading from Everyman.
Assign: 190 thru 196 (the end).

October 7 Discussion of Middle Ages and Everyman.  The idea of a morality play. The influence of Christianity and the notion of Liturgical drama.
Assign: The Cherry Orchard by Mr. Chekhov, pages 663 thru 667 (includes material on Chekhov).

October  12 (Tuesday)  Reading from THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Discussion of the playwright and the challenges of staging this play.  
Assign: 667—673 (to begin of ACT2)

October  14 Quiz on ACT 1. Reading from The Cherry Orchard. Discussion of same.
On Russian sensibility. Assign: 673 thru 683.  

October  19 Reading from The Cherry Orchard. “An axe to the Cherry Orchard”—what is the meaning of this?  
Assign: to the end of the play (page 687).  Reading and discussion of the play.

October  21 (Thursday)  Quiz on The Cherry Orchard.  Reading from the play. Discussion of the whole play.  Review of previous plays.
Extra credit: The Diary of Anne Frank at the Appleton Arts Center (920 730 3786 for tickets).

October 26 Test on plays and all material to date. Assign: pages 807 thru 811. On Lorca and The House of Bernardo Alba. Reminder to choose a play.  

October  28  Reading from The House of Bernardo Alba. Discussion of Lorca and reading from House of… Assign: 811—817.

November  2 (Tuesday) Reading from The House….assign: 817—823.

November 4  Final deadline for choosing a play.    Guideline changes for My Soldiers.
Reading from The House of… Assign:  823 thru 828

November  9  Quiz on The House of Bernarda Alba.  ( My Soldiers opens Nov.10) Discussion of the Lorca play. Notes regarding My Soldiers.  
Assign: Fences, pages 1335--1340

November  11  (Thursday) Reading from Fences—details of August Wilson. Assign pages 1340 thru 1345.  

November  16    Discussion of My Soldiers (responses due). Assign: 1345 to 1350 in Fences.

November  18   Reading from Fences. Assign: 1350 to 1359 in Fences.  (weekend of high school theatre festival begin 19 November)

November  23  Quiz on Fences to date.  Assign to the end of the play (1367).

November 25 (off—Thanksgiving) NO CLASS

November  30  ( Tuesday) Reading and discussion from FENCES.  Conversation about the High School Theatre Festival.
Assign :  Angels in America pages 1475 thru 1482.

December 2 Reading from Angels….Assign: 1483 thru 1495.

December 7 Reading from Angels; Assign to the end of the play (1511)

December 9  Test on Angels in America.  


December  16  ORAL PRESENTATIONS/ last class

by Alderson, James M last modified Apr 08, 2011 03:49 PM