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Thr 152: Non-Western Theatre

Theatre 152-001
North Halsey #268

Kathleen Donnelly
424-7127 / Office ACW 220
Office hours: Tues, 9:45am –10:45am; Wed, 11:30am –12:30pm; Thurs, 9:45-10:45am

Roy Hoglund
424-7043 / Office ACW 222
Office hours: Tues, 9:45am – 11:15am; Thurs, 9:45 – 11:15am



Greenwald, Schultz, Pomo: The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theatre: A Global Perspective (Compact Edition)

Additional Script (Available in the Bookstore)

Kalidasa: The Recognition of Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts

COURSE DESCRIPTION: When a student is asked, “would you like to see Kabuki Theatre” the general response is usually “NO”. In many instances it is because the student does not understand what they are watching. Once a better knowledge of this ancient art form is gained, a greater appreciation can be established. This can be said for many topics: music, art, even sports can seem boring and tedious with out an understanding of what you are observing. The goal of Non-Western Theatre is to develop in the student a stronger understanding of Theatre in other cultures and what makes them tick. The focus will be to introduce students to Theatre as it is produced in five distinctly different cultures. In order to successfully understand these cultures, students will be exposed to the ethical reasoning each culture uses in decision making in the production of Theatre, students will also be exposed to the broad knowledge and process of theatrical production and its history relative to that culture. They will research the theatre artist, critic and historian, and develop an understanding of each cultures pursuit of artistic excellence and integrity. It is our hope that upon completion of this course the answer to the first question will be a definite “Yes”.


VALUE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION: Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings. (AAC&U;

In Quest II we will begin to address the responsibility of “Ethical Reasoning”. The Quest II course introduces broad disciplinary questions as well as content that emanates from the focused study of the signature question of this course: How do people understand and bridge cultural differences? The student will gain awareness of central ethical issues, and be exposed to the process of reasoning while exploring the content covered in the course.


Connection to this course: Theatre is a collaborative creative process requiring a broad knowledge of the human condition to be successful.  The importance of theatre in society is well documented, and understanding the role it plays in society contributes to the development of a well-rounded citizen.  Theatre, as with all areas of the Liberal Arts, is most effectively employed when it is built on a broad base of knowledge. In this Quest II course, you will further your knowledge of Non-Western Theatre, while exploring the idea of Ethical Reasoning and its effect on these cultures and the decisions they make in Theatrical Production. You will gain a broad knowledge of theatre history and practices as it relates to Non-Western Theatre.


Quest II Signature Question: How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

The University Studies Program (USP) is your gateway to a 21st century college education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  This Quest II course is the second in a series of courses you will take to introduce you to the campus and all it has to offer, the vibrant Oshkosh community, and the challenges and opportunities of academic life as you pursue a liberal education.  In these courses, you’ll be exposed to three “Signature Questions” that are central to a UW Oshkosh education:

  • How do people understand and engage in community life?
  • How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?
  • How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?


This Quest II Non-Western Theatre course will address the signature question: How do people understand and bridge cultural differences? In the process of taking this course and exploring Non-Western Theatre the student will develop a stronger understanding behind decision-making process in producing Theatre in different cultures. The process of determining why decisions are made and what a culture values is considered Ethical Reasoning. The learning of Ethical reasoning is a significant goal of all Quest II courses. As the student explores the reasoning behind other cultures decision-making, they will better understand Ethical Reasoning in their own culture and the role it plays in everyday life.


The Quest classes are designed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of your education here, no matter, which major you, choose.  Your USP courses will also provide the opportunity for you to Explore and Connect as you begin your college education.


LEARNING OUTCOMES AND CORE ABILITIES: After taking this course you should be able to:

  • Understand the basic elements of theatre from both Western and Non-Western drama, what is valued and why, and be able to communicate this in written form.
  • Gain a cultural awareness of ethnic and regional differences through the medium of theatre and communicate this through a theatrical presentation.
  • Understand the various roles of artists who are involved in the process of creating theatre in other cultures and what may drive their decision-making, and incorporate this understanding into the development of a theatrical piece.
  • Engage in cultural, visual and literary research and apply it to papers and presentations.
  • Use critical and creative thinking relating culture and style to non-western plays and illustrate this thinking though project presentations.
  • Collaborate with other members of the class in a cooperative way on presentations and projects produced.
  • Communicate and apply these communication skills to projects produced for class in ways that honor diversity and illustrate the value systems of divers cultures.



  • Students will be able to describe the value of a Liberal Education.
  • Students will become familiar with the expectations of a college-level education, the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes, and the University Studies Program.
  • Students will begin their acculturation to life at this university, developing familiarity with the academic resources and community engagement opportunities at UW Oshkosh.
  • Students will engage in learning communities to enhance their connections to the class, the university, and one another.
  • Students will participate in campus and community life through co-curricular activities.
  • Students will begin to take personal responsibility for their intellectual development by archiving learning artifacts in the ePortfolio


EARLY ALERT: After the third week of class, you will receive a grade for your overall progress in this course and each of the courses you are taking in your first semester.  This process is called “Early Alert.”  You will receive this information in an email during the 5th week of classes. Early Alert is designed to help you evaluate your study skills and your class attendance so that you know if you are on the right track. If you need to make some changes, there are resources available to support your academic success. These Early Alert grades are not permanent and will not appear on your transcript.


In this course, your Early Alert Grade will be assessed based on the script analysis paper due as part of Project 1A: Sanskrit Drama. The student will write the paper answering the questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why as it relates to The Recognition of Sakuntala, and the drop into D2L for feedback from the faculty.


E-PORTFOLIO: As you move through your courses at UW Oshkosh, you will archive your learning in an ePortfolio.  The ePortfolio can be found in D2L.  The ePortfolio will help you keep track of papers, speeches, reports, projects, and other assignments in your Quest and Explore courses, so that you can see your progress and connect ideas across different classes.  You can continue to use this portfolio in your major classes, so that you are ready for your Capstone course or experience as you near graduation. You can even use the ePortfolio after you graduate to show evidence of your learning to employers or graduate schools. In this course (and in all your USP courses), a specific assignment has been designated to be uploaded to your ePortfolio.


In Project 2, Student will write a research paper focused on Chinese Theatre illustrating the production elements of the play Qing Ding Pearl. This project will be included in the student’s e-Portfolio along with the faculty response to the paper.


CULTURAL EXPERIENCES: All students will be required to attend two UWO Theatre Department productions during the semester: Bus Stop by William Inge, and Antigone by Sophocles.  A discussion of the theatrical experience will take place in the class following the closing of the show. The dates for these shows can be found in the schedule.

Additional cultural experiences may be added as they become available.


CAMPUS RESOURCES: In the University Studies Program, we want you to be successful.  Please visit this resource page (or the D2L course page) to read about all the campus services available to support your success.


  • Writing Center: The Writing Center employs specially trained students with a passion for helping their peers become better writers.  The services it offers are beyond merely checking for grammar; instead, the Center strives to teach students the process of good writing.  Appointments are free, confidential, and are at your convenience.  For more information, email, view their website ( ), visit them at SSC 102, or call 424-1152.


  • Reading Study Center:  The Reading Study Center is an all-university service whose mission is to facilitate the development of efficient college-level learning strategies in students of all abilities.  The center offers strategies for improved textbook study, time management, note taking, test preparation, and test taking.  For more information, email, view the website ( , visit them in Nursing Ed Room 201, or call 424-1031.


  • Polk Library/Information Literacy: Ted Mulvey: Mr. Mulvey is an Information Literacy Librarian who is available to assist you as you access, evaluate, and use information in University Studies Program classes. Phone: 920-424-7329; email:



There will be a Midterm and Final Exam covering the material covered in class lectures and readings.  See schedule for dates of exams.



Project 1:  Indian Theater/ The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa

Project 1 A - Student will read The Recognition of Sakuntala, and write a brief one page analysis of the script, answering the questions Who, What, When, Where and Why?  This paper will be part of the Student’s e-portfolio and the basis of the Early Alert Grade.

Project 1 B - Students will work within a small group and create shadow puppets that will be used to perform a segment of a given play for the class. Projects will be graded on collaboration, creativity and quality of performance.

By producing the paper and the shadow puppet play the student will develop a better understanding of Theatre rituals in India, the messages behind the story being presented, and its importance to Indian culture.


Paper 2:  Chinese Theater/ The Qing Ding Pearl (playwright – Anonymous)

Write a Research Paper focused on the Peking Chinese Opera and the play Qing Ding Pearl. Discuss how you would produce a specific scene in the play, as it relates to the acting and design principles used in Chinese Theatre. Paper will be no more than two double spaced pages of text, supporting images should include no more than two pages of pictures illustrating the visual elements you would use. A bibliography of sources relating to the topic and play is required. Paper will be graded on completeness and depth of analysis.

By producing this paper the student will develop a better understanding of the Chinese culture, its history and the values used to produce this collaborative artistic event.


Project 3:  Japanese Theater/ Kanjincho by Namiki Gohei III

Students will work in a small group, and use passages from the selected play to incorporate sound effects similar to those used in Kabuki Theatre to give an audio three- dimensionality to the performance of the play. Project will be based on collaboration, creativity and quality of performance.

By the completion of this project the student will have developed a more in depth understanding of the role of theatre in Japanese society and culture.


Paper 4:  African Theater / Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka

The student will write a research paper using Death and the King’s Horseman and the Greek tragedy, Antigone, which will be performed in the Fredric March Theatre as a starting point. The paper will discuss the similarities between Greek tragedy and Soyinka’s style of writing, and how theatre can be used as a vehicle for political change. Paper should be no more than 3-4 pages double-spaced of text and may include images if referenced in the body of the paper.  A bibliography of sources relating to the topic and plays is required. Paper will be graded on completeness and depth of analysis.

Upon a successful completion of the research paper for this course the student will better understand the use and value of theatre as a voice for social and political change.



Unexcused absences in excess of two will affect the overall grade in the class.  Excused absences require documentation in accordance with the Dean of Student’s policy on attendance.



(15%) Paper/Project 1: Indian Theatre

(15%) Paper/ 2 Chinese Theatre

(15%) Project 3 Japanese Theatre

(15%) Paper 4 African Theatre

(20%)   Midterm Exam

(20%)   Final Exam




Each group will be no larger than 5 members. When presenting each group will have 5 minutes to perform. The class period will be broken up into 10 minute spaces, 5 minutes to perform, 3 minutes for feed back. Each student will be expected to submit a “group evaluation form”. This form will ask students to comment on the group experience. Groups are expected to meet outside of class time to firm up their performance projects. Evaluations will be submitted to the D2L web site in the designated drop box.

All members of the group are expected to participate.



Research papers will consist of a title page, no more than two - four pages double-spaced, as indicated in the project description, with no more than an additional two pages of images related to the information in the paper. Images should be labeled with Figure #, and the text of the paper should reference the Figure # when appropriate.  Papers will be submitted in doc or docx format and placed in the designated drop box on the D2L sight.


Non-Western Theatre Topics and Schedule

Feb 4th TU Introduction to Course/ How to read a script and analyze

Feb 6th TH Origins and Types of Indian Theatre/ Sanskrit Drama


Feb 11th TU Introduction to The Recognition of Sakuntala

Feb 13th TH Puppetry and Theatre

Feb 12th – 16th UWO Theatre Production: Bus Stop – Fredric March Theatre

Feb 18th TU Dance & Modern Theatre in India

Feb 20th TH Project Work Day (Paper Dropped in D2L- Drop Box Project 1A)


Feb 25th TU Project 1: Presentation Day 1

Feb 27th TH Project 1: Presentation Day 2 / Intro to Project #3

Mar 4th TU History of Chinese Theatre

Mar 6th TH Peking Opera


Mar 11th TU Introduction to Qing Ding Pearl

Mar 13th TH Conventions of Chinese Theater


Mar 18th TU Contemporary Chinese Drama

Mar 20th TH MIDTERM EXAM – Testing Center or Computer Lab/ Paper #2 due

March 24 -28th SPRING BREAK

Apr 1st TU Introduction to Noh and Kabuki Theatre

Apr 3rd TH Intro to play Kanjincho

Apr 8th TU Contemporary Japanese Theatre: Shingeki

Apr 10th TH Project Work Day


Apr 15th TU Project Work Day

Apr 17th TH Project #3: Presentation Day 1

Apr 22nd TU Project #3: Presentation Day 2 / Intro to Project #4

Apr 24th TH Roots of African Theatre and Elements of Postcolonial Drama

Apr 23rd – 27th UWO Theatre Production: Antigone – Fredric March Theatre

Apr 29th TU Intro to Death and the King’s Horseman

May 1st TH African Theatre and Politics/ Antigone and WWII


May 6th TU African Theatre- Discussion of Masks and use in production

May 8th TH African Theatre- Conventions of African Theatre


May 13th TU FINAL EXAM – Testing Center or Computer Lab/ Paper #4 due


by Alderson, James M last modified Jan 24, 2014 11:19 AM