Thr 204 Theatre History
Theatre History 204
Professor Richard Kalinoski
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Arts and Communication Building South 118 (may move)
Tuesday and Thursdays 8 to 9:30 AM
12:30 to 1:15 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays in office at 218 Arts and Communication West
Other hours by appointment.
Phone: 920 424 0937
richardkalinoski.com = web site
Texts: History of the Theatre Oscar Brockett 10th edition.
-Other texts: Performances of plays on campus: February 13, 14, 15, 16, 17…The American Dream and Zoo Story by Edward Albee; 13-16 at 7:30 PM and 17 at 2:00 PM. .
Student directed one-act –No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre; experimental theatre, March 7,8,9 7:30 PM
Playwriting Contest reading April 10--evening
The Madwoman of Chaillot : April 24, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 PM and April 28 at 2:00 PM
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.
Theatre’ mandate is to explore any and all facets of lives—it demands intellectual rigor and multifarious artistic abilities 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.
ON THEATRE HISTORY:
The nature of modern theatre is to expose, to provoke, to question and to entertain.
Theatre can happen when there is civil unrest; it can even cause further civil unrest. But because theatre does best when a society is stable (but not without conflict)…theatre is largely a stabilizing force in societies. The first part of this class will examine how people used theatre as an extension of their religion—for worship and celebration and education. Before the invention of the printing press (circa 1450) communication within a given society was slow and painful—technology changed that—and the theatre was changed as well.
The study of theatre history is the study of a very gradual historical
movement away from the religious toward the secular. It is vital that students understand the role of RITUAL in the long evolution of the theatre.
Theatre history is the study of civilization—that is, a study of people organized enough to be able to conduct themselves civilly with each other—the idea of a social contract. Much of history is about war and chaos and theatre does not thrive when chaos reigns. Ironically, theatre (and plays specifically) appear to be invented (or to have evolved) by people in order to help explain the chaos of their lives.
Theatre history is really a discipline which examines how theatre contributes to the evolution of society—theatre reflects the flaws of human beings and the flaws within the order called SOCIETY—the loose term which refers to how we organize ourselves. The challenge to the theatre of the future is for theatre to adapt to the prominence of the moving image (which is delivered in many ways by the year 2012).
OBJECTIVES OF THE CLASS:
1.Students will demonstrate (in writing) an understanding of the relationships among rulers, those ruled and religion in a given era.
2. Students will be able to articulate (through writing and speaking) the influences of the church on the evolution of theatre in the era.
3. Students will articulate important details of theatre practice in the era—including elements of design, playwriting, theatre management, the business of theatre and acting.
4. Students will demonstrate through speaking, writing and testing-- knowledge of the unique character of each era studied.
Major assignment: Each student will create and present an oral presentation on a question to which they will seek an answer (from theatre history).
Here ARE EXAMPLES of the kind of questions which some students may elect to pursue: What did the movement to outdoor playing spaces do to the evolution of Medieval Theatre? How did the use of liturgical drama help the Catholic church?
Why is civil order required for theatre to prosper? YOU will need to arrive at your own specific question….
Attendance policy: Come to class and participate. If you miss more than two classes with no legitimate excuse your grade will be lowered by ½ whole point for each unexcused miss beyond 2 . Come to class-- it automatically enhances your credibility as a student and common sense dictates that you will learn more by attending class than you will by skipping it (painfully obvious).
Extra Credit: Your professor will award extra credit to you if you volunteer to take part in some aspect of a theatre department production—onstage; backstage; as an usher or front of house; you cannot earn extra credit for tasks for which you are being compensated. Extra credit points can be added to your quizzes or tests.
Examples: Usher (one performance) five points added to a quiz; deck crew—entire run of show including tech—30 points added to a quiz or test; acting in a main stage show—30 points added to a quiz or test; acting in student directed one-acts—20 points; other volunteer activities—points to be evaluated.
Critical responses (reflections) ……20%
Class participation/ in class projects...15%
Note: This university has recently adopted a new (really old) series of grades. The following is my adaptation of those grades.
93 to 100 =A
90 to 92 = A-
87 to 89 = B+
83 to 86 = B
80 to 82 = B-
77 to 79 = C+
73to 76 = C
70 to 72 = C-
65 to 69 = D+
59 to 64 = D
Below 59 = F (not good; or…often considered bad)
29 Opening day; student profiles; discussion of syllabus; lecture on the state of theatre in the U.S.. Assignment: A one page profile of a grandparent’s significant episode. Due 31 January, 2013.
31 Lecture on Hobbes’ state of nature (life in the state of nature is solitary, brutish and short); introduction to the fundamentals of ritual; need for storytelling. Why study theatre of the Western world? Collect profiles (due).
Notion of the Leviathan. Assign: Pages 1 thru 6 in Brockett text.
Feb. 5 Discussion of role playing and imitation; ritual. Lecture/discussion re: efficacious ritual; group activity—repair to experimental theatre. Assign: pages 6 thru 9.
Discuss ritual exercise.
Feb. 7 Quiz 1 on pages 1 thru 9. Assign pages 10,11,12,13. Discussion of Greek Theatre/oligarchy . Comments on the notion of limited democracy—democracy for the elite.
Feb. 12 Guidelines for responding to Zoo Story and the American Dream.
Discussion of Dionysian Festival . Discussion of social contract of attending a play.
Discussion of surviving texts; extant texts. Problems of theatre history. Assign: pages 14 thru 19.
Feb. 14 No class—see THE AMERICAN DREAM and Zoo Story.
Feb. 19 Collect responses to the two one-acts. Discussion of Dream and Zoo.
Discussion of the concept of the Greek dramatic festivals. Assign: pages 19 thru 25.
Feb. 21 Discussion of the challenges of masks. The function of the chorus—further
efficacious functions. Exercise in creating a play with a chorus of elders. Assign: pages 25 thru 32.
Feb. 26 Quiz 2 on pages 19 thru 32. Introduction to the Romans Assign: pages 40 thru 45
Feb. 28 Major assignment—one question from theatre history, oral presentation,
Asking a question, seeking an answer; guidelines to be handed out and discussed. Discussion of Roman culture and democracy.
March 5 In class writing exercise: compare Greek to Roman theatre. Student directed one-acts open on March 8. Assign: pages 45—59 in Brockett
March 7 Student directed one-act starts (No Exit) (7,8,9—7:30 PM in the experimental theatre). NO CLASS—SEE THE ONE-ACTS.
March 12 Review of Greek and Roman theatre—test preparation—Seneca and etc.
Assign: 69 thru 77.
March 14 Test on Greek and Roman theatre.
March 19, 21 Off for Spring Break
March 26 Introduction to theatre of the Middle Ages. Return to
Thomas Hobbes and the Leviathan; the church and theatre as an extension of the Bible and church teaching. Assign: 78—84.
March 28 Discussion of practical issues of creating theatre in and for the church.
Assign: pages 84 thru 89.
2 On the uses of mansions in liturgical/religious drama in Europe. Assign pages 94 thru 99.
4 Quiz 3 on 94—99. Discussion of interludes; group exercise. Assign pages99--104
9 Review of all Middle Ages. Discussion. April 10—see playwriting contest winner,
16 Test on the Middle Ages; Assign pages 105 thru 110.
18 Transition to English theatre of the Renaissance. Discussion of Shakespeare and
contemporaries. Cambises contest. Assign: 110 thru 115.
23 Madwoman opens 24 April, 2013. Cambises contest entries due. Assign: pages 115—120.
25 No class—see Madwoman.
30 Announcement of Cambises winners (first and second place). Discussion of The Madwoman of Chaillot. Test on material re: English theatre—105 thru 120 and notes.
2 Oral presentations. (timed)
7 Oral presentations.
9 Oral presentations; wrap up.