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Thr 205 Fundamentals of Acting


Theatre #97-205

Course Syllabus Spring 2014

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Theatre Department

Professor: Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft Credits: 3

Email: Office phone: (920) 424-4425

Office Location: ACW 119

Office Hours: Mondays, 11:30am-1:30pm, Wednesdays 9-10am, stop by or make an appointment.

Class Meets: Tues &Thurs 1:20-2:50pm

Location: ACW 18


-Read the syllabus for the class.

-You are required to read the plays from which monologues and scenes are selected.

-Additional reading assignments about the acting process will be distributed/assigned in class.

-Students are encouraged to take script analysis as preparation for this course but it is not required.



-To gain an understanding of basic acting principles and techniques.  Beginning principles emphasized will be developing trust in other ensemble members during activities, receiving and accepting feedback and taking risks through trial and error in improvisational work.

-Learn how to use critical analysis of acting, both written and verbal.

-Explore basic voice and movement skills and explore the creative aspects of character analysis and development.

-Students will learn to work in an ensemble environment and create fundamental acting choices in a truthful and convincing manner through scene cuttings from plays and in monologues.

-Students will demonstrate an understanding of the acting process in the performance of these scenes and monologues.


Knowledge: To gain a broad understanding of the acting process and its effect on performance results.  Students will learn how to use theatre as a problem solving tool that can be used in other disciplines and as a lifelong learning tool.


Skills: To develop physical/vocal skills.  The student will learn vocal/movement warm-ups and approaches.  To analyze and understand a text for performance. The student will experience the acting process and learn how to interpret a character through analysis of the structure of the text and the given circumstances of the play. 


Creativity: To enhance creative skills and artistry in building a character and developing acting technique.  Problem solving can be explored in an improvisational setting that promotes creative outcomes and unique possibilities in the creation of a character in scene work and in audition preparations.


-Attendance at a performance of each of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Theatre Department productions is required:  Bus Stop, Side by Side by Sondheim and Antigone are this semester’s shows. As a class, we will discuss each of these.  You will have 25 points deducted from your semester point total if you miss a performance. Brief quizzes will be given in class to demonstrate that you attended a given show.

-You are strongly encouraged to participate in departmental auditions to gain practical experience in the auditioning process and to be considered for casting in the shows.  Antigone auditions are at the start of the semester on Monday, February 3rd and Tuesday, February 4th.


-Attend class and be punctual!

-Commitment:  Listen, focus on the work at hand, be a supportive member of the class and disciplined in your work ethic.

-Students are expected to rehearse outside of class time as part of the homework for this class.

-Be dressed appropriately and be ready to work at the beginning of class.

-Complete assignments on time.

-Participate in discussions.

-All electronic devices must be turned off.  In case of an emergency, distribute the phone numbers of the Theatre Department office 920-424-7042 and campus security.

-No eating or gum chewing in class.  They interfere with the actor’s instrument.

-If there are concerns about any aspect of the class, please make an appointment to meet with the professor so they can be addressed.

-Treat other students, the professor and yourself with respect.  Harassment of any type won’t be tolerated. Use good judgment and appropriate behavior in class.

-Academic honesty and integrity is expected at all times.  Plagiarism or other cheating will result in a zero on the assignment and appropriate official steps will be taken.


Please wear clothes in which you can exercise such as work-out clothes that aren’t revealing.  You will be spending time on the floor, doing warm-ups and improvisational acting that require ease of movement.  No dresses, no tight fitting clothes such as jeans, no flip flops, high heels, baseball caps, hats, sunglasses etc.  If your hair blocks your face or line of vision, please bring something with which to secure it out of the way.  I will end class a few minutes early so those of you who need to change clothes prior to your next class may do so.


Absences: Students are expected to attend class and to be on time.  Participation is an integral part of the work being done in this class so if you aren’t here you miss the experience based learning.  Two absences are allowed.  Those absences are to be used for sickness, family emergencies, legal matters or in other words, emergencies.  If you can’t be in class, email me or call my office phone and leave a message so work that might be affected by absences can be considered.  Do this prior to class time. For each absence beyond the two allowed absences, the end of semester grade will be lowered one grade level for example: a student with a B+ for the semester who has had three absences will receive a grade of B, four absences a B-, etc.

Late To Class and Weather Emergencies:

If you arrive after the start of class, it is up to you to inform me of your actual attendance immediately following the class to receive credit. If a student is late to class on a regular basis, points will be subtracted from the participation points at the end of the semester at my discretion.   Arriving a ½ hour late or more to class is considered an absence-you may still participate, but it will count as an absence.  If the weather conditions are questionable, I follow the recommendations as recorded on the UW Oshkosh weather line which is (920) 424-0000 and/or as announced on local television and radio stations.



-Email is the official way of communicating on this campus.  Please check it often.

-Papers will be graded on successful completion of assignment criteria, grammar usage, spelling and general paper writing skills.  All papers must be word processed using black ink, contain consistent spacing-double spaced is preferred and a 10-12 point font.  If asked to turn in papers electronically, that information will be communicated in class. If asked to print hard copies, then back to back pages are acceptable in order to save paper. Papers need to be turned in on time which is at the beginning of class time on the due date. Late papers will have 15 points deducted from them per day. (After class = a day)

-Performance assignments must be performed on the scheduled due date – no make-ups allowed.

-No class: Thursday, March 6th, Spring Break = Tuesday, March 25th and Thursday, March 27th


Participation in and commitment to daily exercises, improvisational explorations, discussions, using a disciplined work ethic and being a supportive member of the class will inform grades received.  You are graded on an individual basis, not against one another.  Attitude, effort, class attendance, and completion of work – in and out of class - are the key components of the class.  In scene and/or monologue work; growth in the application of feedback received from me-which means spending time out of class rehearsing as homework, working supportively with a scene partner or group members and commitment to applying new skills are of most importance.


An assignment schedule will be distributed by the end of the second week of classes.


2 Performance Analysis Papers                                         = 100 pts.

1 Character/script Analysis Paper of the final scene       = 100 pts.

Participation Points assigned at the end of semester      =   50 pts.

(Participation in and commitment to daily exercises, improvisational explorations, discussions, using a disciplined work ethic, being on time to class, completing and being prepared for assignments and to being a generally supportive member of the class are items included in this category. You start the semester with 50 full points and if you are not fulfilling the above criteria on a regular basis-you don’t have to be perfect-, then points will be subtracted.  It is easy to get the full 50 points.)

1 Open Scene                                                                                    =   50 pts.

1 Group Project                                                                     =   50 pts.

2 Miscellaneous assignments @ 50 pts. each.                  = 100 pts.

1 Monologue-50pts. process/50 pts. performance                         = 100 pts.

1 Scene-50pts process/50 pts performance                                   = 100 pts.

Total Points possible                                                                        = 650 pts.


Grading Scale:

Letter Grade




100 – 93

650 – 604.5


92.9 – 90

604 – 585


89.9 – 87

584 – 565.5


86.9 – 83

565 – 539.5


82.9 – 80

539 – 520


79.9 – 77

519.5 – 500.5


76.9 – 73

500 – 474.5


72.9 – 70

474 – 455


69.9 – 67

454.5 – 435.5


66.9 – 63

435 – 409.5


62.9 – 60

409 – 390


Less than 60

Less than 390


Liberal Arts Statement

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 well-rounded citizens.  Theatre holds a mirror to society and teaches us what it means to be human.  Theatre, as with all areas of the Liberal Arts, is most effectively employed when it is built on a broad base of knowledge.


I reserve the right to modify the syllabus to accommodate your needs as students in the class. If any such modifications are needed, I will announce them in class and/or post them on D2L.

by Alderson, James M last modified Feb 04, 2014 02:28 PM