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Thr 465 Children's Theatre

Children’s Theatre 465

Arts and Communication  room 150  SOUTH

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Fall, 2012

Professor Richard Kalinoski

9:40 to 11:10.

Richard Kalinoski  office: 218 acw  920 424 0937

“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.



Historically there has been some debate about the necessity for a separate field of endeavor called CHILDREN’S THEATRE.  But it is clear that as children grow and learn entertainment on stage which addresses children’s needs and wants makes practical sense.  Human history suggests that story telling and story showing (theatre) is attractive and exciting for children—and that one feature of this story telling is FANTASY—TALES OF THE FAIRIES—creatures of imagination.

This is a course which will explore THE USES OF IMAGINATION. The course will also wrestle with the task of storytelling—understood here to be story SHOWING.

MEETING TIMES:  We will need to discuss how and when we can meet to increase our chances of presenting the play you will write to a child audience.



1. No formal text:  Students will be required to attend and respond to two main stage university



Required attendance at performances of plays:

1. More Fun than Bowling by Steven Dietz September 26 at 7:30; 27 at 7:30: 28, 29 at 7:30 and 30 at 2:00 PM.  All performances in the Fredric March Theatre.  Student priced tickets are $4.00.

2. The Christmas Schooner; November 14-18; 14 thru 17 at 7:30 PM

and 18 at 2:00 PM.  Student tickets   $4.00.


Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 to 3 00 PM 218 ACW (arts communication west) and by appointment:  Phone: 920 424 0937


Students are encouraged to speak to me during office hours to discuss their progress in the course. The office hours are for you…you should make use of them.



The first several classes will have significant components of lecture and discussion. There will be quizzes responding to these lectures/discussion.


Objectives of the Class:


A.    Students will demonstrate effective organization skills by cooperating in class activities.

B.    Students will learn by participating in a group project as those groups invent,

explore, discuss, write, devise, emote and play.

C. Students will learn through active invention: creating story—enacting story, revealing story.

D. By creating a children’s play students will learn THEATRE PRACTICE by writing and acting.



The several components which make up your grade follow:

a.  attendance (if you miss more than one class (unexcused) your grade will drop by

one whole increment (a to b, b to c, etc.)       20%

b. responses to the two plays---graded essays in response to the performances. Guidelines will be distributed ; presentation on Children’s Theatres in the U.S..       20 %

c.  class participation—your contribution to the class.  Of course this is a subjective judgment---so you will have a chance to describe your contribution in a written statement….at mid-term and near the end of the class. Your contribution to the scripted play the class will create is included in this component.       45%

e. quizzes –on reading and notes from class        15%



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



One of the few major requirements for this class is the PLAY you will create as a group. You will be asked to write (somewhat improvisationally), rehearse and perform a play. The play will be meant for students in the upper grades of elementary school.

The task of creating a play is a complex one requiring extensive cooperation, imagination, discipline, alertness and commitment.  Ideally our play should be performed before an audience of children…we will need to discuss how we can do this—how we can locate an audience or get that audience to come to us.

Because this class is exceedingly small each student has  considerable responsibility—this is a critical component of the class.

The Schedule:

September 6 Intro to the class/ student profiles. Discussion of the place of Children’s Theatre in the U.S. .  Assignment:  Each student will identify a professional theatre which produces for child audiences and become an expert on that theatre.  Example: Minneapolis Children’s Theatre. Article about the non-cute.

September 11 Lecture and discussion of the uses of Fantasy. Students will present each other.

September 13 Quiz 1   Lecture on the construct of a play—suspension of disbelief; six elements.  Introduction of exercises; group—creating something. Assignment:  everyone writes a two page story…due on September 20, 2012.

September 18 (Tuesday) Exercises in class.

September 20 Quiz 2 on lecture notes.   Lecture on form and format of a play. Formal assignment of play.  Exercises/games. Guidelines distributed for responding to main stage play.

September 25 Practice in writing dialogue.  More Fun Than Bowling opens next day.

September 27 No class—attend More Fun Than Bowling.

October 2 Discussion of More Fun Than Bowling. Responses to MORE FUN THAN BOWLING due.  Discussion of stories written.  Students present and discuss individual stories.

October 4 Quiz 3 Theatre games.  Basis of play chosen; story chosen.

October 9    Theatre games/exercises.; Students meet to write and discuss play.

October  11 Theatre games/exercises. Students meet to write and discuss play.

October 16. First draft of play due.  Copies for everyone. Read play in class.   Theatre games/exercises.  Discussion of play. Discussion of audience possibilities;

October  18 Play to be read in class. Discussion of first draft.

October 23 Exercises; theatre games.

October  25 Second draft due. Copies brought. Read in class..

October   30 (Tuesday) Rehearsal begins. Table work. Reading of play. Discussion.

November  1 Warm ups and exercises….using the script (rehearsal)

November  6. (rehearsal)

November  8 Rehearsal. Discussion of  potential audience.

November  13 Discussion of (responses due) Rehearsal.

November  15 See The Christmas Schooner. No class.

November  20 Rehearsal; Responses to Christmas Schooner due.

November 22 (off—Thanksgiving) NO CLASS

November  27 ( Tuesday) (off-book) Rehearsal Discussion of costume.

November  29   Rehearsal

December 4 Rehearsal

December 6 Dress  Rehearsal  Discussion of costume.

December 11   Performance

December  13 Performance (invited audience)

by Alderson, James M last modified Sep 06, 2012 11:13 AM