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Thr 161 Intro to Theatre

Introduction to Theatre
Spring 2015

Richard Kalinoski , Professor of Theatre
Introduction to Theatre Thr 161  Spring 2015
Number 161; 11:30 to 1:00 PM  Tuesdays and Thursdays

Classroom:  North Halsey 175
Professor and Resident Playwright Richard Kalinoski 218 ACW
Office hours : 3:00 to 4:30 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays and by APPOINTMENT.
(Arts and Communication West 218, 2nd floor Fredric March Theatre Building). 424 0937
Phone: 424 0937

The Enjoyment of Theatre by by Patterson and others
Isbn-10: 0205856152  2014 PEARSON published in 2013

Other texts:
The Boy Inside; Winter Fringe; O Pioneers (performances of plays)

1.The Boy Inside by Richard Kalinoski : February 18, 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 PM; Feb. 22 at 2 PM.  Fredric March theatre
2. Winter Fringe: March 12, 13,14 at 7:30 PM in the experimental theatre.
3. O Pioneers: April 29—May 3. Fredric March Theatre

Student priced tickets are $5.


Theatre 161 Introduction to Theatre (HU) 3 cr.

A survey of drama as an integral element in human society in its cultural aspects, intended to stimulate and develop an appreciation for drama as literature and theatre. Meets the Humanities requirement for General Education. No prerequisite.

NOTE: Above is what is in the catalog.  What follows are the details. Introduction to Theatre is a course which seeks to introduce students to the art, practice and craft of theatre through reading, lecture and attending plays. The three productions of the UW Oshkosh Theatre Department this semester will be fundamental to the content of this class. Attending each of these productions is mandatory for those enrolled in Theatre 161. (tickets are $5.00).


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’s mandate is to explore any and all facets of our 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.


Some rules and expectations: Obviously it is inappropriate for students to be texting/talking on cell phones and/or searching the internet during class. Turn off all technological devices at the beginning of each class and keep them off.  If you must take notes on a laptop you may do so but you should see me after class the first day to discuss your use of the laptop in class.


Notes in general about the class:

This class is designed for the student who may be unfamiliar with theatre and theatre etiquette. When attending performances students are expected to respect those who have invested a great deal of time and energy in preparing for and mounting a theatrical production.


Grades:  Quizzes and tests….

92--100 = A
87--91= A-
82--87= B+
78-81= B
75--77= B-
72-74= C+
70-71= C
68-69=  C-
66-67=  D+
60--65=   D
59 and below= F


Grades on papers/written responses:

These will be letter grades. Your written work will be assessed using several standards:
mechanics, spelling and proofreading; demonstrated insight, articulation of thought, ability to use examples to defend/explain points of view.


Breakdown of grades:

Quizzes   15%

Tests        25 %

Class participation (attendance and taking part) 15%

Responses to plays 20%

Oral presentations  25%

= 100 %

Extra credit: The only extra credit available will be if a student volunteers to work on one of the three shows this semester—backstage on run crew or working in the shop or helping with the strike (taking apart the set after a play closes).

Students can earn up to 50 extra credit points depending on the execution and delivery of their work. See your professor for details.


Major assignment:

Students will create on oral presentation (approx.. 5 to 7 minutes) as their final project of the semester. Students will need to choose their topic for their presentation by April 2, 2015


  • Students will demonstrate intellectual understanding of the concepts, traditions and practices of theatre artists.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of details and facts from several eras of theatre history including Greek,  Elizabethan, American and Shakespeare and Arthur Miller.
  • Students will show an ability to identify practices and concepts of contemporary theatre.
  • Students will demonstrate practices of theatre etiquette by attending performances of main stage productions in the Fredric March Theatre.


Attendance policy: Come to class and participate. Your steadfast attendance is one way to demonstrate your seriousness as a student.

Material on quizzes and tests will derive from lecture and discussion and films in class, from the class textbook and from the two plays that you will attend. Roll will be taken in class and if a student misses more than two classes without a viable excuse (written excuse from a doctor or other authority) that student’s semester grade MAY be lowered by one grade increment.


Class calendar. Note: your professor may adjust this calendar as necessary.


Introduction to the class. Student profiles. Review of syllabus. Assignment:
Read chapter 1 in Enjoyment of Theatre.

What is a play and why should we bother?
Why a play is not a movie.

Lecture/ Discussion of social conventions and other conventions. Why theatre is made up of conventions—the power of expectations of audience…the audience may accept the convention of sitting relatively quietly, paying attention, laughing and APPLAUDING.  Applause is a fundamental convention—nearly universal.  Why is it important? Do we need it? What is the nature of the social contract between audience and performers/actors?

Assignment: chapter 3 in text

Quiz on Chapter 1. Handout of copies of TRIFLES by Susan Glaspell
Lecture …on the origin of theatre. Primitive peoples; the need to explain, shelter, clothing, food. Power and powerlessness. Efficacious worship. Ritual. Audience.

The nature of entertainment.  The psychology of being present. Diversion; boredom and excitement. Theatre as a re-constructor of the human story.

no class ; read and prepare TRIFLES.

Reading of Trifles in class. Discussion of the elements of a drama in Trifles. Notes on
The Boy Inside. Guidelines for responding handed out.

Quiz on the 6 elements of a play and chapter 3; screening begins of DEATH
OF A SALESMAN (introduction to same). Assignment: Read chapter 11 and 12.

Discussion of THE BOY INSIDE. Screening of DEATH OF A SALESMAN; discussion of the play/video. Collection of responses to THE BOY INSIDE.

26 Discussion of Chapter 11. Notes on the Greeks. Assignment: chapter 13

Discussion of chapter 12; notes on the culture and engineering of the Romans: notes on
Theatre in the Middle Ages (chapter 13).

Test on chapters 11, 12 and 13 . Assignment:  Chapter 14

Screening of Shakespeare in Love   Guidelines for responding to Winter Fringe.

Screening of Shakespeare in Love: discussion of the film. What are the problems with Shakespeare? Reminder to attend WINTER FRINGE

Collect responses to WINTER FRINGE; discussion of WINTER FRINGE. Discussion
of Chapter 14. Assign: Chapter 6 and 7.

Discussion of theatre in a contemporary context (chapter 6) Reminder: report your topic

24 off vacation

26 off vacation

31 Discussion of chapter 7 the role and challenges of the playwright. Assign: Chapter 8

Discuss chapter 8---the responsibilities of the actor. Last day to report and gain approval for presentation topic.

Test on reading and discussion of chapters 6,7,8. Assign: chapter 9 and 10

Discussion of the role of the Director.

Discussion of the role of designers. Why designers are critical to the success of illusion.

Test on chapters 9 and 10.

Introduction to The Glass Menagerie. Begin screening of THE GLASS MENAGERIE.


Guidelines for responding to Oh Pioneers

Short quiz on the Glass Menagerie; discussion of protocols for oral presentations (topics).

Discussion of O PIONEERS.

Presentations of topics

Presentations of topics

Presentation of topics; wrap-up of class

by Alderson, James M last modified Jan 31, 2015 03:30 PM