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Thr 152-002: Non-Western Theatre


Classroom: Arts & Communication South 149
Meeting Time: TR 8:00 – 9:30am

Instructor: Dr. Bryan M. Vandevender
Office Location: Arts & Communication West 120
Office Hours: TR 11:30am-12:30pm & by appointment


  • Greenwald, Michael L. The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theatre. New York: Longman, 2002.
  • Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala. Trans. W. J. Johnston. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.
  • Additional documents can be accessed via Polk Library’s Electronic Reserves or D2L


  • The Boy Inside / February 18-22 / Fredric March Theatre
  • O Pioneers! / April 29 – May 3 / Fredric March Theatre

This course surveys the historical development of theatrical traditions of four cultures (India, China, Japan,
Africa) from the documented origins of theatrical performance to the present. The scope of the course
prevents a comprehensive, chronological and geographic survey, but it does attempt to provide a reasonable
sampling of the diverse ways theatrical performance has developed across time and cross-culturally.


  • To identify and explicate the central tenets of Western theatrical practice.
  • To Identify and explicate the central tenets of the theatrical practices originating in Japan, China, India, and Africa.
  • To increase students' understanding of theatre's relationship to the society of which it is a part, and its significance as an art form, a cultural resource, a social institution, and a commercial enterprise.
  • To collaborate with peers in the planning and presentation of a theatrical performance.
  • To define and explicate ethical reasoning and identify ethical issues and questions.
  • To recognize and understand the basis for your personal beliefs.
  • To identify and understand arguments that challenge those beliefs. Engage in difficult--but respectful--conversations with those who share or do not share your beliefs.
  • To identify, assess, and articulate the ethical issues related to course materials.

The University Studies Program (USP) is your gateway into a 21 st century college education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. This Quest III course is the first 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 will 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?

The Quest classes are designed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of your education here, no matter what major you choose. For further information about the unique general education at UW Oshkosh, visit the University Studies Program website at

How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

“I have sought teachers in all areas of my life who would challenge me beyond what I might select for myself, and in and through that challenge allow me a space of radical openness where I am truly free to choose—able to learn and grow without limits ... The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress.” - Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Intercultural knowledge and competence is the understanding of one's own culture as well as
cultures beyond one's own; the recognition of the cultural values and history, language, traditions,arts, and social institutions of a group of people; the ability to negotiate and bridge cultural differences in ways that allow for broader perspectives to emerge; and the skill to investigate a wide range of world views, beliefs, practices, and values.

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. In approaching our signature question, we will use theatre and performance as tools for understanding self, relationships, and as a means of making ourselves more adept at critical thinking, conflict resolution and cooperative methods. 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. What we refer to as the theatre is most effectively employed when they are built on a broad base of knowledge that extends beyond skills-based training. Exploring this knowledge in the laboratory of the classroom and learning how to apply it to real world settings is an aim not only of this course, but also of liberal education in general.


Coursework, Due Dates, 700 Points Possible
Exam One, Week Seven, 100
Ethical Reasoning Manifesto, Week Twelve, 100
Collaborative Performance Project, Week Thirteen, 150
Peer Evaluation, Week Fourteen, 50
Exam Two, Week Fourteen, 100
Theatre Attendance (x2), Throughout Semester, 100
Attendance & Participation, Throughout Semester, 100


A: 700-651, B: 608-581, C: 538-511
A-: 650-630, B-: 580-560, C-: 510-490
B+: 629-609, C+: 559-539, D: 481-420
F: 420-0

This Web-Enhanced Course will be supported by D2L:
What to Expect from a Web-Enhanced Course: This course is designed to meet both face-to-face and virtually. It is essential that you consult the course site throughout the week to access course announcements, submit assignments, check grades, etc. All course documents— syllabus, rubrics, assignment guidelines and such—are posted there.

Help Available: If you are having any technical difficulties (e.g., logging in, accessing the discussion board) please visit,, email, or contact the Learn@UW Help Desk toll free at 888-435-7589.

• ATTENDANCE: Because of the nature of the coursework, which is interactive, participatory,
and collaborative, regular and prompt attendance is not only expected, but will be crucial to
your success in this class. More than two absences will drop your final grade one level per
absence: 3 absences will drop an A to an A-; 4 will drop an A to a B+; 5 will drop an A to a B; 6
will drop an A to a B- and so on. Absences may be excused only in circumstances that are
extraordinary and documented—serious illness, family death or medical emergency. Out of
town travel, unless for a medical reason, is not excused. Absences due to a college-related
activity or competition must be documented in order to be excused. To excuse an absence,
please bring me appropriate documentation within 48 hours of the absence. If documentation
is not provided within 48 hours, then the absence will not be excused. It is your responsibility
to determine the necessity of makeup assignments for anything you may have missed. Excessive absences, for any reason, are a problem, and any student who is not able to attend class regularly will be advised to drop. Remember that your attendance will not only affect your own work, but also you classmates’ work as well.

TARDINESS: While some instances of tardiness cannot be helped, chronic lateness is
disruptive and disrespectful. As our time together is limited, class will begin promptly at
8:00am. If you are more than fifteen minutes late, you will be marked as tardy. Two tardies
equal one absence.

PARTICIPATION: As creative endeavor entails doing, active participation is required. Active
participation means arriving to class on time with the appropriate assignments read or written, contributing to class discussion, maintaining a positive attitude, focusing on the task at hand, asking questions, and trying everything to the best of your ability. You will begin the semester with 100 participation points. I reserve the right to deduct participation points if I feel that you are not participating to the best of your ability. Talking or being disruptive during class, doing other homework, text messaging or using any electronic devices during class, coming to class unprepared, and refusing to participate in assignments/discussion will automatically result in a loss of ten participation points per instance—no questions asked.

GRADING/DUE DATES: Written assignments are due at the start of class on the due date
or via D2L Dropbox by 4:00pm on the due date. Work received at 4:01pm or later is considered late. Late written work will receive no credit. If you have an unexcused absence on the day of a performance, your participation grade will receive a ten-point reduction. Assignment grades will be posted on our D2L site for your perusal. If you have any questions regarding grading or a grade for a particular assignment, please schedule an appointment to speak with me during office hours. Questions about a specific grade must be posed to me within 72 hours of the grade distribution. Please follow your progress on the D2L site throughout the term. Once final grades have been posted on TitanWeb, they are final and will only be changed due to legitimate, clerical errors.

WRITTEN REFLECTIONS: You will occasionally be required to reflect upon your own
work in writing. These assignments will be used to assess your comprehension of the central
4course concepts and are in lieu of additional tests or reading quizzes. While this is not a writing intensive course, it is a university level course and you will be expected to record your thoughts and observations cogently and clearly in writing and to respond to writing prompts thoughtfully and critically. Please see our course D2L site for additional information about written assignments and expectations for writing assignments.

PERFORMANCE ATTENDANCE: You are required to see The Boy Inside and O Pioneers! in
the Fredric March Theatre. Tickets are available at the Fredric March Box Office or by calling
424-4417. You can also purchase tickets online at <
home#tickets>. There is a chance that performances will sell out, so please purchase your
tickets early. There is no excuse for missing a performance. If you fear that you might have a
problem attending a performance, please speak to me as soon as possible. Please submit your program to receive credit for attendance.

USP E-PORTFOLIO: As you move through your courses at UW Oshkosh, you will archive
your learning in an e-portfolio. The e-portfolio can be found in D2L. The e-portfolio 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 also use the e-portfolio after you graduate to show evidence of your learning to potential employers or graduate schools. In this course (and in all your USP courses), a specific assignment has been designated to be
uploaded to your e-portfolio. More details will follow in class.

• EARLY ALERT GRADES: Early Alert is a program that provides you with an Early Grade
Report from faculty. Early Grade Reports will indicate if you have academic performance or
attendance issues and specific steps you can take and resources available to help you improve. It
is common for students to be unaware of or over-estimate their academic performance in
classes so this will help you be aware early on of your progress and provide strategies for
success in the classroom. You will receive an email during the 5th week of classes. It is
important to read the entire email carefully.

• DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION POLICY: If you need accommodations because of a
disability, have emergency medical information to share with me, or need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please inform me—both in person and in writing— immediately. See me privately after class, or at my office. To request academic accommodations (a note taker, for example) students must also register with Disability Services. For other resources for students with disabilities, visit

• ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Academic honesty is fundamental to the activities and principles
of a university. All members of the academic community must be confident that each person's
work has been responsibly and honorably acquired, developed, and presented. Any effort to
gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful.

The academic community regards breaches of the academic integrity rules as extremely serious matters. Sanctions for such a breach may include academic sanctions from the instructor, including failing the course for any violation, to disciplinary sanctions ranging from probation to expulsion. When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, or collaboration, consult the course instructor. Suspected instances of dishonesty will be reported to the Provost. For more information about academic dishonesty, visit

• INTELLECTUAL PLURALISM: The University community welcomes intellectual diversity
and respects student rights. Students who have questions concerning the quality of instruction in this class may address concerns to either the Departmental Chair or Divisional leader All students will have the opportunity to submit an anonymous evaluation of the instructor(s) at the end of the course.

• COURSE EVALUATIONS: Because I value your feedback and want to be sure the class best
meets your educational goals and needs, we will issue both mid-semester course evaluations and end-of-semester course evaluations as well. Both types of course evaluation are anonymous.


• WRITING CENTER: The Writing Center employs specially trained students with a passion
for helping their peers become better writers. The services it offers are many and will help you
become a proficient writer. Appointments are free, confidential, and are at your convenience.
For more information, email:, or visit them at SSC 102, or call 424-1152.

• POLK LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY: Polk Library offers many professional
librarians who can help you find library resources for your research. Specifically, Ted Mulvey,
the Information Literacy Librarian, is available to assist you as you access, evaluate, and use
information in University Studies Program classes. Phone: 424-7329; email: You may also set up a research advisory session with a librarian at

• 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, or visit them in Nursing Ed., room 201, or call 424-1031.

• CENTER FOR ACADEMIC RESOURCES: The Center for Academic Resources (CAR)
provides confidential, free tutoring for students in most undergraduate classes on campus.
CAR is located in the Student Success Center, Suite 102. Check the Tutor List page on CAR’S
website for a list of tutors. If your course is not listed, click on a link to request one, stop by
SSC 102 or call 424-2290. To schedule a tutoring session, simply email the tutor, let him/her
know what class you are seeking assistance in, and schedule a time to meet.


  • I’m happy to talk with you about assignments and/or your progress in the course during the office hours listed above. Please see me to schedule an appointment. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at any time.
  • Please consult our course D2L site regularly for announcements and updates, especially if you have been absent.
  • All course documents—syllabus, rubrics, assignment guidelines and such—are posted there. Please consult yoursyllabus first when in doubt about due dates and course policies.
  • Please  and taken in the spirit of helping you to improve.
  • As this is a college level course, some of the material we consider might be “R-rated.” As you are all adults, I expect that you will conduct yourself as such. If you have a question or concern about the appropriateness of any material, please speak with me privately. Moreover, some of the conversations that we will have this semester have the potential to trigger strong reactions. It is important that all of us acknowledge and respect each other’s personal response to the course material.

This Calendar is Subject to Change

T 2/3. Introduction to class, syllabus, each other.
R 2/5. What is Performance? .
T 2/10. Theatre’s Origins. Greenwald: 3-21
R 2/12. Western Theatre: Greece & Rome. Greenwald: 23-62, 94-98
T 2/17. Western Theatre: Christendom & Beyond. Greenwald: 102-108, 132-143, 264-291
R 2/19. Theatre & Culture of India. Greenwald: 547-557
T 2/24. Theatre & Culture of India.
R 2/26. The Recognition of Sakuntala. The Recognition of Sakuntala: 3-105
T 3/3. Theatre & Culture of China. Greenwald: 558-570
R 3/5. Theatre & Culture of China.
T 3/10. Qing Ding Pearl.
R 3/12. Collaborative Project Explained.
T 3/17. Review for Exam One.
R 3/19. Exam One. Greenwald: 571-578
T 3/24. No Class Meeting – Spring Break.
R 3/24. No Class Meeting – Spring Break.
T 3/31. Theatre & Culture of Japan. Greenwald: 580-592
R 4/2. Kanjincho. Greenwald: 593-604
T 4/7. Theatre & Culture of Africa. Greenwald: 607-614
R 4/9. Death and the King’s Horseman. Greenwald: 639-667
T 4/14. Introduction Ethical Reasoning.
R 4/16. Non-Western Practices in the Western World / Casting Practices.
T 4/21. The King & I.
R 4/22. The King & I.
T 4/28. Ethical Reasoning Manifestos.
R 4/30. Collaborative Project Work Day. Ethical Reasoning Manifestos Due
T 5/5. Collaborative Project: Groups 1, 2 & 3.
R 5/7. Collaborative Project: Groups 4, 5 & 6.
T 5/12. Review for Exam 2.
R 5/14. Exam 2.

Please complete, sign, and hand in to the instructor by February 12



Previous USP courses taken:

Previous Signature Questions:

Favorite country/culture (other than your own)?

Group project preferences (please rank all 4 in descending order):

India: The Recognition of Sakuntala

China: Qing Ding Pearl

Japan: Kanjincho

Africa: Death and the King’s Horseman

I affirm that I have read and understand this syllabus, including all policies related to requirements, attendance, academic integrity, and grading.

Signature: ____________________________________________ Date: ___________________

by Alderson, James M last modified Mar 12, 2015 09:56 AM