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Thr 309 Acting Studio II

Theatre #97-309
Course Syllabus   Spring 2014
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh-Theatre Department

Performance Program Professors: Merlaine Angwall and Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft
Office Phones: Purse-Wiedenhoeft:  (920) 424-4425         Angwall: (920) 424-7050
Office Locations: Purse-Wiedenhoeft = ACW 119 and Angwall=ACW 101 & ACW 120

Jane’s Office Hours: Monday 11:30am-1:30pm, Wednesday 9-10am and by appointment. 
Merlaine’s Office Hours: Monday-Thursday from 1:00-1:50pm and by appointment.

Class Meets: Mondays and Wednesdays @ 1:50-3:20 p.m.
Location: ACW 18 and the theatres as laboratories.
Credits:  3

Required reading, fees and materials

  • Read the syllabus for the class
  • Read the plays from which monologues and scenes are selected.
  • Read articles on the craft of acting and careers in the theatre as assigned.
  • Pay for admission to required play performances on and off-campus
  • A spiral notebook for taking notes and journaling
  • For voice and movement work a yoga mat is required.
  • Warm-up clothes

Recommended items for the Shakespeare and Chekov work:

  • Women:  character shoes and a rehearsal skirt
  • Men: some sort of casual dress shoe/non-tennis shoes and a blazer/jacket


Course Description: This class is an extension of the experiential and theoretical based approaches to acting that were covered in Acting I.  It is the second in a three course sequence of acting classes.  You will continue to explore characters in relation to the needs of the given circumstances.  The initial focus of the class will be to expand upon the moment to moment work that creates truthful acting.  The second focus of the class will be further development of the voice and movement work begun in Acting I.  Laban movement work and Fitzmaurice Voicework® will be explored.  A third focus of the class will be an introduction to the Renaissance playwright, William Shakespeare and the late 19th century playwright, Anton Chekov.  By working on scripts by these two playwrights, you will be introduced to some specific styles of acting as well as how to approach texts with heightened language.


Course Objectives

  • Continue the work of identifying and performing advanced actions/tactics in a truthful and convincing manner while pursuing a character’s objective.
  • Demonstrate and gain advanced expertise in the ability to use images of the given circumstances of the play to motivate responses in the self during the performance of a character in a monologue or in scene cuttings.
  • Demonstrate a consistent and advanced understanding of objectives and obstacles that are used in the acting process in scripted pieces-including Shakespeare and Chekov.
  • Continue to identify and develop voice and movement challenges and skills. Continue to work on the subtraction of habitual regionalisms in speaking and habitual movement patterns while working towards a neutral and powerful acting instrument. Learn basic Laban movement elements.
  • More fully develop the actor’s analytical skills through observations and discussions regarding your acting work and the work of others, through written papers, class discussions of the actor process and observing actors in the productions being attended.


Course Goals


  • To continue to gain a broad experiential understanding of the acting process and its effect on performance results.  You will continue to learn how to use theatre as a problem solving tool.



  • To develop applicable physical/vocal skills.  You will continue to learn additional voice and movement skills and how to apply them to character development.
  • To analyze and understand a text for performance. You will continue to interpret a character through analysis of the structure of the text and the given circumstances of the play.  You will add the character layers of voice and movement.



  • To enhance creative skills and artistry in building a character and developing acting technique.  Build on the reality of doing by informing it with more specific and meaningful choices that are based in an active and fully realized imagination.


Course Requirements

  • Successful completion of the prerequisite classes of Script Analysis and Acting I, two monologues-one a Shakespeare piece, one performance response, a character analysis of the Chekov character/scene, a contemporary realism scene, a Chekov scene, two movement assignments, attendance at the three required productions-one is off campus, effective participation in the class and commitment to the expectations of the class.


  • Attendance at a performance of each of the following productions is required:

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Theatre Department productions: Bus Stop by William Inge and Antigone by Sophocles. Attendance with the class at a professional theatre production in Milwaukee or Appleton as scheduled.  We will discuss each of these performances.  You will have 50 points deducted from your semester point total per each required performance missed.


  • Students are required to participate in departmental auditions to gain practical experience in the auditioning process and to apply classwork to the production work when cast. Theatre majors are expected to be available to participate in productions-all roles are important and when auditioning, you need to be prepared for any casting result.  Rehearsing and performing in shows is a laboratory situation where you are able to apple the work being completed in class. The first audition will be for the 4th show of the department’s season.  If auditions take place for next fall’s first show, then you are required to audition for that as well. You will have 50 points deducted from your semester point total if you miss an audition.


Attendance Policy: Attendance is a requirement.  You are expected to attend class and to be on time.   Participation is an integral part of the work being done in this class. You are allowed two absences for emergencies and illness. For each absence beyond the two allowed absences, the end of semester grade will be lowered one grade level for example: if you have a B+ for the semester and you have had 3 absences your final grade will become a B.   If you are sick, email or call either Jane or Merlaine. This must occur before class the day of the absence. If you arrive after attendance has been taken, you need to inform the professor of your attendance immediately following the class to receive credit for that day. There are no make-ups for missed performances.

If you are late to class on a regular basis, points will be subtracted from the total points earned for the semester at the discretion of the professors-depending on the severity of the late arrivals.  Arriving a ½ hour late to class is considered an absence.


If the weather conditions are questionable, the professors will follow recommendations as recorded on the UW Oshkosh weather line, (920) 424-0000 and/or as announced on local television and radio stations regarding possible class cancellations.



  • Attend class, be punctual and start warming up when you arrive!
  • Be dressed appropriately and ready to work at the beginning of class.
  • Commitment:  Listen, focus on the work at hand, be a supportive member of the class and disciplined in your work ethic.
  • You are expected to rehearse outside of class-this is considered homework.
  • Specific assignment criteria will be distributed in class as needed.
  • Complete assignments on time.
  • Participate in discussions.
  • There are no “make-ups” of performance assignments.
  • All electronic devices must be turned off during class unless permission to use the devices has been announced.
  • No eating, drinking or gum chewing in class.  They interfere with the actor’s instrument. You may have water in class in a non-breakable bottle with a closeable top.
  • If there are concerns about any aspect of the class, please make an appointment to meet with us so we can discuss them and/or address them.
  • Treat other students, the professor and yourself with respect.  Harassment of any form 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.


Class Attire Expectations:

Wear clothes in which you can exercise.  Freedom of movement is essential for the actor.  No dresses, tight fitting clothes, flip flops, high heels, baseball caps, hats, sunglasses, etc.  Secure your hair out of the way so your face can be seen.  Wear appropriate rehearsal clothes when the style of the acting project requires it.


Written Work:

Papers will be graded on successful completion of 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 with a 10 or 12 point font.  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 on the due date. Late papers will have 25 points deducted from the total points earned per day late. (After class = one day late.)



Participation Points =50

(You start with 50 points and at the end of the semester, the below listed criteria will inform if any points are subtracted from that number.) Participation in and commitment to daily exercises, discussions, using a disciplined work ethic and being a supportive member of the class will inform the grades that are assigned.  You are graded on an individual basis.  Attitude, effort, class attendance, and completion of work – in and out of class - are critical for being successful in this class.  In scene and/or monologue work; growth in the application of rehearsing the feedback received from the professors and commitment to applying new skills, working with your scene partner and taking risks in your acting choices are of greatest importance.

2 Movement Assignments @ 50pts. each = 100

1 Performance Analysis = 100

2 Monologues/50pts process/50 pts performance@ 100pts each = 200

(1 Shakespeare monologue and 1 Contemporary monologue)

1 Contemporary Scene #1-50pts process/50 pts performance = 100

1 Character analysis of the Chekov character – Scene #2 = 100

1 Chekov Scene #2-50pts process/50 pts performance = 100

750 Total Points

Grading Scale:

Letter Grade




100 – 93

750 – 697


92.9 – 90

696 – 675


89.9 – 87

674 – 652


86.9 – 83

651 – 622


82.9 – 80

621 – 600


79.9 – 77

599 – 577


76.9 – 73

576 – 547


72.9 – 70

546 – 525


69.9 – 67

524 – 502


66.9 – 63

501 – 472


62.9 – 60

471 – 450


Less than 60

Less than 450


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.


Continuing in the Acting Program: Your continuation in the acting studio classes and/or performance major requires the permission of the performance professors.  The decision will be made at the end of the semester and will be discussed with you at your end of semester conference.  Continuation is based on a number of factors including a disciplined work ethic, quality of class participation, attitude and attendance.


The professors reserve the right to modify the syllabus to accommodate the needs of the students in the class. If any such modifications are needed, they will be announced in class.

(This syllabus was jointly developed by Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft and Merlaine Angwall.)

by Alderson, James M last modified Feb 20, 2014 07:18 PM