• North East Independent School District Winston Churchill High School The Department of Theatre Arts  Course Syllabus for Theatre Arts I     Instructors:  Clark Stevens, M.F.A. and Wade Young      Course Description   This is the foundation course for the theatre arts curriculum at Winston Churchill High School.  Theatre Arts I is designed to provide the student with an exciting overview of live theatre by closely examining the elements of playwriting, acting, directing, design, dance, movement, voice and speech.  The course will demonstrate how these elements are first created by various artists and effectively brought together within a process that ultimately leads to a live theatre production.  To be sure, you will clearly understand what is involved in producing a play from start to finish.  Beyond the many elements and contributions that lead toward the final product, we will also look at the employment opportunities in theatre.     The theatre is a safe and creative laboratory where one may study humanity. A well-produced theatre experience may potentially change lives by questioning individual values, life pursuits, relationships, morals, ethics, opinions, and general attitudes governing our human behavior.  Many plays of substance ask us to deeply evaluate our own culture, our society and the individual roles we play in a community.  When you observe a character on stage, you must ask yourself, “How would I respond if I were in the same situation?”  Therefore be prepared to question and learn something about yourself during the study of theatre.     Course Objectives   This course will first analyze the function and meaning of theatre.  Students will gain a heightened awareness and understanding of the creative, expressive and artistic experience that the theatre provides.  We will discuss its necessity and survival through the ages.  In order to facilitate meaningful class discussion, students in this section will learn a shared vocabulary.  This will strengthen the student’s understanding of the various personnel, equipment and disciplines that are required to produce a play.  To meet these objectives, students in Theatre Arts I will study some theatre history, archetypes in dramatic literature, the philosophy behind theatre movements, as well as participate in theatrical exercises, readings and class activities.  We will also examine the language and structure of various plays ranging from the ancient Greeks to current contemporary playwrights.  You will fully experience dramatic texts of poetry and prose--uncovering the challenges that they both present.       All of this should provide you with enough insight to evaluate the merits of a live, theatre production.  You will then demonstrate your understanding in a formal, written composition (dramatic criticism).  While it is of great value to discuss a play, your final project will involve participation in a creative project (a short performance).  This should prove to be fun.  The performance will provide the student with an even greater appreciation and understanding of the following: The spirit of collaboration The discipline of memorization and performance The use of language and character    The playwright’s vision and intention The creative self within     COURSE CONTENT- (not all topics will be covered in the order presented and other topics may be substituted)   Unit 1      Discovering the need for Creativity, Fine-Arts and Theatre Discussion: Why Man Creates? Private and Public Art   Memorable Experiences of Theatre Art from child to adult Acting as a child.  The Creative Impulse Microtheme Assignment:  Reflection on Private Art that you created as a child or currently create. Perceptions of Art and DRAMA.  Why does a culture need the performing arts? The Power of Myth Archetypes in Dramatic Literature             Primal Expression, Origins of Storytelling and Drama              Video Montage: STOMP and Why man Creates?    Unit 2      Greek Drama                                                Related practices and vocabulary             Religious Ritual, Play Festivals             Activity:  Staging a Choral Ode and Transliteration Chant Video Montage: Greek Drama in Performance--Scenes from MEDEA.   Unit 3      Shakespeare and his Theatre Activity: Shakespeare Game Show.             History: The Renaissance, Shakespeare, The Globe theatre             Demystifying Iambic Pentameter             Video Presentation:  Battle of the Hamlets             Play Study, and Discussion:  Much Ado About Nothing             Microtheme Assignment: Comparing Three Hamlets              Unit 4      Restoration and French Comedy of Manners Video Montage:  Scenes from: The Imaginary Invalid and Tartuffe by Moliere. Play study: Tartuffe by Moliere Discussion:  Works in translation.  Alexandrine Verse.                                     Unit 5      The Birth of Realism             Video Montage: Scenes from A Doll’s House by Ibsen.             The impact of Ibsen. Realism in Russia: Checkhov, The Stanislavsky System,  The Moscow Art Theatre   Unit 6      Postwar Theatre             American Realism--Tennessee Williams.              Play reading and video presentation:             A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry             Experimentation with Absurd Scenes   Unit 7      Theatre Production and Theatre Spaces             Handout: General Theatre Terms             Directors and Designers—Concepts and Treatments             Theatre architecture and equipment   Unit 8      Professional Actors and Training             Film versus Stage. Actor’s Equity. SAG.AFTRA. Non-Equity Movement, Voice, Speech and Emotion Favorite Actors.  Auditioning Process.  Artist Representation. Casting and Diversity Acting techniques. Improvisation. Characterization.  Creating a character profile. Assignment:  Perform a monologue from Spoon River Anthology By Edgar Lee Masters   Unit 9      Scenic Design and Stage Properties Working plans and procedures. Models Innovative Materials and Assembly Scenic Crews, responsibilities Designing “props” Technical Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals and Performances   Unit 10     Costume Design and Makeup             Renderings, Process, Building, Costume shop staff              Unit 11     Lighting and Sound Design             Electricians, Operators,Engineer,Plots             Composers, Cues              Unit 12     The Artistic Production Staff             Director, Dramaturg, Choreograper, Vocal Coach The Function of a Stage Manager             Video Presentation: Stage Management             Technical Director and Staff             Running Crews             Employment and Training Opportunities   Unit 13     Playwriting & Rehearsing the Creative Projects and Media Studies Silent Film Study Radio Study Music Video Study   Unit 14     Final Performances  Review and Final     Unit 15     Play Production and Rehearsal Techniques          Method Exercises, Lecture, Discussion, Individual Projects, Readings and Performances   Requirements You must participate actively and willingly in all class activities and discussions.   Thorough preparation of individual and group assignments outside of class.   Thorough reading of assigned scenes, handouts and plays.   Conferences with instructor may be required.   Materials There is no textbook for this course.  You will need to keep an organized notebook for all handouts, materials, study guides, scripts, class notes, creative writing, and micro-themes. Special Policies Attendance This is a drama class.  Most of what you learn in Theatre Arts I comes from what you do, observe and discuss in class. It is impossible to “catch up” by reading your classmate’s lecture notes.  Prompt and regular attendance is mandatory. The N.E.I.S.D attendance policies will be strictly enforced. Remember, the student handbook is law.   The grade for missed work during an un-excused absence shall be zero.   Excused absences will be granted only for: 1.)  Medically documented illness with a note from a physician or parent 2.)  Documented school obligations (approved in advance) 3.)  Religious holidays (discussed, acknowledged by N.E.I.S.D. and approved in advance). 4.)  Death of an immediate family member   Two tardies will count the same as an absence from class.   Late Work Late written work will be docked one full letter grade.  If you do not turn in the late written work at the next class meeting, you will receive an automatic grade of “F” for that assignment.   Failure to attend class on a scheduled exam or performance day will result in an automatic “F” for the exam or performance missed.  Make-up performances and make-up exams will not be scheduled unless there are extremely compelling and verifiable circumstances.   Academic Dishonesty Students may be subject to disciplinary proceedings resulting in an academic or disciplinary penalty for academic dishonesty.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism and collusion.       * This course fulfills the TEKS competencies.   Assignments  Written Work 1.       Micro-Themes.  This is a short essay response to an assigned topic.  The theme must be hand written on a large 5”x8” note card.  The content of the micro-theme should concentrate on the following: a.) Summary of material and key points b.) Analysis c.) Personal observations. 2.       Quizzes.  Mostly pre-scheduled quizzes.  Pop-quizzes are rare but possible. 3.       Critique.  One critical essay on a Churchill theatre Length: 2 solid pages minimum and 4 pages maximum.  The critical essay must be typewritten with a computer (word processor), double-spaced and written in accordance with the M.L.A. handbook.  Production dates and due dates T.B.A.  A guideline for the production critique will be distributed in class.  4.       Tests. A mid-term and final exam.  Tests include written examinations or a performance-based assessment.     Performance Work 1.       Group Activities-including Choral Odes and Exercises. 2.       Monolgue— Self written or selected 3.       Final Project- either a small group project, duet scene or Reader's Theatre Multi-media.. Particulars concerning the creative project will be discussed and distributed in class.   Grading Criteria Grades will be based on the quality of your work, averaged grades, participation and your willingness to explore theatre as an art form.  The following is a possible grade breakdown:        Micro-Themes (averaged)       200 points        900-1000    =A Quizzes (averaged)            100 points        800-899     =B Mid-Term Performance          200 points        750-799     =C Class participation           100 points        700-749     =D Production Critique           100 points        Below 699   =F Test                          100 points Creative Project              200 points     Important RULES and Reminders The course content is subject to change in response to the student’s needs.  This includes possible variations in the sequence of topics (units of study).   Other assignments may be given that are not on this syllabus.   These assignments will be averaged into the class participation category.   Never walk in or out of the room during a performance—unless it’s an emergency.   You must sit in your assigned seat.   Stay in the room at all times.   One student may use the restroom pass. Only one at a time.   Back packs are to be stored in the corners of the theatre and left alone.  Have your theatre notebook and a pen under your seat.  Back- packs cause a tripping hazard in the risers.   If for some legitimate reason you have to leave class early, talk to me about it before class begins.  If you leave early without talking to me about it, I will make note of your exit.  Leaving early without clearance counts the same as a tardy.   Turn off all cell phones.  Turn off your pagers and all disturbing forms of technology during class.  Disciplinary action may result if you talk on a phone, your phone rings, you read a text message, you communicate on a walkie-talkie, read digits on a pager, play games on a phone, a game device or notebook computer.  The same disciplinary action will result if you: read magazines, newspapers or any material that does not pertain to Theatre Arts I.     Do not bring any gum, food or drink into the classroom, the black box or the theatre.  Failure to comply with this rule could also result in disciplinary action.   Do not touch any set pieces, lighting instruments, computers, sound or light board without permission.     Complete respect will be given to fellow students—especially when they are performing.  Theatre etiquette is easy to learn:  unless you are on stage or performing in front of the class, you do not talk.  Give the performer(s) your complete, undivided attention.   You are responsible for getting from fellow students—not me—any assignment missed because of absence or tardiness.  See me if it involves a handout.   Never hesitate to make an appointment with me if you feel you need extra help outside of class.