Theatre Arts 100


Professor Mazer

Fall 2000


Bennett Hall 305, x7382;

Office Hours: Tu 1:30-2:45; Th 1:30-2:45; and by appointment



September 7: Introduction: What is Theatre?


September 12: Theatre and Representation

Reading: Susanne K. Langer, “The Dynamic Image” and “Creation,” from Problems of Art (bulkpack).


September 14: Theatre and Representation (cont.)

Reading: Bernard Beckerman, “Imitation and Presentation,” from Theatrical Presentation: Performer, Audience and Act (bulkpack).


[REQUIRED THEATRE GOING: Theatre Arts Program: Thornton Wilder, The Happy Jounrey to Trenton and Camden and Pullman Car Hiawatha, September 14-16, Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center.]


September 19: Theatre in Performance I: The Happy Jounrey to Trenton and Camden and Pullman Car Hiawatha


September 21: Acting and Behavior

Guest Lecturer: Jim Schlatter, Theatre Arts.

Reading: Robert Cohen, “Playing the Situation: Out of the Self,” from Acting Power: An Introduction to Acting (bulkpack).


September 26: Acting and Action

Reading: Bernard Beckerman, “The Theatrical Segment” and “The Dramatic Segment,” pp. 44-64, from Dynamics of Drama: Theory and Method of Analysis (bulkpack).


September 28: Action and Character I

Reading: Arthur Schnitzler, La Ronde; Beckerman, Dynamics of Drama, pp. 64-77 (bulkpack).


October 3: Action and Character I (cont.)

Reading: La Ronde (cont.)




[RECOMMENDED THEATRE GOING: Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues: Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, October 3-15]



October 5: Action and Character II (cont.)

Reading: August Strindberg, Miss Julie (with preface) (bulkpack); Bert O. States. “The Anatomy of Dramatic Character” (bulkpack)


October 10: Action and Character II (cont.)

Reading: Strindberg, Miss Julie (cont.)


October 12: Action and Character III

Reading: Aristotle, The Poetics.


[REQUIRED THEATRE GOING: Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Oct. 13-Nov. 12, 21st and Sansom Streets; exact dates and group-rate tickets to be arranged]


October 17: Character, Action, and Place

Reading: Strindberg, Miss Julie (cont.); Una Chaudhuri, “Private Parts: Sex, Class, and Stage Space in Miss Julie” (bulkpack).


October 19: Character, Action, and Place

Guest Lecturer: Peter Whinnery, Theatre Arts.

Reading: Strindberg, Miss Julie (cont.).


[REQUIRED THEATRE GOING: Theatre Arts Program: Harold Pinter, Old Times, October 19-21, 27-28, Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center]


October 24: Representation and Place

Reading: William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet; Alan C. Dessen, “Shakespeare and the Theatrical Conventions of his Time” (bulkpack).


October 26: Theatre in Performance II: Romeo and Juliet.


October 31: Theatre in Performance III: Old Times.


November 2: Defining the Audience:

Guest Lecturer: Marcia Ferguson, Theatre Arts.

Reading: Oscar Brockett, Chapter 6, “Redefining Theatre,” from Perspectives on Contemporary Theatre (bulkpack); Washington Irving, “The Audience of the First Park Theatre” (bulkpack).


November 7: : Language, Action, and the Actor

Reading: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (cont.); John Barton, “The Two Traditions” and “Using the Verse,” Playing Shakespeare (bulkpack).


November 9: Music, Action, and the Actor

Guest Lecturer: David Fox, Theatre Arts.




November 14: Acting Alternatives I: Presentation and Ideology

Guest Lecturer: Jim Schlatter, Theatre Arts

Reading: Essays by Bertolt Brecht: “The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre,” “Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction,” “Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting,” “The Street Scene” and “A Short Organum for Theatre” (bulkpack).

November 16: Re-Defining the Audience:

Guest Lecturer: Marcia Ferguson, Theatre Arts.

Reading: Susan Bennett, Chapter 2, “Theories of Reading and Viewing,” from Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception (bulkpack)


[REQUIRED THEATRE GOING: Theatre Arts Program, Kenneth Lonergan, This is Our Youth, November 16-18, Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center]


November 21: Theatre in Performance IV: This is Our Youth.


[November 23: Thanksgiving]


November 28: Presentation and Ideology

Reading: Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine.

November 30: Acting Alternatives III: Performance, Ideology, and Gender

Guest Lecturer: Rose Malague, Theatre Arts.

Reading: Gay Gibson Cima, “Strategies for Subverting the Canon,” and Rhonda Blair, “‘Not...but’/‘Not-Not-Me’: Musings on Cross-Gender Performance,” from Upstaging Big Daddy (bulkpack).


[TELEVISED VIDEO, dates to be announced: Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles]


December 5: Acting Alternatives II: Representing Others

Guest Lecturer: Rose Malague, Theatre Arts

Reading: Bert O. States, “The Actor's Presence: Three Phenomenal Modes” (bulkpack); “Anna Deavere Smith: the Word Becomes You,” an interview by Carol Martin (bulkpack).


December 7: Conclusions: Script to Performance:

Reading: Churchill, Cloud Nine (cont.).



In addition to the two take-home essays and the in-class exercise, there is a choice of EITHER a final examination, at the date scheduled by the registrar, OR a 12-15 page final term paper, on an open topic, due FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15. ALL TERM PAPER TOPICS MUST BE APPROVED BY ME BY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28. Late term papers will not be accepted; if you cannot complete your paper by the deadline, you must take the exam.


Books (including La Ronde, Romeo and Juliet, Aristotle's Poetics, and Cloud Nine) can be purchased at the Penn Book Center (at 34th and Sansom Sts.); the Bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut.


YOU ARE REQUIRED to see (and you will almost certainly be asked to write about) productions and performances around the Philadelphia area over the course of the semester, including productions in the Studio Theatre of the Annenberg Center sponsored by the Theatre Arts Program, as noted on the syllabus. Additional required productions may be added over the course of the semester.


The listserv for this course is You have been subscribed automatically. If you do not seem to be on it, or if you drop the course and wish to be unsubscribed, please send a note to cmazer@english.


The syllabus for this course is available in electronic form through the world wide web, at Make a bookmark on your web browser for this site. In addition, we will be using an experimental web site for this course. Make a bookmark on your browser for, click on Theatre Arts, and click on our course. If you are registered, you are automatically subscribed: your login will be your PennNet ID and your password is your PennNet password. CHECK THIS SITE DAILY. The web site will include daily announcements (including information about theatregoing assignments), and an electronic copy of the syllabus. The site also includes a discussion group, with access restricted to members of the course.