Theatre Arts 100


Professor Mazer

Fall 2003


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

Office Hours:  Tu 1:00-2:45; Th 11:00-11:45, and by appointment

Grader:  Ray Ricketts:; Office Hours by appointment


September 4:  Introduction:  What is Theatre?


September 9:  Theatre and Representation

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


September 11:  Theatre and Representation (cont.)

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


[REQUIRED THEATREGOING:  Theatre Arts Program:  Screaming Queens:  Medea by Christopher Durang and Wendy Wasserstein, and Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium by Charles Busch, September 11-13, Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center.]


September 16:  Theatre in Performance I:  Screaming Queens.


September 18:  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 23: Acting and Action

Bernard Beckerman, “The Theatrical Segment” and “The Dramatic Segment,” pp. 44-64, from Dynamics of Drama:  Theory and Method of Analysis (bulkpack): scenes by various playwrights (to be distributed in class).


September 25:  Acting and Action (cont.)

Reading:  Beckerman, Dynamics of Drama, pp. 64-77 (bulkpack); scenes by various playwrights (to be distributed in class).


September 30:  Action and Character

Reading:  Euripides, The Trojan Women.


October 2:  Action and Character (cont.)

Reading:  The Trojan Women.




October 6:  Action and Character (cont.)

Reading:  Aristotle, The Poetics.


October 8:  Action and Character III

Reading:  G. Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara; Bert O. States. “The Anatomy of Dramatic Character” (bulkpack).


[Fall Break]


October 16:  Character, Action, and Place

Reading:  Bert O. States, “The Scenic Illusion:  Shakespeare and Naturalism,” from Great Reckonings in Little Rooms:  On the Phenomenology of Theater (bulkpack).


October 21:  Character, Action, and Place

Guest Lecturer:  Peter Whinnery, Theatre Arts.

Reading:  Major Barbara.


October 23:  Defining the Audience:

            Guest Lecturer:  Marcia Ferguson, Theatre Arts.

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


October 28:  Theatre and Meaning I

            Reading:  Major Barbara.


October 30:  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 4:  Presentation and Ideology (cont.)

Reading:  Bert O. States, “The Actor’s Presence:  Three Phenomenal Modes” (bulkpack).


November 6:  Presentation and Ideology (cont.)

Reading:  Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle.


[REQUIRED THEATREGOING:  Theatre Arts Program: Major Barbara by G. Bernard Shaw, November 6-8, 13-15, Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center.]


November 11:  Music, Action, and the Actor

Guest Lecturer:  David Fox, Theatre Arts.


November 13:  Acting Alternatives II:  Performance, Ideology, and Gender

Guest Lecturer:  Rose Malague, Theatre Arts.

Reading:  Jill Dolan, “The Discourse of Feminism:  The Spectator and Representation,“ from The Feminist Spectator as Critic; Sue-Ellen Case, “Traditonal History:  A Feminist Deconstruction,” from Feminism and Theatre (bulkpack).


November 18:  Theatre in Performance II:  Major Barbara


November 20:  Re-Defining the Audience

            Guest Lecturer:  Marcia Ferguson, Theatre Arts.

   Reading:  The Trojan Women; Charles Mee, Jr., The Trojan Women:  A Love Story (available on-line at:


November 25:  Theatre and Meaning II:  Adaptation:

Readings:  Charles Mee, The Trojan Women:  A Love Story (cont.)




December 2:  Acting Alternatives II:  Performance, Ideology, and Gender (cont.)

Guest Lecturer:  Rose Malague, Theatre Arts.

Reading:  The Trojan Women (Euripides and Mee versions); 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).


December 4:   Summary and Conclusions.


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 12.  ALL TERM PAPER TOPICS MUST BE APPROVED BY ME BY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25.  Late term papers will not be accepted; if you cannot complete your paper by the deadline, you must take the exam.


Books (including The Trojan Women, Major Barbara (in the volume, Pygmalion and Major Barbara), Aristotle’s Poetics, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle) 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.


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