Theatre Arts 121


Professor Mazer

Spring 2008


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00-Noon; and by appointment



I: Introduction: The Director and the Actor:

Reading: Francis Hodge, Play Directing:  Analysis, Communications, and Style, chapters 1 and 2.



II.  Script Analysis:  The Scene I:

Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets

Reading:  Hodge, chapters 3-5 (specific readings for specific dates to be announced)

SCENE ASSIGNMENT:  two-person scene from Awake and Sing!, to be assigned.

FIRST WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT:  scene analysis of your scene from Awake and Sing!   (Supplemental reading:  Marcia Ferguson, A Short Guide to Writing About Theatre, chapter 6)


III.  Working with Actors/Blocking and Image-making:

Reading:  Hodge, chapters 7-14 (specific readings for specific dates to be announced)

Special class session in the Studio Theatre.


IV.  The Scene II:

SCENE ASSIGNMENT:  second scene project from Awake and Sing!, to be assigned (time permitting)


V.  The Director and the Designer(s), the Director and the Interpretation, the Director and the Concept:

Reading:  Hodge, chapters 17-21 (specific readings for specific dates to be announced)

Attendance at local theatre productions (particular productions subject to change):

M Butterfly, by David Henry Hwang:  Philadelphia Theatre Company, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, S. Broad St., Jan 18-Feb. 17.

Spring Awakening, by Frank Wedekind:  Theatre Arts Program, 511 Annenberg Center, February 27-March 1.

Othello, by William Shakespeare, Lantern Theatre, St. Stephen’s Alley and 9th St., March 28-Apr. 27

Frozen, by Bryony Lavery, InterAct Theatre, Adrienne Theatre, 20th and Sansom Sts., Apr. 4-May 4

(Reading:  Ferguson, chapter 2)

SECOND WRITING ASSIGNMENT:  Critique of one of the productions (to be announced).  Supplemental Reading:  Ferguson, chapter 3)


VI.  Additional Readings:

There is no bulkpack for this course.  However, it is likely that there will be essays and chapters on directing theory and practice that will be assigned, as handouts, through the semester.


VII.  Final Project:


A scene from a one-act play, in the genre of American realism, of your choice (your play choice must be approved IN ADVANCE)


An analytical promptbook for your one-act play, including an overall analysis, a ground plan, a discussion of your approach to the play, a scene analysis of the scene you have directed, and a detailed promptbook for that scene.




Your grade will be based on:

A) Writing assignments:

Scene analysis

Production critique

Final written assignment:  prompt book

B)  Scene projects:

Scene assignments

In-class exercises

Final scene project

C)  Attendance and participation


Note:  ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED AT ALL CLASSES, as is scene-work as assigned.  ABSENCE FROM ANY CLASS AT WHICH YOU ARE SCHEDULED TO PRESENT A SCENE, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS WITH A PARTNER WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE REFLECTED IN YOUR GRADE.  You are responsible for scheduling your own rehearsal time for assignments that require it.  Lateness to class impedes our collective work, and is a discourtesy to your fellow students, and will be reflected in your grade.


Books to be purchased (at the Penn Book Center, 34th and Sansom Streets):

Francis Hodge, Play Directing:  Analysis, Communications, and Style

Marcia Ferguson, A Short Guide to Writing About Theatre

Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty and other Plays


Academic Conduct:  All written work must be original:  all sources, whether quoted directly or paraphrased, must be credited. You will be held to the highest standard in these matters, and violations will receive the most severe penalty, subject to the Office of Student Conduct.  Please consult the OSC website for details, at


Listserv:  the listserve for this class is