Theatre Arts/English 236


Professor Mazer

Fall 2009


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

Office Hours:  Tu, Th Noon-1:20, and by appointment



I.  Language, objectives, action:  Sonnets; Chorus and scenes from Romeo and Juliet.

John Barton, Playing Shakespeare (DVD, on reserve in Rosengarten), Patsy Rodenburg, Speaking Shakespeare (chapters TBA).


II.  Shakespeare’s Stage and Stagecraft:  Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice.

Essays and chapters by Alan C. Dessen:

“Linking Analogue” (fro.m Elizabethan Drama and the Viewer’s Eye); “Elizabethan Darkness and Modern Lighting,” and “Theatrical Metaphor:  Seeing and Not-Seeing” (from Elizabethan Stage Conventions and Modern Interpreters);  Much virtue in As,” “The Vocabulary of ‘Place,’” and “‘Romeo opens the tomb’” (from Recovering Shakespeare’s Theatrical Vocabulary).  (bulkpack)


III.  Text and Performance.

            Examples from Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.


IV.  Playing the Scene/Building a Play:  The Merchant of Venice.


V.  Speaking the Verse, Creating the Character.

Richard Paul Knowles, “Shakespeare, Voice, and Ideology:  Interrogating the Natural Voice”; Sarah Werner, “Performing Shakespeare: Voice Training and the Feminist Actor,” with responses from Cicely Berry, Patsy Rodenburg, and Kristin Linklater, and follow up response from Sarah Werner (bulkpack)


VII.  The Director:  Conceiving a Production:

            The Merchant of Venice.




There will be TWO take-home assignments, at dates to be announced, and A FINAL TERM PAPER/PROJECT on The Merchant of Venice.  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.


Theatre Productions to be seen (if relevant; dates and group rates to be arranged):

All’s Well that Ends Well (video relay of live performance from the National Theatre, London):  Sunday, October 18, at 1 pm, Thursday October 22 at 7PM, Bryn Mawr Film Instutite.

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespere’s Globe Theatre Company:  Annenberg Center, Tue, Oct 27-31

As You Like It, Villanova Theatre, November 10 – 22.


Books to be purchased, Pennsylvania Book Center (34th and Sansom Sts.):


Patsy Rodenburg, Speaking Shakespeare, Palgrave Macmillan.

William Shakespeare, The Sonnets, Pelican Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Pelican Shakespeare.


Bulk-Pack to be purchased, Campus Copy Center (3907 Walnut Street):


An electronic version of this syllabus (  Make a bookmark for this site on your web browser.  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.