Theatre Arts 236


Professor Mazer

Fall 2015


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

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



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

John Barton, Playing Shakespeare (links to Youtube clips on Canvas).


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

Essays and chapters by Alan C. Dessen:

“Linking Analogue” (from 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).  (Canvas)


III.  Text and Performance.

            Examples from Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.


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


V.  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.


Potential theatregoing/film viewing:  HD screenings of The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and Henry V (Royal Shakespeare Company) at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute; HD screening of Hamlet from the Barbican Theatre, London, via NTLive; television airing of The Hollow Crown II (Henry VI and Richard III); Donmar Theatre, Henry IV, Saint Anne’s Warehouse, Brooklyn.  Other possibilities TBA.


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


William Shakespeare, The Sonnets, Pelican Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Pelican Shakespeare.


All other readings are available for download on Canvas.  An electronic version of this syllabus is at  The listserv for this course is