Theatre Arts 275


Professor Mazer

Spring 2003


519 Annenberg Center, 8-7382 and 3-2659;

Office Hours:  Tu, 1:30-2:45, Th 10:30-11:45, and by appointment





Most of the communication for this course, including our ongoing discussion of one another’s reviews, will be conducted through an experimental web site.  Make a bookmark on your browser for, and click on our course.  If you are registered, you are automatically subscribed.  CHECK THIS SITE DAILY.  The web site will include daily announcements (including information about theatregoing assignments), and an electronic copy of the syllabus.  Another electronic version of the syllabus is available at*cmazer/275sp03.html.  Make a bookmark for this site, too, and use this version of the syllabus if you want to click on the hot links to the newspaper web sites.    There is also a listserv for this course:





Each class session we will discuss the latest reviews from the local and New York press (see below).  In general, Tuesdays will be spent analyzing and discussing your weekly writing assignments (see below); on Thursdays, we will address more general topics and issues pertaining to theatre reviewing and criticism.  Topics will include:


The theatre critic and the theatre industry


The theatre critic and the creative process


Criticism and dramaturgy


Reviewing new plays


Documenting the actor


The critic as advocate


Reviewing for the scholarly specialist and for the historical record


The ethics of reviewing.





We will be seeing a theatre production each week (sometimes with group-rate reservations for a single date, sometimes on your own).  Your review of that production is to be POSTED to the COURSEWEB web site by SUNDAY NIGHT of each week.  Read the reviews by your classmates on MONDAY, and post your reactions and constructive comments THAT DAY.  Read all of the comments before Tuesday’s class.


At the end of the semester (due date to be announced), there will a FINAL WRITING ASSIGNMENT:  a 10-12 paper analyzing the critical strengths and weaknesses of EITHER a critic we have read from history, OR a critic from the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer,   the Philadelphia City Paper, the Philadelphia Weekly, or the Chestnut Hill Local.





Make bookmarks on your web browser for all of these electronic sites.


Theatre reviews from the daily New York Times:   You will have to “subscribe” to the service; this does not cost anything, though the first time you visit the site you will have to establish an ID and password, which can be saved on your home computer so that you don’t have to reenter it every time you log on.


Theatre reviews from the daily Philadelphia Inquirer:; on Fridays:; and on Sundays,


Theatre reviews from the Philadelphia City Paper:


Theatre reviews from the Philadelphia Weekly:


Theatre reviews from the Chestnut Hill Weekly, to be posted electronically.


You will also be altered to the on-line versions of occasional theatre reviews from The Times (London), The Guardian (UK), and The New Yorker (occasional handouts).





There are essays and reviews reprinted in the bulkpack, to be scheduled, as well as additional readings, on handouts, to be assigned.  The bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut Sts.