Theatre 322/English 444

Winter 2009

MW 3:30-5, WDC 2439


Dr. E.J. Westlake

Office Phone: 764-3118

Office: 2433 WDC


Office Hours: MW 1-2, virtually, or by appointment






Required Texts:

Theatre Histories, Routledge



Materials on CTools and on the web



Web Page:  http:/



Course Objectives: In this course, we will explore performance and theatre history by reading plays, examining the historical record, and by studying performance theory. It is my hope that at the end of the term you will understand the role of performance in society through history and that you will be able to look at history with a critical eye. I hope that you will understand performance as a forum for community expression, as a tool for social change, and as an expression of the desires and dreams of individual artists.


Attendance Policy: In this course I will mix discussion, lecture, and group projects.  I will not repeat information that is already in the reading, but rather, use the texts as a springboard to talk about other issues.  Because you are expected to share your thoughts about the reading and about your own observations, you must come to class prepared.  You will only get out of this course what you put into it.











100 pts


Group Project


100 pts


Final Paper


200 pts


Midterm Exams

20% each

400 pts


Final Exam


200 pts




















Plus and minus grades are given at my discretion.


Participation: The classroom is a forum for the exchange of ideas.  It is also a supportive learning community.  Part of your grade depends on your ability to contribute to the class in a positive way.  Excessive absence will affect your grade, but coming to class unprepared or with the wrong attitude will have an even greater impact.   For details on grading, consult this page.


Group Projects

There are two possibilities for the project:

1)      Acting Scene: You may present a short scene to the class of your assigned play.  In addition to performing the scene, you must prepare a short presentation on your research to the class.  You may talk to the class about your acting choices, the playwright, the time in which the play was written, the time in which the play is set, or any number of things relating to the play.  Lead the class in an intelligent and thoughtful discussion about the play. Presentations without meaningful discussions will not receive anything higher than an 89 for a grade.

2)      Design Concept: Each member of the group presents a series of color drawings or models which illustrate one of the plays on the attached list.  After you present your illustrations or models, speak to the class about your research.  The research can be about your design choices or about any of the above topics.  Lead the class in an intelligent and thoughtful discussion about the play. Presentations without meaningful discussions will not receive anything higher than an 89 for a grade.

Note: If there is an electronic component to your presentation (video, PowerPoint, etc.), you must submit a copy to me for your group to receive a grade.

Please limit your presentation to no more than 30 minutes of class time.


Midterm and Final Exams: The midterm exams will consist of essay, short answer, and multiple-choice questions.  Examples will be posted to the web page.


Final Exam, Friday, April 24, 1:30-3:30, regular classroom.


Final Paper: Choose a topic pertaining to Theatre History. The topic should fall chronologically between the Restoration and 1980. It should be 1900 - 2400 words, typed, and double-spaced.  Please do not use some weird font.  Stick with courier, Times, Garamond, or something that is easy to read.  Please choose 11 to 12 pt font.  Use the MLA or Chicago (APA is also acceptable) as a style guide and include a bibliography that shows that you have read hard sources.  You must use at least 5 hard (not web pages) sources excluding the textbook and excluding the play or plays you are discussing.  Two of those sources must be journal articles.  The paper should be thesis driven. I will give you some possible topics/thesis-statements.  I will not accept papers that are just close readings of the literature.  If you write about plays, the paper must demonstrate an understanding of the literature within its cultural, political, and practical context. It is best to email me and discuss your ideas.  Use the writing resources posted on my web page.  You must submit this assignment electronically.


Plagiarism: If you don't know what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the MLA Handbook. Failure to cite sources can result in a failing grade or in expulsion from the University. If you paraphrase the idea of another, use another scholar's words, or consult a source, you must cite the source in your writing.  Do not use a paper you have used for another course without consulting me. If you are even thinking about taking a shortcut, read this page More information on the consequences of plagiarism is on the web page.  I do catch people, even those who think they have been careful.


In General: I do not accept late assignments, nor do I offer extra credit work. However, if you are having trouble keeping up - please email me. I would much rather you come and talk to me than let your work slide. I am in during my office hours, and I can be easily reached by email. You will find I am usually pretty agreeable if you take the initiative and communicate with me.


Disability Accommodations

If you need any special accommodations for a documented disability, please see me to discuss them in the first week of class.  If you have a conflict with my office hours, we can arrange an alternate time. To set up this meeting, please contact me by email. Bring a copy of your documentation to the meeting. If you do not consult with me ahead of time, I cannot guarantee accommodations. This University will make accommodations according to the law as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act.


For more information, visit the website for Services for Students with Disabilities, or call their office at (734) 763-3000, (734) 615-6921 TTY


*** The syllabus and schedule will change to meet the needs of this class, so please continue to check the online version!! ***