Exploration of the Arts 1301-02
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Theatre Workshop

Bethany Lee
Class held in: I'm in the regular classroom, in the Hoblitzelle Auditorium.
[email protected]

        The purpose of this workshop is to introduce students to some fundamental elements of creating theatrical performances. Students will learn how to consider emotion, and how that feeds into the physical, vocal and internal aspects of a performance. We will be working with “contentless scenes”—scenes where the dialogue contains no real indication of character, attitude, relationship, motivation, etc.—to discover ways to present information that is not inherent in dialogue. We will also talk about “verbing” your dialogue, in order to associate a meaningful action to every word you speak. We will play some improv games, a la Whose Line is it, Anyway?, to help students become more comfortable with one another and the stage. The final project for the workshop will be a memorized three-and-a-half- to four-and-a-half-minute monologue or seven- to nine-minute duet scene. I will have some resources for you to choose from in class, or you may find your own; regardless, I must approve you duet or monologue before you start working on it. All of these activities will be graded based on effort, willingness, and completeness/thoroughness of the written work, and not on whether the acting itself was “good” or “bad.” There will most likely be outside work required (you will note that there is only one session scheduled for rehearsing your final monologue or duet), in order to memorize your dialogue and mark up your script (you’ll have your own copy) with appropriate verbs and other pertinent information we go over in class (you may have to do some research, as well). There will also be an approximately two-page paper on the “creative process” that went into the final project. We will go over this in class, but, essentially, you will write about how you came to interpret/present things in the ways you chose, your feelings about the process and the piece, obstacles you faced, things you learned, etc., in the course of creating you final project.
        Because we only have a short time, attendance is mandatory, and your grade for the workshop (which is 15% of your overall grade for the course) will go down 5% per absence, unless you have a note from God Him- or Herself.


Tentative Schedule:

Session 1: Introduction, improv games, warm-up techniques, discuss ideas and emotions that the paintings and poems (for transformation) evoke and how those can be employed on stage, begin looking for duets or monologues to perform.

Session 2: Improv games, students receive list of verbs and practice “verbing” their dialogue, find a monologue or duet if you have not already (you must pick by the end of this session).

Session 3: Improv games, discussion of how to perform a contentless scene, find partners and begin background work on contentless scenes (these do not have to be memorized).

Session 4: Finish work on contentless scenes and perform them in class.

Session 5: Rehearse monologues and duets, discussion of how to write “creative process” papers (this will actually be a follow-up/question time—I will also discuss it in the introduction to the workshop.)

Session 6: Perform monologues and duets, turn in scripts and papers about the creative process.

Session 7: (Only the first workshop group will have seven sessions) Improv games, finish any overflow from previous days, and talk about how to create a theatre transformation.


***Contentless scenes will be graded on whether or not you were on task during the process of producing these scenes (though that’s a very small portion of the grade) and your background work for the scene—you’ll be developing relationships, personalities, etc. for the characters you play, and you’ll be verbing the dialogue. All of this will be written (the written portion that you hand in to me will be the majority of the grade), as well as acted. Other students will try to determine some of these elements (like the relationship between the characters) just from your performance, though whether or not they can figure it out will not affect your grade.

 [For the note on final projects—they must now find a duet or monologue by the 2nd class session.]


The grade breakdown will be as follows (subject to minor changes with notice): 


Contentless Scenes—20%

Dialogue “Verbing”—10%

Final Paper about the Creative Process - 10%

Final Monologues/Duets**—40% 

*Participation is only listed as 20% of the grade, but, essentially, everything is based on participation, because desks and computers will not appreciate your acting nearly so much as your classmates and instructor (in other words, you can’t perform in a corner). There will be some written exercises with verbing and the final project, but those are primarily completion grades.

**Final workshop products will be graded based on several things: picking a scene in a timely fashion (by the end of the third session), staying on task during the class time allotted to work on them, memorization, and marking up your script as instructed.


 You may email questions to me at: [email protected]


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