THTR&FLM 2AA3 ACTING AS DEVISING
Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015
Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett
Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662
Office Hours: by appointment
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
- Other Course Information
The course will develop a complex understanding of the actor’s role as creative agent in the performance of scripted text. Students will be given the analytical and pragmatic skills that enable the actor to create significant perspectives on scripted dramatic action. The process will alert students to the political and cultural implications of the actor’s processes when working with script and the responsibilities they entail. The course will foster a critical understanding of the topic and the ability to articulate that understanding in writing. By the end of the course, there will be a noticeable improvement in the students’ control over the meaning-making processes of acting.
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
2AA3: Custom Courseware available in Titles in two weeks time
Other Recommended Texts:
Rodenburg, Patsy. The Actor Speaks
Bruder, Melissa, et al. A Practical Handbook for the Actor
Method of Assessment:
The course will set the critical context for the practical exploration through discussion of a series of assigned readings and short practical exercises. Students will be taught simple exercises to develop the vocal and physical dexterity that enables a greater range of creative expression. They will identify key areas for personal development and consider the way their own identity has been socially and culturally constructed. They will perform a series of scenes in class and receive critical feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Their experience of all work will be recorded in a reflective journal. They will synthesize their understanding of the topic by writing short papers that connect their practical work to their journal entries and the assigned reading. The first paper will serve a diagnostic purpose in preparation for the final paper.
Method of Evaluation
Silent Scene: 5%
First Scene Study: 20% Graded before March 13th
Written Analysis: 10%
Second Scene Study: 25%
Final Paper: 25% Due April 10th
Each student must keep an on-line journal over the course of this class. Your journal is a place for personal reflection on your process as you come to terms with the complex relationships between your own identity, the process of performing characters, and the ways this process reflects and challenges the norms that structure contemporary social relationships. You will be asked to post your thoughts on a variety of topics over the course of the term and you should use the journal as a private space in which you articulate your own struggles with the creative process and your developing understanding of its significance. Once completed it will provide an account of your intellectual and emotional engagement with the class process to which you can refer in your analytical paper and take-home exam. Students will receive no direct grade for the journal but the level of their engagement in their journals will contribute to their Participation grade, their Written Analysis and their Take-Home Exam.
The should be kept in a word processing file and regularly posted to the assigned drop-box on Avenue.
Applying techniques learnt in class exercises, each student will produce a short naturalistic silent performance that engages the audience with a dilemma and shows the student’s mastery of basic acting techniques.
First Scene Study
Students will be assigned short scenes and will present them to the class. The scripts are very basic and students will apply techniques learnt in class to create compelling performances that engage the audience with the social dynamics of the conflict between the characters. Students will be assessed on the complexity of their performances, the specificity of the action in the scene, and their awareness of the social significance of that action.
SS1 Written Analysis
Topic: Using the First Scene Study as the principle reference point define your understanding of the relationship between actors’ own identities and the characters and actions they perform. What can this tell us about the social function of acting? You should refer to your journal entries, your performances and to the assigned course readings. 3 pages.
All papers should be submitted through the assigned the Avenue to Learn drop-box and the FILENAME should BEGIN WITH YOUR SURNAME, eg. smith 2AA3 paper.doc. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE INSTRUCTION WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF 5% ON THE PAPER
Second Scene Study
For the final exercise students will be assigned scenes from existing plays. You should apply all that you have learned from the course to turn these scenes into compelling performances that engage the class with the relationships and action in the scene paying close attention to the power structures perceptible in the world of the play and their connection to the normative ideologies that structure contemporary society.
Topic: Using your experience in this course as a whole as the principle reference point define your understanding of the scope of the actor’s role as creative agent in the performance of scripted text and the ways the actor’s performance of scripted text can reflect or challenge the normative ideologies that structure contemporary social relationships. You should refer to your journal entries, your performances and to the assigned course readings. You will not be able to achieve higher than a B in this paper without reference to Love's article. 4-6 pages. Due April 10th.
All papers should be submitted in the assigned Avenue to Learn drop-box and the FILENAME should BEGIN WITH YOUR SURNAME, eg. smith 2AA3 paper.doc. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE INSTRUCTION WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF 5% ON THE PAPER
A lot of our work will be done together as a group and you will be graded on your commitment to the exercises set, your willingness to confront acting challenges and improve your skills as a performer, your engagement with the process in your online journal, your critical support of the work of your peers, your ability to listen and process the ideas of others, and your contributions to class discussion of the issues in the course. I expect everyone to come to class ready to work and I know what work looks like. Students who do not engage fully with the process each and every time they step into the Performance Lab will receive lower grades for collaboration.
You will be working in groups so failure to attend class can potentially harm the work of your peers. Attendance in class therefore is compulsory. If you miss more than two classes, you will receive 0% for participation. Allowances may be made if you can provide a valid doctor’s note.
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
Deadlines for Practicum Work
Performance dates, once scheduled, are final deadlines and are not subject to renegotiation. “The show must go on,” except in case of University closure, immediate threat to safety, or the direction of the Instructor, Technical Director (or a designate of either).
Late penalty for written assignments is 2% per day, calculated from the due date at 11.59pm, or 15% per week unless the student has a justified absence from the University. After one week, late papers will not be accepted, except in the case of a justified absence.
NB. Students with disabilities can receive accommodations to assist them in the completion of their assignments and exams. Please contact the Centre for Student Development for advice and for arranging assistance. The Centre can also help with essay writing, time management and procrastination problems. Please look into their services if you feel you need help with any of these issues. http://csd.mcmaster.ca
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.
Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Email correspondence policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Modification of course outlines
The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.
Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail email@example.com. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.
Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.
Topics and Readings:
Tentative Course Schedule (Subject to Change)
January 6: Introduction to the Course. The Elements of Dramatic Action 1: State of Being
January 9: The Elements of Dramatic Action 2: Archetypal Relationships and Playing Actions
January 13: The Elements of Dramatic Action 2: Objective, Obstacle and
January 16: Performance of Silent Scenes
January 20: Scene 1 Prep: Assignment of Scenes/Analyzing
Script/Developing Three Scenarios
January 23: Scene 1 Prep: Assignment of Scenes/Analyzing
Script/Developing Three Scenarios
January 27: Scene 1 Prep: Clarifying Three Scenarios/Identifying Power Structures. Read: Pineo, Chapters 2-4
January 30: Scene 1 Prep: Choosing one Scenario/Scoring the Scenario Read:
Pineo, Chapters 5-7
February 3: Scene 1 Prep: Playing Actions Read: Pineo, Chapters 8-11
February 6: Scene 1 Prep: Finalizing Choices
February10: Scene 1 Prep: Finalizing Choices
February 13: PERFORMANCE First Scene Study
February 18: Reading Week
February 20: Reading Week
February 24: PERFORMANCE First Scene Study
February 27: PERFORMANCE First Scene Study/Assign Second Scenes
March 3: Second Scene Study 2 Prep: Analyzing the action
March 6: Second Scene Study 2 Prep: Analyzing the action – Internal Monologue Exercise
March 10: Identifying Power Structures Read: Brecht and Lauren Love from course reader
March 13: Second Scene Study 2 Prep: Defining the beats - Third Person Rehearsal Exercise
March 17: Second Scene Study 2 Prep: Tempo and Rhythm – Exaggerated Performance Exercise
March 20: Second Scene Study: Scoring the Performance
March 24: PERFORMANCE Second Scene Study
March 27: PERFORMANCE Second Scene Study
March 31: PERFORMANCE Second Scene Study
April 3: GOOD FRIDAY
April 7: Review of Performances/Class Post-Mortem
Other Course Information:
As this is mainly a studio course, students should wear appropriate rehearsal attire (i.e., loose, comfortable clothing and footwear) to class
Health and Safety
Students should always take care not to endanger themselves in the process of performance. The Performance Lab’s rules of conduct must be obeyed at all times. Any students needing to introduce staged violence to a scene, including the throwing of any object may do so only after consultation with the instructor.