THEATER ARTS SYLLABUS
Tuesdays and Thursdays after school
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” – Thornton Wilder
Theater is an extremely wide-ranging field of study as it has been around since before humans could even talk (think about how a caveman might have bragged to his tribe about his battle with the giant beast he had just killed). For that reason, this survey class will explore many different aspects of the craft, including acting, improvisation, theater history, production, and critique. Each student in the class will have the opportunity to choose their final project from the options in this syllabus. You may also propose your own project which may be completed with my permission. This project will count as your final for the class.
- What is the purpose of theater?
- How has theater developed throughout history?
- What are some basic acting terms and techniques?
- What makes some theater “better” than others?
- How do theater artists bring a script to life?
UNITS OF STUDY
The specific details of each unit will be determined by class interest and abilities, as will the nature of the projects to be completed each quarter. The following list is meant to be used as more of a guideline than a set curriculum as most of these topics will be interwoven with one another throughout the semester:
- Basic acting choices
- Crafting a character
- Mime and movement
- Monologues and auditions
- Scene work
- Standard games and forms
- Working with audience suggestions
- Thinking on your feet
- Development of theater from Greeks to Modern Day
- Selections from plays from different periods in history
- Famous performance spaces
- Theater spaces
- Backstage personnel
- Design work
- The role of a director
- How to write a review
- Production aesthetics
- Stage directions
The following projects are ideas for you to choose from. As noted above, you may also propose your own idea as long as it involves creativity and synthesis of the learning done throughout the course:
• Write a one-act play
• Create a director’s script for a play of your choice
• Perform a scene for the class (from memory)
• Build a model of a set for a play of your choice
• Share two contrasting audition monologues with the class
• Timeline of theater history (with graphic images)
ASSESSMENTS AND GRADING
Most in-class work and homework are considered formative in that you are working on building skills that you display when you complete summative tasks. For that reason, merely completing your daily work with a good faith effort will earn you a good grade on formative assignments, while summative assessments will come with their own individual rubrics that are standards-based.
Unless otherwise specified in class, the maximum grade you can receive for a late assignment is a 3). All formative assignments must be handed in before your summative assessment on that material. Most assignments that you are asked to complete will be graded according the following scale:
Exemplary (4 points) = Your assignment provided new insights and/or ideas while completing the required task(s)
Proficient (3 points) = Your assignment demonstrated an understanding of how to complete the required task(s)
Emerging (2 points) = Your assignment showed some understanding of the required task(s)
Beginning (1 point) = Your assignment showed a little understanding of the required task(s)
Incomplete or missing (0 points) = You completed virtually nothing
In some cases, you might be awarded half grades, such as 3.5 or 2.5. Your formative assignments are worth 30% of your overall grade for each quarter.
Summative assessments for theater arts class will be done over the course of several classes. The specific rubric and point value for each assignment will be discussed when the assignment is being given out. Your summative assessments are worth 70% of your grade for the quarter. You may only re-do a summative assessment if you handed it in on time when it was initially due.
HABITS OF WORK
We will be evaluating your two habits of work according to the Windham High School rubric every four weeks (or so). In case you are not familiar with them, some general reminders appear below along with some specific areas of attention for my classroom:
- Follow classroom and school rules
- Keep your language positive
- Treat others the way you want to be treated
- Arriving on time and ready to be a part of the classroom community
- Turning in assignments on time
- Producing original and creative work
- Participating in classroom activities as an active participant
KEY THINGS TO KNOW
We will be spending some time during the first week becoming familiar with the following:
In case you haven’t used it before, this will be the primary tool we will be using to complete formative assessments, hopefully eliminating the need for paper (and the possibility of lost assignments!) Most summative assessments (other than essays) will be paper and pencil tasks.
ou will be offered the chance to participate in class on a regular basis and will be awarded a summative assessment grade at the end of each quarter to reflect your participation.
A reminder that formative assignments must be handed in before the summative assessment takes place. The maximum grade you can receive on a late formative assignment is a 3. Summative assessments that are handed in late cannot be remediated.
It is plagiarism to consult the internet for quotes from a book, copy and paste any portion of a plot summary or character description, or even read a plot summary before doing a freewrite on it. It is also considered plagiarism to work together on an assignment unless you are specifically asked to do so. No credit will be awarded for duplicate assignments (no matter who actually did the work) or plagiarized work, and offenses that violate the WHS Academic Code of Conduct will be reported to school administration.
Cell phones and earbuds
I expect you to put them away when the bell rings. During work time, they may be used for music listening (only). Should your phone be out when it is not supposed to be out, you will only receive one warning before I take away your phone. Anyone who loses their phone for violating class policy must surrender it to me at the start of class until further notice.
Please close your computers at the bell and keep them closed except when you are working on an assignment for class. Emailing or use of other social media is not permitted during class time for any reason, either on your phone or computer.
Backpacks are allowed in class as long as you keep them out of the way in the “Backpack Zone.” Room 126 is very small, so please use common sense.