Grade Breakdown

1. Creative ThinkTank Sessions – 2 x 15% = 30%
Written Component: 500 words each
Sept 29: Comedy & Social Commentary

(See the following post for more details)
Oct 22: Tragedy in Contemporary Society
(See the following post for more details)

This assignment expands on the conception of comedy and tragedy developed through class discussion by exploring how fundamental traits of the genres operate beyond the stage, in society at large. By choosing and sharing examples of comedy and tragedy in contemporary art, politics, or culture, the aim is to deepen our understanding of how deeply ideas of comedy and tragedy populate the everyday, and how fundamental these notions are to the functioning of society.
For each of the two Thinktanks, students will be required to choose an example from contemporary society that fits the Thinktank topic, and write a short paper that explores how this example 1) illuminates the day’s topic, and 2) relates to specific ways the topic has been addressed by plays studied in class. On the day the papers are due, students will bring their example to class, and share it with other students in a small group setting. The example that students choose can come from a variety of sources, e.g. newspaper articles, video clips, songs, cultural events, television, etc.

The first Thinktank assignment, due Sept 29 in class, will ask students to choose an example of Comedy as Social Commentary. The second Thinktank assignment, due Oct 22 in class, will be on the topic of Tragedy in Contemporary Society.

2. Theatrical/Production Concept – 45%
Download assignment details in PDF. Don’t have Adobe Reader? Download it free here

The class will be divided into groups of 5 or 6, and each group will be assigned a play from the course syllabus (see Performance Schedule for groups and dates). Over the course of the semester, group members will collaborate, much like a mini-theatre company composed of creative minds, to produce a three-part production concept for their assigned play. The goal of this project is to expand our understanding of these plays as dramatic literature to an understanding of them as pieces of theatre. Furthermore, the project will ask students to consider how plays from far away times, places, and cultures can be made relevant for audiences today.

Each group will be required to complete the following components:

I. Directorial Concept (15%)
Due: Wed Oct 8 at the beginning of class
Written proposal, 1000 words max.

II. Visual Palette (15%)
Due: Mon Nov 10 at the beginning of class
Bristol board collage and 500 word explanation

III. Performance Style (15%)
Due: See Performance Schedule for group performance dates
5-8 min. performance from the play, and 500 word explanation submitted at performance

Components are the product of group collaboration, and must be submitted as a group. Outside of exceptional circumstances, all members of the group will receive the same grade on the group project.

3. Final Test – 25%
Exam Timetable (you may have to sign in with your NetID)

Preliminary Exam Format:

The exam will consist of three parts: A, B, and C, and will be graded out of 100 marks total. You have to complete all parts.

Part A: Dramatic Significance: 4 marks each (20 total) Time: 30 min
Define and explain the dramatic significance of five of the following questions:

Part B: Compare and Contrast – 15 marks each (30 total) Time: 50 min
Choose two of the following three questions. For each answer, compare and contrast the dramatic or theatrical function of the element in the two plays listed. Make sure to clarify how it is used in each play, and how this use compares/differs between the plays.

Part C: Essay – 25 marks each (50 total) Time: 80 min

NEW! Download the Final Exam Study Questions (for Part C)
Answer both of the following two questions. Your answer should develop an argument that addresses all aspects of the question, defines any relevant terms you employ, and place the plays in a comparative perspective. Make sure to draw specific examples from all plays in the question to provide support for your answer.

Late Assignments must be submitted to the main desk of the Drama department during regular office hours (Weekdays 9:00am-3:45pm). A penalty of 2% per weekday late applies.

A Note on Academic Integrity and Expectations…

The pressure that arises from assignments and deadlines can lead to stress, and all students are subject to this stress through the course of their academic studies. Please know that my door is open to discuss any challenges you may be facing, and to help you see them through. University study is a privilege that few can access, and in respect of this privilege, students must display integrity through their conduct and assignments. In the end, it is our ability to rise to life’s demands in the face of challenges that develops character, and makes our achievements truly meaningful. Students and Instructors are equally bound by the University’s policy on Academic Integrity, which can be found at: Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines.

When submitting work for a course, ALL references, whether explicit or implicit, directly quoted or paraphrased, must be accurately documented, both in the body of the assignment (e.g. footnotes) and in a bibliography at the end of the paper. In addition, all work submitted for this course must be original to this course. If you consult secondary sources in the preparation of any assignment, you must note any arguments borrowed from these sources. For further information, carefully read the following document: Plagiarism And How to Avoid It

As for deadlines, I do think it is in everyone’s best interest to just get work in on time – it actually reduces stress! For late work, a penalty of 2% per weekday will be applied, up to a maximum of 20% (two weeks late). Assignments more than two weeks late may not be accepted. Exceptional circumstances may warrant a modification to this policy at the instructor’s discretion, and students are responsible for adequately communicating their circumstances to the instructor. As for extensions, I am amenable to granting them if students contact me early enough – that is, if you demonstrate planning, as opposed to last-minute panic. To request an extension, please visit me during office hours with a written request, and the extension can be considered granted once we both sign it. Performances are scheduled to fit into our study of individual plays, so they cannot be rescheduled.