December 8, 2008

Study Questions for Final Exam

Category: exam,profnotes — theprof @ 9:35 pm

You can now download the Study Questions for the Final Exam. I have also posted a link to these questions on the Assignments page, where you should review the format for the exam. The two essay questions in Part C of the exam will be drawn directly from these study questions. Because you have these questions in advance, I will expect you to provide detailed responses; strong answers will include specific examples from the plays to support a well though-out argument. If you have any questions about terminology in these questions, you have the opportunity to ask me in advance (by email or appointment). Happy studying!

November 11, 2008

Schedule Changes

Category: profnotes — theprof @ 2:51 pm

Changes to the schedule for the last weeks of class have now been made on the Schedule and Performance Schedule pages. Please note that we’ll be doing exam preparatory exercises on one of the “Life is a Dream” days, and also on the last day of class. If you haven’t checked out the Lecture Outlines page, now is a good time – a complete set of notes is necessary for good exam preparation, and you can sruvey the outlines to see if your notes are missing anything.

November 10, 2008

Judith Butler

Category: lectures,profnotes — theprof @ 7:13 pm

The outline of Judith Butler’s theory that I gave in class was necessarily abridged and simplified. You can read the article yourself for a more detailed argument: Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal, Vol 4. No. 4 (Dec 1988), p. 519-531). The article is available through JSTOR, which you can access via the Library’s e-resources, or by clicking here (this link may not work off campus): Butler article

October 15, 2008

Thinktank 2: Tragedy

Category: profnotes,thinktank — theprof @ 4:34 pm

Following up on what I said in class, here are the instructions for the next Thinktank. Your task is essentially the same as last time, but the topic has changed.

This Thinktank is on Tragedy in Contemporary Society

Steps:
1. Choose an example from contemporary society (the last ten years) of something that can be considered ‘tragic’. As with the Spears example, not everyone has to agree it is tragic, but it is your job to demonstrate how it can be read this way.
2. Include the example in your submission: if it is on paper (cartoon, article, written joke, etc) you can attach it; if it is online, please provide the title and URL.
3. Write a very short essay (500 words) that includes the following things:

a. An analysis of how this example draws on one or more of our understandings of tragedy. You can draw on the theories of Aristotle, Hegel and Nietzche, and on the concepts of character, plot, and audience effect that we have discussed as characteristic to tragedy. Death is one of the elements that permeates our understandings of tragedy, so it might be useful to consider death when choosing your example.
b. An analysis of the specific mechanisms through which this example appeals to our tragic sensibility: How is the example directed at the audience? How is it framed to draw on our emotions? How does tap into societal fears about death or loss? Does it aim to deliver any kind of moral message, and if so, how does it go about delivering this message?
c. Compare your example to specific examples from one or more of The Oresteia, Everyman, and Matsukaze. Draw parallels and contrasts where you can. What does your example add to our understanding of tragedy, and what does it say about contemporary society’s ways of processing loss?

You will submit this paper in class on Oct 22. You will also share your example in small groups on that day, so do your best to bring the materials necessary (e.g. laptop) to share the example as quickly as possible, and plan out a few points that you will share from your paper (so that you don’t have to read the whole thing out loud!). *Please keep your own presentation under 6 minutes total, so that we can all keep on track.

October 1, 2008

Aristotle on Tragedy

Category: lectures,profnotes — theprof @ 1:29 pm

From The Poetics
“Tragedy is a representation of a serious, complete action which has magnitude, in embellished speech, with each of its elements [used] separately in the [various] parts [of the play]; [represented] by people acting and not by narration; accomplishing by means of pity and terror the catharsis of such emotions”

September 30, 2008

Art is Your Story

Category: events,profnotes — theprof @ 2:49 pm

There was a fantastic turnout at yesterday’s meeting. We now have Posters and Flyers available for you to take with you. You can download them here, or get some from the drama desk later this week (they are being printed tomorrow). The website that details the initiative (how to get involved) is www.artisyourstory.wordpress.com I’ve also added this as a permanent link under the ‘Blogroll’ to the right. The first group activity is THIS Sunday, so please check it out!

September 23, 2008

Thinktank 1

Category: profnotes,thinktank — theprof @ 12:50 pm

The first Thinktank is on Comedy & Social Commentary, due Sept 29 in class.

Steps:
1. Choose an example from contemporary society (the last ten years) of something comedic that is engaged in social commentary. By comedic, we’re focusing on the intention to create humour or provoke laughter.
2. Include the example in your submission: if it is on paper (cartoon, article, written joke, etc) you can attach it; if it is online, please provide the title and URL.
3. Write a very short essay (500 words) that includes the following things:

a. An analysis of how this example creates humour: draw on in-class categories to aid you in this part.
b. An analysis of how this example is engaged in a kind of social commentary: What is it commenting on? How does it achieve this commentary? What sort of audience is it directed at? Does it aim to provoke social change?
c. Compare your example to the ways in which plays we have studied use comedy to comment on society. Draw parallels and contrasts where you can. *Use specific examples from plays in class by way of comparison. Can similar kinds of humour be used to create different messages? Can the same message be delivered in a variety of ways? What does your example add to our understanding of how comedy can be used as social criticism?

You will submit this paper in class on Sept. 29. You will also share your example in small groups on that day, so do your best to bring the materials necessary (e.g. laptop) to share the example as quickly as possible, and plan out a few points that you will share from your paper (so that you don’t have to read the whole thing out loud!).

If you have questions, you can post them below using the Comment function. You’ll need to provide your name and Queen’s email address to avoid the comment being marked as spam.

Aristotle on Comedy

Category: lectures,profnotes — theprof @ 12:26 pm

Here are the two quotations we discussed in class:

From The Poetics:
“Comedy is the imitation of people who are rather inferior [in the sense that they are laughable], for the laughable is a sort of error and ugliness that is not painful and destructive”

From The Tractatus Coislinianus (argued to be a summary of The Poetics II):
“Comedy is a imitation of an action that is laughable and lacking in magnitude…accomplishing by means of pleasure and laughter the catharsis of such emotions”

September 16, 2008

Email contacts for Group Projects

Category: group project,profnotes — theprof @ 7:16 pm

In the next while I will be sending individualised contact lists for each group, so that you can contact each other by email. My email will be going to your QUEEN’S email addresses, so please be sure to check your inboxes!

Course Readings

Category: profnotes — theprof @ 4:41 pm

A copy of the course readings will be available on short term loan at the library starting tomorrow morning… FYI the version of Miles Gloriosus that we are reading in class is from the Broadview Anthology of Drama, Vol 1. You might be able to find copies around if you still do not have your own copy of the course reader.