February 28, 2009

Graham Abbey visit on Monday

In The Border

Remember that Graham Abbey will be visiting our Monday class, and that there will be no Wednesday class this week. We’ll screen some of Graham’s work, and he will engage us in a Q&A about the Canadian theatre and tv industries, his experiences as an actor in both, differences in working in the two media, and a host of other insider information. Bring your questions!

Essay 2 Details now posted

Category: administrative notes,hitchcock tips — theprof @ 2:21 pm

The assignment sheet for the second essay is now posted on the Assignments page. As mentioned in class, this essay is now due on March 18. Any tips or further information on this assignment will be posted on this blog page, and also accessible by choosing ‘hitchcock tips’ under the Categories on the right. The two films for the essay — The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes — are now available for sign-out at the Drama desk. Get started early! If students are having trouble borrowing the films in the next two weeks, please let me know. If you have any general questions about assignment policies, please read the Assignments page of the website in full before contacting me. GOOD LUCK!

February 26, 2009

Marking Abbreviations

Category: administrative notes,beckett tips — theprof @ 1:58 pm

Paul just sent along a sheet defining the abbreviations that he has used on your essays. You can find a link to the handout at the top of the Assignments page.

February 24, 2009

Welcome Back

Category: administrative notes,beckett tips,lecture related — theprof @ 9:56 pm

… from Reading Week! I hope you enjoyed Hiroshima Mon Amour. I will be returning your essays in class tomorrow. Also, several of you have asked me about the exam — I will address that in class tomorrow as well. In the meantime, the outline for this week’s lecture is available on the Outlines page. See you soon!

February 9, 2009

Wendy Crewson to visit DRAM 205!

We are very lucky to have accomplished actor Wendy Crewson visiting DRAM 205 on Wednesday March 25. Crewson has played a wide range of roles in such films as Away from Her (2006), What Lies Beneath (2000), Better than Chocolate (1999) and The Santa Clause (2004), and has had recurring roles in TV series such as 24, ReGenesis, Street Legal, and Night Heat. Wendy will visit the class on Wednesday, March 25. On the previous Monday (March 23), we will screen Perfect Pie (2002), which stars Crewson, and is based on the stage play of the same name by Judith Thompson. The play is recommended reading for the week, and is available on short term loan (for 3hrs) at Stauffer library.

The class schedule has changed to accommodate this visit – please make sure your calendars are up to date.

February 5, 2009

Third Q & A

Category: administrative notes,beckett tips — theprof @ 12:48 pm

Q: I have a couple of questions about the late policy…

A: The late policy is at the bottom of the Assignments page. I’ll clarify two things in that paragraph:

1) 2% per weekday means that if you hand it in by Monday February 9 at 3:45pm, it is 2% off. Tuesday by 3:45pm is 4% off, etc. Emailing an essay to me does not change the date that you submit it – the date you submit it is based on when you physically give it to someone at the drama department (i.e don’t email it to me!). The office is open 9am-3:45pm.

2) “last-minute panic” = a day or two before the essay is due :)

February 4, 2009

Film Screening AND Black History Month

Category: events — theprof @ 10:51 am

Here’s a change to expand your film knowledge and celebrate Black History month at the same time:

The Little Black Schoolhouse, Sylvia Hamilton
Sunday 8 February, 1 – 4 pm, Agnes Etherington Art Centre

The Little Black School House (60 minutes) examines the largely unrecognized history of slavery in Canada, and the experiences of Black communities in Nova Scotia and Ontario. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, in cooperation with the Queen’s Department of Art and the Cultural Studies Program, is proud to present an afternoon with Sylvia Hamilton, a Trudeau Mentor and award-winning documentary maker. Focusing on segregated schools present in rural communities across Nova Scotia (the last of which remained open until 1983), and in Southern Ontario into the 60’s, the screening of Hamilton’s most recent documentary will be followed by a talk and reception.

The Little Black School House weaves individual accounts with archival photographs and historical documents, the result of Hamilton’s own archival research, to examine the social conditions that legitimized the racial segregation of education in Canada. Trudeau Scholar Kate Hennessy describes the film as “a striking example of the power of the documentary to unearth such stories, generate new knowledge, and re-situate otherwise obscured narratives in these historic places and the people who remember them.” With a vibrant musical score composed by jazz legend Joe Sealy, this poignant documentary is an unflinchingly honest evocation of the struggle of African Canadians to achieve dignity and equality through education. After the screening, Hamilton’s presentation on her work will include clips from other films and a discussion with the audience. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

Sylvia Hamilton is a multi award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator known for her documentaries which explore the little known history, contributions and experiences of African Canadians. She has been an invited filmmaker and keynote speaker for conferences around the world, including Sierra Leone, Guadeloupe, New York City, Mexico City and Paris. Throughout her career she has received numerous awards including a Gemini, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s Maeda Prize, the Progress Women of Excellence Award for Arts and Culture, the CBC Television Pioneer Award, and the Portia White Prize for Excellence in the Arts. Ms. Hamilton graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts and subsequently completed a Master of Arts in Education at Dalhousie University. She resides in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia and is president of Maroon Films Inc.

For further information, please contact Pat Sullivan at 613.533.6000 x 77053 or Matthew Hills at x 77049

February 3, 2009

Don’t give me your mumps!

Category: administrative notes,events — theprof @ 4:54 pm

Apparently there is an outbreak of the mumps at Queen’s. In a purely selfish move, I am encouraging everyone to get vaccinated if you have not already done so. I have been vaccinated, but you never know :)

This notice is from http://library.queensu.ca/news/archives/465

Get a catch-up vaccination for Mumps Feb 5 & Mar 4
Posted: January 27th, 2009

As per a message from Queen’s University Environment Health & Safety:

Mumps is back!

Four out of five people are not fully protected against mumps. Make sure you are. Queen’s University is working with the KFL&A Health Unit to provide a couple of catch-up vaccination clinics.

Mumps is a very contagious disease that can cause serious complications in young adults. The age group at risk, are those born between 1970 through to 1991, or ages 18 to 39 years. Catch it and you’ll spend 9 days in isolation, among other very serious complications.

Get your mumps catch-up immunization on Queen’s Campus in the John Orr Rm on the 2 nd floor of the JDUC Thursday, February 5, 2009 from 11am to 2pm, or in Victoria Hall, Main Common Area from 4 – 8pm. There will also be a clinic on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 from 11am to 2 pm in the John Orr Rm on the 2nd floor in the JDUC.
Please bring your Health Card to the clinic with you.

For more information on the Mumps Catch-up Campaign call KFL&A Public Health at 613-549-1232 ext. 1119, or visit www.kflapublichealth.ca/Files/Resources/Mumps.pdf

For more information on the clinics at Queen’s University please refer to our posters:

Feb 5 http://www.safety.queensu.ca/mumps/feb52009.pdf or
Mar 4 http://www.safety.queensu.ca/mumps/mar42009.pdf

Second Q & A

Category: administrative notes,beckett tips — theprof @ 4:50 pm

Q: Will I be penalized if I go over the word limit?

A: We do not apply any numerical penalties, but if you go too much over the limit, the TA will just stop reading, and your essay will be left without part of its argument, evidence, and conclusion! As an instructor, I do have a rationale for applying word limits on essays; the limit is not arbitrary, but is related to my teaching goals in this course. Here are some of the reasons:

1) The limit tells the student about the size of the assignment. I’m sure there is some scholar out there who could write a whole book on Beckett’s Catastrophe, and likewise, a reviewer of the film might only write 500 words in a newspaper column. Stating a word limit is one way of communicating how much we expect from you.

2) The limit is one way of trying to achieve equity between students: if I were to tell one student that she has only 1,000 words to address the topic, and another student that she has 5,000 words, it would clearly not be fair to assess these essays under the same criteria.

3) The limit encourages students to find economical ways to articulate their arguments. If you are working for a newspaper and being paid by the word, then maybe more words = better. But in general, it is useful to find economical ways of making your point. One of the course goals is to help you improve your writing skills; making your point clearly and economically will be a real selling feature in many post-university careers.

To sum up, we are not going to be all stern and ignore that one paragraph that goes over the limit. But if you find yourself going more than a page over the limit, consider the fact that you are adding 20-25% to the expected length of the paper!

PS: And if you are thinking of shrinking your font or enlarging your margins, just consider the fact that the TA is looking at a stack of 60 papers; your doctored layout becomes pretty obvious!

February 2, 2009

Essay Q & A

Category: beckett tips — theprof @ 5:36 pm

I am starting to get lots of questions about the essay, so this tells me that students are really starting to work on it. Good! Periodically, I will post some Questions & Answers based on real student questions. I will post things that seem generally relevant to the assignment and could benefit everyone, but will not post questions that reveal anyone’s original argument about the essay. So check back here every day or so…

First Q & A:

Q: I’m a bit confused as to what would constitute a sequence in this short film. The directions say to closely analyze at least 2 sequences to support our argument; would a sequence constitute a shot? or a beat? or a section of the play (eg. before the Assistant is on stage)?

A: You are quite right, mystery student, to wonder about the definition of sequence, especially in a film that is so short. By definition, a sequence is a series of shots that communicate a moment or event. I also think that this definition in one online dictionary is accurate: “a succession of related shots that develop a given subject” (http://ardictionary.com/Sequence/4928) In your question above, I think that a section of the play, or even part of a section of the play, is the best approximation. My main intention in stating that you must analyse at least 2 sequences was to encourage students to really closely analyse the film, right down to noting the relationship created from one shot to the next. So don’t worry too much about the definition of sequence, but do force yourself to get as specific as possible when referring to the film.