Introduction to Theater

CT 060 09


Dr. Howard Enoch                                                    Office Hours:       Monday thru

Robsham Theater Arts Center                                                                Friday from 9:30 - 4:00

552-0918                                                                                                  by appointment (I am                                                                                         generally in every day)






The aim of the course will be twofold:

            First, the course will serve as a starting point for students wishing to seriously pursue the study of theater.  To this end, we will examine the principle areas of theater including a thorough review of significant plays and comment from the important periods in the development of dramatic literature.  We will also study the role of theater in society, as well as the function of the actor, the playwright, the designers and technicians, and the director.   We will also look at significant developments in modern and current theater.


            Second, the course will fulfill the expectations of the greater University community by providing the elements consistent with the requirements for Boston College core credit.  To this end, the course will demand critical thinking and writing skills consistent with University standards.  Students will be required to see at least two plays during the semester and write intelligent well-thought-out reviews of the productions.  Students will also be asked to prepare a final project that will be of a creative/critical nature and may be presented to the class during the final weeks of the semester.

            Extra credit may be earned by reading plays in addition to the ones assigned and writing critical essays on them, or by seeing productions of plays at Boston College and writing critical reviews of them




THEATRE Brief Version, Seventh Edition, Robert Cohen, Mayfield (at the BC Bookstore)


Drama, Classical to Contemporary, Revised Edition, John C. Coldewey & W.R. Streitberger, Prentice Hall (at the BC Bookstore)



1.         Attend all classes: Attendance will be taken, and students will not be excused from more than two classes except for medical or family emergencies.  Unexcused absences beyond the first two will have a negative impact on your grade.  Excessive absences will result in a failing grade. Attendance is required as a condition of successful completion this courses. After missing any class session, a student is responsible for finding out about assignments, due dates, announcements, handouts, and so forth that were covered during the missed session, and for making up any missed work. The student is also responsible for obtaining class notes from a classmate for the session, and for learning the material from that session for any relevant exams or quizzes.  Unexcused absence from more than a combined total of 3 weeks of class meetings will result in automatic failure of the course. Since the course meets twice a week, more than six missed sessions will result in failure of the course.


2.         Midterm exam: The exam will count for approximately twenty percent of the final grade.


3.         Students are expected to read the assigned plays and related articles and be prepared to discuss the plays in class.  There will be a short quiz that will require you to have read the play before each discussion.  There are several plays that will be assigned during the semester; a student may either have two unexcused absences, or if the student has fewer than two unexcused absences, up to two quiz grades may be dropped (for a total of two absences/dropped quiz grades).  Participation in the discussion is mandatory; failure to add to the discussion will result in a lower grade (dominance of the discussion will not add to your grade!!)  The quizzes will count for approximately twenty percent of the final grade.


4.         Two to five page written reviews of the Main Stage productions during the semester are also required.  The reviews will count for approximately twenty percent of the final grade.


5.         Students will also be asked to prepare a final project that will be of a creative/critical nature and may be presented to the class during the final weeks of the semester. The project may be from one of the following categories:


a.         A dramatic reading -- solo performance lasting for from three to five minutes to be accompanied by a two to five page analysis of the characters in the reading.

b.         Write a play -- Either a one-act play or a substantial part of a full-length play.


c.         Critical review -- a five to ten-page review of a production of a play.

d.         Presentation of a scene from a play -- any number of people may be part of such projects; however, there must be a minimum of two actors.  There may be additional actors and/or a director.  The actors will also produce a two to five page analysis of the character they are performing.  The director will produce a brief director’s approach.


            The final project will count for approximately twenty percent of the final grade.


6.         There will be a two-hour final exam.  The final exam will account for twenty percent of the final grade.

7.         Extra credit toward the final grade may be achieved through one of three ways.


a.         A student may read (subject to the approval of the professor) plays in addition to the ones assigned and submit five to ten page critical essays on the play.

b.         A student may see productions of plays other than the two required productions and submit a five to ten page critical review of the production.

For all extra credit projects, students should submit a contract with the specifications of the work they wish to achieve and the desired grade adjustment.  This submission is subject to negotiation, and will be totally at the discretion of the professor.  Work that is substandard or dishonest in any way could result in a negative grade change.


Sep.         4      Introduction, Cohen vii - viii, Chapter 1

                6      Cohen, Chapter 2 – What is a Play?

               11      Drama – Introduction: Reading Drama thru page 16 (including Trifles)

               13      Cohen, Chapter 7 – Theatre History

              18      Drama – Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

                        Bernard Knox’s article on page 134
            Oedipus in Performance – two articles – p157 & p157

            20      no class

              25      Cohen, Chapter 3 – The Actor

              27      Drama – Shakespeare, Hamlet

                       A. C. Bradley’s from Shakespearean Tragedy p426
                       T. S. Eliot, “Hamlet” p434
                       Ernest Jones, from Hamlet and Oedipus p438
                       Hamlet in performance by Russell Jackson p450

Oct.         2      Drama – Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

                        Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in performance by Barnes p1409

                4      Drama – Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

                        The Cherry Orchard in performance by Benedict Nightingale p796

                9      Cohen, Chapter 5 – Designers and Technicians

               11      Cohen, Chapter 11 – The Critic

              16      Metamorphoses - review due, class discussion of production

              18      MID-TERM EXAM

                        Deadline for selecting final projects

              23      Cohen, Chapter 8 & 9 – Modern Theatre/Music Theater

              25      Drama – Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

                        A Raisin in the Sun in performance by Watts p1100

              30      Drama – Howe, Painting Churches

                        Painting Churches in performance by Kalem p1416

Nov.         1      Cohen, Chapter 4 – The Playwright

                6      Drama – Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

                        Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in performance by Kerr p1097

                8      Drama – Miller, The Crucible

                        Miller, “Tragedy and the Common Man” p1085
            The Crucible in performance by Kerr p1096

               13      Drama – Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children

                        Brecht, from “The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre” p1059
            Brecht, from “Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction” p1060
            Bentley, “Who Is Mother Courage?”
            Mother Courage and Her Children in performance by Watts p 1095

               15      Cohen, Chapter 6 – The Director

             20      Stage Door - review due, class discussion of production

              22      No Class - Thanksgiving 

              27      Drama – Wilson, The Piano Lesson

                        Fishman, from “Romare Bearden, August Wilson, and the Traditions of African Performance p1395
The Piano Lesson in performance by Barnes p1417
The Piano Lesson in performance by Arditti p1418

             29      Final Projects presentation and/or Chapter 10

Dec.        4      Final Projects presentation

                6      Final Projects presentation and/or Review for Final


Final Exam – Mon, Dec 17 12:30 p.m.