Final Paper Timeline
Due Friday, February 17th
• Email me the name of the playwright you have chosen.
Due Monday, April 2nd
• Turn in the outline for your paper. I will go over the guidelines for this outline in class.
Tuesday April 3rd - Tuesday April 17th
• Sign up for a meeting time with me to discuss your outline.
Wednesday May 9th
• Paper due. Hard copy, turned into my box by noon. No exceptions. While I will not read drafts of your paper prior to this due date (only the outline), you are welcome to come meet with me at any time to discuss specific questions regarding your paper (prior to the due date).
In addition to the playwrights we have read and studied in class, here are some other options to consider for your final paper:
Maria Irene Fornes
On the day of the presentation, you must provide me with a typed Works Cited, listing the sources used to prepare your individual portion of the presentation (each member of the group will turn in their own Works Cited). You should plan to utilize a minimum of five sources (I would prefer at least two of these sources bebooks). It is fine if there is some overlap in the sources you and your partner draw from for the presentation.
These lists are jumping off points–you are welcome to include any other information you find pertinent, but, at a minimum, I’ll expect you to cover these categories (at least three sub-topics inthe Dramaturgical & Production categories, and at least two sub-topics in the Playwright & Response categories). You are also welcome to give more weight and time to the material you find most interesting. The entire presentation should be between 20-25 minutes, and this time should be split equally between you and your partner. I would recommend each person be responsible for,
and present on, two categories. The style of your presentation is completely up to you and your partner; be as creative as you like (but don’t sacrifice thoroughness and clarity)!
1. Dramaturgical Perspective
- Major themes/issues raised in the play
- Characteristics of aesthetic (style, form, language, etc.)
- Context & important references (historical, societal, political, religious, etc.)
- Critical analysis of major characters
- Aristotelian structural analysis (ie identify the inciting incident, recognition, reversal, and
- Textual analysis of a major scene
2. Production History
- The first production
- Significant subsequent productions/revivals
- Design approaches (lighting, sets, costumes)
- Rehearsal process
- Key artists and their involvement (director, actors, designers, producers, etc)
3. The Playwright
- Biographical details (only those of import)
- Contribution to the field
- Playwright’s inspiration & process (for this particular play)
- Other major works
- Beliefs and perspective
- Critical response
- Audience reaction
- Awards/and or nominations (if applicable)
- Controversies (if applicable)
Your individual grade will be based on the following criteria:
1. Research - Does your presentation reflect a thorough understanding of the topic? Is it evident that you read a variety of sources to get a comprehensive view of your topic?
2. Communication - Were you articulate and cogent in your presentation? Did you effectively communicate the information? Did you use visual aids when necessary (ie handouts, pictures, video clips, etc)? Word to the wise: if you are using multimedia in your presentation that requires the classroom’s equipment, make sure to test it out ahead of time. Technical difficulties are avoided with proper preparation.
3. Sources - I’m not picky about the kind of formatting you use, but be specific about where information comes from (ie list page numbers). You will both be marked down if you fail to turn in a Works Cited, or turn it in late. Reminder, each member of the group must turn in their own Works Cited.
Second Component: Group Discussion
As a team, it is your responsibility to come up with a list of 5-10 questions that you think will engage the class in a meaningful and thought-provoking discussion of the play. After your presentation concludes, you will have 20-25 minutes to pose your questions to the class (the class is 45 minutes long, so roughly half should be spent on the presentation, and half should be spent on the discussion). It’s perfectly fine if you don’t get through all the questions on your list; in fact, if you only get through one question because the class spends 20 minutes responding to it, that is terrific. It means it was a really good question. Please have one member of the group turn in a typed list of your questions on the day of your
presentation. I will grade the group as a whole on this component, and it will be worth 5% of your overall grade for the presentation. If you fail to turn in a typed list of questions you will be marked down (regardless of how well the actual discussion goes).
The following are a list of topics I expect you to cover in your individual presentation, based on whether you are assigned an artistic innovator, theatre company, or theatrical piece. These expectations are a jumping off point; feel free to include anything else you find relevant or significant. Also feel free to structure your presentation to give more weight and time to the material you find most interesting. The style of your presentation is completely up to you; be as creative as you like. Should you choose to use any multimedia clips they should be very short, as your presentation is only 15 minutes long. Your grade will suffer if you spend the majority of the time showing us a film clip (as that does not sufficiently prove you thoroughly researched your given innovator, company, or piece).
1. Artistic Innovators
Your presentation should cover the following: significant biographical details, major contributions to the field (theatrical works), creative process, characteristics of style and aesthetic, collaborators, and critical/audience reception.
2. Theatre Companies
Your presentation should cover the following: how the company formed (and why they ended if they have since disbanded), the company’s artistic growth and development, key artists in the company, their unique style and aesthetic, major contributions to the field, controversies (if applicable), and critical/audience reception.
3. Theatrical Piece
Your presentation should cover the following: where and when it was performed, why it was created inspiration), director and playwright information, the development process, an in-depth description of the piece in performance, and critical/audience reception.
You will need to turn in a works cited on the day of your presentation, listing the sources you used to prepare your presentation.
Final Paper Assignment
You will write a final paper for this course, 6-8 pages, that is due on Wednesday, May 9th. The paper must include a Works Cited, and either parenthetical references or footnotes.
You will choose a contemporary playwright, either someone covered in this course or another playwright of your choosing, and read a minimum of 3 of his or her plays (if you choose a playwright we have covered in class, the play we read together does not count toward this minimum, though you can certainly reference the play in your paper and use it as an additional source). You may then choose from the following paper topics:
Write a paper in which you identify 2-3 major characteristics (concerning form and style) that occur throughout the playwright’s body of work, and articulate the significance of each characteristic. It is not enough to simply name the characteristic; you must also explain to what end it is being used. What purpose does it serve? Use the body of your paper to support your view with direct evidence from the plays you read. Your paper should conclude with an assessment of how these separate characteristics cohere to form the playwright’s unique voice/perspective.
Write a paper in which you identify a major influence on the playwright’s work, and articulate how this influence permeates the playwright’s body of work. This “influence” can be another artist, a political movement, a significant event (historical or personal), or even an ideology. Your paper should include the following: how the playwright came into contact with this influence, evidence of where the influence is manifested in the playwright’s work (draw specific examples from the plays you read), and the impact this influence has had on the playwright’s voice/perspective.
3.) Your Choosing
You may write a paper on a topic of your choosing, but it must adhere to the following guidelines: 1) It must make a clear argument (ie you must assert an opinion) about the playwright’s body of work, 2) You must substantiate that argument with specific examples from the plays you read, and 3) There must be a clear and coherent structure to the essay. If you decide to devise a topic of your choosing, I would highly recommend you clear that topic with me before outlines are due (April 2nd).
Papers should be 6-8 pages. In addition to the plays you’ve read, I’ll expect you to draw from at least 3 other scholarly sources to support your argument. Do not waste time on a lengthy introduction to the playwright/detailed biographical details; assume there is given knowledge present. In addition to the playwrights we have read and studied in class, here are some other options to consider:
Jose Rivera, Maria Irene Fornes, Sarah Kane, Tom Stoppard, Tarell McCraney, Adam Bock, Will Eno, David Lindsay-Abaire, Donald Margulies, Wendy MacLeod, Theresa Rebeck, Naomi Wallace,Tracy Letts, Martin McDonagh, David Hare, David Harrower, John Guare, Adam Rapp, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Stephen Adley-Gurgis, David Ives