With a partner choose a short scene of dramatic literature that when performed with an introduction is no shorter than 5 minutes and no longer than 7 minutes. Choose a contemporary, 20th century scene from a play that operates in the dramatic mode. Analyze the selection individually and with your partner--you may have to meet outside class or converse on the phone. Rehearse the selection with your partner until you are both satisfied that your performance analogs will be evident in performance.
You can select either a scene from a familiar play or find a scene for two in a scene book. The advantage of selecting from a familiar play is a more complete understanding of the entire work. The advantage of choosing from a scene book is economy; they often are divided into categories such as "contemporary scenes for one man and one woman" and sometimes by age. Local libraries (including CR's and HSU's) have several scene books. Previous students in this class have found the Actor's Guide to Scenes helpful in selecting appropriate scenes. Make an attempt to read the original play the scene is from to gain a fuller understanding of it.
Perform a Dramatistic Analysis of the dramatic literature as presented in your text (starting on page 220). Focus on your own character; especially the questions on page 226. Think about the "four levels" of your character. Share your analysis and come to an understanding and agreement with your partner. What are your goals? What obstacles are there to your goals? What are your strategies to get around those obstacles? (GOS). You may sketch out your initial ideas individually, but this analysis will be more fruitful if done in cooperation with your partner. The "Putting it all Together" questions on pg. 258 should be helpful. There will be some class time provided to begin your discussions with your partner but you will have to augment that with time outside class.
Because the scene you select will be in the dramatic mode, agree with your partner how the "story realm" can be represented in the classroom; sketch out the necessary elements in that story realm in your space (where referenced items will be placed, where stools might be placed, etc.). Make sure the "where" of your story realm is clear through the use of physicalizers; interact with the environment in a way that shows your audience where your characters are. You will be using manuscripts; memorization is not required or desired. Place your manuscripts into binders; do not use loose pages.
Use your analysis agreements to choose performance analogs. Remember, you need to actively listen as your character when your partner delivers lines. Use your analysis of GOS to help discover subtext and to discover how to listen and react. A more "vital" performance will be achieved if you can react while listening, not after your partner finishes speaking and not just during your own spoken lines.
Be sure to agree on the "wholeness" of your scene. Is there a rising action? Is there a crisis? Is there a Climax? How is the ending relationship different from the beginning relationship? Compose an introduction for your scene with your partner. There will be some class time provided to begin your rehearsals with your partner but you will need to meet outside class.
Four days are set aside for performances. We will decide during a coming class session, which groups will perform on which days. You will have a few minutes for a last rehearsal before the performance.
Each student writes their own intent paper. While your paper should be written in standard, academic prose, keeping a journal of your analysis and rehearsals sessions will help you compose it. In your paper, state why you chose your scene. How is it appropriate to you and your partner? How is it appropriate to the audience? What is the purpose behind the selection, what do you hope to achieve through performance? Provide a summary of your four levels of characterization as it relates to your character decisions. Provide a summary of your GOS as it relates to your relationship decisions and the goals of the characters throughout your scene. Provide a summary of your discoveries made through the rehearsal process. Whenever appropriate, support your ideas with specific examples from the text. Remember, these writings substitute for exams; it is expected that course-specific terms are used in all papers to demonstrate your mastery of course topics. I will be looking for such specificity--that will earn you points. Be opinionated but back opinions up. I won't be grading opinions but rather how you support them.
An evaluation form (and your paper) will be used to assess your performance. You and your partner will receive the same grade (unless cooperative efforts fail--alert me to any problems as soon as possible). Much of the form will be filled out during the event, but your grade will not be assigned until after your papers have been read. You will receive a letter grade for your performance, which will be worth a maximum of 125 points. In addition, the formatting, style and specificity of your written component can earn you a maximum of 30 more points. The paper needs to be submitted the day you perform; e-mailed submissions are not acceptable.