For this reading, you will present a selection of prose fiction that in performance is no shorter than 5 minutes and no longer than 7 minutes, including the introduction.
Chose a short piece of prose fiction that you like, want to explore and share with your audience. Be sure it is appropriate to you and your audience. When selecting, consider the entire performance experience. Works of short-short stories, or what is often called "sudden fiction" will probably fit the time constraints. Otherwise, choose a selection that can be effectively excerpted; that is, a piece that allows you to share a only a portion but a section which constitutes a full experience in and of itself. Carefully edit any selection that is too long.
After making a selection, complete a full Dramatistic and Modal analysis. The following reminders on those models should help. Feel free to use other analytic models if you think they will be useful to your understanding of your selection. Take careful notes while analyzing and be sure to collect specific examples when answering the questions below. Not only will these help you choose performance analogs, your notes will help you prepare the written portion of this assignment.
DRAMATISTIC ANALYSIS OF YOUR SELECTION
What is the narrator's point of view? Why do you think so? If the narrator is first person, describe him or her. What does he or she look like? Why do you think so? How does the narrator feel about the other characters in the story? How do you know? How much time has elapsed between the virtual-present telling and the virtual past? Has time changed the narrator? How? Does the narrator feel the same way about the characters now as he or she did when the events occurred?
If the narrator is in the third person, describe the narrator's attitude and his or her psychological relationship with each character in the story. Does the narrator's attitude change or remain consistent throughout? Why do you think so?
WHOM IS THE NARRATOR SPEAKING?
Is the implied audience made clear in the story? If so, who is it?
If the implied audience is not made clear, whom might the narrator be addressing? (If every storyteller is said to have an ideal audience in mind, who might the audience be for the narrator in your selection--friends? enemies? peers? doctors? police?) Why do you think so? How will the class know who they are to be?
IS THE NARRATOR SPEAKING ABOUT?
What is the theme of the selection? What are the general ideas being conveyed? How are the events triggered? Is the plot causal or contingent? Are their any associative moments?
IS THE NARRATOR?
Is the narrator in the virtual present as he or she retells the story? How do you know? If place is not specified in your story, where might the narrator be? Why do you think so? Where was the narrator when the events occurred? What "story realms" does the narrator describe or enter?
IS THE NARRATOR TELLING THE STORY?
How long after the virtual past events does the narrator retell the story? How can you tell? How does the narrator manipulate time in your selection? Note examples of summary, examples of scene, and examples of description.
IS THE NARRATOR TELLING THE STORY?
Does the narrator speak formally? Consultatively? Casually? Intimately? Describe the narrator's style. Describe the mood the narrator creates.
IS THE NARRATOR TELLING THE STORY?
Is the narrator doing more than sharing an experience? What purpose might he or she have? Catharsis? Moral lesson? Persuasion? Entertainment? Why do you think so?
ANALYSIS FOR A PROSE PERFORMANCE
What is the speaker mode for your selection? Why do you think so? What audience modes are at work? Note examples of lyric lines, dramatic lines, and epic lines. How does modal analysis contribute to your understanding of the relationship between the writer and the narrator and between the narrator and his or her various audiences?
YOUR ANALYTIC DECISIONS INTO PERFORMANCE ANALOGS
When you have done a thorough examination of your selection, begin choosing performance analogs. Active selection of analogs (not silent consideration) will be more efficient and productive. Let your voice and body help you choose analogs. Let your analytic findings prompt vocal and physical responsiveness. Here are some questions meant to prompt analog ideas:
What will your focus be? When will it change?
How will you create the narrator's voice?
How will you create the narrator's body?
How will the narrator depict characters in the story? Their voices? Bodies? Focus?
When, how and why will movement and staging be used?
How will you create the "story realms"?
When, how and why will gesture be used?
How will you show the narrator's relationship with the audience?
How will you handle the script?
What will the pace be? When and why will it change?
What is the major transition? How will you show it?
After piece-meal selection of performance analogs, rehearse your selection as one fluid performance. Be sure to consider the beginning energy, how the story flows, ways to keep it dynamic, when to change intensities and how to end the performance. Create your "story realms" through staging, gesture and projecting outward with focus. Interact with the environment. Rehearse your selection (and introduction) several times so that your analogs can be presented in a clear and coherent manner.
While it is not a requirement, there are several good reasons for preparing your manuscript instead of performing from the actual book where you found your literary selection. It is advisable to retype (or photocopy) your selection and place it in a comfortable 3-ring notebook that can be easily held during performance. On your manuscript, you can write delivery notes in a distinctive color. For a narrator presenting the direct discourse conversation of virtual past characters, two different colored highlighters will help you remember your focus and character analogs.
Keep careful notes of your interpretation process as a kind of road map to your performance. Answer point by point any of the above considerations you applied to your selection. Provide a record, in standard academic prose, of why you chose your selection, what your Dramatistic and modal analysis taught you, why you chose particular performance analogs, and how you think the audience will receive them. Standard academic prose is typed, double-spaced paragraphs. Include an introductory paragraph that sets forth your intent for the paper. Use your analysis and performance notes to create the body of the paper. Use specific examples from your selection whenever appropriate. Have a concluding paragraph. An interesting angle to consider for your paper is intertextuality.
Through what other texts, past experiences and interests did you read this text? In other words, how did the events in your background influence the way you interpreted this text?
An evaluation form (and your paper) will be used to assess your performance. Much of the form will be filled out during the event, but your grade will not be assigned until after your paper has been read. You will receive a letter grade for your performance that is worth a maximum of 125 points. In addition, the formatting, style and specificity of your written component can earn you a maximum of 30 points. It is expected that course-specific terms be 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. The paper needs to be submitted the day you perform; e-mailed submissions are not acceptable.