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THA 306: Theatre History

M/W/F 11-11:50, Fall '18

Wunsch, EOB 128 x3492
Office Hours: Mon, noon-2p
T/Th, 2-3:30p

REQUIRED TEXTS: There are no “formal” textbooks required for this semester. HOWEVER,
there will be assigned readings (available online), and there will be multiple times you will be
asked to print and bring documents to class.

REQUIRED SUPPLIES: Students are required to maintain a 1 1/2” binder for this class in
which they will place mandatory print outs, take notes, and write reflective
responses/essays. The binder is required at every class session.

OBJECTIVE: This course will introduce students to the history of theatre from the Early Greeks
up to and including theatre of the Italian Renaissance. Through the exploration of culture,
theatre styles, theatre forms and the historical events that informed the evolution of theatre of
the past, students will learn to recognize the events and cultural motives that influence theatre

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: To teach the skills of a life-long learner through an atmosphere of

questions and discovery in which students are encouraged to think creatively, research and
explore ideas using accessible resources, and solve challenges in unique and exciting ways.

By the conclusion of the course, with appropriate effort on your behalf, you should:
*have a basic understanding and comprehension of the diverse ways earlier theatre artists
worked in and at creating theatre.
*understand the relationship of “the theatre” to the culture which produced it and the place
that theatre occupied in that culture.
*be familiar with major events, contributors, and movements from past periods of theatrical


As we progress through the course content, our related objectives include several of the
University’s goals of general education particularly:
 the ability to communicate effectively as we discuss (both verbally and in written form)
the many topics at hand (assessed via writing and exams)
 the ability to think critically and analytically as we learn skills necessary to script analysis
(assessed via writing and exams)
 and develop our capability to respond thoughtfully to diversity as we explore the mores
and artistic output of cultures other than our own.
The ultimate goal is that all of us will learn to make more informed value decisions and ethical
choices as the course provides some of the understandings and perspectives necessary to a
person educated in the liberal arts.

The rationale for writing emphasis courses is that writing is integral to all academic learning in
liberal and professional studies. This course is an approved “W” course, intended to enhance
and improve student's writing abilities through both formal and informal writing opportunities,
direct classroom instruction in the techniques of composition, and at least one opportunity to
review written work with feedback from the instructor.

The objective and desired outcomes of this course are in harmony with the stated mission of the
Department of Theatre and Dance which state that: (1) Theatre and dance majors and minors
should demonstrate a strong foundation in theatre and dance knowledge, including….an
overview of the history and literature of the theatre. (2) Students…will be provided the
opportunity to apply their course learning through activities requiring research, critical analysis,
and creative presentation of ideas. (3) Graduating majors will transfer lessons and practice of
the classroom to the pragmatic demands of a working theatre.
You will have the opportunity to integrate all of these goals and outcomes into this course as it
will be a combination of lectures, reading, reflection, and the active sharing/demonstration of
creative and critical thought processes. Be prepared for ACTIVE engagement in your education.

EXPECTATIONS: Students will be expected to track the history of theatre in an organized,

reflective manner. Reflective essays that build to a research paper will be tracked through a
notebook. (A 1 1/2 inch binder is required). The writing emphasis nature of this course will be
reflected through the activity book as well as a final research paper.

EVALUATION: There will be 2 in-class exams, reflection writing, mini papers designed to
recognize parallels between texts and social expectations, and a major research paper.
All students will be expected to maintain a 3 ring binder which will develop into an overview of
theatre history complete with maps, timelines, notes, questions/brainstorms and informal writing
exercises which are designed to build towards the Research Paper. These will be checked
during the review prior to each test. The tests will be objective in nature and will include
material from class lectures, discussions, and assigned readings.

10% Reflections (5 pts each)
Theatre and Me
The Greeks

30% Mini papers (5 points possible for each)

Cyclops & The Birds
The Menaechmi
The Second Shepherds’ Play & Everyman
The Mandrake

15% Exam 1: Greek & Roman Theatre (Binder Check 1)

15% Exam 2: Medieval Theatre, Non-Western Theatre and the Italian Renaissance
(Binder Check 2)

30% Research Paper

On time development/ submissions plus quality of work

(Attendance -3.33%/absence -beyond 3)

TOTAL: 100%

ATTENDANCE: Attendance will be taken daily. Students are encouraged to attend class
regularly, as missing classes could result in missing activity assignments or discussions which
generate exam questions. Absences above the 3 permitted by school policy negatively affect
the student’s FINAL grade.


Students are advised to carefully read and comply with the excused absences policy for
university-sanctioned events contained in the WCU Undergraduate Catalog. In particular,
please note that the “responsibility for meeting academic requirements rests with the student,”
that this policy does not excuse students from completing required academic work, and that
professors can require a “fair alternative” to attendance on those days that students must be
absent from class in order to participate in a University-Sanctioned Event.


In order to support the effective learning of the entire class, electronics are not permitted to
be turned on/used during the class period. For studies concerning the reduced performance
when technology is used in the classroom, please see the following:
Sana, F., Weston, T., & Cepeda, N. (2013). Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for
both users and nearby peers. Computers & Education, 62, 24-31.
Mueller, P., & Oppenheimer, D. (2014). The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard Advantages of
Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. Psychological Science, 25(6), 1159-1168.

Examples of electronics not to be used during class period:


To be clear, you may use laptops/tech devices for presentations only, but NOT for other


It is expected that faculty, staff, and students activate and maintain regular access to University
provided e-mail accounts. Official university communications, including those from your
instructor, will be sent through your university e-mail account. You are responsible for accessing
that mail to be sure to obtain official University communications. Failure to access will not
exempt individuals from the responsibilities associated with this course.

It is the responsibility of each student to adhere to the university’s standards for academic
integrity. Violations of academic integrity include any act that violates the rights of another
student in academic work, that involves misrepresentation of your own work, or that disrupts the
instruction of the course. Other violations include (but are not limited to): cheating on
assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means copying any part of another’s work
and/or using ideas of another and presenting them as one’s own without giving proper credit to
the source; selling, purchasing, or exchanging of term papers; falsifying of information; and
using your own work from one class to fulfill the assignment for another class without significant
modification. Proof of academic misconduct can result in the automatic failure and removal
from this course.


For questions regarding Academic Integrity, the No-Grade Policy, Sexual Harassment, or the
Student Code of Conduct, students are encouraged to refer to the Department of Theatre and
Dance Undergraduate Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog, the Ram’s Eye View, and the
University website at Please understand that improper conduct in any of
these areas will not be tolerated and may result in immediate ejection from the class.


If you have a disability that requires accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), please present your letter of accommodations and meet with me as soon as possible so
that I can support your success in an informed manner. Accommodations cannot be granted
retroactively. If you would like to know more about West Chester University’s Services for
Students with Disabilities (OSSD), please visit them at 223 Lawrence Center. The OSSD hours
of Operation are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Their phone number is 610-436-2564,
their fax number is 610-436-2600, their email address is, and their website is


The Counseling Center is located in Commonwealth Hall (610-436-2301) where students may
discuss their concerns in strict confidence. Student Health Services is located on the lower
level of Commonwealth Hall. The Student Health Center phone number is 610-436-2509. The
Wellness Education phone number is 610-436-3276. During the fall and spring semesters,
Student Health Services is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

West Chester University and its faculty are committed to ensuring a safe and productive
educational environment for all students. In order to meet this commitment and to comply with
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and guidance from the Office for Civil Rights, the
University requires faculty members to report incidents of sexual violence shared by students to
the University's Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Lynn Klingensmith. The only exceptions to the faculty
member's reporting obligation are when incidents of sexual violence are communicated by a
student during a classroom discussion, in a writing assignment for a class, or as part of a
University-approved research project. Faculty members are obligated to report sexual violence
or any other abuse of a student who was, or is, a child (a person under 18 years of age) when
the abuse allegedly occurred to the person designated in the University protection of minors
policy. Information regarding the reporting of sexual violence and the resources that are
available to victims of sexual violence is set forth at the webpage for the Office of Social Equity

All students are encouraged to sign up for the University’s free WCU ALERT service, which
delivers official WCU emergency text messages directly to your cell phone. For more
information, visit To report an emergency, call the Department of
Public Safety at 610-436-3311.

APSCUF INTRODUCTION: “APSCUF is the Association of Pennsylvania State College and

University Faculties. We uphold the highest standards of teaching, scholarly inquiry, and
service. We are an organization that is committed to promoting excellence in all that we do to
ensure that our students receive the highest quality education.”


The Dance minor and Theatre minor programs at West Chester University combine the
foundation of a strong liberal arts education with a creative arts practice. These minor programs
provide courses and production experience in communication, choreography, direction,
management, performance, design, technology, theory and research.
Each can be completed in conjunction with most majors at the university.
For more information, contact:
Gretchen Studlien-Webb, Dance Minor program coordinator,
Dr. Harvey Rovine, Theatre minor program coordinator

Please visit our department website at:

Facebook -
Twitter - @WCUTheatreDance
Instagram - WCUTheatreDance


WK 1 M Aug 27 Introduction & Syllabus Review… How we examine History

Information processing… the logic behind a binder.
Welcome Freshmen, Look at Me When I Talk to You (D2L reading)
History Timeline (Handout & D2L)
W Aug 29 Theatre and me, REFLECTION 1 (Due on D2L before next class) BINDER
How we examine history.
F Aug 31 ANCIENT EGYPT: The Origins of Theatre Refl 1 due, 9am
GREEK THEATRE: The Birth of Western Theatre
Greek Timeline and Vocab Sheet (Handout and D2L)
The Greeks society and democracy: Chasing greatness, 25 min
Understanding the Greeks/plays: Greek theatre, 3 min

WK 2 M Sept 3 NO CLASS, Labor Day Use this time to review timeline/dates and vocabulary!!
W Sept 5 Theatre Festivals/ the intent of productions Antigone
Video clips continued D2L subm due 9/12, 9a
F Sept 7 Who were the Greeks, REFLECTION 2 (Due on D2L before next class)
The Greek Poets: Tragedies

WK 3 M Sept 10* Women in Classical Greek Theatre, 37 min Refl 2 due, 9am
W Sept 12 Antigone, class discussion (Rosh Hashanah)
A Brief Introduction to The Satyr Play The Cyclops
F Sept 14 Greek Comedy: The Satyr Play (in class reading) The Birds
Comedy vs. Tragedy and the Greek Philosophers D2L subm due 9/17, 9a

WK 4 M Sept 17 The Birds, class discussion and reflection/ research focus

W Sept 19* The Age of Philosophers: Defining Tragedy and Comedy
Old Comedy to New Comedy (The Hellenistic Age)
F Sept 21 Greek Theatre Techniques & Theatre Structures (Yom Kippur)
The History of Theatre, first 7 min
Dionysis and Healing Centers, music and sound technology, 5 min

WK 5 M Sept 24 The research paper: Guidelines… D2L proposal due 9/28 9am
**BINDERS w/reflections and mini papers required.
Ancient Theatres of Greece and Rome (23 min)
W Sept 26 The Hellenistic Age (Greece)/ The Rise of ROME
Chasing Greatness: Crumbling Athenian Empire
Research paper Expectations… D2L proposals due 9/28, 9am
F Sept 28 ROME: Society (PP: slides 1-21) Research Proposal Due
The Greatest Show on Earth, Episode 3, Rome, 20 min D2L subm due 9/28, 9a
10 min break out groups… research proposal conversation/idea sharing The Menaechmi
D2L subm due 10/5, 9am
WK 6 Tech Week, Antigone
M Oct 1 ROME: Theatre and Poets (PP: slides 21-38)
W Oct 3 ROME: Original Drama (PP: slides 39-43)
The Greatest Show on Earth, Episode 3, Rome, 15 min
4 Sisters in Ancient Rome, 8 min
History vs. Cleopatra, 5 min
HH: Qualify for the Roman Triumph, 4 min of fun
F Oct 5 The Menaechmi, class discussion

WK 7 Antigone, Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, 10/12-10/20

M Oct 8 Tragedy & Popular entertainment/ Studying for the Exam
Forward motion on your research project
W Oct 10 A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum
F Oct 12 A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

WK 8 M Oct 15 The decline of Rome,

Ancient Theatre: The Greatest Show on Earth, 10 min
W Oct 17 In class paper sharing and in-class writing… Research Outline &
Sources Due
F Oct 19 Exam Review (Binder review!!) D2L subm due 10/19, 9a

WK 9 M Oct 22 EXAM 1
W Oct 24 THE MIDDLE AGES Dulcitus
D2L subm due 10/29, 9a
F Oct 26 NO FORMAL CLASS MEETING… Read and Respond: Dulcitus

WK 10 Tech week My Fair Lady

M Oct 29 Dulcitus, Class Discussion
W Oct 31 From Sanctuary to Stage, Development of Medieval Drama
Medieval Drama, From sanctuary to stage, Films on Demand, 28 min
F Nov 2 From Liturgical Drama to Mystery Cycle Plays The Second
Shepherd’s Play
& Everyman
D2L subm due 11/7, 9a

WK 11 My Fair Lady, MainStage Theatre Nov 8th-15th

Revival, a dance concert, Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre Nov. 9-10th

M Nov 5 Mystery, Miracle and Morality Plays through the decline of religious
W Nov 7 Everyman & The Second Shepherds’ Play class discussion
F Nov 9 Theatre of the Renaissance The Mandrake

WK 12 M Nov 12 The neo-classicists… setting the stage for THA 307

History of Theatre: Comedia and The Renaissance (5 min)

W Nov 14 The Mandrake, class discussion The Mandrake

D2L subm due 11/14, 9a
F Nov 16 Research paper… outline and drafts… in class work

FALL BREAK (Reading Days, No classes 11/19,11/20 & Fall Break 11/21-11/25)

WK 14 M Nov 26 Theatre of Early Asia

Research Draft Due
W Nov 28 Research paper… outline and drafts.. peer review D2L subm due 11/28, 9a

F Nov 30 Theatre of Early Asia

WK 15 Aids Benefit, Mainstage Theatre, Dec 7th-9th

M Dec 3 TBD… Working on the final draft?

W Dec 5 Paper Sharing 1 Research Paper Due!!

D2L subm due 12/5, 9a
F Dec 7 Paper Sharing 2

WK 16 M Dec 10 Exam Review… BINDERS DUE!! (in class review/evaluation)

FINAL EXAM : Exam 2/ The Middle Ages, Theatre of the East

and the Italian Renaissance

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14th, 10:30-12:30 (2018)

Research Paper:

In this class, we are examining the development of theatre, the impact of the past on theatre
today and recognizing that what we know about theatre history has been discovered through
both archeology and the study of remaining texts. To the last point, we are going to use text
evidence to explore and understand the changing social perspectives from antiquity to today.
You will look specifically to the western cannon… The Greeks, The Roman and Medieval
Theatre, but you must also draw parallels to today regarding how the past influences the
present or why you believe the present is different from the perspectives of the past.

Topic Ideas:
The role of women in theatre and society
The role of warfare in theatre and society
The role of religion in theatre and society
Family relationships in theatre and society
The role of government and politics in theatre and society
The relationship between theatrical events and the audience
Other Inquiry in theatre and society (topic of your choice)

Use your binder to generate, hi-light and record ideas as we move forward during the
semester. If using the index card system, please find a way to secure the cards in your
binder. (ie: pencil cases are a very successful method). This is a paper that should grow and
evolve through out the semester. You will have time to share and reflect with
classmates. Follow inspiration, your passion… Don’t wait to see what others have said on
specific topics. You are the detective. You are creating theories to explore… don’t wait to make
sure all of the information is backed up by others… it’s ok to be incorrect!!

The research paper must include a bibliography in MLA format, including a minimum of five (5)
unique sources. Sources quoted must be appropriately cited in the text as well; footnotes are
not required (know the difference between footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies!!). For this
course, a “unique source” is considered any cited information from a single published work or
online publication. For example, students may not cite multiple references to a Wikipedia entry
(or entries) as separate sources, as they would all be derived from the same online publication.

At least 3 cited sources in each paper must be attributable to an author or authors. (In
this case, pointing to plays we are examining would probably be your best
approach). Information from anonymous online sources (websites and un-attributed
Wikipedia entries, for example) cannot be verified or challenged, and is inappropriate for
citation in an academic paper—even a very creative one. A useful citation-generator can be
found at An excellent summary of MLA citation style is available at or

Make sure you use research to support your ideas/intent. Don’t just cut and paste theories from
others. Turnitin will be used to confirm originality of the work.