Sample Syllabus THETR205

 

THET205 - PERFORMING WOMEN

T/TH 2:30-3:45

KTSA 219

Dr. Jeanne Willcoxon

 

This course examines historical and contemporary performances of “women” on stage in the United States. Our starting questions are: How do we read “woman” on stage and how have artists disrupted or supported dominant understandings of “woman” through theatrical performances?  What representations and bodies of “women” are visible to whom and why?  Who is able to perform and/or to write “woman” and why? Current feminist performance theory (for example: writings from Jill Dolan, Sue-Ellen Case, and Peggy Phelan) provides the tools for students’ analyses of text and performance. At the end of the course, students move from the analysis of text and performance to the creation of their own solo performance pieces.

 

Required Books:

Grimke, Angelina Weld. Rachel: A Play in Three Acts. HardPress Printing, 2012 (ISBN: 9781290351836). New: $22.95, used: $17.20.

 

Solga, Kim. theatre & feminism. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (ISBN: 9781137463005). New: $11.00

 

Vogel, Paula. Hot ’n Throbbing. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2000 (ISBN: 9780822216698). New: $9.00, used $6.75

 

ASSIGNMENTS:

Essay One (two drafts) 15%

Essay Two (two drafts) 15%

Essay Three/Manifesto (two drafts) 15%

Solo Piece 20%

Performance Analysis (Antigonick at Hamilton College)  15%

Participation and Attendance 20%

 

Course Schedule

NOTE: the schedule is subject to change.

 

SECTION ONE: READING WOMEN IN US THEATRE HISTORY

 

WEEK ONE - Beginning

1/17 Introduction

 

1/19  

Selections from: Solga, Kim. theatre & feminism. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

 

WEEK TWO -  The Popular Stage

 

1/24 Case Study: Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876) - the great American Actress

Senelick, Laurence. “The Prince, the Pauper and the Pan.”  The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre (Gender in Performance). NY: Routledge, 2000.

 

Mullenix, Elizabeth Reitz. “Acting Between the Spheres: Charlotte Cushman as Androgyne.”  Wearing the Breeches on the Antebellum Stage. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.

 

1/26 Writing about Text and Performance

Ferguson, Marcia. A Short Guide to Writing about Theater. NY:  Pearson Education, Inc.  2008

(81-104)

 

Cixous, Hélène, “The Laugh of the Medusa,” trans. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen,

Signs, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer, 1976), pp. 875-893

 

 

WEEK THREE - Reading Women Writing Women

 

1/31 Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) Rachel: A Play in Three Acts

 

2/2 Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) Trifles (access online version through library website)

 

 

WEEK FOUR

2/7 Fornes, Maria Irene. Fefu and her Friends.

 

 

2/9 Essay #1 due - peer review in class and to me: Analyze how Grimke or Glaspell or Fornes (or all) write “woman”

 

 

SECTION TWO: MODES OF REPRESENTATION and SPECTATING

 

WEEK FIVE - Mimesis and Mimicry

2/14Elin Diamond “Brechtian Theory/Feminist Theory”

Solga, Kim. theatre & feminism, pp. 26-27, 33-34, 39-48

 

 

2/16Case, Sue-Ellen “Towards a Butch Femme Aesthetic.” The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Amelia Jones. NY: Routledge, 2003.

 

Dolan, Jill. “A Femme, A Butch, a Jew” from Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

 

FINAL ESSAY #1 DUE

 

WEEK SIX -

2/21 Phelan, Peggy.  “Broken Symmetries” Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. NY: Rutledge, 2007.

 

Solga, Kim. theatre & feminism, pp. 23-26.

 

 

2/23 Case Studies: The Team (RoosevElvis) and Split Britches

Promo Video for RoosevElvis + press on the show + short show excerpt + Culturebot article. 

 

Split Britches Biography + interview with Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver

 

 

WEEK SEVEN - 

 

2/28 Case Study: WOW and the Five Lesbian Brothers The Secretaries

Check out LIsa Kron's website for photographs of The Secretaries, information on the Five Lesbian Brothers and WOW Cafe.

 

3/2 Essay #2 Due to Me and Peer Reviewer.

 

WEEK EIGHT

 

3/7 Dolan, Jill. Selections from The Feminist Spectator as Critic. 2nd Edition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012.

 

bell hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators.” Black Looks: Race and Representation.  Boston: South End Press, 1992:115-31.

 

Solga, Kim theatre & feminism, selections.

    

3/9Selections from solo artists:  Heather Raffo, Coco Fusco, Misty DeBerry

 

 

FINAL ESSAY TWO DUE Friday, 3/10 at noon

 

3/10-26 SPRING RECESS

 

SECTION THREE: CONTEMPORARY PLAYWRIGHTS AND THEATRE WORK

 

WEEK NINE - The State of the Union - Writing Conferences and begin discussions on solo pieces

3/28 - Norman, Marsha. “Not There Yet: What will it take to achieve equality for women in the theatre?” American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. n.d.  [http://www.tcg.org/publications/at/nov09/women.cfm]

 

Selections from American Theatre October 2015 Issue on Gender Dis/Parity (pdf below)

 

Investigate the Kilroys website: http://thekilroys.org/

 

Investigate HowlRound website on feminism and theatre: http://howlround.com/search?search_api_views_fulltext=feminism

 

BE SURE TO READ A Feminist Manifesto for Playwrights on HowlRound

 

3/30 - Young Jean Lee The Untitled Feminist Show

Listen to this interview with Young Jean Lee about her performance Untitled Feminist Show (NOTE: you can stop at 36:52, when she starts to discuss future projects): 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUZLv2aNfiM

 

Read the review of the show by Kee-Yoon Nahm in Theatre Journal 64.4 (December 2012): 590-592 [upload review]

 

Solga, Kim. theatre & feminism, pp. 28-33.

 

WEEK TEN - Violence

 

4/4    Vogel, Paula. Hot N’Throbbing

 

4/6    Karen Finley and solo performance - selections from: We Keep Our Victims Ready

 

 

WEEK ELEVEN - Violence

 

4/11    Kristina Rae Colón Good Friday

 

4/13    Friedman, Sharon. “Introduction.”Feminist Theatrical Revisions of Classical Works, ed. Sharon Friedman, McFarland, 2008, pp. 1-17.

 

    McLaughlin, Ellen. “The Trojan Women.” The Greek Plays, ed. Ellen McLaughlin, TCG, 2005, pp. 79-118.

 

[SEE ANTIGONICK]

 

WEEK TWELVE - Breaking the categories - reviewing the show

4/18Taylor Mac Hir

First Draft Essay 3/Manifesto Due

 

4/20     FIRST DRAFT SOLO PIECES DUE

Meet with groups to discuss and revise solo pieces

 

[SEE ANTIGONICK]

 

WEEK THIRTEEN - Solo Work

4/25    Discuss Antigonick

 

4/27    Writing and Rehearsing Solo Pieces

 

WEEK FOURTEEN

5/2    Writing and Rehearsing Solo Pieces

 

5/4    Writing and Rehearsing Solo Pieces

Performance Analysis Due

 

 

FINALS

5/9 - READING DAY

 

5/10 - 14 Final Examinations

Solo Piece + Research/Process Paper

THETR100 Introduction to Making Theatre: Theory and Practice Syllabus