Summer 2007

ARTS 610
Contemporary Playwrights: Text and Performance

Jaffe,David B.

06/25/2007 - 08/03/2007
Monday & Wednesday 07:00 PM - 09:30 PM

Thea Studios/Dsgn 101 - Jones

Through text analysis, monologue work, and scene study, this course will examine the works of contemporary American playwrights. Scenes drawn from the works of David Mamet, Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel, Suzan-Lori Parks, August Wilson, and Theresa Rebeck and others will serve as the texts for examination of given circumstances, subtext, and analysis of actions and objectives. The course is designed to explore these playwrights' works as active performative texts, in addition to their literary content and value.

Week to week, exercises and assignments will grow in complexity, with a strong focus on the development of scenes and monologues. Attention will be paid to the reading of plays for performance and character study, analysis of character arcs, and dissection of story through-lines.

Major readings will include: Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays by David Ball; Baltimore Waltz and Other Plays and The Mammary Plays by Paula Vogel; Angels in America by Tony Kushner; The Red Letter Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks; August Wilson: Three Plays by August Wilson; Theresa Rebeck: Collected Plays, Volume I, 1989-98 by Theresa Rebeck; Oleanna and Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. Additional readings to be assigned or substitutions made.

Examination and assignments will include a series of acting exercises, monologues, and scenes, and weekly reading assignments which augment the exercises. Students will be required to submit a written character and play analysis and an oral presentation detailing the work and influence of a selected playwright. In lieu of an exam, students will participate in a final performance of scenes and monologues.

Attendance at all class sessions is required. Regular rehearsal time outside of class will be required. The course is practical and technical, and full commitment and attention is required. Previous acting or theater experience is desirable.

Enrollment is limited to 14 students.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

David Jaffe (BA Connecticut College, MFA Yale University) is Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of Theater at Wesleyan. For eight years he served as Director of the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Jaffe taught advanced acting classes, audition technique, improvisation, ensemble process, and mentored the directing lab. As a professional actor he has worked in regional theater and in New York City in such venues as the Long Wharf Theater, American Shakespeare Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, the New York City Ballet, and was a member of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference acting company for three summers. Jaffe is also a professional observer at the Actors Studio in New York City. Click here for more information about David Jaffe.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 14

Texts to purchase for this course:
David Ball, BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS (Southern Illinois University Press), Paperback

Tony Kushner, ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART ONE: MILLENIUM APPROACHES (Theatre Communications Group), Paperback

David Mamet, OLEANNA (Vintage), Paperback

David Mamet, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (Grove Press), Paperback

Susan-Lori Parks, THE RED LETTER PLAYS (Theatre Communications Group), Paperback

Theresa Rebeck, COLLECTED PLAYS VOLUME 1 (Smith & Kraus), Paperback

Paula Vogel, THE BALTIMORE WALTZ AND OTHER PLAYS (Theatre Communications Group), Paperback

Paula Vogel, THE MAMMARY PLAYS (Theatre Communications Group), Paperback


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