TDM 97 Syllabus
TDM 97 Syllabus
Sophomore Tutorial Syllabus. TDM 97
Theater, Dance & Media: See it. Do it. Make Theory.
Professor: Debra Levine
Spring 2019: 4 credits
Class meets: Tuesday 9-11:45 am
Office hours: Tuesday 3-5
This course will introduce students to the fundamental issues in and methods of theatre studies. We will engage a number of plays, essays, videos and live performances to explore the potential of dramatic forms, and ask what can be experienced and known through performance and performing. In doing so, we will address key questions:
What constitutes a theatrical event? What are its component parts? What is the relationship between written dramas and embodied performance on the stage and in everyday life? What responsibilities do the actors, directors, designers and other members of the production team have to the text they incarnate or to the author’s expressed intentions? How does the spectator co-create the meaning of a given production? How does one situate theatre historically and from a theoretical perspective? And how can performance become a critical tool to engage cultural, political, and philosophical issues?
You will be encouraged to develop your ability to think about performance from many different perspectives and to defend your individual ideas with strong critical skills. Additionally, throughout the course of the semester we will define and demystify the complex terms that operate within this field. This course aims to give students a solid foundation to see, experience and think as performers, as artists, and as scholars of expressive behavior.
Goals and Learning Outcomes:
-To create an informed and thoughtful dialogue among a community of thinkers in order to comprehend a range of critical perspectives and frameworks for viewing theatre and performance.
-To obtain an overview of theatre and performance as it is situated between the arts and humanities, and to identify the key historical and theoretical methodologies and contexts for its scholarly investigation.
-To advance student’s research skills in theatre and performance, enhancing their capacity to access and work with primary source materials–especially live performance and performance documentation– and to offer an overview of the primary source archives available to scholars and practitioners in the field.
-Outcomes will be assessed through class participation, a comprehensive annotated bibliography of all class materials, and a final in-class exam.
Assignments and Grading:
You will create an online annotated bibliographical blog for all sources discussed in the class – articles, essays, play scripts, videos, websites – everything — that responds to the week’s prompts. Each prompt response should be three to five paragraphs long – no more. Those paragraphs should contain a summary of the source material, an evaluation of the text, your own thoughts how it adds, complicates or enriches your understanding of theatre and performance. Your blogs should be updated weekly and be completely up to date as of each Monday by 8pm. Each blog entry shall be posted on your tumbler/Wordpress/or other blogging platform site, and linked to our class website.
Keep a copy of all your writing on a Microsoft word document – there are no excuses if you write directly to the blogs and materials get lost!
The full project (all your blog posts) should be printed out and handed in on May 3th at 5 pm. (75% of grade)
There will be a final in-class essay exam on May 3rd. (15% of grade)
Engaged and thoughtful class participation is critical. (10% of grade)
You are allowed one excused absence (an excused absence means you send me a text or email before class begins). Every absence beyond the one excused absences will lower your grade down by 5%. If you are late for class (arrive after the starting time), I will count that as an absence.
All readings are either from required textbooks (see bibliography at the end of the syllabus) or will be posted on our class Thinking Theatre website. ALL READINGS ARE TO BE READ IN THEIR ENTIRETY. NO EXCEPTIONS. IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO READ EVERYTHING IN FULL – DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.
Video viewings will occur (mostly) in class. EVERYONE is expected to attend group viewings of the videos assigned for class. Also, everyone is expected to attend the performances listed on the announcements on our website or on other pre-arranged class trips.
Statement on Academic Integrity:
Please review the following guidelines on academic integrity.
Students are expected-often required-to build their work on that of other people, just as professional researchers and writers do. Giving credit to someone whose work has helped you is expected; in fact, not to give such credit is a crime. Plagiarism is the severest form of academic fraud. Plagiarism is theft. More specifically, plagiarism is presenting as your own:
- a phrase, sentence, or passage from another writer’s work without using quotation marks;
- a paraphrased passage from another writer’s work;
- facts, ideas, or written text gathered or downloaded from the Internet;
- another student’s work with your name on it;
- a purchased paper or “research” from a term paper mill.
Other forms of academic fraud include:
- “collaborating” between two or more students who then submit the same paper under their individual names.
- submitting the same paper for two or more courses without the knowledge and the expressed permission of all teachers involved.
- giving permission to another student to use your work for a class.
Term paper mills (web sites and businesses set up to sell papers to students) often claim they are merely offering “information” or “research” to students and that this service is acceptable and allowed throughout the university. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. If you buy and submit “research,” drafts, summaries, abstracts, or final versions of a paper, you are committing plagiarism and are subject to stringent disciplinary action. Since plagiarism is a matter of fact and not intention, it is crucial that you acknowledge every source accurately and completely. If you quote anything from a source, use quotation marks and take down the page number of the quotation to use in your footnote.
Consult The Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Guide for accepted forms of documentation, and the course handbook for information on using electronic sources. When in doubt about whether your acknowledgment is proper and adequate, consult your teacher. Show the teacher your sources and a draft of the paper in which you are using them. The obligation to demonstrate that work is your own rests with you, the student. You are responsible for providing sources, copies of your work, or verification of the date work was completed.
The academic community takes plagiarism very seriously. Teachers in our writing courses must report any instance of academic dishonesty in student writing, whether it occurs in an exercise, draft, or final essay. Students will be asked to explain the circumstances of work called into question. When plagiarism is confirmed, whether accidental or deliberate, penalties will follow.
For more information on avoiding plagiarism and proper use of internet citation, we recommend visiting these websites:
- Virtual Salt. “Citing Web Sources MLA Style.”(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.By Robert Harris. Guidelines to what to cite and how to cite in Modern Language Association style.
- “How to Avoid Plagiarism.” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Northwestern University. A comprehensive site about academic integrity and citing sources.
Schedule****All readings must be read before the class for which they are assigned.***
Globaletics/Orature & Text
Jan 29th/Week 1. Globaletics and the Conditions of Being Seen and Known
Read: Wa Thiongo, N’Gugui. “Introduction,” Globalectics:Theory and the Politics of Knowing. Globalectics 1-8 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.,
Read: Wa Thiong’o, N’gugi. “ Oral Power and Europhone Glory” In Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: Toward a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State In Africa. 103-132.WaThiong’o-Oral Power and Europhone Glory (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Read: Jackie Sibblies Drury. Fairview 2018
Read:. Jackie Sibblies Drury and Kaneza Schaal. “Self Consciousness: An Interview.”. In The Supplements No. 2: Fairview. 37-56
Fairview – Schaal Drury Interview (1)Download
Watch (in class): Fairview trailer https://vimeo.com/295665117 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Watch: Shirtology by Jerôme Bel http://www.jeromebel.fr/index.php?p=2&s=3&ctid=8 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
References: https://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/jerome-bel-on-his-work (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Watch (in class); Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco, The Couple in The Cage 1993. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv26tDDsuA8
References: Beautiful Trouble https://beautifulrising.org/tool/couple-in-the-cage (
February 5th/Week 2: Text and Performance
Read: Carlson, Marvin. : “Theatrical Performance: Illustration, Translation, Fulfillment or Supplement?”
Read: Schechner, Richard: “Drama, Script, Theater, Performance.” Drama Script Theatre Performance
Read:Sophokles Antigonik Translated by Anne Carson
Read: Artforum interview with Anne Carson and Trajal Harrell http://artforum.com/slant/id=55046
Read: “A Chorus Remembers Michael Brown in ‘Antigone in Ferguson.’” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/theater/antigone-in-ferguson-michael-brown.html
Watch: (in class) : selections from Antigone In Ferguson. Theater of War.
Watch (in class): segment of Trajal Harrell’s Antigone Sr.Antigone Srhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=49&v=6v51IBW_RF4
NOTE: ON FEBRUARY 7th THE ENTIRE CLASS WILL GO TO SEE THIS AT MIT. THE SHOW BEGINS AT PM and Adrienne Truscott will talk with us after the performance.
Play: Ritual, Sacred, Communal
February 12th/Week 3.
Read: Geertz, Clifford. “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.”
Read: “Time Out of Memory: The Total Drama;” “The Ta’ziyeh of the Martyrdom of Hussein;” “The Origins of the Sunnite-Shiite Divide and the Emergence of the Ta’ziyeh Tradition;” In Chelkowski, Peter J. (ed.). Eternal Performance: Taziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals. pp 1-53. (see link below)
Read: “Acting Styles and Actor Training in Ta’ziyeh.” In Chelkowski, Peter J. (ed.). Eternal Performance: Taziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals. pp 74-94 (see link below)
Read: “Theater of Protest ” 178 – 192 in in Chelkowski, Peter J. (ed.). Eternal Performance: Taziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals. (see link below)
Chelkowski-1 – Eternal Performance p1-53 p74-94 p178-191
Read: Taziyeh in Motion: The Traveling Culture of Iranian Muharram Theater. https://ajammc.com/2014/11/11/taziyeh-in-motion
Watch (in class) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaL4WzaQ5Ok
Watch (in class) https://vimeo.com/33520093
Watch: Baronnet, J. (1970). Le lion de dieu. S.l.: S.n.] ;. (Professional actors from Tehran, staging a performance of ta’ziyeh plays in the village of Natanz, Iran. The ta’ziyeh plays narrate and relive the martyrdom in 680 of Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad; they are enacted in Shiʻite communities during the first 10 days of the month of Muharram. Includes interviews with the actors.) https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/mFia4knSjO
February 19th/Week 4.
Read: Sarah Ruhl. Passion Play.
Watch (before class): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-HshIO6nxg
Browse (before class): https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home
Read: Pellegrini, Ann. “Signaling Through the Flames: Hell House Performances and Structures of Religious Feeling.”
Read: Harding, Susan Friend. “Speaking is Believing” in The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. 33-60.
Watch (in class): Hell House George Ratliff,2002.
Watch (in class): The Oberammergau Passion Play https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwTSqBAOoTw
Reference: “Devil on My Shoulder,” This American Life, May 24, 2002. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/213/devil-on-my-shoulder
Theater in Theory
February 26th/Week 5.
Read: Aristotle. The Poetics. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html
Read: Nietzsche, Friedrich. “The Birth of Tragedy.” On the link pages 8-19. http://www.russoeconomics.altervista.org/Nietzsche.pdf
SKIM – don’t worry if you’re not getting everything. Read the words like a musical score or oratory. Pay attention to the concepts of the “dionysian” and the “apollonian.” Read from page 8 to 19
March 5th/Week 6.
Read Bertolt Brecht: 169-184 in : Krasner, David (ed.) Theater in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology.
Read Walter Benjamin 222-227 in: Krasner, David (ed.) Theater in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology.
Read: Boal, Augusto. “Aristotle’s Coercive Form of Tragedy”
Read: Debra Levine “Not Just Adult Entertainment: Milo Rau and CAMPO’s Collaborative Five Easy Pieces
*NOTE – see Theater in Theory Tab for information on some of the places/shows we will be seeing in NYC.
March 12th/Week 7.
Read: Chekhov, Anton. Three Sisters. Sarah Ruhl translation
Three Sisters (Sarah Ruhl translation)
Read: George Bernard Shaw. “Against the Well-Made Play” pp 104-105, Georg Lukács. “The Sociology of Modern Drama” p116-130. in : Krasner, David (ed.) Theater in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology.
Kransner – Theatre in Theory excerpts
Read: Appraising Stanislavsky’s Legacy Today .
Read: Simon Callow. “Simon Callow: Stanislavski was racked by self-doubt.” The Guardian, 16 March 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/mar/16/stanislavski-man-method-simon-callow
Watch (in class): The Three Sisters directed by Timofei Kouliabine in Russian sign language subtitled in English and French. A Théâtre “Krasnyi Fakel” (Red Torch) – Novossibirsk production // In association with Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe (Paris).
Dance, Choreography, Movement
March 26th/Week 8.
Modernism (Graham) to The Post-Moderns (Judson) to European Post-post modern Conceptual Dance
Read: Selections from Dills, Ann and Ann Cooper Albright (eds.) xiii- 16, 165-173, 370-383 404-413 421-426 Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Wesleyan, 2001.
Read: Selections from Ana Janevski, Thomas Lax. Text by Giampaolo Bianconi, Harry CH Choi, Vivian Crockett, Danielle Goldman, Elizabeth Gollnick, Adrian Heathfield, Ana Janevski, Martha Joseph, Thomas Lax, Victor “Viv” Liu, Jenny Harris, Sharon Hayes, Malik Gaines, Benjamin Piekut, Kristin Poor, Julia Robinson, Gloria Sutton. Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Listen: Jerome Bel in conversation with Ana Janevski https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAlfcvHmwDM
Watch: Yvonne Rainer “Trio A Pressured” s://vimeo.com/30563509
Watch (in class): “Martha Graham” and Yvonne Rainer Trio A https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ortnv
Watch (in class): Jerome Bel’s Veronique Doisneau https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIuWY5PInFs
Unit 4b: Plus… Music and Song (sex/gender/race/affective attachments)
April 2nd/Week 9.
NOTE: WE HAVE TICKETS FOR BATSHEVA at the BOCH CENTER ON APRIL 6th @8pm in BOSTON. this is an “opt out” event. If you don’t intend to use the ticket, please let me know by Tuesday’s class.
Read: Thomas F. Defrantz, “The Black Beat Made Visible: Hip Hop Dance and Body Power”
Read: Piper, Adrian. Out of Order, Out of Sight: Volume 1.: Xenophobia and the Indexical Present, Lectures 1 & 2. 245- 273
Notes on Funk 195-216
.My (Calling) Cards #1 and #2 219-221
Watch (in class): Adrian Piper. Funk Lessons Meta-Performance.(1987; 00:42:00) http://www.vdb.org/titles/adrian-piper-what-follows
Watch: (in class) SoulTrain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lODBVM802H8
Attend: BATSHEVA at the BOCH CENTER ON APRIL 6th.
Unit 5. Place and Space
April 9th/Week 10.
Read: Brook, Peter. The Empty Space. THE WHOLE BOOK!!
Read: Wa Thiong’o N’gugi. “Enactments of Power: The Politics of Performance Space,”
Read: Gambaro, Griselda. Information for Foreigners
Read: in Diana Taylor’s Digital Book Villa Grimaldi
1.1 2006: Visit to Villa Grimaldi with Pedro Matta (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
3.1 2013: This is Not the Place (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Read: Ariel Dorfman: Lessons of a Catastrophe. https://www.thenation.com/article/lessons-catastrophe/.
Watch (in class): Clip from the Milgram Experiment.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdUu3u9Web4
Watch (in class): http://www.dark-tourism.com/index.php/chile6/15-countries/individual-chapters/296-londres-38
Temporality, Translation, Hybridity
April 16th/Week 11.
Read: Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot
Read: Read Bradby, David. “Introduction;” “Beckett before Waiting For Godot,” “Waiting for Godot – The Play,” and “The first production: Theatre de Babylone, Paris, January 1953, directed by Roger Blin.” In Beckett: Waiting for Godot. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp 1-67
Read: Bradby, David. “Godot in a Political Context”
Read: Thompson, Chris. “Afterbirth of a Nation: William Pope L.’s Great White Way.” pp 63-90.
Read: Susan Sontag:
Godot Comes to Sarajevo _ by Susan Sontag _ The New York Review of Books
View: Paul Chan’s production notes for Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (look at links in all the tabs): http://creativetime.org/programs/archive/2007/chan/welcome.html
Read: Paul Chan: http://creativetime.org/programs/archive/2007/chan/welcome.html
Watch: William Pope L. Great White Way .http://ubu.com/film/pope_white1.html http://ubu.com/film/pope_white2.html
Watch: Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance 1981-1982
Watch: Creative Time: Waiting for Godot in New Orleans https://www.facebook.com/pg/creativetime/videos/
Acts, Performativity, Bodies
April 22nd /Week 12.
Read: Butler, Judith.“Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,”
Read: Riviere, Joan. “Womanliness as Masquerade”
Read: Wolf, Stacy. “Introduction.” and “The Sound of Music.” A Problem Like Maria; Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical. University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Watch (in class): Narcissister. Man/Woman; Hot Lunch; Every Woman. 2011-2013
Watch (in class): Eisa Jocson Macho Dancer (2013), Death of the Pole Dancer (2011)
Watch (in class): Rogers and Hammerstein. “I Enjoy Being Girl.”
Watch (in class): Selections from The Sound of Music.
April 30th /Week 13.Read:
Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine
April 30th/Week 13
Read: Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine
Watch (in class): The Wooster Group. Routes 1&9
May 3: EXAM DAY .
Watch (in class): Lee, Young Jean. The Shipment
Write (in class): Final exam.
Aristotle, S. H. Butcher, and Francis Fergusson. Aristotle’s Poetics (Dramabook). Hill and Wang: MacMiillan & Company, Ltd., 1961.
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts. New York: Grove Press, 1994.
Brook, Peter. The Empty Space: A Book About Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate. New York: Touchstone, 1995.
Chelkowski, Peter J. (ed.). Eternal Performance: Taziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals. London: Seagull Books, 2010.
Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1995.
Dills, Ann and Ann Cooper Albright (eds.) Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Wesleyan, 2001.
Fugard, Athol, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Statements. Theater Communications Group. 1993.
Ana Janevski, Thomas Lax. Text by Giampaolo Bianconi, Harry CH Choi, Vivian Crockett, Danielle Goldman, Elizabeth Gollnick, Adrian Heathfield, Ana Janevski, Martha Joseph, Thomas Lax, Victor “Viv” Liu, Jenny Harris, Sharon Hayes, Malik Gaines, Benjamin Piekut, Kristin Poor, Julia Robinson, Gloria Sutton. Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2018.
Gambaro, Griselda. Information for Foreigners. Trans. Marguerite Feitlowitz. Northwestern University Press, 1992.
Krasner, David (ed.) Theater in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology. Wiley Backwell, 2007.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. Vintage, 1967.
Ruhl Sarah. Passion Play. New York: Theater Communications Group, 2010.
Sophokles. Antigonick. Trans. Anne Carson. New Directions Books. 2015
Wa Thiong’o, N’gugi. Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
Articles, Essays and Chapters
Butler, Judith.“Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Eds. Carole R. McAnn and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: London: Routledge, 2003. p415-426.
Carlson, Marvin. : Theatrical Performance: Illustration, Translation, Fulfillment, or Supplement?” Theatre Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, “Theory” (Mar., 1985), pp. 5-11 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3207181 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Defrantz, Thomas F. “The Black Beat Made Visible: Hip Hop Dance and Body Power,” Of the Presence of the Body: Essays on Dance and Performance Theory. Ed. Andre Lepecki. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004, pp. 64-81.
Geertz, Clifford. “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” Interpretation of Cultures.New York: Basic Books, 1973. http://webhome.idirect.com/~boweevil/BaliCockGeertz.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Pellegrini, Ann. “Signaling Through the Flames: Hell House Performances and Structures of Religious Feeling.” American Quarterly, 59.3 (2007) 911-935.
Riveiere, Joan. “Womanliness as Masquerade” The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJPA), vol. 10 (1929).
Schechner, Richard. “Drama, Script, Theatre, Performance.” The Drama Review: TDR, Vol. 17, No. 3, Theatre and the Social Sciences (Sep., 1973), pp. 5-36. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1144841 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Thompson, Chris. “Afterbirth of a Nation: William Pope L.’s Great White Way.” Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory: Falling.vol. 14: 1, #27, 2004, pp 63-90.
Wa Thiong’o N’gugi. “Enactments of Power: The Politics of Performance Space,” TDR: The Drama Review. Vol. 41, No. 3, (Autumn 1997) 99 11-30.
Wolf, Stacy. “Introduction.” and “The Sound of Music.” A Problem Like Maria; Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical. University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Performances to be watched in class:
Chan, Paul. Production notes for Waiting for Godot in New Orleans and Baghdad. http://www.nationalphilistine.com/baghdad/text/godot.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Guillermo Gómez –Peña, Coco Fusco, and Paula Heredia. The Couple in a Cage: A Guatinaui Odyssey. 31 min. Third World Newsreel, 1993
Harrell, Trajal. Antigone Sr. 20144.
Hsieh, Tehching. One Year Performance 1981-1982
The Three Sisters directed by Timofei Kouliabine in Russian sign language subtitled in English and French. A Théâtre “Krasnyi Fakel” (Red Torch) – Novossibirsk production // In association with Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe (Paris).
Narcissister. Man/Woman; Hot Lunch; Every Woman. 2011-2013
Piper, Adrian Funk Lessons Meta-Performance.(1987; 00:42:00)
Ratliff, George. Hell House 2002.
Rogers and Hammerstein. “I Enjoy Being A Girl.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjWn-ueeeLw
Pope L. William Great White Way
The Wooster Group. Routes 1&9
Top of Form
Bottom of Form