Theater Practice in Western History

For this class, you will produce a 7-8 page paper (exclusive of Bibliography, illustrations, etc.) involving research that focuses on some aspect of theater practice within the context of western dramatic history (although the influence of eastern traditions on the west is a welcome paper topic). It can be purely research or it can have a creative element. The options are below. The format of your paper can be one of two options:

1) Research of a person, topic, event or convention involved with the theater. It should be chock full of facts. This is not an English/Humanities paper interpreting plays or conventions and their resonance in the modern world. Rather, the paper should consist of factual material, well organized and thoroughly researched. Your topic may focus on an individual, a particular period, innovation, Theater Company, or anything else that ignites your interest. Although by no means exhaustive, some possible topics include:
•The Roman Ideal: A Survey of Renaissance and Baroque Costume
•Actresses on the Restoration Stage or in Commedia dell’arte
•Focus on important women or men in the theater e.g. Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt, Stella Adler, Margot Jones; Henry Irving, Peter Brook, Sanford Meisner
•Adolphe Appia and Stage Lighting Innovations
•Arlecchino: The Most Famous Zanni •Josef Svoboda, Master Scenographer
•History of acting the part of Hamlet
•The History of the NEA
•The Astor Place Riots
•Greek Theater Technology
•Production History of a play
•Research on the life of an artist, theatrical conventions of a society or production of a play not studied in class

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2) Envision either Euripides’ Hippolytus or Aristophanes’ Clouds on the stage of any one of the periods and societies we have studied this semester. Your paper should give an account of the conventions of whatever society and time period you choose e.g. the Elizabethan stage, and should explain how your production abides by those conventions. What do the costumes look like? How many and what kind of actors will you use e.g. amateur, all male, young, old? How would the stage scenery be designed? What would it look like or depict? How would you imagine the audience would react? Who is your audience – the educated elite or is it a popular piece? What will the text be like – naturalistic or in rhyming couplets (a translation from the library that demonstrates what you mean would be a way to illustrate this or your own would also suffice)? Illustrations would be useful but are not necessary given thorough descriptions.

Your paper should be typed, double-spaced, 12pt font, with 1” margins (all = 5pts), and be properly cited and formatted according to MLA or Turabian standards. Failure to cite your work will result in a drop of one letter grad

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