Course syllabus

Drama 301: Themes and Topics. Semester 2, 2019


Tom Bishop     

Arts 1 (Humanities), Rm 629 ext 87841


Class time:    M 10-12, F 10-12

Workshop time: W 2-4                                                 

Location: Drama Studio, Arts 1 


Overview:  Welcome to Drama 301 for 2019. This course is the most fun I have in my job. I hope you will enjoy it also and that we will learn much from one another this semester. We all have different interests and expertise in theatre that we can successfully pool and develop. Please feel free to ask questions or open discussion on relevant topics at any time, in class or in person or over email.

You should be prepared for extensive practical workshops and exercises on the material studied, both solo and in groups. Specific work will focus on: laughter, the comic actor and the audience, clowning, styles of comedy and the comic, the social spaces of performance, and so on. We will look in particular at dramatic work in two major classic comedy traditions: the Italian (later Europe-wide) commedia dell’arte and Shakespeare. Our semester-length project will be a performance of one of Shakespeare’s early plays, probably The Two Gentlemen of Verona, given by workshop groups at the end of the semester.

Our first set of assignments will be around comedy masks and their use. After some introductory sessions on basic mask work, you will each develop your own original masked character, and present him/her to the class. Your character will then appear in a short skit devised by your workshop group. After the semester break, we will deploy our characters in some pieces of Street Theatre, and then work, finally, on the Shakespeare play.

Readings for workshop sessions will be provided over Canvas in weekly modules, and you are also expected to work on group projects for a further two hours a week, on Wednesday afternoons. Assessment is based on work in class, both individually and in groups, plus occasional written reflective assessments of your creative exploration and development. There is no examination. 

A detailed week-by-week syllabus and description will be published later in 2019.

Contact: I can be contacted at any time for questions or discussions of course concerns at the above addresses. Email is by far the most efficient way to reach me.


Course summary:

Date Details