Performance or Multimedia Project

Grade Breakdown

25% of the Total Grade. If you earn an excellent grade, an A-, on this project and B-/C+ on every other portion of the total grade, you would have a B- at the end of the term.

Assignment Overview

This term, you have the opportunity to create a performance or multimedia project instead of the formal 6-8 page essay. While this is a more creative project, it is not necessarily an easier project! I will be grading these for professionalism, creativity, appropriateness, and the insight your project can offer your peers about theater history, the material or cultural context of performance, or a particular play.

These projects, as you can see from the options below, are substantial, and they will require a lot of planning and preparation on your part! If you are interested in one of these options, it's important that you begin thinking about it early in the term. Last-minute projects will be graded accordingly!

Requirements

We will begin thinking seriously about the performance or multimedia project from the beginning of the term. If you choose to do this assignment, at midterm I will expect a 2-page proposal (see below), presentation of the project itself, and a two-three page analytical description of what you did.

Proposal

Two page, double-spaced, MLA formatted proposal describing what you plan to do, why you want to do it, how you'll go about doing it, and what resources you will need. If you are working as part of a group, your proposal should be a bit longer (two-three pages), and it should clearly describe what each team member will do.

Description

Two-three pages, MLA formatted throughout. Your description should describe what you did and, most importantly, why you did it. What were the interpretive choices you were making? What caused you to think that this approach would be appropriate? What do you think the audience would understand more clearly about the play in question, having seen your project?

Share with the Class

I will also expect you to share your work with your peers during our scheduled presentation period—the Saturday after classes end. I'll bring refreshments, and we can celebrate!

Possible Projects

Here are some options to get you started:

  1. Create a trailer for a film version of a selected play, updating it for a contemporary movie-going audience. Your trailer should suggest an interpretive position on your chosen play - thematic development, adaptation choices, and so on - as well as the kinds of staging choices you would make - costuming, set design, and so on. SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD in an appropriate video format OR post to YouTube.
  2. Create a video illuminating a historical context that informs a selected play. For instance, you might create a video introduction about the extent to which the inter-war years provided a context for The Threepenny Opera, or about the eighteenth-century development of ballad opera as a context for The Beggar's Opera. You might consider making a short "documentary" about the history of actresses on the Restoration stage as a context for The Rover, or on the genre of revenge tragedy as it relates to 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore. This kind of project can evolve from your in-class presentations. SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD in an appropriate video format OR post to YouTube.
  3. Create a website about a selected play. You can include information about the playwright, about the historical context, about first - or later - productions or film adaptations, and so on. Because the web easily allows you to embed multimedia sources and create hyperlinks to other pages (and between pages in your site), you should also consider incorporating audio clips, video clips, links to other useful webpages, and links within your own site to facilitate navigation. SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD and I will host it online.
  4. Create a video of a scene from a selected play. This kind of project will work best as a group project. You'll want to consider how you will deliver your lines and why, where you will set the scene and why, how you will suggest costumes and why - these choices should derive from an interpretive stance about your play. SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD in an appropriate video format OR post to YouTube.
  5. Translate a scene from a selected play into your mother tongue, and prepare a side-by-side bilingual version. You'll want to consider very carefully what kind of language is most appropriate for an accurate understanding of the play's nuances. SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD and in hard copy, and I will host it online.
  6. Design and create a costume for one or more characters in a selected play. You will want to derive your costuming choice from your interpretation of the play and its characters. For instance, past students designed costumes for Tartuffe that emphasized the way Moliere empowers women. SUBMISSION: Submit complete photos of the finished product to me on a CD, and I will host it online.
  7. Create an actor's version of a scene, with blocking, delivery, lighting, and other performance choices clearly described in your transcription of the scene. These choices should derive from and suggest your interpretive stance toward the play. For instance, why should Macheath deliver his lines in this way - what does that tell us about his motivations, his goals, his character? SUBMISSION: Submit it to me on a CD and in hard copy, and I will host it online.
  8. Create a scale model of a specific theater relevant to our selected plays. You might create a scale model of the Globe or the Greek theater of Epidaurus, for instance. This will require some research on your part in order to more fully understand the performance space! SUBMISSION: Submit complete photos of the finished product to me on a CD, and I will host it online.
  9. Work with a team to produce a live performance of a selected scene or group of scenes from a single play. Your performance choices should derive from and suggest an interpretive take on the play. This project is best suited for a group. Cast your play with your classmates (not friends or roommates, as they won't have read and discussed the play!). Actors will be expected to have memorized their lines. SUBMISSION: Formal performance will occur on a scheduled date, in Reinsch auditorium (or elsewhere, depending on the needs of the staging - in a park, for instance, should you choose to set the play in a park; in a warehouse, should you choose to set the play in a warehouse; and so on), and all students will be expected to attend. I will arrange for filming the performance, and I will make digital copies available to you.
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