English 244, Spring, 2019
Assignments and Updates
This is the Assignments and Updates Page. All assignments, and all updates to earlier assignments, will be posted here, beginning with the most recent first.
Thursday, June 13
Writing: Final Paper Due. You may submit the paper hard copy at any time before 5pm, or you can submit it electronically by embedding it in an email and sending it to email@example.com. It is due NO LATER than 5pm PDT on June 13.
Assignment for the final paper:
Here are links to two reviews of productions of Body Awareness: #1 and # 2 . They can give you some help remembering the production, but also give you different takes on what the play is all about. This was quite a different play from most of the plays we saw--it is a play that wants you to think about things, reflect on the world it offers you to see, and connect that to the world you live in.
To help you think about this, go to the Blackboard page and reread the first section on the four Functions of Theater and then decide which are for you (not everyone will have the same opinion) the two most important functions that Body Awareness works to enact. Explain why you think those are important and show with specifics how the play raises the question and how it plays out. One direction you might go, for example, would be something one of you brought up in class, the way that while we may think of people on the Asperger's scale as not "normal," in this play one or more of the three "normal" people are in their ways just as "not normal" as Jared is except that they are much less straightforward in the way they talk about such things. What, in fact, is "normal" anyway?
And then, as I said in class, you can also get help by going to the production of Body Awareness on YouTube. That link takes you to a page with a production of Body Awareness that you can watch--it will give you not only a way to remember what you saw but is also a production that does the same play even if in a somewhat different way.
Remember that the word limit is 600 words. You can submit your essay anytime between now and the 13th at 5pm.
Thursday, June 6 .
Discussion of What You Saw in preparation for your final paper. The Final Assignment will be to write a review of Body Movement using your knowledge of the Realms of Noticing (600 word limit!). The paper will be due on June 13 (see above for details).
Wednesday, June 5
Evening at 7:30: This week's show is Body Movement. It will be in the theatre on University Way where we saw Romeo and Jules. (click here for a map showing the theatre)
Please be sure to come to this performance! We have just one class with which to discuss the play, and since you will be writing a performance review as your final project, you probably want to have seen it and to have talked about it in class in order that you will be able to perform well on that final paper.
Tuesday, June 4
We will have a one hour class today to frame our viewing of Body Movement, to hand in your portfolios (the Portfolio assignment is now posted on the Blackboard).
Thursday, May 30 Swap-out class. We will not have a full class today. I'll be there for the first 20 minutes to return papers, but after that I'll leave. Instead of staying in class I will have an extended office hour to talk with any of you who want to talk about your papers.
Why do this? Mainly because I feel as though I owe you some time: you did, after all, have what was effectively an extra class when you went to The Learned Ladies, and you will have another evening at the theatre next week. I know things get pretty study heavy at this time of the quarter, so these hours are for you....
Tuesday, May 28
Reading: No reading for today
Writing: What is due today is your account of what you saw of Molière's play The Learned Ladies. It is at the Playhouse Theatre a couple hundred yards to the east of the Observatory building on the north side of the campus. Be sure to arrive early--there are no reserved seats. Earlier versions of this assignment had you focussed on a single Realm of Noticing; for this account I want you to be doing your best to attend to ALL the Realms of Noticing. (You are supposed to have learned a few things since we started this journey!). Length: 2 full pages or whatever it takes....
Thursday, May 23
Reading: your job for today is to bring in a poem of 10-20 lines. Memorize the poem so you can speak it aloud to the class. I want you to have thought carefully about the verbal drama of the poem and to speak it with your very best actor's skill. We have done this with Shakespeare's sonnets and with lines from plays. This is an opportunity to make more progress towards understanding a little more of what it is that actors do--whether on stage or, sometimes, in life!
The poem can be in any language you know; please bring a translation so I can have some sense of what's going on. Again you'll be doing a dramatic reading--any poem with a clear speaking voice in any language will work.
Tuesday, May 21
Writing: Midterm Paper due at the beginning of class.
No reading--we'll be introducing the play you'll be seeing this week: The Learned Ladies, by the 17th century French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known then as now by the stage name of Molière. And you'll be introducing yourself to the plot by doing just a little bit of acting....
Thursday, May 16
Paper writing workshop. Format to be described in class on Tuesday.
Tuesday, May 14
MidTerm Paper due on May 21--one week from today.
Here are the URLs for two reviews of the movie of Fences. One is positive, and one is negative.
Your job is not so much to take sides in the dispute as to explain how each of them makes a certain sense, and why. For the New York Times, read not only the review, but click on the comments section and read them all. From them all, pick one to respond to--as if you were the comments editor and were charged with answering the mail--by agreeing but also taking the conversation further by explaining what you see in the film, or by disagreeing with their claim and then going on to use a particular scene to explain how you disagree and why.
This, again is not about whether you "like" the production; we're thinking in terms of how to recognize, describe and explain why you take the position you do. You can challenge the production/movie, too--you don't have to be relentlessly positive. But that, too, will require you to explain and justify the critique you want to make.
The bar here is high; this is a highly respected play and (for many) movie. But that doesn't mean you may not want to explain how it had led you to reject what Wilson seems to be asking us to take from his play.
We’ll have a paper workshop on Thursday. Come prepared!
Assignments should abide by the following guidelines:
Papers that don't follow these guidelines will not be accepted. They will be returned to you to be reformatted. Such papers will then be regarded as late until they have been resubmitted in the proper format.
Thursday, May 9
Bring in your short poem, sonnet, or paragraph, both on paper and in your head. We'll work on them in class. I will want you to memorize your short piece--it is your script! Don't worry, you don't need to be a professional actor here. But I want you to experience just a bit of what actually being an actor entails. We will perform them on the 16th.
Tuesday, May 7
You will be watching the movie version of Fences. What I'd like you for your writing is just add a one to the number of the Realm of Noticing you were assigned for R & J and focus your attention on that. So if you were assigned Acting last time, you'd now do Direction/Movement. You'll note that while a few scenes are out in the community or at Troy's job site, most are within stage-like surroundings, like the back yard or the interior of the kitchen or dining room. And if you were doing Direction for R and J, now you'll be doing Realm 3: costumes, and props.
Remember that the Realms of Noticing are listed on the blackboard at Realms of Noticing.
Remember that if you need clarification, you can send me a note. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursday, May 2
Reading/Watching: Start looking for either a paragraph from a book you like or a sonnet/short poem to be what you perform in class in about two weeks. You can even use something in a language other than English if you are more comfortable that way. If you choose to do so I'd just like a chance to talk with you a bit so I can understand what it's going to be and something about it.
Writing: No writing for Thursday. We'll pick things up again for Tuesday when you'll write about Wilson's play/film.
Tuesday, April 30
Reading--none. We will be moving on to the next challenge--August Wilson's play Fences. We will watch some of it in class, but you'll also need to download it from Amazon or wherever you can find it. (It's not at all expensive.) One of the questions we'll ask is how you can tell from the movie that it was originally a play, and why one might imagine that Wilson (who wrote the movie script as well as the play it is based on) wanted to maintain a lot of its play-like character. More on this when we meet again.
Writing: a discussion of Romeo and Jules as you saw it. I haven't seen it yet myself, but I'm already curious about several things. It is, of course, yet another work inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Something like more than 150 movies have used R and J as a source, and countless books as well. (See this list of movies)
You have been assigned a Realm of Noticing in class. (If you don't have one send me a note so I can assign you one.) That is to help focus your attention during the production. For the paper you write I want you to describe the production as carefully as you can (you can compare it if possible to what we have already looked at) and I want you to include in your write up what you can tell me about your own particular realm of noticing in the production. I'm looking for ECI....
And now that we have some common texts in our heads we will start next week working with the notion of Art as Work.
Thursday, April 25 (Two Days After Shakespeare's Birthday!)
We will actually be holding class at the theatre this week (click here for a map showing the theatre), so instead of meeting in our classroom we'll meet at the theater at 7pm on Wednesday or Thursday (if you have to go to a different performance then I'll just see you next week on Tuesday).
This week's show is Romeo and Jules; you will need the red cards I handed out to pick up the reduced price tickets. If you were not there in class when I handed them out (I have 6 or so still) you can come by my office during the scheduled class time on Thursday, or send me a note to arrange a different time. Or show up at the theatre by 7pm so I can give you one there.
Reading: A plot summary of Romeo and Juliet so you will have some sense of what the play we are seeing is making reference to. And then your full and best responses to what you see when you see the play on Wednesday or Thursday evening.
Tuesday, April 23 (SHAKESPEARE'S Birthday!!)
Reading (Watching): The Bald Soprano. It's on YouTube.com here. We watched up to 38:20 in class. We then talked about why anyone would write, and why anyone else would bother to watch, such a crazy play. Yes it is funny, but yes it is serious, too. Your assignment for Tuesday is to watch the second half of the play and think about the ways the thematics we talked about on Thursday play out in the rest of the play.
Writing: I may come back with specific questions, but for now, with some sense of the ways in which the absurdities of this play caricature the absurdities of life we haven't necessarily thought of before, pick a particular scene to describe both 1) physically: how is the scene staged, what are they doing, what are they saying, and with what effect? and 2) thematically: what is the thematic point of the scene you are looking at? What functions does it fulfill?
I think after the intro we did today you should be able to do this both of these things. If not, send me an email and we can have virtual office hour....
Thursday, April 18
Reading: Theatre as Action (Click to go there). This isn't hard to read, and it's not very long. But it's a valuable way to find your footing as you/we become increasingly reflective about the drama we will be seeing.
Writing: Think about the two productions we have seen and decide for each which of the functions was dominant and then explain why. (It's ok to see a play as engaged in multiple functions!)
Tuesday, April 16
Reading: continue reading/watching Twelfth Night by logging on to the UW Main Page, then click on Libraries. THEN click on log in in the upper right hand corner (you must do this or you won't be able to access the video). You will be prompted for your UW id and password.
Click on the bolded "Twelfth Night." Doing so will take you to another website, and you'll find a mini-screen to click on. That is not it. That's the one we have just watched. Scroll down a bit to
Click on the top line's Twelfth Night. A small window will open where you click to play the video.
Writing: You'll see immediately that the production is VERY DIFFERENT from the "original practices" version we have just been watching. Watch the entire production (it runs a little over two hours) and make a list of differences you see between the two productions. Then pick one scene that you see differing in important ways from the corresponding scene in the version we just saw. Then three or four paragraphs describing the differences and explain as best you can why you think the director made the choices they did for set design, movement/blocking, direction and even props.
I'm much looking forward to learning what you have managed to see!!!!
Thursday, April 11
Reading: Continue reading/watching Twelfth Night, Acts 4 and 5.
Writing: NOT quite the same assignment as last time. Two things: First, again I want you to find a speech from each of the two acts--just one from each--but I want it to be one that you think is the one, if you were an actor, that you'd like most to speak.
Second, The Point of Maximum Chaos! I described that to you today as the the point where things seem closest to flying apart and leading to the complete wreck of the whole social order. I want you to identify a scene that seems to you to be such a scene--something that threatens the very things that comedies so often end in: a restoration of order, of civility, of happiness.
Tuesday, April 9
Reading: Continue reading Twelfth Night--acts 2 and 3.
Writing: Same assignment as last time, except I want you to pick a passage from each of the two acts, and again write about them. This time explain again why you chose each of the passages.
We will have an exercise with your picks on Tuesday, and we'll follow that with an explanation of what your speeches' functions are. Speeches don't just sit there; they have jobs to do in the play. Most of what we saw in Act 1 is there to inform the audience of who is who and what relationships they have to each other. They also characterize each of the speakers. And they also set up something that is going to happen later on. Thus Malvolio is presented to you as someone who is something of a killjoy. He is supposed to keep order in the Countess' house, and this makes him someone that the drunkards and Maria don't particularly like. And because they don't like him, they decide to "gull" him--which just means play a trick on him. Which they do indeed do--a trick that turns out to be not just funny but mean as well.
See you Tuesday....
Thursday April 4
Reading: First, the course description and syllabus (online at http://faculty.washington.edu/cicero/Eng244.htm). We will have a short quiz on that reading.
And second: Twelfth Night: Act 1. You can get a paperback of the play, too, if that is more comfortable for you to read. They are available at Amazon, UBook and bookstores (almost) everywhere (though NOT in the Textbook Section of the UW Bookstore--check upstairs). The online URL, again, is:
I've asked you already to read the play summary; now I ask for you to work your way through the first part of the text. It is confusing--you will be surprised when you see it performed that it is clearer than you think! But the words are sometimes old fashioned, and scene two has a lot of jokes--which use Shakespearean slang, and is therefore, again, hard to read.
But that's fine--just keep going. Get the main plot and we'll talk about it next week. (Don't be shy about rereading the plot summary--it will help you understand the text. The plot summary is at: https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/shakespeares-plays/twelfth-night/.)
Writing: Again, a page: this time I just want you to find ten lines you like, for any reason at all!, and write them out (or cut and paste). Then give me three or four sentences that explain why you selected THESE particular lines.... (You don't have to have "good" reasons--I just want to know YOUR reasons--which will help me understand what level of interest and of facility with Shakespearean language you have.) Typed if you can, handwritten if you can't.