You are here

DRAMA 201 A: Plays and Styles

Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:00am - 11:20am
HUT 154
Shelby Lunderman
Shelby Lunderman

Syllabus Description:

DRAMA 201A: Plays and Styles
School of Drama, University of Washington,
Spring 2017, MWF, 10:00am-11:20am
Hutchinson Hall 154

Instructor: Shelby Lunderman
Office: Hutchinson Hall 301
Office Hours: Mondays, 11:20am-1:20pm 

Course Description:

Introduces theatre practitioners to the principles of play construction, to the process of reading and conceiving plays for production, and to the basic vocabulary of artistic styles through which plays are produced.

Course Objectives:

- To acquire tools for productive script analysis, for use in acting, directing, and design.
- To identify and differentiate the structures and genres of a range of dramatic texts.
- To critically compare plays within a genre, and also compare scripts with live performance.
- To effectively communicate thoughts and analysis in the classroom.
- To construct a well-argued, fully-developed analytical paper reflecting these objectives.

Required Texts (Must Purchase):

- James Thomas, Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers, 5th Edition
- Robert Askins, Hand to God
- Sarah Ruhl, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
- Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon

Other Readings (Provided via Canvas):

- Euripides, Bakkhai (Translated by Reginald Gibbons)
- Shakespeare, MacBeth
- Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae (Translated by Paul Roche)
- Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (Translated by Brian Friel)
- Georg Büchner, Woyzeck (Translated by John Reddick)
- David Thompson, The Scottsboro Boys
- Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Dutchman
- Shakespeare, Mac Beth (Adapted by Erica Schmidt)

Every student MUST see Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Mac Beth before May 25th.
The show opens May 18th at Leo K. Theatre (5 show times available). Student tickets are $16.00.

Grading/Assignment Breakdown:


Due Date


Quizzes (10 total)

As Listed


Free-Writes (5 total)

As Listed


Phase 1 of Final Paper

April 20th


Final Paper

May 25th


Midterm Exam

May 4th


Final Exam

June 1st


Final Project

June 4th








Quizzes: We will have ten short-answer, scheduled quizzes throughout the quarter covering the plays and additional readings assigned for the day’s class. (10 points each)

Free-Writes: We will have five in-class free-writes throughout the quarter. Each will cover one of the different styles discussed in the course. They will have both visual and written components and incorporate relevant discussions, plays, and readings. (20 points each)

Phase 1 of Final Paper: Each student will submit a one-page draft of their paper to Canvas by 9:30am on April 20th discussing the plot and genre of Erica Schmidt’s Mac Beth. (50 points)

Final Paper: Each student will submit a 3-4 page paper to Canvas by 9:30am on May 25th discussing the plot, genre, and performance of Seattle Rep’s Mac Beth. (150 points)

Midterm & Final Exams: The exams will cover the plays and genres through a mix of both short, identification questions, as well as long essay-format questions. (150 points each)

Final Project: Small groups of students will each propose a fictitious season for the School of Drama considering the plays, genres, and conversations of the quarter. The Final Project grade will include an in-class proposal worksheet, a final oral presentation, and a PowerPoint. (200 points)

Participation: All students are expected to regularly attend and actively participate in class. Participation points can be earned through discussion, small-group work, and the variety of other activities this quarter. Failure to participate, roaming the Internet, playing on your phone, etc. will result in a loss of participation points. (100 points)

Grading Policies:

Each student can only make-up TWO quizzes or free-writes throughout the quarter for either excused or unexcused absences (illness, sleeping too late, family trips, etc.). Use these diligently. You have up to one week after the quiz or free-write is given in class to make-up it up during office hours or during a scheduled time. After that week, your grade on the assignment will be a zero. (Your two make-ups will be tracked in Canvas.)

If you have a grading question and/or concern, please follow the following procedure:

- First, wait until the assignment has been returned. Questions regarding grades before the physical assignment has been handed back will not be answered.
- Once you have received the assignment back, read all the comments and the rubric.
- If you still have questions, feel free to stop by my office hours to discuss your assignment. Please bring your assignment, my notes, and any rubrics in order to have the most productive meeting!
- PLEASE NOTE: I have a 24-hour waiting period after assignments are returned before I will schedule a meeting.

Late work will be accepted for a penalty of 10% per day for up to 3 days. In the case of legitimate emergencies, please contact me at the earliest possible moment via email. All emergencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis pending proper documentation.

Additionally, all my grades are final and non-negotiable. If you feel a genuine error has been made on one of your assignments, feel free to talk to me. Otherwise, efforts for additional points will kindly be disregarded.

Extra Credit:

Extra Credit opportunities will arise in small amounts throughout the quarter. They will be offered to all students present. Should an opportunity extend outside of class hours, expanded announcements will be made.

Technology Use:

You may use laptops or tablets to take notes and/or access the readings during class. If you wish to make/take a call or to send/receive a text, please step outside until you are done, as phone use is disruptive to the class.

Use of technology, however, is a privilege. If I notice you are surfing the internet or texting for non-class purposes, I reserve the right to ask you to take hand-written notes for the duration of the quarter.


Plagiarism occurs whenever someone uses the ideas or writings of another as their own without giving due credit. According to the Committee on Academic Conduct (1994, p. 23), a student commits plagiarism by:

- Using another writer’s words without proper citation. If you use another writer’s words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material and include a footnote or other indication of the source of the quotation.
- Using another writer’s ideas without proper citation. When you use another author’s ideas, you must use a citation to indicate where this information can be found.
- Citing your source but reproducing the exact words of a printed source without quotation marks. This makes it appear as though you have paraphrased rather than borrowed the author’s exact words.
- Borrowing the structure of another author’s phrases or sentences without crediting the author from whom it came.
- Borrowing all or part of another student’s paper or using someone else’s outline to write your own paper.
- Using a paper writing “service” or having a friend write the paper for you. Regardless of whether you pay a stranger or have a friend do it, it is a breach of academic honesty to hand in work that is not your own, or to use parts of another student’s paper.

Plagiarism and/or cheating will result in a zero for the assignment for all parties involved.


Vericite is a web-based system that allows student papers to be submitted and checked for plagiarism. The system compares student papers with sources available on the Internet, select commercial article databases, and papers submitted at UW or other institutions using Vericite.

Student Code of Conduct:

The School of Drama encourages an environment of academic integrity and mutual respect. As a member of this learning community, students should read and follow the behavioral expectations identified in the University of Washington Student Conduct Code. The UW Student Conduct code oversees both academic and behavioral conduct of students.

All incidents of alleged academic misconduct are reported to the Associate Dean for Academics who will investigate the situation. Academic misconduct reviews will adhere to the policies outlined in the Student Conduct Code and managed by the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct:

Writing Centers:

Should you feel the need to seek external help or guidance in your writing, I recommend two of the writing centers on campus:


Disability Access & Accommodations:

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Grading Scale:

A 4.0 950-1000
A 3.9 940-949
A- 3.8 930-939
A- 3.7 920-929
A- 3.6 910-919
A- 3.5 900-909
B+ 3.4 880-899
B+ 3.3 860-879
B+ 3.2 840-859
B 3.1 820-839
B 3.0 800-819
B 2.9 790-799
B- 2.8 780-789
B- 2.7 770-779
B- 2.6 760-769
B- 2.5 750-759
C+ 2.4 740-749
C+ 2.3 730-739
C+ 2.2 720-729
C 2.1 710-719
C 2.0 700-709
C 1.9 690-699
C- 1.8 680-689
C- 1.7 670-679
C- 1.6 660-669
C- 1.5 650-659
D+ 1.4 640-649
D+ 1.3 630-639
D+ 1.2 620-629
D 1.1 610-619
D 1.0 600-609
D 0.9 590-599
D- 0.8 580-589

D- 0.7 570-579 (Lowest passing grade)

F 0.0 0-569 (Failure or Unofficial Withdrawal.
No credit earned)


Course Schedule


Mar. 26

Welcome, Syllabus, & Course Policies


Mar. 28

Structure of Plays


Read: Thomas's Ch. 5 "Progression and Structure"

Mar. 30

“Play in a Box”

In Class: QUIZ 1


Read: Bakkhai & Rush’s Ch. 6 “Classic Tragedy”


Apr. 2

Greek Tragedy


Read: Thomas's Ch. 3 "Background Story"

Apr. 4

Contemporary Tragedy

In Class: QUIZ 2


Read: MacBeth


Apr. 6

Understanding the Story

In Class: FREE-WRITE 1


Read: Thomas's Ch. 2 "Given Circumstances"

Introduce: Final Paper


Apr. 9

Greek Comedy


Read: Thesmophoriazusae & Rush’s Ch. 7 “Classic Comedy”

In Class: QUIZ 3 

Apr. 11

Comedy, Comic, and The Comedic

Apr. 13

Bridging Styles: Tragicomedy/Dark Comedy



Read: Rush’s Ch. 10 “Alternate Genres”



Apr. 16

Contemporary Comedy

In Class: QUIZ 4

Read: Hand to God

Apr. 18

Comparing the Characters of Comedy

In Class: FREE-WRITE 2

Read: Thomas's Ch. 6 "Character"

Apr. 20

Working Through the Text of Mac Beth




(Submit online to Canvas by 9:30am, bring hardcopy to class)


Apr. 23

Bridging Styles: Melodrama


Read: Rush’s Ch. 8 “Melodrama”


Apr. 25


In Class: QUIZ 5

Read: Hedda Gabler & Rush’s Ch. 11 “Realism”


Apr. 27

The Language of Realism

In Class: FREE-WRITE 3


Read: Thomas's Ch. 8 "Dialogue"

Introduce: Final Project



Apr. 30

Contemporary Realism

In Class: QUIZ 6


Read: In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play

May 2

Midterm Review

May 4




May 7

Epic Theatre

In Class: QUIZ 7


Read: Woyzeck & Rush’s Ch. 15 “Epic Theater”


May 9

Epic Theatre & Büchner

Guest: Matthew D. Straus

May 11

Playing with Structure & Epic Theatre

In Class: FREE-WRITE 4


Read: Thomas's Ch. 7 "Idea"



May 14

The Epic Influence

In Class: QUIZ 8


Read: The Scottsboro Boys


May 16

Playing with Style

Guest: Guillaume

May 18

Postmodernism vs. Modernism



Read: Rush’s Ch. 16 “Postmodernism”



May 21


In Class: QUIZ 9


Read: Dutchman


May 23

Postmodernism in Theatre

In Class: FREE-WRITE 5




May 25

A Culmination of Styles
& In-Class Final Project Worksheet

In Class: QUIZ 10


Read: An Octoroon

(Submit to Canvas by 11:59PM, No Physical Copy Necessary)


May 28



May 30

Final Review

 June 1


Monday, June 4th from 8:30am-10:20am
(Send Powerpoints by 8:00am)


Catalog Description: 
Introduces theatre practitioners to the principles of play construction, to the process of reading and conceiving plays for production, and to the basic vocabulary of artistic styles through which plays are produced. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:04pm