Quiz #4

In lieu of an in-class quiz, please post thorough and complete lecture notes from April 2 and 4 (Prof. Leonhardt’s lectures on the avant-garde) and April 9 and 11 (installation and performance art and Brooklyn Museum visit sketch). If your notes are incomplete — or if you were absent one of those days — use the lecture slides to fill in the gaps.

Nona Faustine’s “White Shoes” at the Brooklyn Museum

This is the final OpenLab response of the semester. It is due April 20. 

During our tour of “White Shoes”, we discussed how the photographs of the artist could be considered documentation of performance art. The artist placed herself in spaces in New York City that have legacies of enslavement. In this way, Faustine suggests that memories and histories can be held in places and things over time — in buildings, landscapes, and streets. Choose one image from the exhibit to answer the following questions (you can find images from the exhibition by searching for “White Shoes” Faustine on Google, and include a link to that image in your response):

What (hi)story does the place tell (separate from Faustine’s presence)? How does Faustine’s contemporary body speak with the history of the spaces that she inhabits? What is the dialogue between her body (and clothing and props) and the place? Does her presence reignite the past, or does her body create a new version of history or add something to the historical narrative? 

Brecht and Stunted Trees

DUE April 3

  1. Pay particular attention to my recorded lecture on Brecht, minutes 3:30 – 33:30 and Chemers’ summary of Brecht on Digital Theatre +.  Watch the video-taped production of “Stunted Trees” on Digital Theatre +.
  2. Choose TWO Brechtian ideas and/or methods from the recorded lecture and/or Chemers to discuss elements of “Stunted Trees.” For instance, one of the things I discuss in the lecture is how Brecht used set design to “alienate” his audience. How does the set design of “Stunted Trees” express this Brechtian idea? Explain. Make sure you cite the scene from the production by listing the minute/second mark in the video.
  3. Take ONE of the Brechtian ideas that you discussed above, and imagine how it could be applied to the story of any of the productions we have watched this semester so far (Antigone, Henry V, A Doll’s House). Discuss how the production we saw would look if Brecht had directed it or re-written the story. How would it have been staged (set, structure of story, or acting). 

Discussion due April 10

Respond to one of your classmates by ADDING to their idea of a re-staging of one of the plays we saw. For instance, if one of your classmates writes about how in Henry V the actors would speak directly to the audience to create the Brechtian “alienation effect”, add another idea of a Brechtian re-staging of the same production (change in set design for instance). 

Feel free to write to me if you have any questions at all about this assignment. 

Emailing professors

Dear students,

Please use the opportunity in this class to practice your formal writing skills on email. Unlike Twitter and texting, emails to professionals, colleagues, and teachers require formal writing. See the example below:

“Re” Line: clearly state topic of the email, as well as your course and section number

SALUTATION: Dear [name],


  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Start your email by stating the purpose of the message [for instance, “I am writing to request a time to meet you in your office to discuss my work in the class.”
  • If you are asking for something, please write “please.”
  • Do not write “thank you in advance” since this implies that your request will be automatically fulfilled. 
  • Include all pertinent information so the reader doesn’t have to do additional work — such as last names, section numbers, times, dates, etc.


Thank you, [if you have asked for something]

Sincerely [or] Best regards, [if you are not asking for something]

Creating shared folders for submitting drawings, class notes, and research project

Please set up a shared Google Drive or Dropbox folder dedicated to this class. Make sure you put your first and last name in the title of the folder (see below). Within the course folder, create three subfolders: drawings, class notes, and research project. Please make sure that all these folders are shareable and can be viewed by all. I should not have to ask for permission to view the documents or folders. 

FOLDER: Theatre History 2280ID, Section ___, Christopher Swift
   SUBFOLDER: Drawings
   SUBFOLDER: Class notes
   SUBFOLDER: Research project

Once you have set up the folders, simply post a link to your master folder (Theatre History 2280ID, Section ___, First Name Last Name) by replying to this post. Going forward, all you need to do is upload your drawings, class notes, and research project assignments into the appropriate folders. You should not post links to the files themselves. Post only a single link to your master folder by replying below. Nothing more. I will be going into your folders throughout the semester to check on your progress. 

Thank you for setting up your folders in this manner and posting links to folders only (not to individual documents). Please make sure that your folders can be “viewed by anyone with this link” when you share.