All the world is a stage

View and read Act IV scene 1 from the play Henry V

Video—1 hour and 27 minute to 1 hour and 41 minute (1:27-1:41)


Describe in one paragraph (5 sentences minimum) how Shakespeare explores the idea of “metatheatricality” in the scene. Remember that metatheatricality has to do with self-referentiality. How does Shakespeare play with the idea that theatre is like life, and life is like theatre? Is there a sense that there is a “play within the play” happening on stage? You must provide two direct quotes from the text to support your response, text directly. 

Due Tuesday March 5

Brecht and Stunted Trees


  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). 

Naturalism and Doll’s House

Due March 26

In class, we discussed Naturalism and how the first scene of Ibsen’s Doll’s House demonstrates naturalistic elements in theatre. From the homework, read the section on “Theory” in Sierz, Naturalism in Digital Theatre+ [Library>Research Guides>Theatre> Audiovisual> Digital Theatre + >  search for “Sierz Naturalism”]. The reading contains two quotes by Emile Zola. Choose one. Make sure you read the entire section so you fully understand the quote.

Then, watch Doll’s House in Digital Theatre + [Library>Research Guides>Theatre>Audiovisual> Digital Theatre + > search for “Doll’s House Production”]. Choose one scene from the production of the play that demonstrates Zola’s theory of Naturalism (not the first scene we viewed in class). In a comment box below, discuss how these three elements from the scene are “naturalistic”: 1) events in the scene (the plot), 2) a physical element from the Young Vic production (set, prop, costume), and 3) the acting (how one of the actors in the Young Vic production fulfill’s Zola’s description of naturalism).  

5 sentences, minimum. Cite the entire Zola quote in your response. Be very specific about elements from the scene and how these elements connect to an idea from the Zola quote. You need to demonstrate that you watched the Young Vic production of Doll’s House and that you thought carefully about Zola’s definition of Naturalism. Include the hour/minute mark of the scene you are referring to from the Young Vic production from Digital Theatre +, not the scene or act number.

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.