Syllabus

Course Description

A survey of the development of architectural and scenic styles in the physical structure of theatre from its beginnings in ancient Greece to its most current forms. Emphasis placed on the stylistic influences of theoreticians and artistic movements. Course co/prerequisite: ENG 1101

Interdisciplinary Option

This course is a conversation between theater history and architecture. As such, the work in class focuses on purpose-built and adapted spaces for live performance. Each week we will examine historical theatre spaces and technologies in the context of prevailing cultural and social forces in order to better understand audience/stage relationships. To fulfill the interdisciplinary requirements for this course, specialists from architecture, art history, and performance technology will guest lecture six times over the course of the semester. Students will learn skill-sets from architecture technology: GIS mapping and hand sketching.

Required Materials and Activities

  • OpenLab account. Readings, assignments, and study materials are kept there. PDFs of published articles and lecture slides are held in password protected folder . The password is “stageandtech”.
  • Purchase a sketchpad (non-lined, medium texture, 8”x11” minimum) and a drawing pencil (2B, 3B or 4B). Students will sketch images shown on slides as well as objects and buildings. All sketches should be contained in a single pad. Digital sketching is not allowed.
  • One theatre tour during the semester. The tour will be held during Club Hours (Tuesdays, 1-2:15pm). Attendance is required.

Assignments and Grading

  1. Eleven pop quizzes on weekly readings. Administered during the first 10 minutes of the class. Quizzes will be collected after 10 minutes. Latecomers are not allowed to take the quiz and there are no make-up quizzes. Lowest quiz grade dropped. Short answer: make connection between material and social aspects of a performance culture. Fill in the blank/multiple choice: names of architects and designers; titles of theaters; descriptions of technologies; names of production designs; definitions of theoretical and historical terms. (30%)
  2. Sketchbooks. The sketchbook should contain hand drawings of building facades and auditoriums for the research project, as well as drawings of buildings and designs discussed in class (from slides). You will not be evaluated on your skill as a draftsperson. The evaluation will be based on the amount of detail in the sketch and care taken. (10%)
  3. In-class group assignments. Short research and presentation assignments conducted in class. Students will work in groups and upload information and drawings onto OpenLab. Students must be present and participating in order to receive credit for the group assignments. (10%)
  4. Theater Research and Mapping Project. In teams of 2, students will attend a production at a theater (from a list provided by instructor) and sketch elements of the architecture and record other information on site. An in-class workshop will instruct students on research methods, image attribution, and bibliography. Teams will submit a 250-word summary of on-site findings. Students will then research the architectural and production history of the building using published sources, and then submit a bibliography, image collection, and sketches on OpenLab. In-class workshops will teach students the basic functions of ArcGIS for managing datasets and building and designing GIS maps. Students will then collect demographic and urban zoning information from open databases and project the data onto digital maps (see, for instance, https://arcg.is/9L8vH). At the end of the semester, teams will present their historical research on the theater building and neighborhood analysis (map layers) with ArcGIS Story Maps. (45%)
  5. Citizenship. Citizenship means arriving to class on time and prepared, participating in large and small group discussions actively, attentively, and effectively, refraining from distracting or negative behavior, and consistently engaging and investing in the work of the course and in your own development as a researcher, writer, and thinker. One goal of a college education is to engage crucially in the material, which means summarizing your ideas persuasively, defending your interpretations with evidence, listening to those who disagree with you, and re-evaluating your claims based on other arguments or evidence. The citizenship grade is based on the degree to which you participate in discussions, contribute to collaborative work, ask questions, respond to verbal prompts, challenge assumptions, and carefully consider others’ ideas. No phones in class! (5%)

Grading Scale 

A 93-100 C 70-76.9
A- 90-92.9 D 60-69.9
B+ 87-89.9 F 59.9 and below
B 83-86.9 WU Unofficial Withdrawal
B- 80-82.9 WF Withdrew Failing
C+ 77-79.9

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Statement: CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at the New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. Use of cell phones, IPads, and headphones is strictly prohibited. If you are discovered using an electronic device during an exam you will automatically receive an ‘F’ for the exam.

Humanities Department Attendance Policy

It is the conviction of the Humanities Department that a student who is not in a class for any reason is not receiving the benefit of the education being provided. Missed class time includes not just absences but also latenesses, early departures, and time outside the classroom taken by students during class meeting periods. Missed time impacts any portion of the final grade overtly allocated to participation and/or any grades awarded for activities that relate to presence in class. Students who miss a scheduled presentation, field trip, or exam due to illness or medically related emergencies will be referred to the Center for Student Accessibility. The CSA will review any documentation requested and give the student a letter to share with the relevant instructor if accommodations need to be made. The only kinds excused absence we will accept is one that comes from CSA.

Statement on Students with Disabilities

City Tech is committed to supporting the educational goals of enrolled students with disabilities in the areas of enrollment, academic advisement, tutoring, assistive technologies and testing accommodations. If you have or think you may have a disability, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as provided under applicable federal, state and city laws. You may also request services for temporary conditions or medical issues under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your eligibility or would like to seek accommodation services or academic adjustments, please contact the Center for Student Accessibility at 300 Jay Street room L-237, 718 260 5143, or http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/accessibility/.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that New York City is built on unceded land of the Lenape people–past, present, and future. We acknowledge that The New York City College of Technology is among the thousands of institutions and businesses in this city that were founded upon exclusions and erasures of indigenous people, including the Lenape who were displaced from this land. This acknowledgement demonstrates a commitment to beginning the process of working to dismantle the legacies of settler colonialism. Adapted from statement at: http://landacknowledgements.org/

Interdisciplinary Learning Outcomes / Assessment Methods

Learning Outcomes Assessment Methods
Upon successful completion of this course the student shall be able to: To evaluate the students’ achievement of the learning objectives, the professor will do the following:
1. Purposefully connect and integrate across discipline knowledge and skills to solve problems. 1. Review student reflections and the final report to evaluate integrative, multidisciplinary thinking.
2. Synthesize and transfer knowledge across disciplinary boundaries. 2. Review student reflections and the final report to evaluate integrative, multidisciplinary thinking.
3. Comprehend factors inherent in complex problems. 3. Review the students’ research methodology proposal and bibliography to evaluate critical thinking and analysis across disciplines.
4. Think critically, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively. 4. Review the students research notes and diagrams; Review the final report to evaluate critical thinking, effective communication, and effective collaboration.
5. Become flexible thinkers. 5. Review the students’ notes, sketches, and photographs to evaluate the discovery process.

Course Intended Learning Outcomes / Assessment Methods

Learning Outcomes Assessment Methods
Upon successful completion of this course the student shall be able to: To evaluate the students’ achievement of the learning objectives, the professor will do the following:
1. Use the city as a laboratory for learning. 1. Review the students’ notes, sketches, and photographs to evaluate the care of observation and the reflection of important issues discovered.
2. Develop a methodological approach to research. 2. Review the students’ research methodology proposal and bibliography to evaluate critical thinking and analysis across disciplines.
3. Understand the cultural, social and economic processes that guide the physical development of the built environment. 3. Review the students research notes and diagrams; Review the final report to evaluate integrative, multidisciplinary thinking.
4. Use analytical skills to investigate places. 4. Review the students’ notes, sketches, and photographs to evaluate the care of observation and the reflection of important issues discovered.
5. Develop, document, catalogue, and organize information to make it accessible to the public. 5. Review the students’ notes, sketches, and photographs to evaluate the care of observation and the reflection of important issues discovered; Review the final report to evaluate integrative, multidisciplinary thinking.
6. Apply observational skills to research and analysis. 6. Review the students’ notes, sketches, and photographs to evaluate the care of observation and the reflection of important issues discovered.

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES, READING ASSIGNMENTS AND EXAMS

Class Dates Classroom Activities

[BRING SKETCHBOOK AND
PENCIL EVERY DAY]

Reading and Watching Assignments

[READ/WATCH in order listed]

Due Dates and Exams
Tu 8.27 ▪   Review syllabus, OpenLab, OER

▪   Why theater and for whom?

▪   Preview Research/Mapping Project

Th 8.29 Performing arts: liveness, spectatorship ✔    Watch: Crash Course, Intro to Theatre (link)

✔    Watch: Proscenium Arch (link)

✔    Read: Weinstein, pp. 19-23 (PDF)

Tu 9.3 Architectural sketching

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

✔    Read: Ching, Design Drawing, pp. 135-137, 146-148, 162-163, 170-171 (PDF)
SEPT 5 FOLLOWS MONDAY SCHEDULE
Tu 9.10 Greek amphitheaters

▪   Festival Dionysus (400 B.C.)

▪   Epidaurus (300 B.C.)

✔    Watch: Crash Course, Greek Theatre (link)

✔    Watch: Theatre at Epidaurus, Discovery Channel (link)

✔    Read: Ancient Greek Theatres, Reed (link)

Th 9.12 Roman imperial theater

▪   Pompeii

▪   Colosseum

▪   Assign project groups

✔    Watch: Roman Amphitheatre, Betapicts (start at 5:45) (link)

✔    Watch: Roman Colosseum, PBS (link)

Tu 9.17

 

Medieval churches and liturgical drama

▪   Romanesque (500-1100 C.E.)

▪   Gothic (1200-1500)

▪   Procession, Corpus Christi drama (1250-1500 C.E.)

✔    Read: Trachtenberg, Early Christian Architecture (PDF)

✔    Watch: Crash Course Liturgical Drama (link)

✔    Read: Corpus Christi Play (link)

PURCHASE TICKETS TO PRODUCTION
Th 9.19

 

English Renaissance

▪   London public theaters (1580-1640)

✔    Watch: Crash Course: Shakespeare Tragedy (link)

✔    Read: Leacroft, Bulls Bears (PDF)

✔    Read: Wofford, Intro, pp. 6-14 (PDF)

Tu 9.24 Shadow Theatre

▪   Wayang

▪   Ibn Danial

▪   Karagoz

✔    Watch: Wayang Puppet Theater (link)

✔    Read: Wayang (link)

✔    Read: Ibn Danial (link)

✔    Read: Karagoz (link)

Take home quiz: Make a Wayang puppet and bring to this class.
Th 9.26 Japanese Noh

 

✔    Watch: Crash Course, Noh Theatre (link)

✔    Read: Noh Theatre, Introduction (link)

✔    Read: Noh (Stage Structure, Performance Techniques) (link)

NO CLASSES 10.1
Th 10.3 Theatrical lighting and acoustics

▪   Watch: David Byrne on TED Talks

✔    Read: Stage Lighting (link)

✔    Read: A Brief Outline of the History of Stage Lighting (link)

NO CLASSES 10.8
Th 10.10 Neoclassicism

▪   Serlio’s Tragic Stage

▪   Teatro Olimpico

✔    Read: Leacroft, Classical Rebirth and Perspective Scenery (PDF)

✔    Read: Development of Stage Machinery (16th and 17th centuries) (link)

Tu 10.15 Baroque

▪   Baroque court spectacle

▪   Torelli’s machine

▪   Early opera

✔    Read: Baroque Theatre, Bay (link)

✔    Read: How a 17th century Naval (link)

✔    Read: Theater Machines, Diderot Encyclopedia (link)

Take home quiz: Bring Torelli/Diderot assignment to class.
Th 10.17 Library workshop

▪   Research, bibliography, and attribution

✔    Meet in room Namm 919 ATTEND PRODUCTION BY THIS DATE
Tu 10.22 Romanticism

▪   scena per angolo

▪   Nature, gothic, orientalism

▪   Wagner’s Festspeilhaus

✔    Watch: History of Ideas – Romanticism (link)

✔    Read: “Wagner’s Festspeilhaus” (link)

RESEARCH PROJECT: ACT 1 DUE TODAY
Th 10.24 Melodrama and realism

▪   Diorama and Daguerre

▪   Mackaye’s Madison Square

▪   Antoine, Zola, Saxe-Meiningen

✔    Watch Crash Course, Zola and Realism (start at 4:50)

✔    Watch Crash Course, More Realism (end at 6:45) (link)

✔    Read: Daguerre’s Diorama (link)

Tu 10.29 Nineteenth century USA

▪   Barnum’s American Museum

▪   Vaudeville, Yiddish theater, minstrelsy, popular music and dance

▪   Visit New Academic Complex Theatre

✔    Read: Barnum’s American Museum (link)

✔   Read: McNamara, “Popular Entertainment” (Orientation and Vaudeville) only (library database)

✔    Read: Cohen, “Blackface Minstrelsy” (PDF)

Th 10.31 The birth of Broadway

▪   Times Square and the Syndicate

✔    Read Taylor, Inventing Times Square, pp. 120-129 (PDF)

 

Research Project: ACT II due today
Tu 11.5

 

Modernism and avant-garde

▪   Symbolism

▪   Appia’s Hellerau

✔    Read: Reactions to Naturalism (link)

✔    Read: Influence of Appia (link)

✔    Read: Appia, Reform Stage (PDF)

✔    Read: Weinstein, pp. 24-26 (PDF)

Th 11.7 ArcGIS workshop

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

✔    CLASS HELD IN N919
Tu 11.12 Little Theatre Movement in U.S.

▪   Provincetown Players, RE Jones

▪   OB and OOB

▪   Harlem Renaissance

✔    Not-for-profit theatre, TCG (link)

✔    Black box theatre, TDF (link)

✔    Read: The Harlem Renaissance (database)

Take home quiz: post R.E. Jones assignment on OpenLab before start of class.
Th 11.14 ArcGIS workshop

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

▪   Project Prep: audiences, economics, and taste

✔    CLASS HELD IN N919 Quiz on GIS Terms: Study these slides
Tu 11.19 Non-profit theatre in the U.S.

▪   Student group presentations

✔    Read and watch: study pack on non-profit theatre (only one section according to pre-assigned groups). Present findings from study pack in class (groups of 4). Graded in-class assignment.
Th 11.21 Bauhaus design

▪   Gropius’ Total Theatre

▪   Kiesler’s Space Stage

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

✔    Read and watch: Bauhaus: German School of Design (link)

✔    Read: Kiesler, The Stage Explodes (link)

Th 11.26 Performance art

▪   Marina Abramović

✔    Read: Spivy, Performance Art: Intro (link)

✔    Watch: “Rhythm O” (link)

NO CLASSES Th 11.28
Tu 12.3 Site specific, immersive theater

▪   Reverend Billy

▪   SIGNA

▪   Sleep No More

✔    Read and Watch: “Site Specific Theatre” (link)

✔    Watch: What Would Jesus Buy? (link)

✔    Read: Reverend Billy, Wikipedia (link)

✔    Read: Journey to the Twilight Zone (link)

Th 12.5 Deconstruction and mediation

▪   The Wooster Group

▪   Builders Association

▪   Watch: “Jet Lag” (link)

✔    Read: Dixon, Digital Performance

✔    Watch: “House/Lights” and “Hamlet” (links)

Tu 12.10 Performative architecture

▪   Alice Tully Hall

▪   Inst. Contemporary Art

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

✔    Watch: Liz Diller Plays with Architecture (link)

✔    Read: Towards the Performative, Kolarevic (PDF)

Th 12.12 ArcGIS workshop

▪   Analyzing Maps and Summarizing Data

▪   Guest lecturer: Leonhardt

✔    CLASS HELD IN N919
Tu 12.17 Theater Research and GIS Mapping Presentations Submit written summaries and post links to Story Maps on OpenLab
Th 12.19 Theater Research and GIS Mapping Presentations