Theatre History I

Theatre 211  
Spring 2010
Towson University  

Instructor: Robyn Quick 
Office: Room 3030, x42312
Office Hours: by appt

Course Description:

History of theatre and drama and their relationship to other fine arts and humanistic studies from the dawn of time to 1600 A.D., including the origins of theatre, ancient Greek theatre, theatre of the Roman Republic and Empire, Medieval theatre, early Indian theatre, early Chinese theatre, Italian Renaissance theatre and Elizabethan theatre. Prerequisite: THEA 125.

Course Objectives:

  1. To present a survey of theatre practices of the period in as complete a social and historical context as possible.
  2. To help students to understand how the theatre both reflects and is influenced by the society and period in which it occurs.
  3. To help students to improve their abilities in textual analysis and historical research, and their abilities to express their ideas in both written and oral form.


Lectures and presentations by the instructor, with questions and discussion strongly encouraged. The course will also include exercises and presentations by students.

Course Reading:

Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2009. Print. 978-0-312-66476-3
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th Ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009. 9780873529860
Thaiss, Christopher, and Rick Davis. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999. Print. 0-205-28000-5
Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of the Theatre. 5th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. Print. 978-0-07-351412-3
Plays (in order of course study):
Antigone, Sophocles (trans. Arnott) 0882950940
Bacchae, Euripides (trans. Arrowsmith) 0226307840
Lysistrata, Aristophanes (trans. Parker) 0451527895
Pseudolus, Plautus (in Pot of Gold and Other Plays) 978-0140441499
Dulcitius & Preface, Hrotsvita (trans. St. John)
Everyman, Anonymous (in Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays) 978-0460872805
Second Shepherds’ Play, Anonymous (in Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays) 978-0460872805
Shakuntala, Kalidasa (in Great Sanskrit Plays 0811200795)
Soul of Ch’ien-Nu Leaves her Body, Cheng (in Six Yuan Plays 978-0140442625)
The Orphan of Chao, Chi (in Six Yuan Plays 978-0140442625)
Mandragola, Machiavelli (trans. Flaumenhaft) 0917974573
Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare 9780451528391

Course Requirements and Grading:

Groups presentation                                                             15%
Research proposal (1-2 pages, typed)                                  10%
Mid-term exam                                                                     15%
Research paper (6 - 8 pages, typed, double-spaced)             20%
Class participation                                                                 10%
Homework assignments and quizzes                                     10%
Final exam                                                                             20%


1. All written work must meet the standards of basic expository writing and must follow the style outlined in the MLA Handbook. Grammar, clarity, style, and documentation count and will affect your grade.
2. Prompt, consistent attendance is important to the success of the class and will be reflected in each student's final grade. Any student who misses more than 4 classes will have his or her final grade lowered by one full letter grade. Any student who misses more than 8 classes will have his or her final grade lowered by 2 full letter grades. Students who miss more than 10 classes are not likely to pass the class and should consult with the instructor about withdrawing from the class. In the case of absences the student is responsible for gathering all material covered in class. Under ordinary circumstances, quizzes and other graded in-class assignments may not be made up. Attendance at examinations is mandatory. Exceptional circumstances that may require special consideration must be documented and must be brought to the instructor’s attention by the student at the time they occur.
3. Class begins promptly. In order to fully participate in the class session and receive credit for attending, students must arrive in class by the time that attendance is called. If lateness is unavoidable, the student is welcome to join the class, but is expected not to disrupt the session already in progress. Students should also arrive promptly for exams. Extended time will not be granted to students who arrive late to exams.
4. Students are strongly advised to check their campus email on a regular basis. Students are responsible for any information that the instructor communicates to them via this email address.
5. Assignments must be completed on time. Late assignments will be lowered one full letter grade for each day they are late.
6. Papers may ordinarily not be rewritten for a higher grade.
7. The written assignments for this class will be submitted in a variety of formats. Some assignments will be submitted on paper and handed in during the class session. Other assignments should be sent via email. Students are responsible for submitting each assignment in the appropriate format as indicated in the instructions for the assignment.
8. Grades of "incomplete" may not be given except in cases of verified medical or other emergencies.
9. Plagiarism violates the expectation of honesty among scholars without which there can be no intellectual inquiry. The Theatre Department will not tolerate plagiarism. According to the Student Academic Integrity Policy, any student found guilty of such an offense may be failed for the course. The incident will also be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs.
10. Students may not repeat a course more than once without prior permission from the Academic Standards Committee.
11. Students with disabilities are given every opportunity to participate in theatre classes even if such participation requires adjustment to the means by which course requirements are met. Students must notify the instructor at the beginning of the semester if they require special consideration.
12. Food and drink are not permitted in the classroom.
13. The learning environment in this class is based upon an atmosphere of mutual respect, which will be maintained at all times. Students are expected to adhere to the code of student conduct as outlined in the university catalog. Please consult me if you have questions about any of these requirements.

Grading Scale:

A 92 points or higher
A- 90 - 91 points
B+ 87 - 89 points
B 82 - 86 points
B- 80 - 81 points
C+ 77 - 79 points
C 70 - 76 points [lowest grade to pass course in student's major]
D+ 67 - 69 points
D 62 - 66 points [lowest grade to pass a course outside student's major]
F 61 points or lower


The syllabus for Theatre History I was originally developed by Dr. Ralph Blasting

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