EN2EMT-Early Modern Theatre Practice

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1 or A-Level (A*, A or B)
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Hutchings

Email: m.p.v.hutchings@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module introduces students to early modern playmaking and the origins of the modern professional theatre. Until the late sixteenth century drama took place in temporary spaces and structures; with the advent of purpose-built playhouses it developed as a craft with specific conventions and practices. With reference to a range of plays the module examines how playmaking developed over a two-hundred year period, focusing on the staging of plays and our understanding of the interplay between the earliest texts and the latest scholarship in theatre history.

Aims:
This module explores how early English drama worked in practice. Students will learn about where drama was staged (inn yards, market places, interior rooms in halls and guildhalls, outdoor and indoor theatres, at court), acting practices (by adults and children, all male up to 1642, the introduction of female actors in the Restoration), and conventions (doubling of roles, cross-dressing, disguise, exits/entrances, the use of the trapdoor, discovery space, and upper stage), and how these features inform our understanding of early modern theatre through close reading analysis and staging experiments of a selection of representative plays.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

•demonstrate an understanding of early modern drama and the texts selected for study
•identify and analyse in detail the architectural features of the early modern dramatic text, both in its original printed form and in modern editions
•demonstrate an understanding of the architectural and logistical properties of the early modern theatre
•appreciate and understand dramatic structure in relation to performance practice
•read the characteristics of the early modern printed play-texts
•creatively imagine the possible staging(s) of scenes
•engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars, or secondary materials
•organize and articulate a coherent written argument, both in coursework essays and under timed examination conditions.

Additional outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

•demonstrate an understanding of early modern drama and the texts selected for study
•identify and analyse in detail the architectural features of the early modern dramatic text, both in its original printed form and in modern editions
•demonstrate an understanding of the architectural and logistical properties of the early modern theatre
•appreciate and understand dramatic structure in relation to performance practice
•read the characteristics of the early modern printed play-texts
•creatively imagine the possible staging(s) of scenes
•engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars, or secondary materials
•organize and articulate a coherent written argument, both in coursework essays and under timed examination conditions.

Outline content:
Texts may include The Jew of Malta (c.1589), A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1613), King Lear (1608 & 1623), and The Changeling (1622). Key critical texts will include Andrew Gurr & Mariko Ichikawa’s Staging in Shakespeare’s Theatres (2000), Alan C. Desson’s Elizabethan Stage Conventions and Modern Interpreters (1984) and Recovering Shakespeare’s Theatrical Vocabulary (1995), Desson & Leslie Thomson’s A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama, 1580-1642 (1999), and selected handouts

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A combination of lectures and structured seminar discussion, for which students are required to do preparatory reading, and practical workshops in the Van Emden Theatre (TBC). Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative essay. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4 1
Seminars 6
Tutorials 0.5
Practicals classes and workshops 10 2
Guided independent study 137.5 39
       
Total hours by term 158.00 42.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 67
Written assignment including essay 33

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Students write one formative essay, of approximately 1500 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 1800-2000 words, or the equivalent placement report. Feedback on written exams will be available on request from the Director of Teaching and Learning.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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