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Contemporary Theatre

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2014
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Days & Times

MWF 9:00 - 9:50 am

Elizabeth James Lewandowski (view Profile)
Course Objectives



  • To comprehend important developments in Western drama that have occurred since the mid-20th century (Departmental Learning Outcome:  Knowledge of development of theatre).
  • To experience a number of plays that illustrate these developments and to analyze these plays both orally and in writing (Departmental Learning Outcome:  Knowledge of development of theatre).
  • To articulate the impact of important writers and other theatrical personages who have shaped the contemporary theatre (Departmental Learning Outcome:  Knowledge of development of theatre).
  • To experience live theatrical productions at MSU (August: Osage County and Private Lives), the Jubilee Theatre and the Wyly Theatre (Departmental Learning Outcome:  Theoretical/conceptual knowledge and application).
Course Expectations

Required Materials


Living Theatre  by Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Fences by August Wilson

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz

Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet


Selected readings will be distributed as handouts


Attendance at each of the following productions is required.  Do NOT try to use work as an excuse.  You have plenty of time to schedule your tickets in advance.



Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show

            Wyly Theatre, Dallas

            PWYC  September 11 (on sale September 5)

            Runs September 11 – October 19

MSU’s August: Osage County

            October 9 - 12


The Brothers Size

            By Tarell Alvin McCraney (Texas Premiere)

            Jubilee Theatre, Fort Worth

            Previews September 26

            Runs October 3-26


MSU’s Private Lives

            November 20 - 23


Class Policies – Expectations


             Students are expected to be on time to class every day.  Respect will be given to everyone at all times.  If you are disrespectful to someone (especially during a presentation) the instructor reserves the right to ask you to leave the room and receive an absence for the day.  You will be required to complete assignments on or before the due date, and you will be required to submit an official form from the university before a university sponsored absence. 

You are expected to do the assignments when they are assigned.  Failure to do so will result in an inability to keep up with the work.  All graded assignments should be submitted on or before the deadline.  Late assignments will not be accepted.

             Honesty is paramount.  Dishonest work on homework and tests will not be tolerated. Expect disciplinary action to be sought in the event that the instructor discovers dishonesty or cheating.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student engaging in academic dishonesty from the course.  Students dropped from the course by the instructor for failure to attend classes or for academic dishonesty may receive an F for the semester.  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and educational purposes.


Grading Standards




Attendance and participation                                                             100 points

Quizzes based on readings                                                                  100 points

Test one (based on readings and lectures prior to the test)                 150 points

Test two (based on readings and lectures from second half               150 points

of the semester)

Papers written on plays read/attended in class                                   500 points


                                                            Total points                             1000 points


More about grading

  • In the professional world, not showing up on time and missing deadlines means getting fired.  Work is due on time.
  • Assignments are due by the beginning of class on the date assigned.  If you are late for class or absent, your work is late.  I do not accept late work.  If you are ill, it is YOUR responsibility to turn the work in on time. 
  • Spelling and grammar count.  Grades will be reduced for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Lectures and class activities expand upon the reading assignments.  If you fail to do the reading before class, you will be lost!
  • You are responsible for keeping all handouts and graded assignments.  If my gradebook differs from yours, the only way to reconcile the two is to show the grade marked on the actual assignment.
  • You must complete all papers and tests in order to pass the class.



Final Exam 12/08/2014 8:00 - 10:00 am
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy


You are expected to do the assignments when they are assigned.  Failure to do so will result in an inability to keep up with the work.  All graded assignments should be submitted on or before the deadline.  Late assignments will not be accepted.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


     Attendance is MANDATORY!!  Be on time to class.  Tardiness beyond ten minutes will be counted as an absence.  Excessive tardiness may result in a student being dropped from the course with an F.  We have a substantial amount of material to cover and a limited amount of time.  Each day we will be covering or presenting NEW material.  Since there will be considerable collaboration amongst students your absence will affect the progression and dynamic of the rest of the class.  After five absences you may be dropped from the class as per the college policy. 

     If you have a university-sponsored function or a religious holiday that will keep you from attending class please see the instructor as early as possible to discuss this.  You will be expected to provide documentation for all university-sponsored events that will result in an absence.  All assignments will need to be turned in on or before the due date, no exceptions.  Late assignments will not be accepted, so please, don’t ask.

             If you are genuinely ill, please do NOT come and infect the rest of us!  Do let the professor know before class that you are ill and you will receive an excused absence UNLESS it is the day of a presentation, test or quiz.  If it is one of the aforementioned, you will only be allowed to make up the work with a note from a doctor showing that you were too ill to attend class.  If you have more than five health related absences in the semester, the professor will discuss with you whether or not it is appropriate for you to be in school at this time.  MSU has a campus doctor.  You have already paid for his services.  Make use of the Vinson Health Center!

If you miss class, you are still responsible for the work that takes place in your absence.  If homework is assigned, it is still due when assigned.  The professor will NOT repeat lecture material for missed classes.  If you miss a handout, it is your responsibility to come to the professor’s office to get a copy as extra handouts will not routinely be carried around by the professor.

Please note that work, non-emergency medical and dental appointments, intramural games, and all other forms of personal engagements do NOT constitute an excused absence.


Other Policies



Class Policies – Media

                        Cell phone use in class is prohibitedZero tolerance!!!  If your cell phone goes off during a class you will be asked to leave the classroom and receive an absence for the day.  No texting; again, you will be asked to leave the classroom.  Please don’t make this an issue, just turn off the phone during our class.  If other commitments are so pressing that they can not wait until the end of the class session, it may be in the student’s best interests to reconsider the priority placed on being this class.  In any case, the professor reserves the right to ask you to leave immediately or to embarrass you mercilessly if your phone makes noise during class.  TEXTING and SLEEPING will NOT be tolerated.


Class Policies – Plagiarism


                        Don’t do it!!!  Zero tolerance!!!  Students are expected to adhere to the Standards of Conduct as published in the Student Handbook, especially as pertaining to plagiarism.

                        The internet makes plagiarism especially easy.  DO NOT give in to temptation!  Your work must be your own.  In the profession a work, plagiarism may destroy your reputation and your career.  If you plagiarize in this class, the professor will immediately report the plagiarism to the appropriate offices and dire consequences will ensure.

                        Plagiarism comes from the Latin work plagiarius, meaning kidnapper.  To plagiarize, one kidnaps another’s ideas and presents them as one’s own.  Plagiarism includes both deliberate as well as inadvertent failure to properly attribute sources.  Ignorance is no excuse – when in doubt, ask the professor for clarification! 

Class Policies – Disability Statement


                        The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights, protection for persons with disabilities.  Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.  If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services Office in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center (940-397-4140).


Class Policies – Privacy


In accordance with Federal Privacy Laws a student’s personal information is protected.  As a professor, it is unlawful for me to share your personal information (including grades) with anyone (beyond the “need to know”)  unless I have written consent.  This means I will not be able to discuss your grades with parents.  If you have questions about your grades or have forgotten the grading policy for the course please come by during office hours.


Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at