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Appreciation of Theatre

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2016
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 8:00 - 9:20 am

Elizabeth James Lewandowski (view Profile)
Course Objectives

Course Description


            This course is intended to enable the student to appreciate and analyze creative work in theatre and related products of the human imagination through a study of the art, craft and business of the theatre.  In order to do this, the class will engage in class discussions, writing assignments (the online discussions and production critiques), pop quizzes, tests and both in-class and out-of-class assignments


Learning Goals


 By the end of the semester, the student should be able to do the following:


A)     Define the roles taken by theatricians and how those roles interact to create theatre.

B)     Evaluate the success of a given group of artists in relationship to the goals of that particular production.

C)    Visualize and discuss the elements of theatre in non-theatrical setting.

D)     Identity with and explain one’s similarities with a character in a given production.

E)      Understand the impact of traditional theatre on popular theatrical forms (television, film and the entertainment industry).

F)      Attend and meaningfully discuss theatrical productions, using critical, creative and innovative  writing.

G)    Demonstrate critical thinking skills through the Playwriting Project and Design Project.

H)    Demonstrate teamwork by participation in the Production Project.

I)       Demonstrate social responsibility through an online discussion


Course Expectations

In addition to our regular classroom acitivites, you are required to attend one performance of two productions and write a critical response for each production.  Beginning September 1, you will be able to reserve your ticket online at the MSU theatre ticket site, accessible from our homepage.  You will receive one free ticket for each production (not each performance) with your student id.  If you are unable to attend at least one performance of each production, drop this class now!


            Ghosts                                     October 6-8                 7:30 pm

                                                            October 9                    2:30 pm

                                                            October 13-15             7:30 pm

            A Christmas Carol                  November 17-18         7:30 pm

                                                            November 19              2:30 & 7:30 pm

                                                            November 20              2:30 pm

                                                            December 1-2              7:30 pm

                                                            December 3                 2:30 & 7:30 pm



Grading Standards



Attendance                                                                               50

Quizzes                                                                                   100

Test 1                                                                                      100

Test 2                                                                                      100

Design Project                                                                           50

Playwriting Project                                                                   50

Production Project                                                                    50

First production critique                                                         100

Second production critique                                                     100

Online discussions                                                                  150

Final Exam                                                                              150

                                                            Total possible points               1000




Final Exam 12/15/2016 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

Student Responsibilities - Assignments

            You are expected to do the assignments when they are assigned.  Failure to do so will result in an inability to keep pace with the class.  All graded assignments should be submitted on or before the deadline.  All written assignments MUST be typed.  Handwritten work will NOT be accepted.


 Late assignments will NOT be accepted.   Late assignments will NOT be accepted.  Late assignments will NOT be accepted.


I do not accept emailed or faxed assignments.  I do not accept emailed or faxed assignments.  I do not accept emailed or faxed assignments.


            Be sure to print your assignments ahead of time.  Do not presume that the printer in any given computer lab will be working right before class!


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.



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

Student Responsibilities - Attendance


            You are expected to attend all classes.  Since lectures expand on assignments, missing class means missing important information.  This class is, by its nature, participatory.  Missing class means missing the chance to participate in your own education and the education of others in the class.  Attendance is taken at the beginning of the class.  The professor reserves the right to disallow counting a student present who is extremely late.  Each student will begin the semester with 50 attendance points.  Each absence or tardy will lower your total by 5 points.  The professor may drop a student any time during the semester for excessive absences, for consistently failing to meet class requirements, for an indifferent attitude, or for disruptive conduct.


            If you skip class and miss a quiz or graded exercise, it cannot be made up.  If you miss class due to illness, you can make it up as long as you a) call/email before class and 2) present written documentation when you return to class.


Other Policies

Student Responsibilities – Honesty


            Dishonest work on homework or on examinations is a serious offense, as is plagiarism.  The university and the professor will not tolerate either one.  If either occurs, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.  The 2002-2003 Student Senate wrote and adopted the MSU Student Honor Creed.  The highlight of the creed is “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so”.  Enough said.



Student Responsibilities – Classroom Behavior


Many of us own and use cell phones as our major method of electronic communication.  Students are expected to turn off their cell phones when entering the classroom.  Under no circumstances are students to be answered during class.  Should the student need to take an emergency call, the professor expects the student to leave the room and not return, minimizing the disruptions for the remaining students.  Before class begins, ensure that cell phones are off or are disabled so the phone does not ring during class – better yet, do not bring your phone to class.  If other commitments are so pressing that they cannot wait until the end of the class session, it may be in the student’s best interests to reconsider the priority being placed on being in 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.  You will be called out or publicly embarrassed for this.


            In this class, we will be exposed to a variety of playscripts.  Some of these plays may confront you about ideas and beliefs that you have long held.  That is the nature of art.  If you open your mind to the new experiences, you may find yourself exposed to new paradigms that will enlighten you.  Social justice is one of MSU’s stated core values, and the professor considers the classroom to be a place where students will be treated with respect as human beings, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability.  Moreover, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided the students can agree to disagree.  It is the professor’s expectation that ALL students be able to consider the classroom a safe environment.  Be civil at all times and focus on understanding the material being discussed.  As we discuss theatre, let us do so in a non-confrontational way.  A university is a place in which we are each encouraged to grow to our ultimate potential – disparaging comments or words intended to harm others (as a group or individual) are inappropriate in the twenty-first century and will not be tolerated in this classroom.  Please consider this carefully.  If you are easily offended, particularly by discussing things with which you do not agree morally or philosophically, this class may not be for you.  The appropriate time to withdraw is now.


            I very much want to hear your well considered thoughts and opinions and to answer your questions.  This course is most effective when the overall spirit is one of collaboration – just like theatre!


            No food is allowed in the classroom for any reason.


            You may not bring any beverage other than water into the classroom.  If you bring water, it must be in a sports top bottle.  This is a working theatre space!




In short:  Be on time.  Be awaked.  Be prepared.  Be engaged.  Ask questions.  Study.  Come ready to be a scholar or stay home.




            Students with disabilities or who are in need of special arrangements should see the professor as early as possible in the semester.  Please note that in order to qualify for consideration of special accommodations, the student must be registered with the MSU Office of Disability Services, and the professor must receive a memo on file from that office, along with the Special Accommodations Request Form.


Additional Policies


Federal privacy law prohibits the professor from releasing information about students to certain parties outside of the university without the signed consent of the student.  Thus, in almost all cases the professor will not discuss students’ academic progress or other matters with their parents.  Please do not have them call.  Regardless of these important legal considerations, the professor’s general policy is to communicate with the students, not their parents, even when a student has signed a consent form.  College students are adults and are expected to behave accordingly.

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.  The MSU scene shop has been designated an area excluded from concealed carry due to the presence of explosive chemicals.  Students who serve on properties, lights, set and sound crews will be required to enter the scene shop and should be aware of this policy.  Additionally, participating in theatre classes often require students to wear fitted garments which may make concealed carry of a firearm difficult, if not impossible.  In addition, students are often required to leave their backpacks/purses and work with other students in scenes or rehearsals.  This required activity may also make concealment of a firearm difficult.  While concealed carry is not prohibited in any area other than the scene shop, students are reminded that intentional display of a firearm is a violation of university policies and may result in disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion from the program and the university.  Students should factor the above in their decision as to whether or not to conceal carry in theatre classes/rehearsals.





Performance Etiquette


1.      BE ON TIME!  We will discuss what “on time” means.

2.      When attending a public performance, it is both rude and disruptive to use an electronic device of any kind, talk excessively, or create any other kind of disturbance that distracts or interferes with audience members or performers.

3.      Ushers and other faculty members regularly attend these performances.  If a faculty member or usher reports to me that you, by name, were observed using an electronic device or engaged in disruptive behavior, you will receive a zero for the performance critique.

4.      No food or beverages are allowed in the theatre.

5.      No photography of any kind.

6.      No matter how tempting, do not take notes during the performance.

7.      Dress:  Upscale casual to dressy.  The idea is not to look sloppy as this shows a lack of respect to the artists.


Online Discussions


            Online discussions will be posted by 5:00 pm on each Sunday, beginning September 4.  Each member of the class is responsible for posting one original response to the statement/question (minimum 50 words) and a response to another person’s comments (minimum 30 words).  “I agree” is not a response.



By accepting this syllabus, you are indicating that you understand and accept all the professor’s policies listed herein.








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