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Renaissance Drama In Action 1567 - 1642

  • Module code: DA6005
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Drama or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: none

Summary

This module is an option for those students taking Full Field and Half Field Drama in Level 6. It is an opportunity for students to enlarge particularly on studies in Shakespeare: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow from Level 5. Five or six key play texts are chosen from the period (including no more than one of Shakespeare’s), which may include works by playwrights such as Marlowe, Middleton, Webster, Massinger, Jonson, Dekker, Heywood, Beaumont and Fletcher. The texts are studied in a practical way to reveal their context in the European Renaissance, their role in the design and development of public theatre spaces, methods of staging, their impact on acting and acting styles, reflection of contemporary politics and society and their potential as texts for performance today.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • engage in a close reading of key historically distant texts
  • understand how contemporary political and cultural tensions influenced playmaking
  • explore how the drama of the Early Modern period became a manifestation of ‘Renaissance’
  • research the detail and complexity of the relationships between the plays, the players, the changing playhouse spaces, both ‘public’ and ‘private’,  and the paying public
  • consider the impact and relevance of contemporary revivals

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • a developed understanding of the formal characteristics and ideological content of a variety of Renaissance playtexts
  • an increased understanding of the social, political and cultural background to the plays of the period
  • a particular awareness of the relationship between space and performance
  • the ability to evaluate contemporary resonances in the plays
  • the ability to express ideas effectively and unambiguously in group presentation and performance (Key Skills 3: Interpersonal Skills)
  • the capacity to present, defend and challenge ideas effectively (Key Skills 2: Communication Skills)

Curriculum content

  • the nature and characteristics of ‘Renaissance’, as exemplified in the playtexts and in key critical works
  • the impact of the Reformation on the society and the stage
  • poetry and prose in the playhouse: the dramatic text, its performance and impact explored through a study of the playtexts and of key theatre practitioners
  • the design and development of ‘public’ and ‘private’ playing spaces and their impact on performance and meaning, as exemplified in key research writing and as revealed in contemporary theatres, such as Shakespeare's Globe and Rose Theatre, Kingston
  • the evolution of acting companies
  • the role of the playwright and the player on stage and street
  • the relationship between theatre companies and ‘Authority’
  • the representation of monarchy; the state and the stage; the Master of the Revels and authority; Comedy, Tragedy and Revenge; the role of the woman; the playgoer: audience and/or spectator;
  • modern perspectives

Teaching and learning strategy

The module is taught in a weekly series of two hour long classes, through the academic year. The classes include a mix of lectures and practical workshops, although there is no formal allocation of time within any particular class.  The practical nature of the work increases as the module progresses into the second term and students are expected increasingly to become informed by their own research, both individually and jointly. From time to time, students are expected to give short presentations, both of research material and of performed extracts. These lead to the formative assessments which take the form of a practical scene study at the end of January and a performance essay and reflective essay at the end of the module.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 22 x 2 hours 44
Guided independent study student independent study 206
Guided independent study group work 50
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through Academic essay (3000 words), completed by Week 14 and group Performance essay (20 minutes) presented in a practical examination at the end of the course.  This pattern of assessment is appropriate to the learning outcomes as it tests the students' grasp of both the historical, political and social contexts of Renaissance theatre and their embodied understanding of its conventions and manifestations as performance. It also allows students to demonstrate both individual skills in research and writing and their ability to share knowledge and ideas in a group context and to present it in a verbal and visual way.

Formative assessments such as short performances, presentations of independent research and writing exercises prepare students for both the essay and performance essay.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
a developed understanding of the formal characteristics and ideological content of a variety of Renaissance playtexts Formatively, through short presentations, performances and writing exercises; summatively, through Academic essay and Performance essay
an increased understanding of the social, political and cultural background to the plays of the period Formatively, through short presentations; summatively, through Academic essay and Performance essay
a particular awareness of the relationship between space and performance Formatively, in short performances; summatively, Performance essay
the ability to evaluate contemporary resonances in the plays Formatively, in short writing exercises; summatively, in Academic essay and Performance essay
the ability to express ideas effectively and unambiguously in group presentation and performance (Key Skills 3: Interpersonal Skills) Formatively, through short writing exercises; summatively, through Academic essay and Performance essay
the capacity to present, defend and challenge ideas effectively (Key Skills 2: Communication Skills) Formatively in short presentations and writing exercises; Summatively, in Academic essay and Performance essay

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Academic essay 50
CWK Performance essay 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Core texts will consist of a range of Renaissance plays but these will change annually depending on factors such as whether a particular play is in production in London that year.

Bibliography recommended reading

Abbott, M. (1996) Life Cycles in England, 1560-1720. London, Routledge

Astington, J. H. (2010) Actors and Acting in Shakespeare’s Time. Cambridge, CUP

Barker, S. and Hinds, H. (eds)(2002) Routledge Anthology of Renaissance Drama . London, Routledge

Briggs, J. (1997) This Stage-Play World. Oxford, OUP

Gurr, A. (2004) Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London (3rd Edition). Cambridge, CUP

Gurr, A. (1996) The Shakespearian Playing Companies. Oxford, OUP

Hattaway, M. (1982)  Elizabethan Popular Theatre. London, Routledge

Holbrook, P. (2012) English Renaissance Tragedy in Context, London, Continuum

Rutter, C. C. (ed)(1999)  Documents of the Rose Playhouse. Manchester, MUP

Thomson,  P. (1992)  Shakespeare’s Theatre (2nd edition).  London, Routledge

White, M. (1998) Renaissance Drama in Action. London, Routledge

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