Extra Credit Options

Check back, since this list will grow and change over the semester.

For ALL the options below, attend the event, keep a ticket or program if possible, and then write up a 2-3 page (500-750 word) review of the event, drawing connections between what you see and topics we have discussed in class. In some cases below, I’ve given specific ideas about possible review topics. Feel free to use these…or not…your choice. Use the program for reference to details of names, dates, and plot if possible.

All extra credit assignments are worth up to 5 participation points, roughly equivalent to an absence from class. No student may submit more than 3 extra credit assignments over the course of the semester, although I encourage you to see as many plays as possible.

Relate to Samuel Beckett
Watch the movie Spettacolo,
available on Amazon Prime or iTunes
This is a slow, observational documentary in Italian about an Italian town that has put on a play each year about itself, but they are running out of actors because the new generation has moved on and doesn’t want to do the play. It’s a. great example of Grotowski’s idea of “poor theater,” based on community expression, not scripted by an author, and performed by non professionals.

Substitute for Live Productions

From Studio Theater LIVE! Stream Richard Nelson’s What Do We Need to Talk About? for free on April 29 at 7:30PM on The Public’s website or YouTube. The Apple Family met on Election Day 2010, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the 2012 midterms, and the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination, talking about their lives and the country over four meals. The play picks up with the Apple Family during their now suspended, quarantined lives. A play about the need to talk, listen, and connect.

The British National Theater is going to show LIVE productions every Thursday night online. Just check out their website at https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/at-home for details and watch one of these productions, then write a response paper for Extra Credit (or to support your final project research). Watching one of these productions live on Thursdays absolutely can count as seeing a live production this semester! Two Guvnors is running the next 2 weeks, and stars James Cordon, whom you may recognize from t.v.

The National Theater YouTube channel  is a great resource for your final projects. Their “How We Made It” feature on their YouTube channel has 2 great segments on Angels in America (another extra credit watch option!) that gives you some great insight into how live theater is constructed and might be helpful for any final project in terms of thinking about stage mechanics. Happy viewing!

Signature Theater is streaming their current live show “Firecracker”–not  free, $35–compare/contrast it to  Fires in the MirrorFunnyhouse of a Negro, Three Sisters, The Stronger, or another play that depicts ethnicity, gender and identity, or family in crisis. Here’s the preview blurb:
Marian, the matriarch of a far-flung Jewish family, had happily settled into retirement life with her new husband Richard. However, when a pregnant niece, the troubled boy next door and a distressed daughter with a secret show up at her door, Marian’s empty nest ends up a little fuller than she imagined.

Check these online options out:

Playwright James Ijames started publishing three-line plays every day for the first four weeks of social distancing in Philadelphia, where he works and lives. James says of his Haiku Plays, “I want these plays to be a reminder that even in isolation we can make a beautiful little impact on people’s lives.” Read a few of these plays and tell me what you think–how do they connect to things we’ve studied this semester? https://www.jamesijames.com/haiku-plays

The tv series Fleabag is based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show. Described as”A transgressive, smutty tour de force” (New York Times) about surviving terrible grief  (it definitely has mature language and themes!). A recording of the original show is available for a limited time on Amazon Prime. All proceeds from rentals through April 24 are being dedicated to support front line healthcare workers in the UK. Watch it and see if you can find evidence of its original existence as a one-woman show on stage. Describe one scene that shows evidence of its theater roots!

Hampstead Theatre has partnered with The Guardian to stream hit productions from its archives for free. Watch Drawing the Line by Howard Brenton at no cost through April 19. Set in 1947, Cyril Radcliffe sets out on an unlikely mission at the behest of the Prime Minister: travel to India, a country he has never visited, and draw the border which will divide the sub-continent into two new Sovereign Dominions… in six weeks.
Relate to Funnyhouse
Watch the movie
Lumumba  (2000)

After watching this film, explain how it changes or reinforces your interpretation of Lumumba as one of Sarah’s selves in Funnyhouse of a Negro.

Relate Baraka, Kennedy, Deavere Smith, or Wilson
Watch “Not a Rhyme Time
on Vimeo and write a response on the Black Arts and the shifts in African American arts through the 1960s-90s.

Relate to Life now and the role of art amid suffering
based on Tony Kushner’s award winning play about the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s and 90s. It will doubtless make you think about today’s events, but also think about how it blends realism and expressionist distortion and fantasy, as well as the role of having a single actor play multiple characters. Why are the angel and the nurse played by the same actor? Why are Mr. Lies and Belize played by the same actor? (Note: this film may be too close to home right now; feel free to avoid this viewing. On the other hand, some viewers may find it reassuring and/or inspirational).
Read this funny article from Vulture.com about how pro wrestling without an audience becomes Beckett-like theater and write a response paper for extra credit telling me your thoughts. I’ve posted it on your MU Commons Extra Credit site as. well.
Past options (wish we could do more of this!)
Attend any of the plays or events below and discuss how you would categorize the play relative to Realism and Naturalism, or other traits of modern drama that we are discussing in class. What “works” for you as an audience member? What doesn’t? How did live performance change how you might view the performance–how did people react, who was there, what was the performance setting, etc.?
2. Attend any play or event listed and write a short paper comparing/contrasting it to one other play we have read. Some aspects of comparison might be political context, staging, structure of the play itself, or theme.

3. Attend any event and consider the form of writing the author uses. What do they write about? What is their process? How does it compare to your own process, and would you say they “perform” themselves or their stories as authors?

Dr. Karapetkova reads “Poetry of Witness”
Feb 28, 8pm Bernie’s African American History Month read-in at Bernie’s. Bring a quote, short story, or poem you’d like to share with others. Books and snacks will be available for all! Want to read or be more involved? Email Karina at kguzman@marymount.edu. If you perform/read your work, I will ask you to submit only a 250 word reflection, and you’ll automatically get the full 5 points of extra credit! Put yourself out there!
Anytime: Get a hard copy play from the library!
Get any of our plays from the library and reflect on how the edition you got in print offers a different reading experience than the online version. What editorial matter (if any) does it include? Where did you find it (public library, MU, interlibrary loan?) Why is public access to printed works so important? Reflect on any of these and bring the hard copy to class for up to 5 extra credit points.
Ethics Week

Tuesday, February 11
*2pm Main Campus. “Stories of Migration: an Open Reading and Performance.” Attend and reflect on what “performance” means; feel free to bring an excerpt of a poem, short story, or play about migration to read aloud.
5pm Immigration and Health Ethics Bowl, Ballston Auditorium
Wednesday, 2/13 all in Reinsch Auditorium
11amPanel with MU DACA students
1pm Panel of experts on refugees and immigration
Friday, 2/14, 10-12:30, Gailhac G115 The Mission film screening and discussion.

Feb 19, 12-1:30, Caruthers Octagon Attend the student poetry reading, and consider how poetry is a form of visual performance. Got some creative work of your own? Submit a creative work to BlueInk, our student creative journal–photography, graphic arts, and poetry are all welcome.

National Portrait Gallery, Gallery Place Metro (free) 3rd floor. Find David Hockney’s “Snails Space with Vari-Lites, “Painting as Performance” (1995-96) and talk about in what sense it is “performance.” There are a number of other exhibits that show visual art as performance as well. Take a photo of any of them and reflect on where they fit with the artistic movements we’ve discussed in drama (Modernism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Postmodernism, etc.)

Feb 28, 8pm, African American poetry and prose read-in, Bernie’s on campus.