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ENGL 126: Introduction to Drama

ENGL 126: Introduction to Drama

MWF 11:15am-12:05pm

Bingham 301

Fall 2016

Mary Learner

Office: Greenlaw 505

Office Hours: Monday 12:20pm-1:20pm

Wednesday 10:00am-11:00am

and by appointment

Required Materials:

Norton Anthology of Drama (Shorter Second Edition)

A laptop equipped with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

Recommended Materials: A copy of Othello and The Crucible; any edition. Both are also available online.

Course Description:

The goals of this class are:

  • To explore a variety of drama from the Greek, Renaissance, and modern periods, developing close reading skills and analytical thinking in the process;

  • To consider the importance of performance, media, audience, sociological/historical contexts, and theoretical frameworks, and how these ways of reading and viewing can affect meaning;

  • To develop skills of communication in a variety of forms, including: oral communication through performance, class discussion, and presentations, and written communication through a theatre review and thesis-driven essays;

  • To investigate a wide range of themes and to develop a vocabulary to discuss literature and performance, and to make connections to contemporary culture and society;

  • To appreciate drama and performance for its own sake as a unique literary art form.


I will be giving you more information about each individual assignment as the due dates approach, but the following is an outline of the class breakdown.

Participation 25%

Blog posts on readings (150-300 words; 6 total) 12%

I encourage you to incorporate close reading of passages and multimedia (videos, images) that inspired or elucidate your post. You're not required to comment on other people’s posts, but you should do so if you read someone's post and feel inspired.

You will post on our password protected class blog:

Presentations 1 class day 5%

You are responsible for presenting on one reading this semester. I will have you all sign up for a day in the second week of classes; you will work in pairs to create a short presentation (approximately 5 minutes), and will then lead discussion for 10 minutes of class. Come prepared with passages and questions to guide our conversation for the day.

Discussion leaders 1 class day 8%

You will also sign up once this semester to be a go-to figure for encouraging discussion. Basically, you should come to class with a couple questions and passages for the day just in case discussion flags. I recommend having 3 or so options with you for the day you've selected. These can be similar to what you wrote your blog post about (if you write one for that day). You will turn these questions in to me at the end of the class you are leading.

**Say at least one comment/question per class. Not speaking regularly will negatively affect your participation grade.

Papers 45%

Performance analysis (1000-1500 words) 8%

Short close reading paper (1000-1500 words) 12%

Long close reading paper (2000-2500 words) 18%

Small group performance of a scene (~1000 words) 7%

Exams 30%

The exams will not be cumulative. The midterm will cover the first half of the semester, while the final will include the plays we read after the halfway point.

Midterm 12.5%

Final 17.5%

Reading Schedule: The following schedule is subject to change, but I will give you advance notice if we need to make any adjustments to timing. I recommend trying to have the whole play read by the first day of discussion, but you must have read up to the pages listed for that day. You should also read the introductions to the plays for context.

Week 1

Aug 24 Syllabus; class introductions. Defining drama.

Aug 26 Oedipus the King (p. 93-108, up to the top of page, when Oedipus enters)

Week 2: Classical Antiquity

Aug 29 Oedipus the King (p. 108-123, up to the middle of page, when Old Shepherd enters)

Aug 31 Oedipus the King (p. 123-134)

Sept 2 Medea (p. 139-150, up to the top of the page, when Jason enters)

Week 3

Sept 5 No class; Labor Day

Sept 7 Medea (p. 150-163, up to the children's exit)

Sept 9 Medea (p. 163-174)

Week 4

Sept 12 Lysistrata (p. 178-188, up to "Episode")

Sept 14 Lysistrata (p. 188-199, up to "Episode")

Sept 16 Lysistrata (p. 199-212)

Week 5: The Renaissance

Sept 19 Elizabethan drama; Doctor Faustus (p. 325-345, Act 1 and 2)

Sept 21 Doctor Faustus (p. 345-350, Act 3); Quarto folding activity

Sept 23 Doctor Faustus (p. 350-362, Acts 4 and 5)

Week 6

Sept 26 Twelfth Night (p. 471-501, Acts 1 and 2)

Sept 28 Twelfth Night (p. 501-518, Act 3); Early modern paleography activity

Sept 30 Twelfth Night (p. 518-534, Acts 4 and 5)

Week 7

Oct 3 Masque culture in the seventeenth century

Oct 5 Masque of Blackness (full pdf)

Oct 7 Masque of Blackness (full pdf); Short close reading paper due

Week 8

Oct 10 Othello (Acts 1 and 2)

Oct 12 Othello (Acts 3 and 4)

Oct 14 Othello (Act 5); Early modern handkerchiefs

Week 9

Oct 17 Midterm review

Oct 19 Midterm Exam

Oct 21 No class; Fall Break

Week 10

Oct 24 The Rover (p. 599-625, Acts 1 and 2)

Oct 26 The Rover (p. 625-653, Acts 3-Act 4.3)

Oct 28 The Rover (p. 653-673)

Week 11:

Oct 31 The Importance of Being Earnest (p. 775-790, First Act); Why cucumber sandwiches?

Nov 2 The Importance of Being Earnest (p. 790-808, Second Act)

Nov 4 The Importance of Being Earnest (p. 808-818, Third Act)

Week 12: Modern Period

Nov 7 A Streetcar Named Desire (p. 1198-1223, Scenes 1-3)

Nov 9 A Streetcar Named Desire (p. 1223-1247, Scenes 4-8)

Nov 11 A Streetcar Named Desire (p. 1247-1262, Scenes 9-11)

Week 13

Nov 14 The Crucible (Acts 1 and 2)

Nov 16 The Crucible (Act 3)

Nov 18 The Crucible (Act 4)

Week 14

Nov 21 Hamilton pdf 1; Long close reading paper due

Nov 23 No class; Thanksgiving recess

Nov 25 No class; Thanksgiving recess

Week 15

Nov 28 Hamilton pdf 2;

Nov 30 Hamilton; last day to turn in performance paper

Dec 2 Performances

Week 16

Dec 5 Performances; Small group performance of a scene justification due

Dec 7 Last day of classes; Performances, evaluations

Dec 8 Reading day

TBD Optional final review session

Final Exam: Tuesday, December 13th


Each student will be required to sign up for two individual conferences during the semester. Conferences will be approximately 10 minutes long and will include a personalized discussion of an assignment on which you are currently working. I also encourage you to come and see me during my office hours or by appointment. I am always happy to talk to you about any questions or concerns you may have related to class.


We will be using the Sakai online course site and the class blog frequently throughout the semester. I will post the syllabus, assignments, and important announcements/reminders to our course page and class website. You are responsible for checking both daily and for making sure that your emails from Sakai are coming through.

Academic Honesty:

Academic dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, and inappropriate academic collaboration, is inexcusable; therefore, the research that you do this semester, whether primary or secondary, print or online, formal or informal, will require careful documentation on your part. If I suspect you of plagiarizing all or part of a paper, even unintentionally, I am required to report the offense to the Honor Court, so, if you are running into trouble with a paper, please come and speak with me. It is much, much better to take a late penalty on an assignment than to risk Honor Court proceedings.

The library website also contains the following helpful links:,

Writing Center:

The UNC Writing Center offers free tutoring services for students. You may visit the Writing Center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. To make an appointment, browse the Writing Center's online resources, or send a draft online, please go to ( To make best use of your time there, bring a copy of your assignment sheet and your draft with you. The Writing Center will not proofread papers or talk with you about grades.

Non-Discrimination Policy:

This university does not discriminate against its students or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. The University’s policy states that sexual orientation be treated in this same manner. In this class we will strive to maintain an open atmosphere with shared respect for all differences.

Students with Disabilities:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ensures that no qualified person shall by reason of a disability be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University. In compliance with UNC policy and federal law, qualified students with disabilities are eligible to receive “reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to education opportunities, programs, and activities” ( If you anticipate such accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Additionally, you may seek out student support services at the Department of Disability Services (DDS) ( and through the Learning Center (

Course Policies

Remember that the syllabus functions as a contract between instructor and students. You are responsible for knowing and abiding by these policies.

You should come to class having prepared the assigned reading, writing, or other homework, and you should be ready to engage with your classmates and the text(s) at hand. When you are here, your brain should be working. Not coming prepared for class will negatively affect your participation grade.

To be successful, you should:

Attend every class.

Barring illness or a personal emergency, you should make every effort to attend all classes. Your attendance is crucial to your success because of the amount of in-class work we will be doing. Each of you may miss 4 class sessions without penalty, no questions asked; subsequent absences will lower your grade.

According to UNC’s Writing Program policy, you may receive an F in this course if you miss more than ten (10) class sessions. I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. If a medical or family emergency occurs where you will be missing multiple classes, you should notify me immediately.

Be on time.

Being on time shows respect for both your instructor and your classmates. Arriving to class more than 25 minutes late will count as an absence. Habitual tardiness (more than 5 minutes late) will damage your grade. 2 tardies=1 absence.

Participate every day.

Speak at least one time during every class. Your classmates and I are relying on you to contribute to discussions and activities.

Be courteous.

Being courteous means listening (and responding) respectfully to others, and refraining from distracting behaviors such as falling asleep, texting, or checking Facebook.

Turn off and put away your cell phone.

Cell phones should not be on or visible during class. If I see you using a cell phone during class, I will give you one warning. After the first infraction, cell phone use will negatively affect your grade.

Due Dates

All assignments must be uploaded to Sakai before class on the day they are due.

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