Stephen H. Sumida
Explores works of Asian American plays in historical, interpretive, and artistic contests and dimensions. Includes students' performances of dramatic readings.
In this course Asian American dramas are studied by reading their texts, by impromptu and rehearsed dramatic readings of them in the classroom, and by critique, analysis, and discussion of them in class and in essays or other kinds of presentations and productions. No prior experience with performing is necessary. The writing and first productions of the plays range from the 1970s to the present decade. Their settings range from the early-20th century to now.
Student learning goals
Through this course students should know: how to read dramas, a different kind of text from stories, novels, poems, and essays;
how to understand Asian American historical, social, and cultural contexts in interaction with dramatic and other literary texts;
what is meant by "subtext," characters' motives, and other underlying "meanings" in the lines of dramas, and how to analyze these subtexts;
how to see and hear critically, as well as appreciate, the artistic designs that are part of dramatic productions;
how to discuss dramas and to write about them in a variety of creative ways.
General method of instruction
Asian American historical and other contexts for the plays will be presented mainly in lectures. Application of contexts to the texts will be made in discussions and the writing of three brief essays. Students will perform dramatic readings that require critical analysis or careful attention to lectures, discussions, and readings beforehand.
Class assignments and grading
Three essays are required. Each will be prompted by topics and sets of questions from which each student may choose.
Grades are based on the three required essays. Also required are each student's participation in a small group's presentation, in class, of a play in the syllabus. Each student will also participate in the final production by the entire class, a reading of a play in a campus theater or other suitable space. "Participation" may be by way of directing, designing, providing props, or audio-visual elements, or otherwise playing a "backstage" role--or by performing the part of a character.