DR2: Oral Interpretation of Literature Syllabus

DRAMA 2 - UNITS: 3.0 INSTRUCTOR: James Floss E-MAIL: jmf2 @ jfloss.com
TT 2:30 - 3:55pm; DTN 113, Downtown Site
Hs. 54 Rm. 5 (HSU) Office Extension: 826-5422; Voice Mail available
MWF 10:00 to 10:50am. See me to set other appointments.

Oral Interpretation of Literature is both a course of study about and a workshop into the performances of texts. Oral Interpretation is the artistic, aesthetic, and carefully considered sharing of our personal study and understanding of a literary selection with an audience. In this class, you will choose literature that is meaningful to you, and through a process of analysis, planning and rehearsing, effectively share that meaning with an audience. The objectives of this class are:


Roles in Interpretation by Judy Yorden, 5th Edition, is required for this class, available in the Bookstore. Please study the accompanying schedule for required readings--it is very important that each student be familiar with the chapters indicated by the dates stated. Required auxiliary materials, evaluation forms and an assignment descriptions must be accessed through the class web site.
Quizzes: Students will be quizzed periodically on the required readings. Quizzes will be generated from questions that students bring to class. While not required, each student is encouraged to compose two or three quiz questions (and their answers) from the lessons due the next class period. The instructor will choose from the submitted questions for that session's quiz. Students will receive an extra credit point for each submitted question (up to three) and another point each time their question is chosen. If duplicate questions are submitted, the first one selected will receive the extra credit.

Each student will perform five times during the semester; the first being not graded. The readings are:
Introductory Reading: a 1 to 2 minute reading of any literary selection (not graded, but worth 10 points)
Drama Duo Performances: a 5 to 7 minute performance of dramatic literature with one or two classmates
Prose Fiction Performances: a 5 to 7 minute performance of prose fiction of your choice
Poetry Performances: a 4 to 6 minute performance of a poem (or poems) of your choice
Final Performance: a 4 to 6 minute performance, any genre, solo or as a group (class final)
Students should expect to spend four to five hours outside class for selecting, analyzing, writing about and rehearsing for each performance other than the Introductory Reading.

Several writing assignments will come due throughout the semester; they fall into two categories: Written Justifications of Performance Choices (intent papers) and Performances Critiques. Each performance assignment (except the introductory reading) will require written justifications of your choices, intents and purposes. Intent papers must be handed in on the day you perform; they will not be accepted late. The particulars for each writing assignment can be found in the packet or on the web. After each full round of performances, an 800-word critique can be due written in standard academic prose. It is expected that course-specific terms be used in all papers to demonstrate your mastery of course topics. An additional critique of a dramatic performance outside of the classroom can also be accepted. There are four opportunities for critical papers but only two should be submitted by the end of the semester. Late submissions will be accepted up to a week late, but with a penalty of 10 points.



All course requirements are worth a number of "points." While the performances (and class participation) will receive letter grades, each letter grade is equivalent to a number of points. A total of 1,000 points are needed for an "A". Your final grade is determined by the total number you earn throughout the semester. The following table shows the number of points course requirements are worth:

INTRODUCTORY READING 10   Critiques (two of the four below @ 30) 60
DRAMA DUO PERFORMANCES 125   Critique of Drama Perfs.
PROSE FICTION PERFORMANCES 125   Critique of Outside Drama Perf.
POETRY PERFORMANCES 125   Critique of Poetry Perfs.
FINAL PERFORMANCE 125   Critique of Prose Perfs.
Written Justifications for Drama 30   Class Participation and Attendance 200
Written Justifications for Poetry 30   Quizzes 200
Written Justifications for Prose 30   TOTAL 1060

Note that this adds up to 1,060 points. The extra 60 points are a contingency buffer. As you will read, the attendance policy is rigid and there are many writing requirements. You can "spend" your extra points any way you please: missing a class session for a personally important reason or not turning in a paper when other course work overwhelms. For performances, you will receive an evaluation form indicating your strongest and weakest points, along with a letter grade. The grades are recorded as points according to the table below. If you miss your performance date and slot for a non-medical reason, your final score for that performance will be docked 10 points.


Attendance is particularly important in a class like this. You will learn much from the ideas and performances of your classmates, and you have a responsibility as an audience member to respond to them. Your participation will be graded in two ways. First, you will earn 3.33 points for each class session you attend, up to a maximum of 100 for the semester. Secondly, your active participation in all course aspects will be surveyed at the end of the semester for up to another 100 points.

FINAL EXAM: There is no final exam, but there will be a Final Performance. For this performance, students will prepare and present a selection of prose (fiction or non-fiction), poetry, drama or Readers Theatre. You can work solo or with partners; each individual's contribution should be between 4 and 6 minutes.

The final grade you receive will be based on the total number of points earned throughout the semester, according to this table for:

Point Spread Final Grade
950 - 1000 A
900 - 949 A-
850 - 899 B+
800 - 849 B
750 - 799 B-
Point Spread Final Grade
700 - 749 C+
600 - 699 C
500 - 599 D
under 500 F