William F. Condee
condee at ohio.edu
Wed May 6 09:48:49 EDT 2009
I have a few thoughts on the questions Holly has presented—and thanks for
framing them so clearly. In advance, I beg your forgiveness for my
ignorance of issues that many of you will have thought about in more depth
and more recently than I have. I led a major revision to the undergrad
curriculum around 1990; I know there was at least one more major revision
since then, and I do not know the issues that led to those changes. I will
therefore undoubtedly make suggestions that will tick some of you off and
convince others of my ignorance and/or irrelevance. But here goes anyway:
Operating principle: I think undergrad theater students should study less
theater. Most of them will not continue in theater, and therefore we are
ethically bound to make sure they have a rich and diverse education. For
those who do continue in theater, their art will be enriched with more
knowledge of the world around them. Therefore I think that whenever
possible we should limit/cut/reduce requirements. In addition, I think we
should reduce the freshman requirements, which will make it easier for
students to transfer into or out of the theater major.
101: Yes, fold this into some other course
171/172: I taught 172 for many years, during which time 171 was not
offered. I think that a single, one-semester course can suffice.
151: I think that playwriting is a very difficult and advanced subject to
introduce at the freshman level. I think it should be reserved for a later
stage of development. This could be a good option for students who are
interested in majoring in playwriting.
470s: In the circa 1990 revision, I also pushed for a reduction in theater
requirements, and offered theater history up as a sacrificial lamb,
reducing the 470-requirement from 3 to 2. I think that reducing it further
to only one course would be a terrible idea.
Directing: Here is my wild and crazy idea, guaranteed to make enemies of
anyone I have already not ticked off: What about making directing or
playwriting a choice? I think this should be at the junior level, so they
know enough about theater to make a choice and to get something out of the
class, and so they might make use of the skills during the senior year.
500: I have not kept track of this course recently (since 2001, so I think
I am on safer ground here since none of the current faculty taught it
then), but during my active years in the SOT it was always a greater or
lesser failure. Each program has different goals for the course and the
poor professor tries to please everyone, with the result that the course
pleases no one. Unless this situation has changed, get rid of it.
Since I can never show my face in Kantner again, I am leaving for Germany.
William F. Condee, Ph.D.
J. Richard Hamilton/Baker and Hostetler Professor of Humanities
Professor of Theater
School of Interdisciplinary Arts
T: 740-593-1315/F: 740-593-0578
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