[Theaterfacultystaff] Q2S

William F. Condee condee at ohio.edu
Wed May 6 09:48:49 EDT 2009

Dear Colleagues,

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.

Sincerely yours,


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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