Introduction to Theatre

West Allis Central High School,

West Allis, WI


·                     Instructor: Mr. Glen Dawursk, Jr.  MAed, BSED


·                     Teacher Availability: Mr. Dawursk is available in his classroom Wednesday through Friday from 7:05 AM until 3:30 PM, Mondays 7:05 AM until 3:05 PM, Tuesdays from 7:35 AM until 3:30 PM.  Note: Mr. Dawursk also mentors language arts students Mondays from 3:05 to 3:40 PM in room 119.


·                     Course Website:


·                     Teacher E-mail:


Course Overview

Introduction to Theater will provide the student with an overview of theater.   Students will keep an acting and reflection journal which will assist in their learning and practicing of acting skills:  voice, movement, imagination, concentration, observation, and improvisation.  Students will also investigate the technical, behind-the-scenes aspects of producing a play:  costumes, props, make-up, lights, sound, stage design, and direction.  This knowledge along with the student's written character and script analysis will be implemented in a final scene production with the student as the star.

·         Our text Book is: The Stage and the School  by Ommanney and Schanker, 1972, and
                                           resources on the classroom website:


  • Grading:

Overall Grading:

Quarter One – 40%

Quarter Two – 40%

Final Exam – 20%


Quarter Grading:

      Daily Assignments – 20%

      Mini-Projects – 20%

      Unit Tests – 20%

      Play Reviews / Critiques / Terms Quizzes – 20%

      Writing Journal – 10%

      Participation / Attitude / Attendance – 10%


Final Exam:

      Final Drama Contract Project – 50%

      Final One Act Ensemble – 50%



·         Children’s Story using vocal characterizations

·         Individual and ensemble pantomime

·         Ensemble Improvisation

·         Improvisational Competition

·         Stage Direction / Blocking

·         Character Monologue

·         Radio Theatre presentation

·         Small group Ensemble


Play Critiques:

Each student is required to write three play critiques each quarter (six total).  At least
two of the plays must be from scripts; the rest may be from live or video productions.


Course Topics


1.        Written object and character descriptions

2.        Peer evaluation

3.        Sense memory

4.        Visualization



Stage Directions and Blocking

1.        Stage locations

2.        Crosses – positions

3.        Types of stages

4.        Blocking

5.        Bows

  1. Stage Combat




1.        Adrenaline vs. Relaxation Techniques

2.        Stage Fright

3.        Vocalizing

4.        Routines



Voice Production / Articulation

1.        Vocal Parts

2.        Inflection / Vocal Characterization

3.        Children’s Story telling

4.        Voice Over Actors



1.        Body Language

2.        Mime

3.        Clowning

4.        Non-spoken object and character descriptions

5.        Critiquing


Ensemble Work

1.        Ethics

2.        Interplay / Support

3.        Stage Etiquette

4.        Stage Actor                                                    






1.        Spontaneous dialogue

2.        Ensemble vs. Individual

3.        Collaboration (an improve group)

4.        Audience Etiquette




Character Analysis

1.        Written Development

2.        Motivation and Conflict

3.        Critiques



1.        Gestures

2.        Cheating Out

3.        Muscle memory

4.        Stage business

5.        The rules of stage movement



Set Design / Construction / Lighting / Sound

1.        Types of Stages

2.        Parts of a stage / Theatre

3.        Working with space

4.        Types of lamps

5.        Special Effects




Dramatic Roles

1.        Greek Tragedy

2.        Shakespeare’s’ Tragedy

3.        Serious Drama Today

4.        Accents


Comic Roles

1.        Comedy of Manners

2.        Farce

3.        Parody

4.        high/low comedy

5.        Satire

6.        Engaging the Audience





Theatre Professions

1.        Playwright – Collaboration / dramaturg

2.        Director / Producer

3.        Stage Director

4.        Casting Director

5.        Costume Designer

6.        Properties Master

7.        Choreographer

8.        Stage Manager

9.        Theatre Critic



Musical Theatre and Other Forms

1.        Choreography and Numbers

2.        Poetry Slam

3.        Readers Theater

4.        Puppetry

5.        Multimedia


Costumes and Props

1.        Elements of Style

2.        Modified Authenticity




1.        Straight Makeup

2.        Character Makeup

3.        Age

4.        Essentials and Hygiene




1.        Auditions / Callbacks

2.        Rehearsals



Film / Television

1.        Script vs. Screenplay

2.        Production

3.        Terms

4.        Reality





1.        Suspension of Disbelief

2.        Goethe’s principles

3.        Dramatic Criticism



Theatre History

1.        Dawn of Theatre

2.        Middle Ages to 1800

3.        1800 to present

Homework Procedures




·                     As a responsible high school student, there is no excuse for late assignments other than a family funeral or similar family circumstance.  Therefore, assignments are due the day they are assigned.  No exceptions.


·                     All written assignments are to be completed no later than the beginning of the class period the first day it is due.  On occasion and only with prior teacher permission, some daily assignments may be turned in at the end of the school day no later than 3:00 PM (This does not happen very often).


·                     ALL oral presentation assignments are due at the beginning of the class period the first day they are due.  Due to the nature of an oral presentation, all late oral presentations may be presented only if time permits and only during scheduled in-class presentation times.


·                     Incomplete assignments are listed as a “0” in the grade book.  Remember that it takes two 100% A+ assignments to raise an incomplete 0% to a passing grade. The lowest percentage possible for any on-time completed assignment which demonstrates reasonable student effort is 50%.


·                     All late assignments are marked 10% off per day late.  For example: after three days late, the highest grade possible for the late assignment would be a 60% D.  The regular grading process will then deduct from this starting percentage.


·                     Written incomplete assignments may be turned-in for partial credit until one week prior to the end of the quarter.  No incomplete assignments will be accepted after that date for any reason. The highest grade possible for assignments over one week late is a 60% D.  The lowest percentage possible for any late assignment which demonstrates reasonable student effort is 40%.


·                     Students may re-take all quizzes and exams repeatedly up to one week prior to the end of the quarter for a maximum grade of a 60% D. 


·                     Hand written notes may be used for all quizzes and exams except ones which test for vocabulary (specific word definitions) or spelling.


·                     Assignments are not accepted via e-mail without PRIOR approval. You are responsible to print them out and bring them to class.  The teacher will not print your assignments for you.



Assignment Format:


·                     All written assignments are to be done in blue or black ONLY.  No other color will be accepted.  All formal essays and reports are to be typed.  Daily assignments should be written neatly on clean 8-1/2 by 11 inch white paper.  Half sheets and papers with frayed edges will not be accepted.  All assignments are subject to proper spelling, grammar and mechanics.  Only the daily writing journal may be exempt from these rules.  All assignments must be labeled properly in the upper right hand corner with First and Last Name, Class Title, Period Number, Assignment Information and Date turned-in.  One grade is deducted from assignments not using proper format (labels, pen color, edges, etc).