Theater Question

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Your Final Project will consist of two parts: a creative project + an explanatory paper.

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The Final Project is described in this document, in the course syllabus and also in a video that you will watch at the beginning of the course (in Module 1). The text below is basically the script for the video description of the project. Please let your GSI or Gail know if you have questions about your Final Project as you work on it throughout the summer term.

For your Final Project, you must produce a creative project involving performance — meaning, I would like you to perform something, and capture your performance in either an audio recording or a video recording. And your performance must pertain to the themes of this course and reference AT LEAST TWO READINGS FROM TWO DIFFERENT MODULES on the Syllabus. Your audio or video recording must be NO LONGER than five minutes long. Then, you will ALSO write a 2-page, double-spaced paper in which you EXPLAIN how your project relates to some of the themes of the course, and what two readings you used.

Why does your Final Project have to be a performance? Since this is a performance studies class, and if I taught it in a physical classroom, I would make you perform at least once in front of your peers, I think it would be great to still ask you to perform even though we’re doing this course online. So, for your Final Project, you could choose to write out an essay about your thoughts on a television show or social media account, relating it to some of the themes you’ve learned in this course, and you could record yourself reading your essay. Or you might choose to do something more artistic, like you could write a skit about a television episode or hashtag campaign, bringing in some themes from the class, and you could make a video of you performing that skit. Or you could make up an original song and record yourself singing it, you could do something in a podcast format, you could conduct some short interviews with friends, you could choreograph a dance. Whatever genre and style of performance you choose, I advise that you choose something from television or something from social media, like a TV series, or an episode or character from that series, or a social media event, or account, or hashtag campaign, as your main object. Then you should do an explanation or commentary or reaction or parody or re-enactment or artistic re-interpretation of that TV or social media object that references themes from this course. Whatever type of recording you do, you just have to make sure it’s maximum 5 minutes long. It can be a lot shorter than 5 minutes, it just can’t be longer than 5 minutes.

Now, and this is really important: you also have to make sure that somewhere in your project, you mention two readings from two DIFFERENT modules of the course. So, for example, you could cite one reading from Module 7, which focuses on Asian Americans, and one reading from Module 2, which focuses on Performance and Social Media. Or, you could cite one reading from Module 5, on Native Americans, and one reading from Module 3, on Gender and Sexuality. When I say that you have to mention two readings, that means that you have to quote from the readings and make use of their concepts, but you don’t have to necessarily mention the authors or the titles of the readings in your project. You could cite the readings explicitly, but you could also just incorporate themes, concepts, frameworks, terms, keywords, main ideas from the readings, into your project. The reason that you have the option to not cite the two readings explicitly is that, remember, you will also be writing a 2-page paper explaining your project in addition to doing the project itself, and in that paper, you will state very clearly which readings you used for your project — you should write the titles of the two essays you used, their authors, and if you think it’s necessary or helpful, you should write which arguments, or lines, from the essays informed your project the most.

Okay, now what if you HATE performing OR you just completely lack the skills or software to make a recording of yourself performing? Well, first of all, I would tell you that you can look up lots of tutorials on YouTube that can teach you how to use audio or video recording and editing software, and plenty of software packages are free. For example, if you have a Mac, you can use QuickTime to record and edit audio, or to record the screen of your computer, and QuickTime is just included with your Mac. However, if you really really feel uncertain about using audio or video software, or if you just really don’t want to record yourself performing at all, then I will give you another option: you could do a written work. That could be a critical or analytic essay, or it could be a review, or it could be an autobiographical or authoethnographic work, or maybe a genre like a short story or a screenplay. I’m sure there are other possibilities for written genres. If you write an essay for your Final Project, you won’t need to turn in an accompanying explanatory paper, because, well, your project will be the written explanation. But if you do a creative writing project, you may have to submit an explanatory paper. Be sure to email your GSI if you are thinking of doing a written piece, to get some feedback on your concept and maybe more guidelines. And if you’re doing a performance piece and recording it, you should also consider emailing your GSI if you want input or have questions as you work on your project.

I’m assigning you this Final Project now, at the start of the course, so that you have the entire eight weeks of the course to work on it. I don’t WANT you to spend eight whole weeks working on your Final Project, but since it is a creative project and might take some time to get the technical aspects of it done, I do want you to feel like you have plenty of time to do it in. Do your best to dedicate some time each week to thinking about what you want to do for the project, and over the next eight weeks, do it in stages. In other words, please DON’T leave the whole thing to the very last week of the course. The Final Project will be due just after the eighth week of the course, you can find the actual due date on bCourses (and at the top of this document), and I’ll send out reminders, too.

DSP students should note that, for this Final Project, you will not have an extended deadline, you will have the same deadline as non-DSP students. This is because every student will have the entire duration of the course to work on their Final Projects. So, the intention is that this isn’t really a “timed” assignment, like the weekly Assignments are. Rather, you have all eight weeks to plan, execute, complete, and submit, a creative project that engages with the themes of the course, draws on two readings from two different modules, and hopefully is done in a performance genre, like speaking or singing or acting or dancing. And don’t forget about the 2-page explanation paper that you must submit with your creative project, in which you explain HOW your project ties in with the themes of the course and what readings you used for it.

How should you turn in your Final Project, if it’s an audio or video file? I suggest that you upload it to Google Drive — or you could also upload it to a more public network, like YouTube or Instagram — and then get a link for it and put the link at the top of your 2-page explanatory paper. That way, your GSI will know exactly where to find your creative project.

Your Final Project will be worth up to 16 points. 4 points will be based on how well your project engages with the themes of the course. 4 points will be based on how well you use the two readings from two different modules. 4 points will be based on the technical and aesthetic aspects of your project — though you don’t have to employ really sophisticated technical skills to do this project, but we want to evaluate how well you executed your concept for the project. And 4 points will be based on your 2-page explanatory paper, and how well you communicate in that paper what your project was about, and how it was inspired by what was discussed in the lectures and readings that make up this course.

If you do not get a passing score on the Final Project for this class — if you don’t get at least 10 points out of 16 on the Final Project — you will fail this course, no matter how many points you got on your Assignments. YOU MUST PASS THE FINAL PROJECT IN ORDER TO PASS THIS COURSE.

So, that’s my explanation of the Final Project. Remember, you have eight weeks to work on it, so please start developing some preliminary concepts for it this week, and ask your GSI or me if you have any questions as you work on it. You can email us or come to our weekly chats, we’ll be happy to talk to you about your Final Project ideas. Good luck!!!

If your creative project cannot be easily inserted into your explanatory paper (e.g., if your creative project is an audio or video file), please upload your creative project to Google Drive or another website (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) and include a link to your creative project at the top of your explanatory paper.

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