“Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne Ave, Houston TX 77004
Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Introduction to Theatre â€“ THEA 130 Section 09
Stage Play Project
The Stage Play Project can consist only of the Production Portfolio outlined below. It is essentially an analysis of an approved play of your choosing. Students will read, study, and analyze the play in all of the facets that we will discuss in class over the semester. Students can also write their own original play consisting of 15 â€“ 20 pages with at least two characters AND at least two scenes. An original play will count for significant extra credit, but a completed Production Portfolio is required for a grade without exception. If a student decides to write an original play, he/she must consult with me to discuss the details and manage expectations in terms of time of completion.Â
Production Portfolio outlined as it is belowâ€¦
A. Script Analysis – The analysis will be outlined and structured to reflect Aristotleâ€™s Six Elements.
B. Production Concept â€“ Overall statement that illustrates the metaphor, allegory, thematic idea, or symbol that will be central to the entire production. Then students will thoroughly describe how they will realize this concept within the major disciplines of theatre. Examples of the concept will be expressed through photos, sketches, music samples, etc.
C. The Problem â€“ Each project should illustrate its most difficult design problem and offer its vision for the method by which they will achieve it. For example, in the Wiz, the company should discuss in detail how it plans to transport Dorothy from Detroit to Oz.Â
Plays: Â The plays listed here are just examples of plays that you can use for the Stage Play Project. If you decide to use another play, please consult with me for its approval.
Â· Fences, by August Wilson – Winner of the New York Drama Critic’s and TonyÂ® Awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize, this sensational drama starred James Earl Jones as Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro baseball leagues who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh. Excluded as a Negro from the major leagues during his prime, Troy’s bitterness takes it’s toll on his relationships with both his wife and son who now wants his own chance to play.
Â· The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson â€“ At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family’s prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles’s Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece’s exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy. This dilemma is the real “”piano lesson,”” reminding us that blacks are often deprived both of the symbols of their past and of opportunity in the present.
Â· Two Trains Running, by August Wilson. It is Pittsburgh, 1969. The regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant are struggling to cope with the turbulence of a world that is changing rapidly around them and fighting back when they can. As the play unfolds, Memphis’s diner – and the rest of his block – is scheduled to be torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project that is sweeping away the buildings of a community, but not its spirit. The rich undertaker across the street encourages Memphis to accept his offer to buy the place from him at a reduced price, but Memphis stands his ground, determined to make the city pay him what the property is worth, refusing to be swindled out of his land as he was years before in Mississippi. Into this fray come Sterling, the ex-con who embraces the tenets of Malcolm X; Wolf, the bookie who has learned to play by the white man’s rules; Risa, a waitress of quiet dignity who has mutilated her legs to distance herself from men; and Holloway, the resident philosopher and fervent believer in the prophecies of a legendary 322-year-old woman down the street, a reminder of their struggle and heritage.
Â· Gem of the Ocean, by August Wilson. Gem of the Ocean is the play that begins it all. Set in 1904 Pittsburgh, it is chronologically the first work in August Wilson decade-by-decade cycle dramatizing the African American experience during the 20th centuryâ€”an unprecedented series that includes the Pulitzer Prizeâ€“winning plays Fences and The Piano Lesson. Aunt Esther, the drama 287-year-old fiery matriarch, welcomes into her Hill District home Solly Two Kings, who was born into slavery and scouted for the Union Army, and Citizen Barlow, a young man from Alabama searching for a new life.
Â· Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, by August Wilson – When Harold Loomis arrives at a black Pittsburgh boardinghouse after seven years’ impressed labor on Joe Turner’s chain gang, he is a free man in body. But the scars of his enslavement and a sense of inescapable alienation oppress his spirit still, and the seemingly hospitable rooming house seethes with tension and distrust in the presence of this tormented stranger. Loom is is looking for the wife he left behind, believing that she can help him reclaim his old identity. But through his encounters with the other residents he begins to realize that what he really seeks is his rightful place in a new world and it will take more than the skill of the local “”People Finder”” to discover it.”
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