Theatre Arts / Library: Researching Hamlet’s Madness

Title: Hawk or Handsaw?  Researching Hamlet’s Madness.  A Theatre Studies Library Lesson Study Plan
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Theatre Arts and Information Literacy
Authors: Beth Cherne, Walter Elder (Theatre Arts), Michael Current, Cris Prucha (Murphy Library),  University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Submission Date: August 21, 2007

Executive Summary

Learning goals were to introduce and deepen students’ knowledge and interest in library resources for theatre research. We wanted to ignite their curiosity and thrill them with the possibilities of finding information for their use in work for the stage. We designed a worksheet of questions, based on real-world scholars’ debates about Shakespeare’s Hamlet and interpretations of the title character. We found that when given a structure and real questions, students dug in and found strong information.

Theatre Arts / Library Lesson Study: Researching Hamlet’s Madness (Final Report)

Theatre Arts: Active, Collaborative, Creative Processes

Title: Introduction to Active Collaborative Creative Processes in the Theatre Appreciation Classroom
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Theatre Arts
Authors: Beth Cherne, William T. Clow, Ron Stoffregen, Joe Anderson, Mary Leonard Anderson, Walter Elder, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Submission Date: June 25, 2008

Executive Summary:  The lesson’s principal purposes were to initiate an interactive environment in the classroom; to involve students actively in collaborative work; to introduce basic concepts in theatre production and performance. The instructional pattern took the form of an activity: small groups of about five students wrote, rehearsed and performed a one-two minute play for the class; we then discussed the theatrical concepts that arose. We found that the lesson accomplished all of these things, but that it worked better taught at the second class meeting of the semester, rather than the first, because the first class meeting required so many “house keeping” details, leaving little time for discussion.

Art: Gesture Drawing

Title: Gesture Drawing: The Essence of Capturing the Moment as a Tool for Extended Investigation
Discipline(s) or Field(s) : Art & Design
Authors: Diane Canfield Bywaters, Susan Morrison, Sheila Sullivan, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Submission Date: Spring 2007

When enrolling in Drawing II the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point art and design students have already covered the basics of drawing. This second drawing class is then geared for developing conceptual ideas within an exploration of color media. However, faculty had noticed that the building block of gesture was applied inconsistently within the Drawing II class. This assignment was to reintroduce the student to gesture in a different way: building multiple gestural images on the same page and relating those images through color and mark-making utilizing the entire picture plane. The assignment emphasizes the importance of gesture and the application gesture has in drawing and painting development.

Learning Goals

  • Loosen Up
  • Full body motion to move drawing hand (versus wrist action)
  • Quick visualization
  • Trust
  • Understanding that gesture is an unlimited root of extended drawing

Approach – Open minded, high energy, experimental and process oriented, for a kinesthetic experiential drawing.

Findings – The students resist this risk taking; and uncontrolled non-representational “scribbling”. However, once the student succeeds at this approach there is a confidence, and willingness to “go with the flow” and to let the picture grow from the page rather than be dictated by a mental construct.

Students have exhibited works created in this and related assignments in the UWSP Juried Annual Art Foundation Exhibition (juried by an outside judge). In addition, the faculty who are using this assignment and related assignments consistently receive excellent faculty evaluations, and student comments related in evaluations are consistently positive. Initially the assignment was taught without the use of master examples presented in the classroon and handouts, our findings indicate that this added information enriches the outcome. To our surprise, the act of creating the video segment of this project also enriched the experience of the students, and could be a teaching and learning opportunity for further study.