Stage Movement

Course Details

Course Number: 2113  Section Number: 201

Spring 2012

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B106

Days & Times:

TR 11 - 12:20

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Laura Jefferson   
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Course Objectives

Course Objectives

---To lead an effective twenty-minute physical warm-up.

---To begin competency in stage combat, using unarmed stage combat techniques.

---To use stage terminology for body positions and directions to communicate with directors.

---Choosing to change habitual movement and directing your movement to a more neutral alignment in order to create character movement choices.  

---To release physical tensions accumulated throughout your lifetime.

---Re-learning the poise and ease of movement you had as a child.

---Learn basic critical movement terms used to evaluate your own and other’s performance choices.

---Heighten our awareness of both ourselves and the world around us.

---To use basic improvisation techniques to develop a character.   

Course Expectations

Journal Assignments: You need to get a spiral  notebook, COLLEGE RULED, standard 8 1/2 by 11” size to use as a class journal.  Put your name in the front inside cover. You may find it helpful to get a spiral with pockets. OR If you would rather type your journal entries, please get a folder with brads or a small hardcover binder and put your journal entries in the folder to turn in.  Twelve lines typed with one inch margins or one-half a page of college-ruled or a full-page of regular-ruled equals a complete journal entry.    You need to bring your journal to every class meeting. Upon entering the classroom get your journal out, read the topic on the chalkboard and write it down at the top of the page.  Then you need to write on that topic.   The journal will be taken up every two weeks.  Three entries per week is the minimum journal requirement.  Journal entries will consist of the following:

1.  Classroom topics---beginning of every class.

2.  Reading assignments: For every reading assignment you need to have a corresponding journal response.  This should not be a summary of the reading material but a personal response to it.

3.  Observation exercises: Each week I will hand out observation exercises or journal assignments. 

4.     An entry may include any observations about the class, tests or outside activities relative to the class. (Plays or workshops attended at ACTF for example or plays seen here or elsewhere.)

5.     Be honest and use some critical thinking skills in writing your journal, but limit the “Dear Diary”, personal entries.  

6. No late journals accepted.  No exceptions.  If you are ill, ask someone to bring it to class for you.

7.  After the first time you turn in a journal, ALL THE PREVIOUS JOURNAL ENTRIES NEED TO BE INCLUDED IN SUBSEQUENT SUBMISSIONS OF THE JOURNAL.  Failure to do so will result in a 50% reduction in total points earned.


Critiques of productions: You are required to write a two-page typed critique of The Shape of Things and two one-act plays.   The critique will evaluate the movement choices of one actor following guidelines I will hand out before the production. 


You are required to see the shows in performance.  If you have an emergency you may watch a dress rehearsal.  Work is NOT AN EMERGENCY.   If you are on running crew, come to the run through before technical rehearsal or with permission of the stage manager and director watch the dress rehearsals or other run throughs. Dress rehearsals are for additional viewing.   If cast in any of the plays, you are still responsible for writing a critique.  You have the choice of critiquing one of the other actors’ movement or your own with my permission.


Tests: You will have a Stage directions test, mid-term test and a comprehensive final.


Stage Combat Scene: Your final project will include a stage-combat scene with a partner. 


Class Warm - Up:   You will be assigned a class day to be the warm up leader.  This is a graded assignment.  You may use music (with my approval).  The warm up must be at least 20 minutes and no more than 25 minutes in length, engage the class, and utilize the terms, exercises and techniques of the class. 


Wellness-Center Classes:  You are required to attend three Wellness Center classes.  It can be three different classes or any combination of classes.  Attached are a schedule and an attendance sheet to have the instructor sign. 


Dress for success in movement class!!!!!!!!! The majority of your grade in this class is your participation.  You cannot fully participate dressed inappropriately.  NO JEANS OR CUT- OFF JEAN SHORTS.  No pantyhose, dresses, skorts, hard-sole shoes, high heels, NO FLIPPIN’ FLIP FLOPS!  Failure to dress appropriately will result in earning an F in class participation for the day.  You need to wear loose, comfortable clothing: shorts or sweat pants, tights, or leggings, a sports bra is recommended for the women and an athletic supporter for the men and tennis shoes for all.  Your shorts or pants need to stay on without benefit of a belt.  Please do not bring food or drink into the theatre.  Water in a covered bottle is acceptable.  Upon entering the theatre, begin to warm-up, read the topic and write in your journal.

Grading Standards

Final grade is:

20% = attendance, class participation grade

20% = journal grades & warm-up leader

20% = test grades, pop quizzes

20% = critiques & wellness-center classes

20% = final exam & combat

I reserve the right to change or omit any assignments. 

Final Exam5/8/2012  11 a.m.

Submission Format PolicyNote: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

No late journals accepted.  No exceptions.  If you are ill, ask someone to bring it to class for you.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Class participation: Much of the work of this class is partner or group work.  To complete most assignments you must attend class.  If you are absent the day an assignment (class performance or test) is due, you are assigned an F as a grade for that assignment.  You may make up the performance only if:

A.  Upon return to class you bring a doctor’s excuse.

B.  You call before class on the day the assignment, test or performance is due.

C.     You schedule the makeup during the phone conversation.  More than four absences, excused or unexcused, and you will by asked to drop the class.  The last day to drop is March 19 by 4:00 p.m. If the drop date has passed, I will drop you from the class with a grade of F.

D.    Our final examination day and time is Tues. May 8 at 11:00 a.m. 

Other Policies

Safety considerations and responsibilities:

1.  It is your responsibility to know your physical capabilities and limitations.  Most of the exercises we do in this class are passive stretching and are used to warm up the body.  We will do a little cardio/aerobic exercise and yoga.  You need to listen to your body and wear proper clothing to prevent pain and injury. 

2. Watch your knees.  This safety tip refers to several knee alignment positions.  You don’t want your knees to extend past your toe line when performing exercises such as squats or lunges.  When the knee extends past the toe it places a great deal of stress on the tendons and ligaments that cross the front of your kneecap and extend above and below the knee possibly over stretching ligaments and leaving your joint vulnerable to injury.  Keeping your knee right over the ankle is best.  When kneeling on the floor you should not have your knee in contact with a hard surface.  You also want to make sure that your knees and toes face the same direction.  This sounds silly, but when moving laterally or squatting, many times knees are facing forward while our toes point outward.  This position places stress on the lateral ligaments of the knee leaving it vulnerable to injury.

3.  Keep your joints soft.  This does not mean to assume a Gumby position.  This means do NOT lock or hyper extend your joints.  Keeping a slight bend in the joint helps prevent unnecessary stress.  Joints to focus on that are commonly locked out are the knees, elbows and shoulders.

4.  Protect your back.  Keep your spinal column in neutral alignment.  Neutral takes the strain off your lower back.  Also strengthening abdominal and lower back muscles can help prevent lower back pain.  Stretching with poor postural alignment can place stress on muscles, tendons, and ligaments.


By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity and educational purposes.

The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement.  It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.  ---Student Handbook

Special needs statement: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information that needs sharing, or if you need special accommodations in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with the professor as soon as possible.

Student-privacy statement:  Federal privacy law prohibits the instructor from releasing information about students to certain parties outside of the university without the signed consent of the student.  Thus, in almost all cases the professor will not discuss students’ academic progress or other matters with their parents.  Please do not have them call.  Regardless of these important legal considerations, the professor’s general policy is to communicate with the students, not their parents, even when a student has signed a consent form.  College students are adults and are expected to behave accordingly.

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.