The Tragedy of King Richard II

Theatre 250/376 Seminar Fall 2008

We will meet every Monday evening from 6:00-7:00pm in the Design Studio. Some sessions may go a bit longer and at some point we will stop meeting (as we near tech rehearsals) and will resume after closing.

Class sessions will consist of discussions and presentations and, potentially, guest speakers.

Attendance is mandatory for all scheduled sessions. Unexcused absences in excess of two sessions and/or repeated lateness will result in the rapid reduction of the final grade. Absences due to production work, rehearsals, athletic events, room drawings, meetings, travel arrangements, class registration, etc. ARE NOT EXCUSED ABSENCES. If you miss more than six classes you are strongly advised to officially withdraw from the course.

Excuses dues to illness, injury, or family emergency must be submitted in writing (not email), preferably with some sort of verification. Do not assume an excuse will be acceptable. Absences on days when you are to make a presentation will be dealt with rather harshly.

Classroom Decorum and Expectations
We seek a collegial atmosphere of mutual respect. Excessive talking or disruptive or abusive behavior will result in your being asked to leave and you will be considered absent from that class.

Take care of all personal needs BEFORE entering the classroom — yes, this means that you should use the bathroom BEFORE class, not during class. It is simply rude to walk out of the classroom. If you are ill or have an emergency, please be considerate and exit and reenter as unobtrusively as possible. DO NOT ENTER OR EXIT THE ROOM WHEN ANYONE IS PERFORMING.

Should you know you will be absent or if you must leave class early, try to let me know before hand.

Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted in class. Feel free to bring a water bottle.

Expect to spend (on average) at least 4 hours each week working on this class in addition to scheduled class meetings, rehearsals, studying lines, and all production work. This will involve assigned reading, research and writing.

It is expected that you will do your own work. Please realize that plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code. Refer to the Skidmore College Guide to Writing for further information on plagiarism. If it is discovered that you have taken your work from another source (a document or another student's work), you will receive an "F" for the assignment. There may also be additional action taken by the Dean of Studies Office.


  1. Full participation in all classes. Each student must attend every class and participate fully in each and every exercise and assignment. Extreme health problems or extraordinary family circumstances will be taken into consideration. (Note: missed classes and exercises cannot be "made-up." Your work will suffer because of your absence, but do your best to talk to classmates about what went on in class).
  2. Any assigned work must be ready when it is due without excuse or exception. Given the nature of both the class and the assignment, extensions will not be given.
  3. Each student is expected to bring to class a strong sense of professional discipline and responsibility. Your commitment to the work, the class and your fellow students must be total. These must be demonstrated with all presentations while the observing work of others. You will learn as much by observing your classmates as you will by performing. You must be actively involved at all times.
  4. Be sure to turn all cell phones off.

Written Assignments
There may be a number of assignments throughout the semester relating to research and presentations. When submitting writen material, use Times Roman 14 as your font and use double spacing. Be sure to include the following information at the top: your name, date, and title of assignment.

Assignments must be submitted on time.

Grades will drop a letter grade for each day that an assignment is late.

Assignments must be typed (using a word processor) and double spaced on 8 1/2" x 11" white paper.

I expect "college-level" writing (well-organized, clear and concise, correctly punctuated and spelled, grammatically correct). Be particularly carefully about avoiding incomplete sentences. Proofread all work carefully before submitting. Assignments should be reasonably neat. Plan ahead to avoid late projects due to computer or printer problems.

There will be no mid-term or final exams. Final monolgues might be scheduled during a week-end or an evening of the final week so that guests can be invited.

Texts and Materials

The Tradedy of King Richard II
by Wiliam Shakespeare
edited by Frances E. Dolan
The Penguin Shakespeare (paperback)

Yes, I realize that you will all have rehearsal scripts. This is what we'll be using as a study text. We will be using the introduction and glossary notes and it helps if we're all literally on the same page. This is a good, yet inexpensive series of Shakespeare.

During the course additional readings will be posted online on the Materials Page.

Supplementary Reading
It is suggested that you refer to the bibliography on the Resources Page. Explore the recommended reading as much as possible.

Final grades will be based upon work done in all sessions of the course and your production work. The grade will be based upon the following criteria (percentage assignment subject to adjustment):

70%: The responsible completion of all production responsibilites such as learning lines on schedule, being prompt, fulfilling all production assignments well and in a timely manner, being a good company member, etc.

20%: Written assignments and class presentations. Your degree of preparation is a large part of this.

10%: Full participation in seminar sessions

Note: Final grade will be adjusted downward for excessive lateness or absences exceeding two class sessions.

Most of your grade is based on subjective material. I am not grading your talent, but your willingness to work, your ability to acquire concepts,apply them and make adjustments. Rarely is there a single correct way of doing anything, but there are lots of incorrect ways of doing things. Not meeting the criteria listed above is a sure way to reduce your grade.

You may reach me by phone at X5432 or, if urgent, on weekdays between 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM (EST) at 518-587-2166.

Office hours are listed on the home page, but it is always best to make an appointment. I can generally speak to you immediately after class. My office is Room 237 of the Bernhard Theatre (second floor - first door on the left at the top of the stairs).

The best way to be assured of a response is to contact me via e-mail ( ).

Throughout the semester I will use college email and/or the course Materials page to notify or remind you of various things. Email wil be sent only to your college email account. If you use another account, figure out how to link this to your Skidmore account or check your Skidmore account.

The Bottom Line
It is my hope that you will all do well, learn something of value and have a good time. This class is all about you and your future. Take yourself and your future seriously.

If you come to class regularly, do your work conscientiously, fulfill all assigned work (on time) and participate in class you will have a hard time earning lower than a B. I am thrilled to be able to give A´s and I hate to fail students -- The grade you receive is grade you earn. Best of luck, and have fun!

© Lary Opitz 2008

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Lary Opitz, Prof.   |  Dept. of Theatre  |  Skidmore College  |  Rm. 237  |  Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theatre
Phone: (518) 580-5432  |  Fax: (518) 580-5444  |