SYLLABUS                                                                                                                       PROFESSOR: Michael J. Arndt
Theatre Arts 477, 4 credits                                                                        Office:  TA 131
Capstone: 20th Century Theatre                                                      Telephone: ext. 3416

                                                                                                                                                                         Office Hours: M, W—2:45-4 p.m.                              TH: 1-4  p.m.
                                                                                                                                                                                           Other times by appointment


"Finally, I should like to discuss what to me is the most interesting part of the job, the blending of intuition with technique. It is my experience that all the best ideas in art just arrive, and it is absolutely no good concentrating on them and hoping for the best…and yet I think no artist worth his salt will feel he can rely on inspiration. Inspiration must be backed up by a very cast-iron technique."
                                                                                                                                          --Tyrone Guthrie


This class is the capstone course for the Theatre Arts major and minor. The course should actively engage the student in all of the department learning objectives of Theatre as an Art Form, the Creative Process, and Theatre Craft Compentencies. The class will build on your knowledge of theatrical history, theory, and production practiced during previous classes and productions.


In addition, this course will allow students to gain experience in the following CLU Core Educational Skills: critical thinking, communication skills, field specific knowledge and experience, the ability to comprehend issues from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, the integration of knowledge with ethical reflection and interpersonal and teamwork skills.


The focus of this class will be on an examination of twentieth century theatre theory and practice. We will concentrate upon the major theatrical movements as practiced by directors, producers, designers and actors. Throughout this semester, we will be discussing the art and craft of theatre while honing your practical skills of research, conceptualization, visualization, organization, director-designer-actor communication, and production. The main objective of this course is to develop a personal and authentic philosophy of theatre based upon your response to developments in twentieth century theatre.



The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama

Selected readings
Selected plays, to be determined
Selected research documents
Blackboard will be the primary way in which the class communicates with the professor and each other. Students in this class are expected to check Blackboard daily.



            During the first part of the semester, the class will form as production company to produce the Festival of 10 Minute Plays
            Members of the class will self-select or be assigned to one of the following working groups:

1.     Executive Committee—charged with communication with and between each working group and organizational issues that might arise.

2.     Management Group—charged with schedules, space booking, rehearsal logging, program data, etc.

3.     Design/Tech. Group—charged with coordinating the design and technical needs of each play. (Includes set pieces, props, costumes, lighting and sound) This group will be assisted by all members of the class.

4.     Publicity and promotion Group—charged with developing a public relations campaign to ensure that each night’s performance is sold out. Responsible for poster/flyer design, promotional events, program layout and printing, newspaper, social network, and other media coverage.

5.     Production Stagemanager’s Group—charged with developing a plan for performance nights with staffing of crews from the class

6.     Front of House Group—charged with house management, ticket or entry control, refreshments, lobby displays, maintenance of lobby and all public areas.

7.     Directors, collaborators, AD’s, SM’s. It is assumed that every member of the class will be involved intimately with a production. It will be up to each play’s team to work out the particular working process. Every member of this group will need to also be a member of another group.

            During the second part of the semester, the class will meet each Monday and Wednesday as a seminar on twentieth century theatre theory as applied to plays, playwrights, directors, and designers.

            The class will meet on each Friday as a lab on theatre production practices and techniques.



Students in this class will:

1.          Attend class meetings. (Attendance is essential. At this level of theatre, discipline becomes an ingredient reflecting future employment possibilities in the theatre.)

2.          Read and respond to assigned readings.

3.          Prepare all individual and group class reports.

4.          Prepare assigned directing and production exercises.

5.         Participate as a member of the class production company who will produce a program of short one act plays.

6.         Prepare a researched and well-developed approach to a selected 20th C. non-realistic play.



            The evaluation for this class will be based on the completion of the requirements outlined in the schedule below and any additional assignments given during the course of the class. Quality and care of the work will affect the grade each student will be given. The grades will computed on the following basis:

In Class Activity and Participation


Ten Minute Play Festival


“Ism” Production Project




Class Policy

The Theatre Arts Capstone class is based on the collaborative theatre model wherein every member of the class is essential to the successful operation of the class. When one member is missing or late, the work of the entire class is impaired. If a class member is more than 5 minutes late after the scheduled starting time of the class without having previously notified the professor, the professor has the discretion to dismiss the entire class.

Students may only be excused from a class meeting by contacting the professor personally prior to the class meeting or in the case of extreme emergency.




California Lutheran University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations in compliance with ADA of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to students with documented disabilities.  If you are a student requesting accommodations for this course, please contact your professor at the beginning of the semester and register with the Accessibility Resource Coordinator, Wendy Perkins, for the facilitation and verification of need.  The Accessibility Resource Coordinator is located in the Center for Academic and Accessibility Resources (CAAR) Office in the Pederson Administration building, and can be contacted by calling 805.493.3878 or emailing



The educational programs of California Lutheran University are designed and dedicated to achieve academic excellence, honesty and integrity at every level of student life. Part of CLU’s dedication to academic excellence is our commitment to academic honesty. Students, faculty, staff and administration share the responsibility for maintaining high levels of scholarship on campus. Any behavior or act which might be defined as “deceitful” or “dishonest” will meet with appropriate disciplinary sanctions, including dismissal from the University, suspension, grade F in a course or various forms of academic probation. Policies and procedures regarding academic honesty are contained in the faculty and student handbooks.


Plagiarism, cheating, unethical computer use and facilitation of academic dishonest are examples of behavior which will result in disciplinary sanctions. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

Š             word for word copying without using quotation marks or presenting the work as yours

Š             using the ideas or work of others without acknowledgement

Š             not citing quoted material. Students must cite sources for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge.