Every course I teach includes one formal creative assignment and a several in-class performance or writing activities. I encourage and often require students to produce material engaging with contemporary social issues, in the hopes that they’ll share it with an audience outside of the classroom. Examples of student projects include a comedy sketch about silenced female voices in the classroom, a gender-swapped Macbeth rap video, a PSA about campus sexual assault using a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire, and a mockumentary about a gender-swapped production of Cymbeline.
First-Year Writing. The fourth writing assignment for this course was a comedy sketch, written in groups of 3. This assignment challenged students to build a set of skills in an area of writing that was new to them, while employing a more subtle rhetorical strategy (comedy writing) to persuade an audience. (assignment sheet)
Lit Core. The final project for this course was an open-ended project in literary adaptation. Students were challenged to adapt a class from our text into any medium, and wrote a short reflection paper explaining how their adaptation linked to concepts in adaptation studies.
Shakespeare. The final project for this course was a short film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. Working in groups of 7-8, students wrote and filmed their own adaptations, aiming to call attention to a contemporary social issue through the lens of Shakespearean drama. This project brought together class discussions and assignments focusing on gender/race and performance, adaptation, and cinematography. (assignment sheet)
This course also featured five low-stakes performance exercises, in which students worked in groups to perform alternate versions of the same scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. These activities helped students to better understand historical stage practices such as doubling and pulling audience members into a scene, while also empowering them to approach intimidating and seemingly fixed texts and produce new meaning.