T/R 2:10 – 3:35, RTT 113 CAFÉ THEATRE


Professsor: Steve Gilliam

Home/Studio (210) 494-7373

Office: RTT Rm. 118, 999 - 8587, Office Hours: TR, 3:30 – 5:00 or by appointment.


Peer Mentors

Deanna Husting

Judson Rose

Playwright and Director of Matchbox Theatre Production

William M. Razavi


Drama 1304 satisfies a course requirement within the Common Curriculum entitled: Understanding Aesthetic Experience and Artistic Creativity.  Introduction to Theatre examines the lively art of theatre, and the multiple art forms involved in this creative discipline.  The course explores acting, playwriting, design, and the art of theatrical collaboration.


Attendance and participation are required.  You are allowed two absences before your grade will be affected.  Should you miss a class for any reason, it is your responsibility to cover missed material and be prepared for the next session.  Failure to meet deadlines will be reflected in the evaluation of that particular assignment.  A large measure of your understanding of theatre will be demonstrated through your participation in the public production at the end of the course.  You are expected to honor mutually agreed upon deadlines, crew calls and rehearsals.  Failure to fully participate in the rehearsal process and public performance will result in a full letter grade off the composite evaluation for the semester.


Whereas this course is a mixture of individual and collaborative creativity, it is assumed that each student can distinguish when it is proper to use and incorporate the ideas of others and when it is ethically improper.  Drama 1304 adheres to the guidelines set forth by the Trinity University Honor System.


There is no required text for Drama 1304.  You will be required to download and print a copy of Mr. Razavi’s play script for our class production when it becomes available.


All written assignments and performance work are due on the dates specified in the syllabus, unless otherwise noted by the instructor.  The syllabus and assignment due dates reflect the overall concepts, content and structure of the course; however, this syllabus is an instrument of process and must remain flexible; dates and assignments may change to reflect the specific needs and dynamics of this learning community.


You are required to attend the Trinity University mainstage productions this semester.  You will need to purchase tickets at the Ruth Taylor Theatre Box Office.


              “The Bacchae,” by Euripides, Feb 18-20, 23-26

              “Pride’s Crossing,” by Tina Howe, April 15-17, 27-20



The major focus of Drama 1304 is the production and rehearsal process for four public performances of “Sullivan’s Detours,”  a play commissioned for this class.  Matchbox Theatre’s Creative Staff includes: Executive Producer, Professor Steve Gilliam; Playwright and Director, William Razavi: Acting Coaches and Assistant Directors, Deanna Husting and Judson Rose.  The students in Drama 1304 will act in, execute scenery and costumes, as well as advertise and promotion this Matchbox Theatre production.


Sullivan's Detours by William M. Razavi


The year is 1939.  Ross Sullivan, the popular director of such films as The Code of the Morses, Moonlight Melodrama and The Restless Sebastians is having a crisis of conscience and decides to ride the rails in search of the real America.  But the executives of the studio have another plan: They want Sully to direct a frivolous comedy and they will stop at nothing to get him back in line.   When Sully falls in love with the woman sent by the studio to bring him back complications ensue.  Tune in to find out which station the train finally rolls into.


PUBLIC PERFORMANCES will be April 26 and 27, with show times at 6PM and 8:15PM each evening.  NOTE: If you know that you will have a conflict on either of these dates, you must drop this course.  Participation is mandatory to receive full credit.



Final assessment for Drama 1304 will be based on

Š       written and performance assignments                                35%

Š       class participation and team work                                                     15%

Š       participation in MATCHBOX THEATRE                          40%

Š       final paper                                                                                 10%





Due: 1/25

ASSIGNMENT: Perform something engaging to watch.

The class will be divided into small groups. Each unit represents a performance company. Each company will develop and present a 4-7 minute performance for the class to enjoy. The following are guidelines as you prepare for this assignment.


THE SCENE: SOMETHING ENGAGING TO WATCH. The scene must be at least 4 minutes in length and not more than 7 minutes. Adherence to time requirements will be considered in the evaluation of the project. Your group will determine what is engaging to watch. Then, as a group, you will develop and write a scene, rehearse the scene and perform it for the class on Thursday, 1/25.  A written outline must be submitted at the time of performance.



Š       T 1/18: During a brief company meeting during class, you will exchange names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers as this assignment will require outside of class rehearsal and preparation.  Brainstorm with one another and discuss what is engaging or compelling to watch.

Š       Homework: Before the next class session, (R 1/20), each student is to write a “concept pitch”, a narrative outline of a 4-7 minute scene. Each outline will be discussed as a possible scene, which the individual companies might produce. Use your imagination. These do not have to be dramatic scenes. Street performers engage. Traffic cops engage. The unusual engages.  The ordinary engages when confronted with extraordinary circumstances.  What do you think will engage the class for 4-7 minutes using the members of your company in the scene?

Š       Type your outline or concept. Prepare 6 copies.  One copy is to be turned in to the instructor as you enter class on 1/20.  The remaining copies will be distributed to members of your company.


Š       R 1/20:  Turn in one copy of your “concept pitch” outline to the instructor.

Š        Meet with your company to discuss the ideas of the group.

Š       After selecting one concept to be developed, as collaborative artists, discuss the development of the concept for performance.  It is not up to the person whose idea will be performed to direct or write the scene.

Š       This is a group project and will be graded as such. How you proceed from here is up to your group. However, it is important for you to rehearse and “set” your performance before the next class meeting.  This is NOT an improvisational assignment.  A final written outline of the scene is due on the date of performance, signed by everyone in the group.

Š       Remember, it must be no less than 4, no more than 7 min. Consider music, costume accessories, props or whatever else will assist in making your performance engaging.


Š       T  1/25: SHOW TIME!  Engage us!