Monday, March 15, 2004

Fun with cell phones
Okay, now that we've conducted experiments from both sides on the "cell phone interruption" front, your thoughts? Any interesting elements of drama, play, performance, or interactivity in answering someone else's cell phone in class? Which ones, and how so?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Blabbermouth Night
This definitely qualifies as a performance opportunity and, hoorah, a game!... also, one of my favorite writers (Salon.com's Cary Tenis) is hosting or hanging out or something like that.
More info on the event, at which for five bucks you get 3 minutes to say anything you want in front of the mike. is here!
A brief description:
A blabbermouth night, in the beat tradition, is a form of open mike where anyone can say anything at all for three minutes. This evening (3/12/04) will be blabbermouth with a slight twist: Anyone present in the room is free to come up and say anything at all for three minutes, but each occurrence of blabbering must be classifiable as one of the following: A Confession An Apology An Indictment A Recipe A Traumatic Incident from Childhood Recalled These are the basic categories. Much could be said about why Cary Tennis feels the need to bring form to the blabbermouth phenomenon, and perhaps it will be said when the time is right. For now, however, suffice it to say that the rules are: you may say anything you like, but you must approach the host first and state whether you wish to make a confession, give an apology, deliver an indictment, etc. More categories may be added before game time, but at present this is the list.

Even if you can't make it, perhaps you have some thoughts on why they are adding a "game structure" to the free from performance event?
New David Mamet Movie
Opens Friday at Landmark Shattuck! Many reviews of Spartan at Rotten Tomato... more good than bad. Since we are reading even MORE Mamet for Monday (yes, you are all truly going to be Mamet experts by the end of the semester), why not make it a thematic weekend by seeing his new film?
Formatting papers
Just a reminder to you all: Many word processing programs are set to default 1.25 inch margins left and right; you need to manually change them to have 1 inch margins all around. Many of you apparently are not changing these margins (i.e., turning it 1.25 margins). For the assignments so far, it hasn't mattered too much, so no big deal... but on a 10 page paper, using the wrong margins is really cheating, because it allows you to turn in significantly less writing while looking like you have fulfilled the entire assignment. PLEASE check your default margins (in "Page setup" under "File"), okay?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

P.S. InterACT...
If you are up to it:
What kinds of performance were involved in this game?
What dramatic structure did the interactivity tend to take?
Very impressive machinery and interaction today, guys. Good work.
Now, time for some critical thinking and reflection. Try your hand at a couple of these questions:
How did your machine reflect the 4 steps of interaction in theory? In practice, did it work?
(1. Observation 2. Exploration 3. Modification 4. Reciprocal Change)
Which of the 3 elements of good interactivity did you try to design for? Did it work?
(1. Input/output 2. Inside/outside 3. Open/closed)
What would you change about your machine if you were to do a redesign, and why?
What was the most engaging moment of interaction you had, or you observed, with another team's machine?
What was the most engaging moment of interaction you has AS a machine?
What kinds of performance were involved in this game?
What dramatic structure did the interactivity tend to take?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Make-believe or make-belief?
You guys remember these 2 categories of play and performance proposed by Schechner, right? "Make-believe" keeps the fictional boundaries clear and the fact that it is "just play" obvious, while "make-belief" blurs the boundaires and encourages audiences and participants to "believe for real."
The "She's a Flight Risk" blog we looked at earlier in the semester was an interesting example of possibly "make-belief" performance. Here's another site, for an upcoming indie film, that definitely is straddling the boundary of fictional and real. Check it out: Patient14 and see what you think. A really interesting Web site (probably better than the movie will be, alas!)
How is the site/film trying to be a "make-belief" performance? What is your impression of it... how much is real? How much of it is fictional? What parts of the site convince you to lean one way or the other? Is there something fun or pleasurable about this blurriness? Or would you rather know for sure, one way or the other?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

"Doomed! Doomed!" Taking the drama out of office work...
Check out this (funny) commercial and do your drama theory magic. (That is, share some thoughts on why this ad works, what they are saying, and how drama plays into the Fed Ex marketing strategy.)

Friday, March 05, 2004

Okay, it's finally here: the much overdue "name your own topic" blog post. Use this space to bring up ideas, observations, sites, events, articles, etc. related to: Play Performance Games Drama, including stuff we're reading or looking at for class AND anything you happen to stumble upon yourself. But please do us a favor: if the connection to the class isn't completely obvious, please explain briefly why you're blogging about it.
Special thanks to Kevin, Sarah and Nick for calling my attention to the need for a "name your own topic" post!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Tom Stoppard's _Hapgood_
To continue our conversations from class...
What elements make _Hapgood_ challenging or difficult?
What elements make _Hapgood_ playful or fun to read?
What elements make _Hapgood_ thought-provoking?
What clues does Stoppard leave for us to understand the narrative, the philosophy, or other themes of the work?

Also, after you have read the interviews, do you find the work clarified for you, or complicated? Do you like it better or worse, or just differently, after reading Stoppards' explanation and thoughts? How/why? What did he say in these interviews that jumps out as you as being an important clue or tool for understanding _Hapgood_? Also, any of you who have read or seen other Stoppard works are invited to make comparisons.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Peer Review Workshop
What was the most valuable feedback you received in the peer review workshop, and how do you plan to use it?

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