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Drama Diploma [ODL] 245.00

Diploma in Drama

Course Synopsis
This Diploma courses is aimed at providing the necessary instruction for the experienced learner to gain an understanding of drama. This is a higher level course. The Diploma in Drama will be awarded by Oxford College to those students who satisfactorily complete all 10 units of this course. As this is a complete Diploma the students will be expected to gain a pass mark over all ten units. This has been set at 70%; those failing to achieve a pass on any unit will be requested it retake it until a satisfactory grade has been achieved. In certain circumstances where a particular segment or question of the unit is failing the student may be asked to retake that portion where it is deemed that a satisfactory standard has not been reached.

Course Structure
The Essential Principles of Drama
As You Like It
The Cherry Orchard
Death of a Salesman
A Streetcar Named Desire
An Inspector Calls
Top Girls
Educating Rita
Course Content:

Module 1 - Introduction
This Unit is the introduction to Drama. It introduces the genre of the 'drama' its history and features. The unit considers the essential principles of drama in the theatre and a guide to its associated terminology. This introductory module will present explanations of concepts such as falling action, irony, narrative structure and open the door for the student to the world of drama.
Reading drama is very different to reading prose or poetry and this module will provide the student with the relevant tool-kit to both understand and enjoy dramatic texts.

This course is not intended to be simply entertaining or offer delightful and easily readable works. Its aim is to challenge the student, to ask the student to consider the audience of the period and the contemporary audience, and additionally the student and his/her own viewpoint and attitude.

Module 2 - As You Like It, William Shakespeare
An introduction to the work of William Shakespeare, his background, his plays and his many talents. As You Like It is a comedy, a romp into the woods through the means of cross dressing and misleading identity.
The student will observe the immense scope of Shakespeare's capabilities. The extent to which he guided the audience to participate with the actor's in the charms of the Forest of Ardenne and challenges of courtly life are as amusing and intriguing as they were in Shakespeare's time.
As You Like It is a mockery of 'love' in the romantic sense, how and why this is will be the subject of this module.

Module 3 - Othello, William Shakespeare
Module 3 looks closely at William Shakespeare to discover why and how his work has endured. What qualities does it comprise and is it relevant to the contemporary audience.
The tragedy Othello covers the gamut of emotions that are part and parcel of the human condition. Loves, hate, jealousy all combine to destroy Othello and the innocents around him. From Elizabethan times to the twenty first century the same culture clashes occur, the radical, enlightening, dissident William Shakespeare approaches the issues of social identity, colour of skin and marginalisation with a force that other playwrights rarely achieve.

Module 4 - The Cherry Orchard, Anton Pavlevich Chekov
The Cherry Orchard covers the period after the Russian serfs were liberated in the 19th century. The focus is on the lives of a Russian family and their friends after this event. The play covers a period of six months but the uniqueness of each individual's life experience covers the historical past. The play focuses on family connections and separations and the rise and fall of social classes. Ultimately the former serf gains control of the aristocratic family's property and land.

Module 5 - Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman, has long been regarded as Arthur Miller's most fascinating piece of work. He was one of America's most highly regarded playwrights to emerge after the Second World War along with Tennessee Williams (module 7).
In this module the student will study Miller's best known play, Death of a Salesman. The play identifies the personal strengths which are limited and personal weaknesses of the characters.
The play examines the lack of communication within one family and the protagonist, Willy Loman's inability to address the reality of his fading career. Willy Loman should be enjoying retirement but as his career success evaporates he loses touch with reality and his past and present begin to merge. At its core the play denounces the myth of the American Dream.

Module 6 - Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw
Shaw was an Irish dramatist, literary critic, a socialist spokesman, and a leading figure in the 20th century theatre. He was an intellectual free spirit, fierce defender of women's rights, and advocated equality of income. In 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Shaw accepted the honour but refused the money.
Based on classical myth, Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion highlights the complexities of human relationships in a world pre-occupied with social class. Phonetics Professor Henry Higgins tutors the very Cockney Eliza Doolittle, not only in the refinement of speech, but also in the refinement of her manner. The ending however results in the creation of a prim, proper and very ladylike Miss Doolittle demonstrating that simple lessons can have wide ranging results and that dialect is not indicative of intellect. The successful musical My Fair Lady was based on this Bernard Shaw classic.
Module 6 will present the learner with a comedy which is amusing and entertaining and is an observation of patronizing values and ideals in the early twentieth century.

Module 7 - A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
Originally published as a book in 1951 an edition for actors was published in 1953. A Streetcar Named Desire is the story of an emotionally-charged confrontation between characters representing the American South's deeply held and traditional values alongside the transformation that was becoming the world of modern America. The play has been reformed several times before developing into this final version. Initially it focused on an Italian family, with an additional Irish brother in law being added. Finally Tennessee Williams created two Southern American belles and a Polish American male to highlight the cultural and social class differences. It is a play about alcoholism and its effects, madness, sexual violence, culture clashes and tensions all of these themes and associated ideas will be looked at in the context of the time.

Module 8 - An Inspector Calls, J B Priestley
J P Priestley JP Priestley was fascinated by time and the thought that things could go a certain way until you got to a certain juncture, when they could go either route A or route B. An Inspector Calls leaves the reader with the uncertainty of not knowing which way time is going.
The introductory module is to lead the student to comprehend differing dramatic texts, the skills and knowledge acquired from the introductory module will be applied to J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls..

Module 9 - Top Girls, Caryl Churchill
In the introduction to this course it is stated that not all the dramatic texts will necessarily be enjoyable. The aim of this Diploma is to offer a wider understanding of drama, its features and the diversity of range.
Top Girls is a distinctive play which deals with the challenges for women both in the workplace and society. The play was first performed in 1982 and belongs to the canon of women's theatre. This does not however eliminate the male reader rather it provides him with an insight into the female psyche and challenges women face.
Caryl Churchill utilizes atypical methods in this drama such as nonlinear construction, intersecting dialogue and a combination of fantasy and reality.
It has been said that it is a work 'about nothing simple and easily capsulated'. However, dramas as all literary texts are open to individual comment and interpretation and the student may well dismisses this work as unimportant or find it dynamic and enjoyable.

Module 10 - Educating Rita, Willy Russell
Willy Russell said, "I wanted to make a play which engaged and was relevant to those who considered themselves uneducated, those whose daily language is not the language of the university or the theatre. I wanted to write a play which would attract, and be as valid for, the Ritas in the audience as the Franks." Willy Russell. This module is a small and focused play is enlightening it takes the reader/audience on the protagonist's journey of self discovery.
Module 10 observes Russell's personal humorous tribute to night school and on a deeper level the opportunities that further education can bring to the adult learner.
Educating Rita was commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company and performed in 1980 at The Warehouse. Since then it has played worldwide and the student will be guided to consider why and how it has retained its popularity.

This Diploma is a journey into the world of Drama. It is an excellent advance stage course for the student who is willing to undertake extensive reading and capable of producing essays at an advanced level.

Entry Requirements
Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.

Study Hours
37 hours per unit (370 hours approx in total).

Assessment Method
Continuous graded assessment. Please note that from 1st April 2009 all students registering will also need to complete an online examination, in addition to the continuous graded assessment.

Diploma in Drama

What's Included
Unlimited full tutor support for two years for two years, certification upon completion.

Course Fee

Further Information
Please note that this is an online course and your materials are delivered within the College web site in PDF format.

You will require to have one of the following packages to access your course online:

Windows: Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista - Acrobat Reader 4.0 and above
Macintosh: Mac OS X, Mac OS 9.2 - Acrobat Reader 4.0 and above
Please note that this is an online course and your materials are delivered within the College web site in PDF format.

In the student 'Common Room' you are also able to receive the latest course updates, extra materials and information. You will also be able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.

After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access your materials within 5 working days. You will also receive your personal Oxford student number via email.

Courses in paper/file format are still available at an additional fee of 45.00 and must be enrolled upon via telephone. This service is only available to those students studying within the United Kingdom. All students outside the United Kingdom will receive the online format.

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