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THTRFLM 3DD3 Contemp Cdn Drama & Theatre (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Roger Hyman


Office: Chester New Hall 302

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23732

Office Hours: By appointment only

Course Objectives:

Contemporary Canadian Drama: Politics and Playwriting

This course will look at Canadian plays from the sixties to the present that deal with such issues as

ethnicity, race, class, gender, the family, marginalization and power.

By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the cultural and political issues raised by contemporary Canadian playwrights.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts and Related Materials:

George Ryga, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Talonbooks. Vancouver 1967.

  (Emily Carr, “Sophie” from Klee Wyck: [])


Michelle Tremblay, Les Belles-Soeurs (1968). Talonbooks; Revised edition, 1992.

  (Film: “Backyard Theatre,” NFB, 1973: [ ])


John Coulter, The Trial of Louis Riel, Oberon, 1968.

  (Film: “This Riel Business,” Ian MacLaren, NFB, 1974: [].)


David French, Leaving Home. New Press. Toronto, 1972.

  (R. H. Thompson Interview with French: part 2 of 7:


David Fennario, Balconville (1979). Talonbooks; New edition edition, 2001.

  (Excerpt from “David Fennario’s Banana Boots”: NFB, 1998). [])


Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters, Fifth House, Saskatoon, 1988.

  (“Rockburn Presents: Tomson Highway” -- You Tube:


Carol Shields, Thirteen Hands. Blizzard. Winnipeg 1993.

  (1998 Interview:


Hanna Moscowitz, East of Berlin (2007), Playwrights Canada Press: 2009.

  (Interview with Moscovitch [])


Ins Choi, Kim’s Convenience Store (2011). Anansi: Toronto, 2012.

  (Interview with Ins Choi – YouTube:

Method of Assessment:

Lecture Schedule (subject to change):

January 6 :   Introduction; overview of course and plays.

January 8, 13:   The Ecstasy of Rita Joe

January 15, 20:  “Backyard Theatre”; Les Belles Soeurs.

January 22, 27:  “This Riel Business”; The Trial of Louis Riel

January 29:  The Trial of Louis Riel

February 3, 5:  Leaving Home

February 5, 10:  Excerpt from “Banana Boots”; Balconville

February 12:  Balconville

February 17-21:  Mid-term recess

February 24, 26:  Rez Sisters 

February 26, Mar 2:  Thirteen Hands

March 4, 9:   East of Berlin

March 11, 13:  Kim’s Convenience Store

March 16, 18, 23, 30:  Performance 

April 6:  Last Class



1. A 300 word (about one-page) “reading record” or “reflection” of any play or Related Material listed above, indicating how you read or viewed the text or material and responded to issues you thought raised by it.



A class presentation of that reflection.


Either of the above options is worth 15% of the final grade.


2. Essay:

There will be one essay of 2000 words worth 45% of the final grade. Students are responsible for designing their own essay topic which must be cleared with me. The essay is due in class on March 1. Students will have received 10% of their grade in this course by March 10, 2017.


3. Performance:

Depending on the size of the class, some students, in lieu of an essay, may choose to prepare a scene or part of a scene from one of the plays on the course and perform that scene with the class as audience. Such performance pieces will be no more than twenty minutes in length, may involve more than one part, and will be judged on the quality of the preparation and performance and the degree to which the chosen piece illuminates the themes of the play. Each such piece shall be preceded by a brief rationale for the choice. If there are more students wishing to choose this option than can be accommodated in the course schedule, students will be selected by lottery. Students choosing this option shall consult me about their choices. The mark for the performance option will be the same3 as for the essay.


4. The final examination is worth 40% of the grade.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.