Fall 1999

Instructor: Dr. Rinda Frye
Assistant: Ms. Ayana Corbin
Hours: TTH 12:30-2:00, Wed. 1-2 or by Appointment

Women's voices are often unheard, sometimes because the biases of sexism prejudice the listener to tune out the female voice as unworthy of our attention. Many women, in turn, find it difficult to speak in public, believing that their voices are somehow inherently weak or inferior. Few women believe that they can vocally fill a room without sounding shrill or harsh. Others who try for vocal authority do so at the expense of nuance, expressiveness, range, or passion. , Yet I believe that this feminine voice, precisely because it has often been suppressed, can be our greatest source for creative and passionate discourse.

This course is designed for men and women students to strengthen and free their own voices by exploring the female voice as evidenced in literature by and about women. The course is based on the premise that each of us is born with a naturally strong, vibrant voice which, through the process of socialization may have lost much of its natural expressiveness. This course proposes to seek out and release that natural voice through class exercises, discussions, and performance opportunities. And most importantly, your investigation of women's literature should lead you to discover your true voice: that is, some part of what you want to say about yourself and the world around you.

1. to discover, free and strengthen your voice
2. to explore the feminine voice through literature by and about women
3. to develop your awareness of the delicate relationship between thought, emotion, and action--between impulse, breath, and voice
4. to discover and release the physical and emotional blocks which inhibit your vocal expression

This course fulfils the oral communication component of your general education by helping you to present information and ideas in a clear and confident manner. Speaking, and, more importantly, uncovering your reasons for speaking, will be the main focus of this course and will be an integral part of your learning process.

1. you will of necessity develop interdisciplinary methods of analysis since the literature you choose to work on in class will represent various disciplines (Literary arts, culture, theatre, etc.) and the methods of working on those materials will stem from other disciplines (theatre, public speaking, psychology, etc.)
2. performances and group discussions of that work should help you to improve your critical thinking skills as you approach gender issues within American culture and beyond.
3. Since the work in class is very personal in nature, it will vary greatly depending on the individuals in the class. You will in all likelihood acquire an understanding of the intersection of gender with other structures of power such as race and class. By the same token, you will certainly find many ways to connect your own life and the lives of others in the class with theoretical knowledge about gender.

Linklater, Kristin. Freeing the Natural Voice.
Rodenburg, Patsy. The Right to Speak. NY: Routledge, 1993.
Herrigel, Eugene. Zen in the Art of Archery.

1. Full participation is expected. Studio work in voice is a progressive process and work missed cannot be made up. More than three absences will seriously affect your final grade. Voice work is often emotionally challenging and progress is seldom linear. You must commit yourself to the task at hand with courage and intelligence, while suspending immediate judgements about how "good or bad" your voice sounds.
2. Class time is limited and there is much to be done. Full concentration on class activities is expected. Each day, enter the classroom silently. Limit discussion to the work at hand; let's save our socializing for after class. Give yourself and your work the serious attention you deserve. You are expected to set up a weekly schedule of at least one hour a day for a vocal workout outside of class (class time on Tues. and Thurs. counts). Include the schedule in your first journal.
3. Keep a weekly journal which should include: a. special assignments, b. notes on your readings, c. responses to classwork, d. details of your vocal progress during the semester. JOURNALS ARE ALWAYS DUE ON THE DAY YOU PERFORM.
4. Wear loose, comfortable clothing which does not bind the trunk of your body, in which you can move easily, and which you don't mind getting dirty (not jeans). Bring to class each day a sweater or sweatshirt and socks. Wear soft-soled shoes or go barefoot.
5. Assignments: You will select and work on several pieces by and about women, which speak to you personally, to include: 2 poems, a five minute selection from fiction or drama, and at least three minutes of non- fiction. Work will be done both in and out of class. The class will culminate in a public performance. Each student will give a public presentation of at least 7 (but no more than 10) minutes in length of artfully arranged materials discovered and worked on during the course, tied together with an original piece or pieces, all of which should express something that you want to say about yourself, women, and the world around you.

GRADING: You are responsible for ensuring that I am aware of the growth you have made this term. I will try to grade equally according to the four following areas of judgement: 1. growth, 2. participation (which includes your attitude toward the work, and active participation in discussions and warm-ups), 3. journal (or written assignments), and 4. in- class presentations and public performance.

Above average (B, B+, B-) work: research, memorize and satisfactorily perform each performance assignment in class; participate in group discussions and critiques of performances; exhibit growth and progress in public speaking abilities during the course of the semester; satisfactorily complete in-class written assignments; complete regular journal entries about your vocal progress which are specific and personal; be ready to perform on the assigned class dates and turn in the journal on time on the day of performance; attend class regularly and punctually, missing no more than three; attend all group rehearsals punctually and well-prepared for work.

Outstanding work (A, A+, A-): complete all of the above; exhibit original thought and creativity in your choice of materials and their arrangement; actively pursue your personal goals for vocal progress; exhibit original thought, creativity, and insight in group discussion and critiques; show evidence of working with personal and feminist issues throughout your assignments.

Average work (C, C+, C-): Complete all assignments with a mix of satisfactory and unsatisfactory quality in the performances, writing, and discussions; but meeting the minimum requirements.

Below average work (D, D+, D-, F): Missing assignments, journals; evidence of unpreparedness or sloppy preparation; lack of active participation in class warm-ups and discussions; unsatisfactory performances, writing assignments, journal assignments; missing rehearsals; missing too many classes.

Weeks 1 & 2 Introduce ourselves, begin voice work
Week 3 PERFORM 1st Poem
Weeks 4 & 5 Voice work
Weeks 6 PERFORM 2nd Poem
Weeks 7 & 8 Voice work
Weeks 9 & 10 PERFORM fiction/drama
Week 11, 12 Voice work
Weeks 13, 14, 15 Rehearse and SHOW final pieces as works in progress