This week we are looking at the rise of Urban Drama in Theatre and Film in America.
The Dictionary defines Urban as:
1. of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town.
2. living in a city.
3. characteristic of or accustomed to cities; citified: an urban type.
This definition is a good starting place to understand the background
for where these kinds of stories, characters and issues that Urban Drama
comes from and addresses but, we must look a little deeper and wrestle
with the issues and themes of these characters as well, not just
location. The location(s), in an abstract sense, is a through line for
much of this genre and where these characters reside and live but it is
the circumstances, relationships and conflicts that arise out of living
in highly populated, lower scale communities suffering from crime,
gangs, drugs, blight, and poverty that drive the force of the drama in
these stories. The drama and conflict can be quite intense within the
scope of this Genre. We also see that Urban Drama does not lay claim to any one specific ethnic background. So much of Urban Drama
looks at communities of all races who share in similar circumstances be
it Latino communities, Black communities, various Asian neighborhoods,
White communities, or a sub community within the larger groups
mentioned. Urban Drama
discusses issues of race, poverty, crime, drugs, upward social
mobility, institutional racism, sexual abuse, misogyny, religion, class
This week you will get to choose between doing ONE of two assignments.
_________________________Choice # 1______________________
is a list of four working Theatres that focus their energy and skill in
the producing of Theatre that is in some way with an Urban Theatre
priority for storytelling.
Your assignment is to research the Theatres from this list
The Theatre(s) overall Mission Statement
The Theatre(s) history
Has it been a successful company?
What kind of plays do these Theatres do or style of Theatre?
The Theatre(s) subscription base and its specific demographic
The Theatre impact on its community
Who are the individuals that are at the heart of that Theatre?
Are there playwrights that work exclusively out of that Theatre?
When you have researched these Theatres – CHOOSE ONE Theatre from the list and write:
A Two page summary
of your your thoughts and discoveries about these Theatres using the
questions provided as a guide. Would you like to go to a show there? Why
or why not?
You may include pictures if you like.
Your paper should be at least two pages double spaced.
_______________________Choice # Two: __________________________
1. Watch a film of your choice from the list of film titles that were discussed or used as example in the Urban Drama P.D.F. lecture. ” http://2010year13.wikispaces.com/file/view/Urban+D… “
2. In the same manner as you have now done in two previous lessons, write a Review for your film.
A. Give us your opinion of the acting and storytelling in the manner that you have previously written.
B. Discuss the relevant weeks issues that were raised by the film, its writer and character(s)
C. Does this film work as a drama, comedy, tragedy, thriller, docudrama, mystery? Why or why not?
D. When was this film made? 5 years ago? 10, 20, 25 years ago? How do
you feel society has changed since the films premiered? What impact did
this film have when it premiered? Did it have any at all? why or why
C. Was the filmmaker(s), writer(s) and actors successful in their
overall thematic intention? Why or why not? Would you recommend this
film to others? why or why not?
I will give you a very good film suggestion… Watch Zootopia!
You’ll see it now much differently than the first time you may have
viewed the film. Some important themes that the filmmakers are trying to
Of course you may choose whatever film you like as long as it falls within the parameters above.
Your review should be two pages double spaced.