A Sample Journal Assignment

Karen Ryker
Professor Karen Ryker's journal assignment asks students to respond to readings, to class activities, and to rehearsals

The journal sets down your daily response to the textbook, to exercises and classwork, to your rehearsals. It should record specific, thoughtful analysis of information and methods and how they improve your technique. Entries can be in the form of (well-)written conversation between you and me: a forum for your ideas about performing and a vehicle for my response to your thoughts and questions about performing Shakespeare. It can provide you with a means to assimilate the material and to work up a personal process for acting Shakespeare. (The journal could easily be the groundwork for your final paper.)

For responses to both READING ASSIGNMENTS and LAB WORK, it will be useful to note:

  • what "sparks" you, what stimulates you to connect with the words

  • what exercises/ideas feed you as a performer (register your responses)

  • what works on the page but not when you attempt to perform it (and vice versa)

  • where something requires further explanation

  • did anything unexpected come up? useful? not?

Additionally, your journal should include responses to at least two readings of authors other than Berry, Linklater, or Shakespeare himself. When referring to a text, please cite specific page numbers. I will collect and respond to the journals three times during the semester (dates listed on syllabus).

Considerations in Evaluating Journals:


  • Individual thoughtful response to the work, or to the text book, or to the language of your character/scene, or to class exercise, or to rehearsals, or to outside readings, or to First Text considerations

  • Clarity of thought, recognition of application to your own acting process

  • Does it generate ideas, insights or applications significant enough to elicit a response from others?

  • Clarity in writing style