Intimate Acts: Inside The 'Fourth Wall'

Subject MUSI20169 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Southbank - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 (6 x I hr lecture + 2 hours tutorial; 6 x 3 hours workshops)
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Creative interest and/or skills in any area within the live performing arts, including singing, acting, dance, theatre design, writing, puppetry, music making.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Mr Trevor Jones


Faculty of the VCA & MCM Student Centre
Ground Floor, Elisabeth Murdoch Building (Bldg 860)
Southbank Campus
234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

The Oxford Dictionary defines the fourth wall as ‘the space which separates a performer…from an audience …a conceptual barrier between any fictional work and its readers or viewers’. In this subject we examine and explore the creation of theatre in which the performer engages in a more intimate relationship with the audience, perhaps through creating a sense of complicity with its audience, through direct address, through theatre moving into intimate physical spaces such as private lounge rooms or through combinations of a number of these elements. In this theatre we challenge the notions of what is real and what is representative. The audience is necessarily invited to take on a more active role than does the observer in fourth wall theatre: to be engaged with being within the performance. Lectures and presentations cover a range of works in areas that may be as diverse as cabaret, burlesque, children’s theatre, site-specific private performance and independent theatre and music theatre. Within practical workshops students will explore elements of performance-making such as space, materials, content and rationale. The major assessment task will give students the choice to critically review theatre within this context, to collaborate on the creation of a concept for an intimate theatre work or to perform a small excerpt of a work in progress. These may incorporate dance, spoken text, music, song, light, sound and physical materials or any combinations of these.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Exhibit practical and theoretical understanding of including acquisition of skills and relevant professional knowledge appropriate to professional artistic practice;
  • Be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning.
  • Have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront unfamiliar problems.
  • Apply new analytical understanding to the critical assessment and/or generation of new work.
  • Demonstrate enhanced practical skills in the generation of new work
  • Apply existing creative and artistic skills in innovative ways
  • Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the relationship between form and content in artistic practice

Continuous: (50%) based on preparation and participation in tutorials and workshops

Formal: (50%)

  • A live performance review, comparing and critiquing three performances that fall within the area studied (2,500 words).
  • The presentation of a concept for an ‘intimate performance’ new work equivalent to 2,500 words (presentation 40%); and a score/script/rationale in written form (500 words) (10%)
  • A performance presentation of a new ‘intimate performance’ work, equivalent to 2,000 words (performance 40%), and a score/script/rationale in written form (500 words) (10%)
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • reach a high level of achievement in artistic practice, writing, generic research activities, problem-solving and communication
  • be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning
  • examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a range of disciplines
  • expand their analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences in diverse subjects
  • have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront unfamiliar problems
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Contemporary Music)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film and Television)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Production)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Screenwriting)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art)

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