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Home / College Catalog / 2016-18 / Academic Programs / School of the Arts / Theatre Arts

Draft in progress

The Theatre and Performance Program: Courses

Playwriting I
PSW 1000
Refer to Playwriting and Screenwriting Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Fundamentals of Acting
ACT 1055
Refer to Acting Courses for description.

From Page to Stage
THP 1230
/ 4 credits / Fall
Studies the relationship of dramatic texts and performance from the Greeks through Shakespeare to the present, using readings and performances on or near the campus, as well as film and video.

Acting the Classics
THP 2000
/ 4 credits / Spring
Integrates discussions, readings, presentations, viewings, and exercises to teach students an appreciation of the elements of both classical and contemporary theatre and performing arts. The acting techniques of Stanislavsky and Uta Hagen, among others, are used to analyze and understand classic modern drama. Students develop dramatic tools for creating new realities via acting and directing in both solo and group performances. Readings include works by Chekhov, Ibsen, Lorca, and Havel.

Playwriting II
PSW 2010
Refer to Playwriting and Screenwriting Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies
THP 2020
/ 3 credits / Fall
An introduction to dramatic literature and theory and to seeing, writing about, and participating in theatre and performance.

Theatre and Performance Production
THP 2200
/ 1 credit / Every semester
Students work in a variety of capacities in productions within the theatre and performance program. Graded on a pass/fail basis.

Shakespeare Then and Now
THP 2205
/ 3 credits / Spring
Selected plays spanning Shakespeare’s entire career. In addition to close reading and textual interpretation, students address questions and problems of performing, directing, lighting, costuming, and set designing Shakespeare’s plays. The course examines past and current trends in Shakespearean criticism, as well as the social and theatrical contexts in which the plays were first produced.

Performing Oral History and Poetry
THP 2380
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Students learn to transform poetry and personal stories into short plays and performance pieces. Poetry and movement are used to create choreopoems. Students also develop interview theatre pieces. Readings and/or video viewings include works by Ntozake Shange, Eve Ensler, and Anna Deavere Smith.

Movement for Performers I
THP 2500
/ 2 credits / Every semester
An introduction to dramatic movement for the stage. Technique, improvisation, repertoire, and composition are explored, using physical language. Students work on solos, duets, and in groups with text, objects, and music. Assignments include classroom presentations, readings, and papers. Videotapes are reviewed and discussed.

American Drama: From O’Neill to Albee
THP 2600
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
American drama considered primarily as a critique of American society, values, and life. Covers the period from 1916 to 1964, including plays by Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill, Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, Gertrude Stein, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, Adrienne Kennedy, and Edward Albee.

Managing the Production
THP 2800
/ 3 credits / Every year
An introduction to stage management, production, and company management. Students who successfully complete this course may be allowed to take TDT 2600.

Theatre Histories I
THP 2885
/ 3 credits / Fall
Western and world theatre from ancient Greece to 1642, when the theatres of Shakespeare’s time were finally closed. What would now be called actors, playwrights, producers, directors, designers, and theatre architects are all considered.

Theatre Histories II
THP 2890
/ 3 credits / Spring
Western and world theatre from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Playwrights, actors, directors, producers, and designers; neoclassicism, romanticism, realism, naturalism, expressionism. This course begins where THP 2885 leaves off, but either can be taken independently.

Production Practicum
THP 2895
/ 4 credits / Every semester
Students receive training in lighting (hanging, focusing, and maintaining), the use of power tools, and basic set construction. Elements of lighting and set design are also discussed. Requirements include work on a minimum of two productions in the Humanities Theatre as crew and board operators. A lab section is required.
Prerequisite: Limited to freshman and sophomore majors in theatre and performance; others by permission of instructor

THP 3000
/ 4 credits / Every year
Focuses on the relationships among text, social context, production history, and directorial concept in staging a production. Includes play analysis, theoretical readings, research, student presentations, and analysis and discussion of campus productions. Research, writing, and oral presentations required.

Voice and Speech Essentials
THP 3050
/ 3 credits / Every year
Explores the fundamental connection between voice and text, based on Linklater technique. Using technical and imagistic exercises, students find a free connection to breath, develop resonance and range, release jaw, tongue, and throat tensions, and build vocal strength.

Acting Scene Study
THP 3070
/ 3 credits / Spring
Focuses on characterization and motivation, with emphasis on interpretation, finding interesting choices for the actor, and the “truth of the moment.” Different contemporary plays and screenplays are used by students. Scenes are used to deepen the actor’s ability to execute honest and purposeful stage acting and communication.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Commedia and Pantomime
THP 3110
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An introduction to the history and contemporary practice of physical theatre and to the traditions of commedia and pantomime. Includes lectures, mask making, scenario creation, and instruction in and physical practice of the form.
Prerequisite: One acting course, preferably ACT 1055

Gameplay and Performance
THP 3120
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the genre of alternate reality or pervasive gaming currently used as an alternative to traditional performance by contemporary theatrical and visual artists, dancers, and musicians. The blurring distinctions between game and narrative are examined, opening new possibilities for performance. Students design and stage their own live alternate-reality game as a means of storytelling or extend an existing narrative through transmedia.

Transmedia and Performance
THP 3130
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Transmedia narrative can be described as storytelling across multiple forms of media, with each element making distinctive contributions to a user’s understanding of the story world. The course combines this with a study of immersive performance environments that wrap around viewers and production practices that blend video, photography, games, and music to extend the project’s meaning and theatricality.

Medieval and Renaissance English Drama
THP 3140
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A study of the mystery plays, morality plays, interludes, masques, and entertainments of the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Analysis of texts is combined with consideration of theatrical production in light of the ideological, religious, and historical contexts of the plays.

How to Say It: Pitch Sessions and Public Speaking for Writers
PSW 3150
Refer to Playwriting and Screenwriting Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Introduction to Lecoq and Physical Performance
THP 3150
/ 3 credits / Fall
An introduction to the Lecoq method of performance, focusing on physical approach to character, the notion of actor as creator, and the importance of mask work.
Prerequisite: ACT 1055 or permission of instructor

The Art of Rewriting: Killing Our Darlings
PSW 3155
Refer to Playwriting and Screenwriting Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

The Theatrical Avant-Garde: East Meets West
THP 3155
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Considers the influence of Asian performance on European and American avant-garde and experimental theatre. Students examine the theories, training, and practice of Artaud, Brecht, Grotowski, Barba, Peter Brook, Mnouchkine, and Suzuki, who sought and found inspiration outside their inherited theatrical cultures, thereby enriching subsequent theatrical practice.
Prerequisite: THP 2020

Shakespeare and Philosophy
PHI 3205
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Theories of African Diaspora: African/Caribbean Performance
THP 3220
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Theories of African diaspora are analyzed and applied to plays and performance traditions from the Caribbean and Africa. Students study Black Nationalist and pan-Africanist movements in different locations, as well as more contemporary theories of African diaspora like Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic. Students also conduct research projects on a play, playwright, or performance tradition within a theoretical framework studied in class.

African Theatre and Performance: History and Practice
THP 3226
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
The performance traditions of Africa, specifically South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana, are examined through the lens of the impact of colonialism on African performance traditions and on major playwrights from the region. Students read dramatic texts and learn about ritual performance, contemporary film, music, and dance.

20th-Century Italian Drama
THP 3232
/ 4 credits / Summer (offered in Italy)
Italian performance and plays from the 20th century are considered in their social and political contexts, including the works of Dario Fo, a performer and playwright who received the Nobel Prize in literature. The course culminates in a student performance of selected scenes and excerpts, staged in an ancient piazza.

Theories of Drama and Performance
THP 3250
/ 4 credits / Fall
Focuses on postmodern theory and performance. Historical and cross-cultural study of how theatre artists and critical thinkers have addressed issues of aesthetics, representation, style, space, and time.

Theatre and Asia
THP 3260
/ 4 credits / Fall
Introduces Asian theatre within a global context and explores the social, religious, historical, aesthetic, and political circumstances of traditional performance genres, including ritual, masked/painted face and puppetry, and contemporary intercultural drama and theatre. Training, audience involvement, transformation, authenticity, and theory are highlighted. Field trips are taken when possible.

Women in Performance
THP 3300
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
This course considers 20th- and 21st-century performance work by women in dance, theatre, and the visual art world (performance art) from a historical and theoretical perspective. Critical and theoretical feminist essays and other writings are assigned. Students read original texts, view documentation, and analyze contemporary works by women writers, choreographers, performance artists, and theatre directors.

Book Writing: Story Structure in Musical Theatre
PSW 3310
Refer to Playwriting and Screenwriting Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Masks and Movement
THP 3310
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the neutral mask and commedia dell’arte, as informed by Lecoq technique. The neutral mask focuses on finding a bodily sense of calm and openness, helps build the actor’s presence on stage, and highlights physical habits that can hinder expression. Commedia dell’arte calls on the actor’s timing, ability to improvise, and humor, and requires big physical choices and delving into the idiosyncrasies of type.

Concepts in Costuming
THP 3320
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An introduction to the fundamentals of designing costumes for theatre and dance productions. As they examine the design process, students explore how and why a designer makes certain choices. Emphasis is placed on how ideas are generated and communicated within the flux of the production process.

Advanced Movement for Performers
THP 3330
/ 2 credits / Spring
Continued sensory-actualization technique to increase the physical awareness needed to create authentic theatre and characters. Classes include warm-up, technical exercises, improvisations, and monologues.
Prerequisite: THP 2500 or permission of instructor

Myth, Ritual, and Performance
ANT 3350
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

Speaking Shakespeare
THP 3350
/ 3 credits / Spring
Designed to assist the actor in interpreting William Shakespeare’s stage directions and in reading clues within his verse in order to make informed performance choices. Classroom exercises assist in developing techniques of Shakespearean performance and enhanced understanding of Shakespeare’s sometimes daunting speeches.
Prerequisite: THP 2205 and 3050, or permission of instructor

Theatre of the Oppressed: Process to Action
SCP 3356
Refer to Sculpture Courses (School of Art+Design) for description.

Contemporary Arab Theatre and Film
THP 3360
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines contemporary activist performance and documentary film in the Middle East, from the Arab Spring to the ongoing strife in Syria.

Contemporary Italian Drama and Street Theatre
THP 3370
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly, summer, in Italy)
An introduction to adaptation and ensemble creation, using texts by major authors of Italian literature (Pirandello, Fo, and Calvino.) Students explore non-naturalistic acting, mask, and puppet work as they devise a culminating performance in a medieval piazza. This course also introduces the genre of street theatre, including Bread and Puppet Theatre–style pageants, placing performance in the context of community and public space.

Devising the Now: Current Events in Performance
THP 3375
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Using physical theatre techniques, students work in ensembles—with each student functioning as actor, director, writer, and designer—to develop performances that address issues relevant to contemporary society. Coursework includes readings in pertinent genres (e.g., tragedy, melodrama, and documentary theatre), research into dramatically resonant current events, and a culminating performance of ensemble-devised work.
Prerequisite: ACT 1055

Stage Management
THP 3450
/ 3 credits / Spring
An in-depth exploration of fundamental stage-management skills in each phase of the production process: preproduction, first rehearsal, rehearsal period, preparing for the tech, technical rehearsals, previews, opening, running of the show, and closing.

Contemporary British Drama
THP 3460
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
In 1956, a play called Look Back in Anger began a revolution in British drama. The class focuses primarily on the plays of the last 50 years, studying how British playwrights expressed the concerns of their changing society. Dramatists considered include Osborne, Pinter, Orton, Bond, Churchill, and Kane.

Black American Drama
THP 3495
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the history of 20th-century black American theatre. Major representative plays are read as literature; playwrights include Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Alice Childress, Adrienne Kennedy, August Wilson, Robert O’Hara, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, Kia Corthron, and Lorraine Hansberry.

Documentary Theatre: Performing Real Life
THP 3500
/ 4 credits / Spring
Students collect, assemble, and perform scripts based on “lore” (oral history, personal narratives). History is seen as a performative way to construct identity. Includes readings by documentary playwrights like Brecht, Emily Mann, and Caryl Churchill.

Theory and Drama
PHI 3510
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Solo Performance: Performing the Self in Society
THP 3510
/ 4 credits / Spring
Considers the history of performance art and offers a creative process for developing solo and group performances from memory, personal material, and issues in contemporary society. Requirements include both academic and creative projects.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

LGBTQ Theatre and Performance
THP 3525
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores how LGBTQ identities and issues are represented in diverse dramatic forms, performance styles, and cultural venues. Through discussions, presentations, and writing assignments, students analyze queer theatre in relation to production history, theories of sexuality, and cultural and political contexts (both past and present).

Movement for Performers II
THP 3550
/ 2 credits / Spring
Continued sensory-actualization technique to increase the physical awareness needed to create authentic theatre and characters. Classes include warm-up, technical exercises, improvisations, and monologues.
Prerequisite: THP 2500 or permission of instructor

Women and Drama
THP 3600
/ 4 credits / Fall
Explores female characters in plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, and contemporary women playwrights (Mann, Fornes, Churchill, Shange). Theories of gender, language, and performance are addressed.

Contemporary Performance
THP 3610
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students study, attend, and create contemporary performance works.
Prerequisite: THP 2020

Shakespeare and Film
THP 3620
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Shakespeare goes to celluloid, Hollywood, Japan, TV, and elsewhere. On the one hand, this is a Shakespeare seminar, with emphasis on discussions of the plays themselves. On the other, it becomes a film course, focusing on analyses of screen adaptations.
Prerequisite: THP 2205

New Theatre and Performance
THP 3630
/ 4 credits / Fall
Contemporary theatre encompasses a wide range of approaches, from the collective experiments in the 1960s (e.g., Living Theatre, Open Theatre) to Robert Wilson’s “operas” and the mixed-media performances of Ping Chong, Meredith Monk, Richard Foreman, and the Wooster Group. Students study the works of several contemporary theatre artists, attend performances, and meet selected artists working with new forms in New York theatre.

Theatre Design for Directors
THP 3640
/ 4 credits / Fall
An introduction to scenic, costume, and lighting design aimed at stage directors and stage managers. Students review the basics of designing for the stage and learn how directors and designers communicate fruitfully in realizing a given theatrical production.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Contemporary U.S. Latino Theatre
THP 3650
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Engaging with a wide variety of plays and performances, students explore U.S. Latino theatre as a site of personal, cultural, and political intervention. Readings reflect the aesthetics, narratives, historical contexts, and systems of theatrical production pertinent to Latino culture in the U.S.

Directing I
THP 3680
/ 4 credits / Fall
Introduction to staging. After a brief overview of directing history, students are introduced to elements of directing (including the Viewpoints) and strategies for working with actors, staging short scenes, and using a minimum of technical elements in a final scene. Required for students with a directing concentration; open to other majors with junior standing.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Directing II
THP 3681
/ 4 credits / Spring
Theory and practice of directing, with lectures and practical focus on exercises. Required for theatre and performance majors who are considering production senior projects.
Prerequisite: THP 3680 or permission of instructor

Ensemble Creation
THP 3685
/ 3 credits / Fall
In this introduction to strategies of collective creation, students are engaged in a process that culminates in an end-of-semester performance.

American Theatre in Our Time
THP 3690
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
American theatre and society during the last 50 years. Plays by Jones (Baraka), Mamet, Shepard, Hwang, Kushner, Fornes, Marsha Norman, Sarah Ruhl, and August Wilson. Some knowledge of the American drama of O’Neill, Williams, and Miller is required.

Theatre and Revolutions
THP 3700
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A study of revolutions in theatre, and theatre at the time of historic revolutions. Students study plays (Beaumarchais’s Marriage of Figaro, Buchner’s Danton’s Death, Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade), and movements (guerrilla street theatre, Chicano theatre, Bread and Puppet, Living Theatre), focusing on theatre as an active, participatory art and on drama as a literary form.

Theatrical Representations of the Holocaust
JST 3709
Refer to Jewish Studies Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Modern Hispanic Theatre
SPA 3715
Refer to Spanish Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Performance of Narrative
THP 3720
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
By scripting and performing oral traditions, short stories, and 19th- and 20th-century novels, students explore how narratives establish gender, ethnicity, region, and nation as indexes of identity. Solo and group work.

Adapting Literature for Performance
THP 3725
/ 4 credits / Fall
A writing workshop on how to develop performance scripts from poetry, prose fiction, and nonfiction. Requires a background in literature, interest in theatrical form, and commitment to the scripting process.

Collaborative Devising and Directing
THP 3730
/ 3 credits / Spring
For the ensemble director and actor/creator, a course in creating devised theatre. Using a range of source materials, including short stories, news articles, and interviews, students learn tools and strategies for company-created works. This is a rigorous immersion in building a collaborative vision through structured improvisation, space, character, narrative arc, and mise-en-scène.
Prerequisite: THP 3680 or 3685, and permission of instructor

European Drama in Our Time
THP 3750
/ 4 credits / Spring
Malaise, futility, despair, and, sometimes, hope in the plays of Pirandello, Brecht, Giraudoux, Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Osborne, Pinter, Churchill, and others, from World War I to somewhere short of tomorrow.

Poetry in Performance
THP 3760
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Study and dramatic interpretation of 20th-century lyric poetry, including Eliot, Roethke, Sexton, Plath, Olds, Ginsberg, Rich, Stafford, and Giovanni. Workshop atmosphere; solo and group techniques of performance and script making; written analyses.

Criticism/Reviewing Workshop
JOU 3780
Refer to Journalism Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Junior Seminar
THP 3890
/ 3 credits / Spring
Focuses on the relation between text and production in the theatre through play analysis, theoretical readings, research, student presentations, and discussion of campus productions. A substantial research paper and senior project proposal with annotated bibliography are required. Required for all junior theatre and performance majors, and normally open only to them.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor or board-of-study coordinator

Performance Practicum
THP 3895
/ 3 credits / Every semester
Students rehearse and perform a role or work on the production of a main-stage show directed by a faculty member or other professional director. Students may enroll only after they have been cast or assigned to the production.
Prerequisite: Audition or assignment by faculty

Hits: Broadway’s Popular Plays
THP 4100
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Rather than focusing on the critically acclaimed plays that make up the canon of American drama, this course examines plays that were the most popular and commercially successful of their time. Combining historical research, textual analysis, and cultural theory, students discuss the long-running Broadway hit plays of the past 100 years from artistic, commercial, and ideological perspectives.
Prerequisite: THP 2600 or 2890

Directing Chekhov
THP 4150
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An advanced course focused on accessing, articulating, and deepening one’s voice as a director. Using works by Anton Chekhov, students investigate all aspects of the director’s craft, including research, translations, and collaboration in the rehearsal and design process. Designers are paired with directors to develop production approaches.
Prerequisite: THP 3680, and THP 3681 or 3730, and permission of instructor

Advanced Vocal Exploration for the Performer
THP 4316
/ 3 credits / Spring
An advanced course that deepens the performer’s work with voice and introduces Fitzmaurice Voicework, along with the work of other leaders in the field. Students continue building on previous vocal work to achieve expanded release, vocal range, resonance, and strength in their voices and bodies.
Prerequisite: THP 3050 or permission of instructor

Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
Two semesters required (8 credits total). Students have the option to either write or direct/perform. Writing option: An essay on theatre history, dramatic literature, film (history, criticism, or theory); an original play or adaptation from existing literature; a promptbook with critical essay for a production; or a screenplay. Directing/performing option: A play or performance piece or a combined project.

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Conservatory of Theatre Arts


Theatre & Performance:

The Program & Faculty

Academic Requirements

Junior Seminar & Senior Project

Minor in Theatre & Performance