Theater and Dance
Year: Show curriculum in:

Amherst College Theater and Dance for 2012-13

111 The Language of Movement

An introduction to movement as a language and to dance and performance composition. In studio sessions students will explore and expand their individual movement vocabularies by working improvisationally with weight, posture, gesture, patterns, rhythm, space, and relationship of body parts. We will ask what these vocabularies might communicate about emotion, thought, physical structures, cultural/social traditions, and aesthetic preferences. In addition, we will observe movement practices in everyday situations and in formal performance events and use these observations as inspiration for individual and group compositions. Two two-hour class/studio meetings and a two-hour production workshop per week. Selected readings and viewing of video and live performance.

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

112 Materials of Theater

An introduction to design, directing, and performance conducted in a combined discussion/workshop format. Students will be exposed to visual methods of interpreting a text. Early class discussions focus on a theoretical exploration of theater as an art form and seek to establish a vocabulary for and understanding of basic theatrical conventions, with readings from Aristotle through Robert Wilson. Students will spend the bulk of the semester testing these theories for themselves, ultimately designing their own performances for two plays. Two two-hour classes and two-hour production workshop included in this time.

Limited to 12 students per section. Spring semester. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

113 Action and Character

This course examines what happens on stage (the action) and “how” that action happens (the character) from the points of view of the playwright and the actor. The course assumes that the creative processes of both the actor and the playwright are similar. Therefore, the students will write scenes and at least one short play, which will be rehearsed as homework for presentation in class. Students will be given a series of acting and playwriting exercises to develop craft and to reinforce their understanding of creative processes. Students will be assigned plays and certain critical texts to support their work in writing and acting. Three two-hour class meetings and a two-hour production workshop per week.

Enrollment in each section is limited but early registration does not confer preferential consideration. Twenty students attending the first class will be admitted. Selection will be based upon the instructor’s attempt to achieve a suitable balance between first-year students and upperclassmen and between men and women, and to achieve a broad range of levels of acting experience. Notice of those admitted will be posted within 24 hours of the first meeting and a waiting list will be available.

Fall semester: Professor Bashford. Spring semester: Professor Lobdell.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

114 Sources of Contemporary Performance

The status quo says, “We do it the way it’s always been done.” The artist replies, “I have an idea, let’s try it another way.” Thus advance theater and dance. Thus evolve opera, happenings and performance art. This course explores several seminal theatrical events and the artists who created them. These innovations changed the course of theater and dance in the 20th century, thereby preparing those who follow to make the new art of the 21st.

After reviewing basic artistic and theoretical assumptions which governed the making of theatrical entertainment at the end of the 19th century, the course will look at playwrights, performers, choreographers, designers, directors and theorists whose ideas opened up new ways of looking at the craft of making those space-time objects we struggle to categorize as plays, dances, operas, performances and events. Particular attention will fall on work that is difficult to correctly place in a single category. Research in primary material such as plays, manifestos, documentary photographs, period criticism, and video transcriptions. Critical papers comparing and contrasting works will be studied. (Required of all majors)

Omitted 2012-13.

2014-15: Not offered

115H Contemporary Dance: Modern 1/2

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course. Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Spring semester. Professor Wagner.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014

116H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern 2/3

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Fall semester. Professor Matteson.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012

117 Contemporary Dance Modern 3: Partner Dancing Technique and Repertory

This course will include technical investigations of weight sharing, body-part manipulations, off-balance support, lifting and being lifted, negative space, resistance, and various ways of harnessing forces of momentum. How can we move with confidence, spatial awareness, and fearless agency when in close proximity and in contact with other bodies?  Duets, trios, and groups will be challenged to kinetically build set partner dances with repeated opportunities in the last part of class to perform, often with the added challenge of speeding up.

The repertory portion will draw from the material generated in class to create a larger piece, with final performances near the end of the semester in Holden Theater. There will be one weekly rehearsal (Friday 4-5:30) as a full group and TBA individual rehearsals to build solo material. Several rehearsals will also be added close to the performance date.

Spring semester.  Five College Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

117H Contemporary Dance Technique Modern 3: Partner Dancing

Technical investigations of weight sharing, body-part manipulations, off-balance support, lifting and being lifted, negative space, resistance, and various ways of harnessing forces of momentum. How can we move with confidence, spatial awareness, and fearless agency when in close proximity and in contact with other bodies?  Duets, trios, and groups will be challenged to kinetically build set partner dances with repeated opportunities in the last part of class to perform, often with the added challenge of speeding up. 

Spring semester.  Five College Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014

119H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Contact Improvisation

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2012-13.

 

2014-15: Not offered

120H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Ballet/Modern 1/2

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2012-13.

 

2014-15: Not offered

121H Contemporary Dance Technique: Modern/Ballet 2/3

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2012-13.  Guest artist TBA.

2014-15: Not offered

125H The Craft of Speaking I: Vocal Freedom

A beginning studio course in the development of voice for speaking. Students develop range and tone through regular physical exercises in relaxation, breathing technique, placement, and presence. Individual attention focuses on helping each student develop the physical, mental, and emotional self-awareness needed for expressive vocal production. Practice is oriented toward acting for the stage, but students with a primary interest in public speaking, teaching, or improved interpersonal communication will find this course valuable. Three class meetings per week. A modicum of reading and written reflection is required.  Only 20 students who attend the first class will be admitted based on class and major.

Fall semester.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012

142H Contemporary Dance Techniques: West African

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.

Fall semester. Five College Lecturer Sylla.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

151 Theater and Performance as Sites of Social Change in the Americas

This course examines key ways by which theater and performance have contributed to enrich processes of social transformation within specific socio-political contexts throughout the Americas. Students will study exemplar cases in which theater and performance have participated in and affected the political life of countries and communities, trying to raise public awareness about issues such as state violence and trauma, memory, migration and globalization, indigenousness, neoliberalism, gender and the right of citizenship. In addition, students will acquire understanding about the practice and aesthetic of professional art works and grass root and community-based theaters that are fundamental to the practice of civic engagement. The course is designed to build a more contemporaneous and nuanced understanding of the meaning and implications of engaging in the practice of theater and performance for social change in the Americas. 

Spring semester.  Five College Fellow Barriga.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

155 The Role and the Self

(Offered as FAMS 242 and THDA 155.) We “act” everyday. We play roles as students, as friends, as city-people, country-people, cosmopolitans. But what does it mean to present oneself publicly, either as “oneself” or in a role of another? The goal of this course is to demystify the acting process, to imagine together how we might “act naturally” in a world that is overwhelmed by technological forms of communication that both enable exchange with one another and that hamper it.

We will read a range of texts, from Erving Goffman’s Self and Everyday Life, to poetry and drama, and we will watch a series of films. Our attention to these works will be to understand the choices we can make as actors, and what choices directors make in their work with actors. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to understand human behavior itself.

Limited to 30 students.  Fall semester.  Croxton Lecturer Howard.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

160 Dynamics of Play Reading: Elements, Structures, Paradigms

This course explores various elements of dramatic literature and their implications for audience experiences in performance. Character, language, spectacle, plotting and theme are studied in the light of dynamic play structures. In addition to exercises in analytical and descriptive writing, students undertake experiential projects that explore underlying theatrical and narrative paradigms of the plays studied. Exemplary plays are chosen for their contrasting qualities, from antiquity to the present, and are read alongside related theoretical and critical texts. Particular emphasis is placed on exploring the legacy of classical form and later evolutionary and innovative responses to it. Playwrights considered include Euripides, Shakespeare, Shaw, Brecht, Weiss, Pinter and Kane among others.

Omitted 2012-13.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Not offered

161 Modes of Realism in Dramatic Literature

This course considers the evolution of conventions of theatrical realism in plays since the late nineteenth century. In particular, we consider the ways that playwrights—and later directors—exploit or challenge ideas about the perceived authenticity of theatrical representation. At issue are conventions governing action, character representation, and theatrical image as the bases for thematic, political and cultural intents. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the roles that audiences are intended to play in performance and the artistic means employed to engage them. Following consideration of Ibsen and Chekhov, the work of relevant realistic and quasi-realistic playwrights from the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries provides material for exploration of the course theme. We also explore the interplay of related artistic movements and technology with the evolution of theatrical conventions and directorial influence.

Omitted 2012-13.  Professor Bashford.

 

2014-15: Not offered

171 Twentieth-Century American Dance: Sixties Vanguard to Nineties Hip-Hop

Cool, candid, athletic; playful, arrogant, and promiscuous: Sixties experimental dance works were wildly divergent but can collectively be seen as a revolt against the institution of American modern dance as they offered bold alternatives as to who was a dancer, what made a dance, what was “beautiful” and worth watching, and what was “art.”  Mirroring the decade that was marked by tumultuous social and political change and guided by the decade’s liberating ideal, sixties vanguard dancers often outrageously (and naively) invalidated modern dance’s authority by “going beyond democracy into anarchy.” Jill Johnston wrote about the rebels of the Judson Dance Theatre, "No member outstanding. No body necessarily more beautiful than any other body. No movement necessarily more important or more beautiful than any other movement.”

This survey of twentieth-century American dance moves from the sixties—a decade of revolt and redefinition in American modern dance that provoked new ideas about dance, the dancer’s body and a radically changed dance aesthetic--to the radical postmodernism of the nineties when the body continued to be the site for debates about the nature of gender, ethnicity and sexuality. We will investigate how the political and social environment of the sixties, particularly the Black Power and Women’s Movement, informed the work of succeeding generations of dance artists and yielded new theories about the relationship between cultural forms and the construction of identities.

Omitted 2012-13.  Five College Dance Professor Valis Hill.

2014-15: Not offered

209 Contemporary Dance Technique and Repertory Modern 2/3

This course will include studio sessions in contemporary modern/jazz dance technique at the intermediate level and rehearsal sessions to create original choreography; the completed piece(s) will be presented in concert at the end of the semester. The emphasis in the course will be to increase expressive range, technical skills and performance versatility of the dancer through the practice, creation and performance of technique and choreography. In addition, the course will include required readings, the viewing of dance videos and live performances to give an increased understanding of the historical and contemporary context for the work.  Audition for course enrollment will be held the first day of class.

Omitted 2012-13.

2014-15: Not offered

215H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern 3/4

Spring Semester.  Guest Artist TBA.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Fall 2013

216 Contemporary Dance: Modern 4/5 Technique & Repertory

This course will include studio sessions in contemporary modern/jazz dance technique at the intermediate/advanced level and rehearsal sessions to create original choreography; the completed piece(s) will be presented in concert at the end of the semester. The emphasis in the course will be to increase expressive range, technical skills and performance versatility of the dancer through the practice, creation and performance of technique and choreography. In addition, the course will include required readings, the viewing of dance videos and live performances to give an increased understanding of the historical and contemporary context for the work.  Audition for course enrollment will be held the first day of class.

Fall semester. Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012

216H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern 4/5

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the intermediate/advanced level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Fall semester.  Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012

217H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern/Ballet 4

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the intermediate/advanced level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Spring semester. Professor Vacanti.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

225H The Craft of Speaking II: Spoken Expression

In this second course in the craft of speaking, students learn to shape and speak text to powerful effect. Students build on prior work to extend vocal range and capacity while learning component principles of spoken expression. Articulation, inflection, methods of contrast and interpretation, tone, verbal imaging and aural structures of poetry and rhetoric are practiced in a studio setting. Emphasis is placed on personal engagement and presence to others while speaking. Assignments in text scoring and memorization support class work. The course culminates in a public presentation of student work. Three class meetings per week.

Requisite:  THDA 125H.  Spring semester.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013

228 Feminist Performance

(Offered as THDA 228 and WAGS 228.)  The Women’s Liberation Movement dramatically affected the American social and intellectual climate of the 1970s. In art, as in education, medicine, and politics, women sought equality and economic parity as they actively fought against the mainstream values that had been used to exclude them.  Performance art proved to be an ideal match for the feminist agenda--it was personal, immediate, and highly effective in communicating an alternate view of power in the world. Artists explored autobiography, the female body, myth, and politics, and played a crucial role in developing and expanding the very nature of performance, consciously uniting the agendas of social politics with art. This class will take us from Yoko Ono’s performances of "Cut Piece" and the Judson Dance Theater's proto-feminist experiments of the 1960s to the radical guerilla-style performances of the 1970s and beyond, where the body was the contested site for debates about the nature of gender, ethnicity and sexuality. We will be looking at works that were not polite demands for legislative change, but raw and sloppy theatrical displays and ecstatic bonding experiences that managed to be at once satirical and celebratory, alienating and illuminating.

Fall semester.  Five College Dance Professor Valis-Hill.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

229 Chekhov And His Theater

(Offered as RUSS 229 and THDA 229). Anton Chekhov's reputation rests as much on his dramaturgy as on his fiction. His plays, whose staging by the Moscow Art Theater helped revolutionize Russian and world theater, endure in the modern repertoire. In this course, we will study his dramatic oeuvre in its cultural and historical context, drawing on the biographical and critical literature on Chekhov, printed and visual materials concerning the late nineteenth-century European theater, and the writings of figures like Constantin Stanislavsky, who developed a new acting method in response to Chekhov's art. We also will examine key moments in the production history of Chekhov's plays in Russian, English, and American theater and film.

Omitted 2012-13.  Professor Ciepiela and Playwright-in-Residence Congdon.

2014-15: Not offered

230 The Actor's Instrument

Technical issues of the body, voice, will, and imagination for the actor; exercises and readings in acting theory. Introduction of techniques to foster physical and emotional concentration, will and imaginative freedom. Exploration of Chekhov psycho-physical work, Hagen object exercises, Spolin and Johnstone improvisation formats, sensory and image work, mask and costume exercises, and neutral dialogues. The complex interweaving of the actor’s and the character’s intention/action in rehearsal and performance is the constant focus of the class. Three two-hour class meetings per week.  

Requisite: THDA 113.  Omitted 2012-13.  Resident Artist Lobdell.

2014-15: Not offered

240 The Director's Process

This course explores the process of directing plays for the stage. Studio exercises develop skills in key areas: interpretation of form and artistic intent, perception and sensibility in rehearsal, effective communication with actors, and balancing the interplay between action and text.  Students stage scenes from distinct categories: plays in verse, realistic plays, and non-realistic or less literal modern and contemporary plays. Emphasis is placed on the role of dramaturgical understanding in the creation of meaningful stage action. Text is chosen from a wide repertoire, including Euripides, Shakespeare, Molière, Chekov, Williams, Shepherd, Kushner, Kane and McDonagh.  The course culminates in a group directed ensemble piece. Throughout, students engage in reflective writing and practical research assignments, and manage class work with peers to achieve mutual rehearsal goals. Class meetings include discussion of theoretical readings and play texts. Two meetings per week. Students should expect to schedule significant outside rehearsal time.

Requisites: One of the following--THDA 111, 112 or 113, or equivalent college-level experience with consent of the instructor.  Omitted 2012-13 Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Not offered

242 Plays in Play: The Ensemble and the Playwright

In this course, students conduct a semester-long rehearsal investigation into the work of a particular playwright, and explore ways in which coordinated action renders distinctive writing in theatrical form.  We will examine selected plays, background material, and study theatrical conventions related to the selected playwright, and we will  practice ensemble techniques of close textual investigation, acting and staging.  Emphasis is placed on the means and practical advantages of developing a shared vision, and on the analytical and performative ways of communicating required to do so.  While primarily geared toward students interested in acting and directing, the course is designed to develop a collaborative model of the functions of acting, directing, designing and dramaturgy.  All students should expect to act, co-direct, conduct research, and explore basic design implications together.  The course will culminate in a workshop-style performance.  This course may be repeated once when the playwright/topic is different.  The chosen playwright for fall of 2012 is Molière. 

Requisite: A prior course in THDA or permission of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Bashford. 

 

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

250 Video Production: Bodies in Motion

(Offered as THDA 250 and FAMS 341.)  This studio production class will focus on multiple ways of tracking, viewing, and capturing bodies in motion. The course will emphasize working with the camera as an extension of the body to explore radically different points of view and senses of focus. We will experiment with different techniques and different kinds of bodies (human, animal, and object) to bring a heightened awareness of kinesthetic involvement, animation and emotional immediacy to the bodies on screen and behind the camera. In addition, we will interject and follow bodies into different perceptions of time, progression, place and relationship. In the process, we will express various experiences and theories of embodiment and question what constitutes a body. Depending on student interests, final projects can range from choreographies for the camera to fictional narratives to documentary studies. The class will alternate between camera sessions, both in the studio and on location, and sessions in the editing suite working with Final Cut Pro.

Requisite: Previous experience in composition. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2012-13.

 

2014-15: Not offered

252 Scripts and Scores

This course will provide structures and approaches for creating original choreography, performance pieces and events. An emphasis will be placed on interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to composition, choreography, and performance making. These approaches include working with text and movement, visual systems and environments, music, sound and chance scores to inspire and include in performance. Students will create and perform dance, theater, or performance art pieces for both traditional theater spaces and for found (indoor and outdoor) spaces.

This course is open to dancers and actors as well as interested students from other media and disciplines. Two two-hour class meetings per week and weekly lab/rehearsal sessions. Consent of the instructor is required for students with no experience in improvisation or composition.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2012-13.  Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2014

254 Sound Design for Live Performance

What is the role of sound in live performance, and how is it designed and produced?  This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of sound design in live performance contexts from both technical and artistic perspectives.  Students will explore the fundamentals of audio production and acoustics through a series of short projects, covering a range of topics from using various sound-editing software applications, including ProTools, Logic and other DAW platforms, to live sound reinforcement principles. Special consideration will be given to software environments (QLab) dedicated to live playback and design of acoustic spaces, and we will examine strategies for developing an efficient, real-world approach to the technical rehearsal process.  Throughout the course, we will consider interpretive skills needed for imagining sound design opportunities in various script, dance, and performance-oriented collaborations.  The course will culminate in a final project that integrates technical and artistic problem-solving skills related to creating sound for a live performance.

Requisite: One prior practice-of-arts course in theater and dance, music or studio art, or equivalent experience. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Robinson.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2014

260 Costume Design and Fashion History

An introduction to the analytical methods and skills necessary for the creation of costumes for theater and dance with emphasis on the integration of costume with other visual elements. Western costume history. Lab work in costume construction.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor.  Limited to 8 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

261 Lighting Design

An introduction to the theory and techniques of theatrical lighting, with emphasis on the aesthetic and practical aspects of the field as well as the principles of light and color.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor. Lab work in lighting technology.  Spring semester. Resident Lighting Designer Couch.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2013

263 Scene Design

The materials, techniques and concepts which underlie the design and creation of the theatrical environment.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

270 Playwriting I

A workshop in writing for the stage. The semester will begin with exercises that lead to the making of short plays and, by the end of the term, longer plays-ten minutes and up in length. Writing will be done in and out of class; students’ work will be discussed in the workshop and in private conferences. At the end of the term, the student will submit a portfolio of revisions of all the exercises, including the revisions of all plays.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Playwright-in-Residence Congdon.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

280 Words and Music for Theatrical Performance

(Offered as THDA 280 and MUSI 260.) Conducted as a collaborative workshop among student writers and composers, this course explores the close relationship between words and music. While working together on new music/text pieces for the stage, we will seek to arrive at various definitions of "music theater." In addition to ongoing creative assignments, we will examine existing works in various genres, including songs, musical theater, opera and other experimental forms.  Featured writers and composers will include Brecht and Weill, Auden/Kallman and Stravinsky, Sondheim and Bernstein, and Goodman and Adams, among others. Although students with varied experience in musical composition and/or creative writing will be admitted, all students should expect both to write text, to compose music and to work together doing so. Regular class meetings will be supplemented by individual tutorials. The course will culminate in a public performance of final projects created in collaboration with other students.  

Admission with consent of the instructors. Limited to 16 students. Spring semester. Professor Bashford and Visiting Professor Meltzer.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

330 Rehearsal

An advanced course in acting. The class will focus upon the actor’s close analysis of the playwright’s script to define specific problems and to set out tactics for their solutions. The interaction of the actor’s creative work outside rehearsal and the work within rehearsal will be delineated by assigned exercises.

Requisite: THDA 113 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 16 students. Spring semester. Resident Artist Lobdell.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2013

340 Directing Studio

This is a practical course in navigating the myriad positions and tasks that directors master to lead collaborators toward completed theatrical interpretations of dramatic texts. Studio exercises are employed throughout as each student director produces and directs two medium-length projects. Topics of focus include the articulation of coherent artistic intent, the role of the audience in performance, and the use of space, sound and light. In addition, this course considers organizational and research methods related to successful production. Readings and class sessions are devoted to the history and practice of directing and to discussion of problems and approaches. Two class meetings per week. Students should expect to schedule a significant amount of rehearsal time for the successful completion of projects.

Requisite:  One of the following--THDA 240, 242, 252 or equivalent college-level experience with consent of the instructor. Spring semester.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013

350 Video and Performance

This advanced production class will give students an opportunity to explore various relationships between live performance and video. Experiments will include creating short performance pieces and/or choreography specifically designed for the video medium; creating short pieces that include both live performance and projected video; and creating short experimental video pieces that emphasize a sense of motion in their conceptualization, and realization. Techniques and languages from dance and theater composition will be used to expand and inform approaches to video production and vice-versa. Sessions include studio practice (working with digital cameras and Final Cut Pro digital editing) and regular viewing and critiques. Students will work both independently and in collaborative teams according to interest and expertise.

Requisite: Previous experience in theater, dance, music composition, and/or video production or consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Omitted 2012-13.  Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Not offered

352 Performance in Place: Site Specific 

(Offered as THDA 352, FAMS 342 and MUSI 352.)  The focus of this studio course will be to create performances, events, happenings and installations in multiple locations both on and off campus.  This course is especially designed for students in dance, theater, film/video, art, music and creative writing who want to explore the challenges and potentials in creating performances outside of traditional "frames" or venues (e.g., the theater, the gallery, the lecture hall, etc.). At the center of our inquiry will be questions of space, place and community.  In the first few weeks of the semester we will tour different sites and research multiple historical and contemporary examples of site-specific performances and artists across media. We will then select different sites--based on student interest and location access--and spend the rest of the semester creating events/performances on site.  Students will work in collaborative teams to create these performances for these places.  Interaction with communities at these sites will also be explored, connecting the artistic work to community engagement and raising awareness of the issues and ethics involved in site-specific performance. These projects will be performed in process and at the end of the semester in a three-day festival. Different guest artists in dance, theater, art, sound and political activism will join the class and work with designated groups.

Class meeting Fridays 1-4; outside rehearsal/lab sessions TBA

Requisite: Previous experience in improvisation and/or composition in dance, theater, performance, film/video, music/sound, installation, creative writing, and/or design is required. Spring semester.  Professor Woodson with Guest Artists.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

353 Performance Studio

(Offered as THDA 353 and FAMS 345.)  An advanced course in the techniques of creating performance. Each student will create and rehearse a performance piece that develops and incorporates original choreography, text, music, sound and/or video. Experimental and collaborative structures and approaches among and within different media will be stressed. The final performance pieces and events will be presented in the Holden Theater. Can be taken more than once for credit.

Requisite: THDA 252 or the equivalent and consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

360 Design Studio

An advanced course in the arts of theatrical design. Primary focus is on the communication of design ideas and concepts with other theater artists. Also considered is the process by which developing theatrical ideas and images are realized. Students will undertake specific projects in scenic, costume and/or lighting design and execute them in the context of the Department’s production program or in other approved circumstances. Examples of possible assignments include designing workshop productions, and assisting faculty and staff designers with major responsibilities in full-scale production. In all cases, detailed analysis of the text and responsible collaboration will provide the basis of the working method. May be repeated for credit.

Requisite: THDA 260, 261, 263 or consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters.  Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

363 Design Studio II

This course is a continuation of THDA 360, an advanced course in the arts of theatrical design. Primary focus is on the communication of design ideas and concepts with other theater artists. Also considered is the process by which developing theatrical ideas and images are realized. Students will undertake specific projects in scenic, costume and/or lighting design and execute them in the context of the department’s production program or in other approved circumstances. Students in this course will design for a full-scale production. In all cases, detailed analysis of the text and responsible collaboration will provide the basis of the working method. May be repeated for credit.

Requisite: THDA 260, 261, or 263 or consent of the instructor.  Fall and spring semesters.  Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

370 Playwriting Studio

A workshop/seminar for writers who want to complete a full-length play or series of plays. Emphasis will be on bringing a script to a level where it is ready for the stage. Although there will be some exercises in class to continue the honing of playwriting skills and the study of plays by established writers as a means of exploring a wide range of dramatic vocabularies, most of the class time will be spent reading and commenting on the plays of the workshop members as these plays progress from the first draft to a finished draft.

Requisite: THDA 270 or the equivalent. Admission with consent of the instructor.  Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Playwright-in-Residence Congdon.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2014

380 From Idea to Performance

A theoretical and practical consideration of the process by which the performance-maker’s initial idea is altered, adapted, developed, rehearsed and finally transmitted to the audience through the medium of theatrical productions.

Omitted 2012-13. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Not offered

400H Production Studio

An advanced course in the production of Theater and Dance works. Primary focus will be on the integration of the individual student into a leadership role within the Department’s producing structure. Each student will accept a specific responsibility with a departmental production team testing his or her artistic, managerial, critical, and problem-solving skills.  A half course.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Course. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semester. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

For Honors candidates in Theater and Dance.

Open to seniors. Fall semester. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013
 

[6941811290_9280941f54_m]