Theatre Acting for Zoom – IA 239
Generation after generation, theatre makers craft new ways of telling stories and imagining worlds in the face of tumultuous odds. This moment is no different. As stage lights have dimmed across the country and around the world, actors have begun to reimagine theatrical conventions for a virtual medium. In this fully remote studio class, students will create a series of original, scripted, and movement-based theatre pieces in collaboration with students in Professor Will MacAdams’ Theatre Directing for Zoom. This work will be paired with on-line visits from contemporary theatre makers who are using digital landscapes as a springboard for possibility and invention. We invite students to meet this moment with us and create theatre that continues to challenge and inspire as we envision a new language for our resilient medium. (keywords: narrative, workshop, collaboration)
Real Characters, Imagined Events – IA 274
The primary focus of this intermediate playwriting course is drawing inspiration from historical figures for the construction of original one-act plays. In addition to developing and deepening our craft as playwrights – clarifying dramatic action, and creating more dynamic characters – we will deconstruct the work of several contemporary theatre makers including Lin Manuel Miranda, Katori Hall, Moises Kaufman and Charise Castro Smith, all of whom are writing, staging and performing original dramas that are at once comedic, musical and absurd. A large part of our process will involve integrating critical theory and creative practice, and developing a vocabulary for the analysis of contemporary drama. Students working on plays already in process, as well as those starting new dramas, are invited to enroll in this workshop class. No prerequisites are required, but as the curriculum is driven by independent work and moves fairly quickly, some playwriting experience is useful.
(Re)Telling the Tale: Dramatizing Myth & Fable – IA 138
This introductory course explores principles of playwriting by reimagining familiar fairytales, classic myths and personal narrative. Primary considerations are creating clear narrative arcs, rewriting traditional archetypes, developing dynamic characters, and cultivating a vocabulary for the critical analysis of dramatic literature. Assignments will include writing at least three original short plays, and one critical essay centering on the adaptation of a classic parable for the contemporary stage. Research and revision are vital aspects of the curriculum.
Directing Contemporary American Drama – IA 251
This workshop course examines and applies principles of directing through the lens of twentieth and twenty-first century American drama. Primary considerations are identifying the conflict of the play, investigating the world of the play, interpreting the action of the play, developing a collaborative language for working across theatrical disciplines (particularly with actors), and staging the play. The principles are examined in at least three written assignments, and a (virtual) showcase of selected scenes from Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Four by Christopher Shinn and Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka.
Out of Character: Writing & Performing the Monologue – IA 221
The focus of this workshop course is self-scripting and performing original drama. Students will edit and revise written drafts based on hearing and performing their work aloud. Particular attention will be paid to writing dramatically from different points of view. The same events and circumstances may be utterly altered when recounted by two different characters. Likewise, one individual may have completely different perspectives on the same event when speaking from different emotional states (i.e. a state of anger versus a state forgiveness.) We will also explore ways in which race, gender, class, and culture shift the playwright/performer’s perceptions, and use rhythm, syntax, breath, and gestural language to create dynamic characters for the stage. Assignments will include deconstructing contemporary monologues and scenes of writers such as Anna Deveare Smith, John Leguizamo, Lisa Kron, Laurie Carlos and Eric Bogosian.
Multimedia Theatre & Film Production: Mighty Real – IA 276
This interdisciplinary course (co-taught with Professor Abraham Ravett) centers around film adaptation of the original theatre production Mighty Real: A Tribute to Sylvester by Professor Djola Branner. The story chronicles the life and times of singer/songwriter Sylvester, a gender fluid black/gay man who rose to commercial success during the height of the 1970s disco era. Students will collaborate with faculty on every phase of the project from dramaturgy, directing, acting, production management and design to editing. The goal of the course is creating a short multimedia narrative film through the integration of theatrical and cinematic conventions. Students with experience in film and theatre production are preferred. Instructor permission required.
Making a Scene: Intermediate Acting – IA 268
This studio course applies introductory principles of acting to contemporary American scenes. Primary concerns are identifying and playing clear objectives, developing character through behavior, and cultivating a language for the critical analysis of contemporary drama. Assignments include workshopping and performing three contemporary American scenes, presenting one life study, completing three written character biographies and analyses, and writing one theatre review. Due to the highly collaborative and experiential nature of the curriculum, attendance and punctuality are essential to successful participation and completion of this course. Prerequisite: one college level acting class.
Division III Theatre Seminar – IA 332
This course is designed for first and second semester Division III students whose projects involve some aspect of theatre. Seminar participants are expected to read some key performance texts and discuss them in relation to their own work, and to select readings relevant to their particular area of focus. We will also attend performances and participate in workshops led by theatre practitioners. Considerable time throughout the semester will be devoted to students’ presentation of works in progress, peer editing, and sharing strategies for completing large independent projects. Assignments will include completing a critical narrative essay, creating an annotated bibliography and an artist statement that can be incorporated into the Division III portfolio. This seminar can be used as an advanced learning activity.