Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Theater (THTR)

THTR 1008  (c)   Performing Violence  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Examines the complex relationship between violence and performance. How is violence “performed,” both on stage and in everyday life? How have societies used performance to combat violence? To foment it? How can performance help us better understand the violence that is present in the US today? Through reading, viewing (both live and digital), and writing, introduces students to concepts, methods, and ethics of studying violence and its embodied representations in theatre, film, and other media. Addresses the ways that race, gender, ethnicity, age, class, and sexuality affect proximity to and representations of violence and considers how performance can offer resistance to or redress of violent acts.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2022.

THTR 1101  (c, VPA)   Making Theater: The Serious Power of Play  

Every Other Fall. Enrollment limit: 25.  

When people think of the theater they often think of pure entertainment, like a spectacle-filled Broadway musical. But the theater has a revolutionary side. It was banned after the Puritans gained power in England. Actors were excommunicated in France. Playwrights were imprisoned in Soviet Russia. What makes this kind of theater, and the artists that make it, so threatening to power? And how can it be reconciled to its entertainment-based side? In this class students will use their bodies, their voices, and their imaginations to understand how this art form that focuses on play and pretend also has the power - and the responsibility - to tell the truth. Students will read plays critically, see and discuss live performance, and apply new skills in collaboration, making and presenting original performance work. No previous theater experience required.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2022.

THTR 1151  (c, VPA)   Acting for the Camera  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Acting for the Camera introduces students to the intellectual, vocal, physical and emotional challenge of the acting process, distilled for on-camera work. Students will learn and practice exercises examining human behavior within the camera's frame and moment-to-moment storytelling. They will create on-screen acting projects, then analyze their own and peers' work while also studying celebrated professionals' work within the art of acting on camera. Students will also learn the language of the screenplay and how to analyze it for acting clues, learning, developing and deploying new techniques that help translate that analysis into embodied performance. (Same as: CINE 1151)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2020.

THTR 1201  (c, VPA)   Acting I: Developing Presence  

Abigail Killeen; Davis Robinson.
Every Semester. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 16.
  

The core of the theater is a shared experience in community. Now more than ever we value presence together in a room. But what does it mean to be fully present? In this beginning level acting class students learn the basics of acting and how those skills translate to presence not only onstage, but in work and personal relationships. Students will learn and practice various acting techniques designed to bring ideas off a page and into performance, working with their bodies, their hearts, and their minds. Assignments include writing and performing original monologues, working creatively and collaboratively in rehearsal, and performing scenes from contemporary plays, resulting in authentic presence not only onstage, but in community.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2023, Fall 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2021, Fall 2020.

THTR 1202  (c, VPA)   Improvisation  

Every Other Spring. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Improvisation is a fundamental tool used by dancers, musicians, actors, writers, and other artists to explore the language of a medium and to develop new work. An interdisciplinary introduction to some of the primary forms of improvisation used in dance and theater. Content includes theater games, narrative exercises, contact improvisation, and choreographic structures.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Spring 2023, Spring 2022, Spring 2021.

THTR 1203  (c, VPA)   Performance and Narrative  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 20.  

For millennia, we have organized our fictions, our religions, our histories, and our own lives as narratives. However much the narrative form has been called into question in recent years, it seems we just cannot stop telling each other stories. Examines the particular nexus between narrative and performance: What is narrative? How does it work? What are its limits and its limitations? How do we communicate narrative in performance? Involves both critical inquiry and the creation of performance pieces based in text, dance, movement, and the visual image. (Same as: DANC 1203)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2023, Fall 2021.

THTR 1301  (c, VPA)   Stagecraft  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 20.  

Introduction to the language, theory, and practice of theater and dance technology. Students explore the history of theater technology with experiential projects in Bowdoin's performance venues, including Pickard and Wish Theaters as well as visits and workshops from guest artists. Topics include lighting, scenography, costuming, and sound, among others. The course considers the possibilities, demands, and limits inherent to different forms of performance and space. Lab required. Course fulfills the Technical Production (THTR/DANC 1750) requirement for Performance Arts major. (Same as: DANC 1301)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023, Fall 2021, Fall 2020.

THTR 1302  (c, VPA)   Principles of Design  

German Cardenas-Alaminos.
Every Fall. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 15.
  

An introduction to theatrical design that stimulates students to consider the world of a play, dance, or performance piece from a designer’s perspective. Through projects, readings, discussion, and critiques, explores the fundamental principles of visual design as they apply to set, lighting, and costume design, as well as text analysis for the designer and the process of collaboration. Strong emphasis on perceptual, analytical, and communication skills. (Same as: DANC 1302)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2023, Fall 2022, Fall 2021, Fall 2020.

THTR 1304  (c, VPA)   Music, Drama, and Design  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 50.  

Students will explore different phases of the creative process that involve drama and music for the stage. We will study and compare recent productions of operas, musicals, and other theatrical and dance performances. Now that theaters, opera venues, and concert halls are closed, this course will serve as a reminder of the vibrant collaborative work between artists and the connections they establish with their audiences. We will discuss the different areas of design, such as scenography, costume, lighting, sound, and projection, and we will analyze in a cohesive way how they relate to the music score. We will engage with a variety of genres covering a wide time span, and we will analyze in-depth specific works, such as Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Robert Lepage’s staging for Peter Gabriel’s The Secret World Tour. (Same as: MUS 1304, DANC 1304)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.

THTR 1306  (c, VPA)   Substance and Style: Mining History to Inspire Creative Visual Storytelling  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

In this introductory theatrical design class, a picture is worth a thousand words. Have you ever gone to a great movie or play and been totally immersed in a different time or place? Discover how artists use visual imagery from the past to tell stories in the present. Students will learn new, creative research skills in order to analyze American life and culture through its imagery, scavenging for print and media from bygone eras. For example: how did the clothes people wore, the streets they walked, the food they ate, and the social and political norms of the day all create a particular feel, or culture? Next, students will practice that new knowledge with hands-on projects, making their own pitch for the way a movie or play should be produced. Working on individual and group projects, students practice bringing the past to life while celebrating our current perspectives, understanding not only our progress, but also our blind spots. No experience in theater or drawing necessary.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024.

THTR 1503  (c, IP, VPA)   Theater of Action: Performance for Social Change  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Through research and practice, explores the notion of the performing artist as public intellectual and engaged citizen. In the first half semester, students research international social justice performance, 1913-2013: suffrage, race and economic protest pageants; Living Newspapers, Agit-prop, and the Workers Theatre Movement; collective creation and documentary theater; performance at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, diaspora, and transnationalism; women’s protest performance; theaters of healing and repair concerned with inter-ethnic conflict. In the second half, students research current sociopolitical and economic events, identify an issue of local, regional, and/or national significance, and collaboratively devise a performance intended to protest, educate, and inspire community action.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 1700  (c, VPA)   Department Production  

Davis Robinson.
Every Semester. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 50.
  Credit/D/F Only.   

This course focuses on the creative collaboration that creates a full-length performance project for the public and mirrors a professional theater process. It is led by a professional director either on faculty or visiting as a guest artist. It is produced by department with a generous production budget and supported by a professional stage management mentor, professional designers, and department staff. Performances are open to the Bowdoin and broader Brunswick communities. Areas of concentration may include rehearsal and performance of roles, assistance to the director, dramaturgy, stage management, or assistance to the designers. Students gain admission to THTR 1700 through audition or interview. Areas of concentration are determined by the project’s director and assigned. Rehearsals may fall outside of traditional class hours. May be repeated for credit earning for a maximum of two credits.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Fall 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2021, Spring 2021.

THTR 1806  (c)   Introduction to Drama  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 24.  

Explores the history of drama written in English from its origins in the deep past through to the present day. Studies how plays across space and time have moved spectators to laugh, cry, and gasp. Authors include Samuel Beckett, Tony Kushner, William Shakespeare, and August Wilson. (Same as: ENGL 1106)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2020.

THTR 2201  (c, VPA)   Acting II: Speaking Your Truth  

Every Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Statistics show people are more frightened of speaking in public than death. And yet, everyone wants to be heard. How can we speak so others will listen, and how can we do so in an authentic way? This is a skill found in the art of acting. Students will learn how breath, the voice, the body, and the emotions are connected and practice theater exercises that create new paths of access to each. They will learn ways of grounding themselves in character study, group performance, and solo work. This will not only enhance their acting skills. It will also strengthen their ability to speak authentically, claiming their seat at the table in all situations, especially those with high-stakes like job interviews, performances, presentations, or instances of revealing an important truth to a friend or family member.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 2202  (c, VPA)   Acting II: Physical Theater  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 18.  

Extends the principles of Acting I through a full semester of rigorous physical acting work focused on presence, energy, relaxation, alignment, and emotional freedom. Develops and brings the entire body to the act of being on stage through highly structured individual exercises and ensemble-oriented improvisational work. Scene work is explored through the movement-based acting disciplines of Lecoq, Grotowski, Meyerhold, or Viewpoints. Contemporary physical theater makers Théâtre de Complicité, Mabou Mines, SITI company, and Frantic Assembly are discussed. This course, along with Theater 2201, Acting II: Voice and Text, is part of a two-semester course series. Theater 2201 and 2202 may be taken individually or in any order.

Prerequisites: THTR 1100 - 1799.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Fall 2022.

THTR 2203  (c, DPI, VPA)   Directing  

Davis Robinson.
Every Other Year. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 14.
  

Introduces students to the major principles of play direction, including conceiving a production, script analysis, staging, casting, and rehearsing with actors. Students actively engage directing theories and techniques through collaborative class projects and complete the course by conceiving, casting, rehearsing, and presenting short plays of their choosing. A final research and rehearsal portfolio is required.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2022.

THTR 2205  (c, VPA)   Musical Theater Performance  

Davis Robinson; Jeffrey Christmas.
Every Other Fall. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 16.
  

Musical theater is a popular performance form that challenges students to work in multiple disciplines, combining dance, acting, music, and design. This course will give students with experience in acting, singing, and dancing an opportunity to hone their skills together through the performance of songs and scenes from a variety of musical theater styles. Students will do projects in ballad singing, choral numbers, group dances, and acting the song. Actors, singers, choreographers, and musicians will be encouraged to work together in class and in evening rehearsals toward a public performance and a cabaret performance at the end of the semester. Performances will be grounded in historical readings and research that contextualizes the origins of the pieces being performed. (Same as: DANC 2205, MUS 2605)

Prerequisites: THTR 1100 - 1799 or DANC 1100 - 1799.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2022.

THTR 2206  (c, VPA)   Audio Theater in Performance  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

An acting class for your ears only. In this time of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, audio drama is experiencing a renewed surge of interest. Comedies, mysteries, art experiments, podcasts, radio documentaries, The Moth, Snap Judgment, This American Life, and other forms of audio production are proving to be an important part of the theater ecosystem, sustaining all of us with stories and glimpses into other worlds and other people’s lives without ever leaving our armchairs. This class will explore the history of audio drama, from the panic of War of the Worlds to the influence of The 1619 Project podcast. We will also create our own radio plays, podcasts, and documentaries over the semester. Focus will be placed on developing dynamic and colorful vocal acting skills, sound mixing and editing techniques, and hands-on experience with writing and recording for broadcast.

Prerequisites: THTR 1000 - 1999.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.

THTR 2207  (c, VPA)   Shakespeare's Tragedies: Pathos and Politics  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 35.  

An introduction to the magnificent power and beauty of Shakespeare’s tragedies, with special attention to their poetic expansiveness, theatrical structure, and emotional impact. Studies Shakespeare's evolution as an artist and maker of theater while also raising important questions about race and gender in his works. Secondary readings on tragedy by Aristotle, Hegel, and others will guide our inquiry, though we will also explore links between Shakespeare and contemporary culture. Students will also have the opportunity to memorize and perform short scenes from the plays over the course of the semester. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2205)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024.

THTR 2208  (c, VPA)   Shakespeare's Comedies  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Explores Shakespeare’s evolution as a master of comic drama by considering his accomplishments in plot, characterization, and language. We will pay special attention to the politics of his humor both then and now, as well as to historical staging practices and issues of race, gender, and class that animate many of the plays. We will enhance our readings of the plays by watching videos of recent performances of the plays by the Globe Theater, Royal Shakespeare Company, and other professional companies. Students will also have the option to create and perform scenes working in small groups. Plays may include The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Much Ado about Nothing, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2208)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 2303  (c, VPA)   Advanced Design: Lighting  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 22.  

As technology has evolved, so has the world of theater and dance. Offers students an in-depth look at the technology, theory, and aesthetics involved in lighting design choices for theater and dance productions. Students explore the latest software and technology used by lighting designers, while learning to make their own artistic choices for contemporary performance. Assignments include creating lighting plots for specific scenes and performance events. By the end of the semester, students have reimagined and developed their own original lighting designs for a play or dance project to be presented in class. (Same as: DANC 2303)

Prerequisites: THTR 1000 - 1999.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024.

THTR 2304  (c, IP, VPA)   Intermediate Design: Puppetry  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Puppetry, the animation of inanimate objects in performance, is typically considered a ‘small’ art form yet it has a sprawling historical, cultural, and aesthetic reach. Venerable theater historian George Speaight highlights puppetry’s ubiquitous presence when he says, “Puppet shows seem to have existed in almost all civilizations and in almost all periods . . . It has everywhere antedated written drama and, indeed, writing of any kind. It represents one of the most primitive instincts of the human race.” An introduction to puppetry, this course integrates the practical modes of design, construction, and performance with an examination of theories of origin, historical context, and global cultural significance. Through studio projects, individual and group performance, critiques, discussion, readings, video viewing, and research presentations, students will consider, create, and manipulate a variety of puppetry styles including object theater, shadow puppetry, hand puppets, bunraku-type puppets, and rod puppets while exploring what puppetry is, where it came from, its role in the history of western theater, as well as its cultural significance in Asia, Indonesia, Africa, India, and the Middle East. (Same as: DANC 2304)

Prerequisites: THTR 1302 (same as DANC 1302).

Previous terms offered: Spring 2022.

THTR 2305  (VPA)   Costume Design  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

This class is designed for students who have a basic understanding of the principles of theatrical design and want more intensive study of the costume design process. Students utilize and build upon the foundational principles learned in introductory design classes, while learning and practicing new skills for investigating narrative as reflected in the psychology of clothing through the art of costume. Students engage individually in a rigorous performance-based research process by analyzing various sources such as text, music, or dance, while practicing collaboration by holding to a directorial concept, working with a design team, and building a relationship with the costume shop. Necessary design skills, including interpretation of visual research, costume plots, figure drawing and rendering techniques, and materials, are fostered through practical exercises throughout the semester.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 2308  (c, VPA)   Scenic Design  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

This class is an advanced scenic design course for theater and dance in which we study how to conceptualize space and other visual elements on stage. By analyzing scripts, physical movement, or other sources of motivation and narratives, the course explores visual research from an array of different sources like artistic styles, painting, photography in different places and time periods, and how to translate this information into specific scenic environments or devices. Students will explore visual vocabulary of drawing, sketching, rendering, drafting, scale, and principles of applied theater mechanisms and techniques. We examine how scenography relates to other design areas, such as lighting, costume, sound, puppetry, and the embodied storytelling experience on stage, as well as the challenges of artistic collaboration, collective and personal visual impact, and sustainability. (Same as: DANC 2308)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2022.

THTR 2309  (c, VPA)   Love, Death, and Drama: Issues at the Intersection of Music and Theater  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 35.  

In this course, students explore a variety of theatrical genres that use music as a central component, typically ranging from early Italian opera to current Broadway musicals. Each semester, the course is tailored to feature exciting productions that can be viewed on Live HD or streaming platforms, or attended in person. The course has included works by Monteverdi, Mozart, Gershwin, Sondheim, Blanchard, Glass, Miranda, Mitchell, Aucoin, Caro, and others. It introduces historical conventions, genres, styles, and processes of artistic expression and collaboration, including staging and production design. We will engage in discussions about the historical and social contexts, as well as issues of gender, race, identity, aesthetics, or politics. (Same as: MUS 2302)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Fall 2021.

THTR 2401  (c, VPA)   Creative Writing Workshop: Playwriting  

Abigail Killeen.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 12.
  

Playwrights say nothing compares to hearing their words onstage in live performance. But how does a story become a play? How is a play different than a novel, a short story, or a screenplay? This creative writing class focuses on writing for live performance and includes exercises in writing dialogue, character, conflict, scenes, and solo performance texts, then moves to the writing (and rewriting) of a short play. Students also read plays critically, considering how writers use image, action, speech, and silence; how they structure plays and performance pieces; and how they approach character and plot. Weekly writing exercises are critiqued in a group workshop format. (Same as: ENGL 2866)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2022.

THTR 2409  (c, IP)   Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater  

Hanétha Vété-Congolo; Nadia Celis.
Every Semester. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 18.
  

Examines theater and poetry in Spain and Latin America from the eleventh-century verses of Jewish and Muslim authors to the twentieth-century works of Nobel Prize winners. Through class discussions and critical analysis, students will discover how the structure, form, content, and performance of poetry and theater relate to a work’s aesthetic movement, historical context, and contemporary adaptations. Some of the topics for discussion include: religious conflicts and their influence in literary forms; the cultural and political implications of the colonization of the Americas, its legacy, and the resistance to it; the Baroque, its innovative aesthetic techniques, and its transatlantic influence; the mechanisms used by writers to subvert discourses of patriarchy; the importance of Indigenous cultures in the development of Latin American nations and cultural traditions; and the political and artistic relationships with the US and other European avant-garde movements. Conducted in Spanish. (Same as: HISP 2409, LACL 2409)

Prerequisites: HISP 2305 (same as LACL 2205) or HISP 2306 (same as LACL 2306) or HISP 2308 (same as LACL 2308) or Placement in HISP 2409 or 2410.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Fall 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2020.

THTR 2410  (c, VPA)   Modern Drama in Theory and Practice  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 25.  

Ibsen, Brecht, and Beckett are undoubtedly some of the most influential playwrights of the twentieth century. As both scholarly and performance texts, their plays have long presented challenges to scholars and theater artists alike. Yet they—the scholarly and artistic-- rarely work together to benefit from the insights each approach can offer. Beginning with plays like, for example, “A Doll's House,” “The Good Person of Setzuan,” and “Waiting for Godot,” students then move to more contemporary masters, including groundbreaking playwrights of color Lorraine Hansberry and Suzan Lori-Parks, and provocateur Martin McDonagh. Lastly, students examine the legacy of Beckett’s work in television by examining contemporary television drama like “Pose”. (Same as: ENGL 2457)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2022.

THTR 2507  (c, VPA)   Performance and the City  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

The city has long been central to the creation of theater. From Athens to Beijing and Abydos to London, performance is deeply connected to the places where it is created. But the opposite is also true—performance creates cities. This course explores how theater and performance shape the ways people move, connect, build, remember, and generally live in cities. Through readings, theater attendance, and performance-making, students examine how performance has influenced various global cities’ histories, architecture, environments, and economies. Cities examined may include Portland, Maine; New York; Grahamstown; Mexico City; Beijing; London; Berlin; Athens; Buenos Ares; or Tokyo. (Same as: URBS 2507)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 2509  (c, VPA)   Musical Theater History  

Davis Robinson.
Every Other Year. Fall 2024. Enrollment limit: 16.
  

Investigates the history and practice of one of the few truly American art forms: the musical theater. From its beginnings, influenced by opera, minstrelsy, and popular music, to the current Broadway landscape, which grapples with post-pandemic performance, the American musical has provided fascinating insights into the values, ideas, and mores of the society that created it. Special attention will be paid to the Black creators, women writers, and artists of color whose work has shaped the genre but who have remained under-acknowledged by past generations of both academic and popular historians. Students will encounter well-loved Broadway smash hits as well as forgotten off-Broadway gems while being encouraged to develop a deeper, more nuanced love for the genre. (Same as: DANC 2509)

THTR 2812  (c, VPA)   Remaking Shakespeare  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 20.  

Bridging the unhelpful divide between critical scholarship and performance studies in studying drama, this co-taught course enables students to “remake” Shakespeare as an author for both page and stage. By integrating techniques of theatrical performance with modes of textual analysis, the course balances critical and performative approaches to produce a thorough and embodied understanding of Shakespeare. In analyzing Shakespearean language with an eye to performance, for example, students will increase their understanding of the plays. Likewise, producing scholarly writing about Shakespeare will enhance the way that students perform his works. Students will produce scene studies as well as a range of writing assignments, including a research essay. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2207)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2021.

THTR 2823  (c, VPA)   English Renaissance Drama  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Focusing on plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, this class explores new genres, character types, and modes of experience made possible by the development of professional theater in early modern London. In addition to situating plays by Christophe Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, and other authors in their political and cultural contexts, we will also ask how their plays elevated questions of race, gender, and sexuality. Students will select, memorize, and ultimately perform one scene from one of the plays, working together in small groups to bring new life to old texts. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2200)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2022, Fall 2020.

THTR 2854  (c)   Staging Blackness  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Examines the history and contributions of African Americans to United States theater from the early blackface minstrel tradition, to the revolutionary theater of the Black Arts writers, to more recent postmodernist stage spectacles. Among other concerns, such works often dramatize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate ongoing tensions between individual needs and group demands that result from historically changing forms of racial marginalization. A particular goal is to highlight what Kimberly Benston has termed the expressive agency with which black writers and performers have imbued their theatrical presentations. Potential authors include Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ron Milner, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, Anna Deavere Smith, Afro Pomo Homos, and August Wilson. Note: Fulfills the African American, Asian American, Indigenous, Latinx, multiethnic American, or global literature requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2654, AFRS 2630)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024.

THTR 2869  (c)   "Words are all we have": The Irish Story  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

This course considers the storied nature of ideas about Ireland through the consideration of a variety of Irish artists. Part of the aim of the course is to register the changes in the ways Irish letters have been reimagined by writers and critics in the last fifty years. In this iteration, we will be focusing on Samuel Beckett’s oeuvre, which includes prose, drama (famously and notoriously, Waiting for Godot), essays, radio, and film (e.g., Film with Buster Keaton in 1964). He has been designated a modernist, a postmodernist and not Irish at all, having lived in France for most of his writing life: “exile was a condition of Being.” Beckett’s reach has been enormous: his work has been the subject of numerous critical thinkers in the last century, including Theodor Adorno and Jacques Lacan, whom we will read. We will look at his Irish contemporaries, including James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Edna O’Brien, and his outside impact on others, e.g., J.M. Coetzee, Maggie Nelson, and painters such as Jasper Johns. (Same as: ENGL 2453, GSWS 2453)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023, Spring 2021.

THTR 3201  (c)   Theater Styles  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

An advanced acting class that explores issues of style. What is Tragedy? Farce? Melodrama? Commedia? Realism? The Absurd? Through research, analysis, and scene work in class, students become familiar with a range of theatrical idioms. Emphasis is placed on understanding the social/cultural needs that give rise to a particular style, and the way in which style is used in contemporary theater to support or subvert a text.

Prerequisites: Two of: THTR 1100 - 1999 and THTR 1000 or higher or DANC 1000 or higher.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2021.

THTR 3202  (c, VPA)   Comedy in Performance  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Looks at several facets of comedy on stage, from its origins in Greek and Roman theater to contemporary comic forms. Theory is combined with practical exercises in clowning, satire, physical comedy, wit, timing, phrasing, and partner work to develop a comic vocabulary for interpreting both scripted and original work. Students work in solos, duets, and groups to create final performance projects that are presented to the public at the end of the semester.

Prerequisites: Two of: THTR 1100 - 1999 and THTR 1000 or higher or DANC 1000 or higher.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Fall 2020.

THTR 3204  (c)   Advanced Acting: Shakespeare and Poetic Text  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

An advanced level acting course dedicated to the analysis and performance of heightened text. Beginning with Shakespeare, students will build on the skill sets learned in Acting I and both sections of Acting II, combining advanced text and rhetorical analysis with rigorous physical and vocal work designed to bring the text off the page and into layered, nuanced performance. Study and practice will also include text analysis and scene-study from texts and writers renowned for their poetic and innovative use of language in performance texts, e.g., Sarah Kane, Ntozake Shange, and Suzan Lori-Parks.

Prerequisites: Two of: THTR 1201 and THTR 2201 - 2202.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2023.

THTR 3401  (c, VPA)   Ensemble Devising: The Art of Collaborative Creation  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Experienced student actors, dancers, and musicians collaborate to devise an original performance event. Examines the history of collective creation and the various emphases different artists have brought to that process. Immerses students in the practice of devising, stretching from conception and research to writing, staging, and ultimately performing a finished piece. (Same as: DANC 3401)

Prerequisites: Two of: THTR 1100 - 1999 or DANC 1100 - 1999 and THTR 2000 - 2799 or DANC 2000 - 2799.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023, Spring 2021.

THTR 3404  (c, VPA)   Dancing Place: Choreographies of Belonging  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Dancing Place explores the interrelationship between body, place, and imagination to construct experimental choreographies and sound scores. Students will deepen their relationship with the Maine bioregion through site-specific practice and research: by engaging their physicality and senses and expanding their awareness and perception of the more-than-human world. They will move within (and be moved by!) a variety of sites, both on campus and off, including the Schiller Coastal Studies Center and the Cathance River Nature Preserve. They will metabolize and communicate their findings and discoveries in creative process leading to a final choreographic project and accompanying sound design. The course may include the interdisciplinary study of place through visits by local artists and organizations, and guest faculty from across the campus. This course is a Capstone course open to non-majors and minors. (Same as: DANC 3404)

Prerequisites: DANC 2204 - 2299.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2023.

THTR 3501  (c)   Performance, Race, and the Law  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

This course will examine how racial identity in the United States is coproduced through formal legal decisions (court cases and laws), popular aesthetic forms such as theater and film, and everyday public performances. Through readings, viewings, writing assignments, class presentations, and performances, students will investigate how legal rights are “performed” every day—and how social constructions of race determine which legal rights can be fully enacted and by whom. Beginning with the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 and continuing through contemporary criminal and immigration law, students will use performance theory to analyze the distinctions between the law-as-written and the law-as-performed, while also exploring the everyday performances and cultural products that have shaped understandings of racial difference at key moments in US history. The course will culminate in a student-created performance piece that reveals the intersections between performance, race, and the law.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.

THTR 3508  (c)   Performing Freedom  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

This course will explore how people in the United States—particularly those absented from centers of structural power—have used performance to imagine, interrogate, and demand freedom. Through reading, digital viewing, and writing, students will examine various ways that people have performed freedom throughout US history, including spectacular actions such as slave rebellions, Lakota Ghost Dance practices, Freedom Rides, the occupation of Alcatraz, and the Stonewall Rebellion. Students will also consider quieter and even hidden performances of freedom, such as work slowdowns on plantations, freedom suits, and covert resistance embedded in the WPA’s Slave Narrative Project. Students will then apply this historical understanding to analyses of contemporary liberation movements, including Indigenous water protection and Black Lives Matter. The course will culminate with a student-created online exhibit that highlights and analyzes the centrality of performance in US freedom movements.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2024, Spring 2022.

THTR 4040  (c)   Studio  

Every Spring. Enrollment limit: 12.  

An advanced performance-based studio course in which students develop an original project in their chosen performance area: e.g., acting, choreography, dance, design, directing, dramaturgy and criticism, or playwriting, among others. The course meets regularly as a group to critique, discuss, and present their work and may include guest artists and travel to attend productions in Portland and Boston, as available. Projects are presented in a festival format in late November, students are encouraged to collaborate on each other’s projects. Required for all performance arts majors; theater and dance minors and other majors may be admitted by permission of instructor. (Same as: DANC 4040)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2023, Fall 2021, Fall 2020.

THTR 4041  (c)   Studio  

Discontinued Course. Enrollment limit: 10.  .5 Credit  

An advanced performance-based studio course in which students perform an original project in their chosen performance area: e.g., acting, choreography, dance, design, directing, dramaturgy and criticism, or playwriting, among others. The course meets weekly and as needed throughout the semester to rehearse, present, and critique final projects. The course may also include guest artists and travel to attend productions in Portland and Boston, as available. This is the second half of a two-semester sequence with THTR/DANC 4040 taken in the fall. Both courses are one-half credit (0.5). Students must have completed THTR/DANC 4040 to enroll. Required for all Performance Arts majors; Theater and Dance minors and other majors may be admitted by permission of instructor.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.