Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Theater (THTR)

THTR 1007  (c, FYS)   Performance and Theory in James Bond  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Introduces students to performance theory, critical analysis, and cultural studies through diverse works related to the fictional British spy character, James Bond. Considers selected Bond films, Ian Fleming’s novels, and other works related to the iconic series including parodies and spoofs (e.g., Austin Powers), advertising, and games, among others. A weekly group screening is encouraged, but students also have the opportunity to view required films individually. Writing assignments include performance and media analysis, critical reviews, and essays based on original research. (Same as: CINE 1007, ENGL 1011)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2016.

THTR 1101  (c, VPA)   Making Theater  

Every Other Fall. Enrollment limit: 25.  

An active introductory exploration of the nature of theater: how to think about it, how to look at it, how to make it. Students examine a range of theatrical ideas and conventions, see and reflect on live performance, and experience different approaches to making work. Designers, directors, performers, and scholars visit the class to broaden perspective and instigate experiments. Students work collaboratively throughout the semester to develop and perform original work.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

THTR 1151  (c, VPA)   Acting for the Camera  

Abigail Killeen.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. Enrollment limit: 26.

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)

THTR 1201  (c, VPA)   Acting I  

Davis Robinson.
Every Semester. Fall 2020. Enrollment limit: 16.

Introduces the intellectual, vocal, physical, and emotional challenge of the acting process. Students examine theatrical texts and practice the art of translating intellectual analysis into embodied performance. Fundamentals of text analysis are learned and practiced, preparing students for the more complex performance work required in all sections of Acting II.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016.

THTR 1202  (c, VPA)   Improvisation  

Davis Robinson.
Every Other Spring. Spring 2021. 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 2019, Spring 2017.

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 2019, Spring 2017.

THTR 1301  (c, VPA)   Stagecraft  

German Cardenas-Alaminos.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. 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: Fall 2019.

THTR 1302  (c, VPA)   Principles of Design  

Judy Gailen.
Every Fall. Fall 2020. 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 2019, Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016.

THTR 1303  (c, VPA)   Theatrical Design as Visual Imagination  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

This introductory theatrical design course examines storytelling in literature and dramatic text and how that translates to the visual and spatial realms in live performance. Students will first learn and practice theatrical design concepts (e.g., scenography and lighting) by analyzing elements like composition, contrast, and rhythm, synthesizing how theatrical design operates, occupies, and even disrupts performance space. Students will then examine text and practice reifying textual concepts visually through methods like drawing, collage art, or story boards. From there, students apply their new skills and knowledge critically, examining how theatrical design concepts appear not only in live performance, but also in website design, marketing, and even political protest. (Same as: DANC 1303)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020.

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

German Cardenas-Alaminos; Ireri Chavez-Barcenas.
Non-Standard Rotation. Spring 2021. 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)

THTR 1500  (c, VPA)   The Art of Performance  

Adanna Jones; Lindsay Livingston.
Every Fall. Fall 2020. Enrollment limit: 50.

What is performance? Today it seems as if nearly everything performs: from cars and computers to actors and athletes. Explores the many meanings of performance, particularly art forms such as theater, dance, and media, as well as actions and behaviors in everyday life such as political speeches, rituals, and celebrations. Explores the performing arts as “twice-behaved behavior”—that is, repeatable, embodied activities across both the performing arts and more broadly within culture. Studies what defines performance and also asks how we might use approaches to performance as interpretive lenses. Balances this focus on theory with practice via performance attendance and watching films as well as attending nontheatrical events in order to examine them “as performance.” Finally, in order to explore performance as a distinct epistemology or “way of knowing,” students participate in movement workshops in addition to making a culminating performance. (Same as: DANC 1500)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Fall 2018, Fall 2017.

THTR 1504  (c, VPA)   Theater as Social Media  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 50.  

Introduces students to the history of theater and performance as paradoxically both a social art and form of media. The course begins with American playwright Anne Washburn's futuristic play, “Mr. Burns,” and analyzes contemporary media as forms of cultural performance. From the contemporary moment, the course then traces the effects observed in contemporary theater, dance, and media through diverse global performance histories, noting the ways in which theater and dance changed in different cultural contexts and observing the changing emphases on written texts (drama) and performance techniques, including changes in acting, directing, and design. Does not assume any prior knowledge or experience in either theater or media studies. Students are not required to use social media as part of the course. Students have the opportunity to create original work, as well as analyzing existing material.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

THTR 1505  (c, VPA)   From Vaudeville to Hamilton: Introduction to Musical Theater  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 50.  

Among the many forms of live performance, musical theater remains one of the most popular and successful genres from the nineteenth century to today. Echoes of musical theater appear in films, popular television, and circulate extensively through social media (e.g., #ham4ham). Surveys the cultural history of musical theater from mid-nineteenth-century entertainment in vaudeville and music halls, to contemporary productions on Broadway and in London's West End. Focuses predominantly on American and European productions, while also observing how these performances change as productions travel around the world. Students read scripts, listen to cast recordings, and where possible, watch videos and films of performances. Also considers shows that move from stage to screen (e.g., Rent) and from movies to theater (e.g.," Groundhog Day, The Musical"). (Same as: DANC 1505)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

THTR 1700  (c, VPA)   Performance in Production  

Abigail Killeen.
Every Semester. Spring 2021. Enrollment limit: 50.
  .5 Credit  Credit/D/F Only.   

The collaborative performance of a full-length work with a professional director either on faculty or visiting as a guest artist. The production is produced by the Department and performed for the public. Areas of concentration include rehearsal and performance of roles as part of a fully-produced production with a creative team over approximately 120 concentrated hours through the Fall or Spring semesters. Students gain admission to Theater 1700 through audition. Rehearsals may fall outside of traditional class hours. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit. May be repeated a maximum of four times for credit, earning a maximum of two credits.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016.

THTR 1750  (c)   Technical Production  

Every Semester. Enrollment limit: 10.  .5 Credit  Credit/D/F Only.   

Exposes performance arts students to the technical production process for theater and dance performance and serves as a complementary course to Theater 1700: Performance in Production (.5 credit). Students observe and engage with several areas of production through supervised participation in one departmental production, either theater or dance. Students are introduced to all dimensions of technical production, including lighting, set, sound, media, costume design and creation, stage management, and technical direction, among others. Following this overview, students serve as production assistants for a specific production. They attend regular rehearsals and participate in the collaborative creation process. Tasks may also include dramaturgical research, assistant directing, and other support as determined to best benefit the student and their specific goals. Students are very much a part of the production team and are expected to follow professional codes of conduct within the production. The course may be taken on any show, but students in 1750 may not perform in the show associated with the course. This course requirement may be waived by students who are either already engaged in work study in the department, or the requirement can be met by students through an approved and supervised independent study (Theater or Dance 2970/4000) in an area of technical production or design. Because of the limited resources available, this course is available to majors only. Not open to students with credit for Theater 1301/Dance 1301 (Stagecraft). (Same as: DANC 1750)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018.

THTR 1806  (c)   Introduction to Drama  

Emma Maggie Solberg.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. 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 2018.

THTR 2201  (c, VPA)   Acting II: Extreme Acting - Heightened Moments  

Every Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

An intermediate acting course focused on the physical discipline, collaborative trust, and intellectual challenge of pursuing theatrical objectives within heightened emotional circumstances onstage. Students practice rigorous text analysis in charged classical and contemporary theatrical texts. They then translate their critical conclusions to effective rehearsal by learning and practicing new skills presented to a) free and connect the body and voice using traditional and experimental vocal training techniques, and b) establish and build trust through personal boundary-setting, a collaborative process made up of ensemble-focused theatrical training techniques, and dynamic rehearsal. Students then investigate character development through large, connected vocal and physical choices and practice performing charged emotional scenes without sacrificing personal integrity, artistic truth, or the theatrical text’s creative mission.

Prerequisites: THTR 1100 - 1799.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Spring 2019, Fall 2016.

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: Fall 2017.

THTR 2203  (c, VPA)   Directing  

Every Other Year. 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 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2017.

THTR 2204  (c, VPA)   Acting II: Performing Heightened Moments: Love, Language, and Stage Combat  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 18.  

Explores understandings of the vocal, physical, and intellectual demands of the acting process. Investigates character development through vocal choices and textual clues. Using heightened text (Shakespeare, Moliere, and others), considers what happens when words are not enough and scenes escalate to passion and violence. Introduction to the basics of hand-to-hand stage combat and staging of realistic and safe fight sequences. Through clear communication, simple choreography, and humor, seeks to demystify moments of show-intimacy and provide simple strategies that foster respect and respect actor boundaries. Students explore advanced scene study and how to courageously and creatively pursue actor objectives and gain confidence in their own physical performance.

Prerequisites: THTR 1201.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

THTR 2205  (c, VPA)   Musical Theater Performance  

Every Other Fall. 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 on Family Weekend 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)

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

Previous terms offered: Fall 2019.

THTR 2206  (c, VPA)   Audio Theater in Performance  

Davis Robinson.
Non-Standard Rotation. Spring 2021. 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.

THTR 2302  (c, VPA)   Advanced Design: Media  

Every Spring. Enrollment limit: 22.  

As technology has evolved so has the world of theater and dance. Advanced Design: Media offers students an in-depth look at the technology, theory, and aesthetic involved in creating highly developed projections and graphic sequences for stunning multimedia theater and dance productions. Students will learn the cutting edge 3D computer animation software Autodesk Maya and Adobe Creative Suite to design digital sets for contemporary performance. Assignments will include creating digital landscapes for specific scenes and developing short loop animations for digital prop placement. By the end of the semester students will have re-imagined and developed their original design of a play through computer generated sound and visuals. (Same as: DANC 2302, VART 2702,MUS 2302)

Prerequisites: THTR 1302 (same as DANC 1302) or VART 1000 - 1999.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

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 2018.

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 2019.

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. (Same as: DANC 2305)

Prerequisites: THTR 1302 (same as DANC 1302).

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020.

THTR 2306  (c, VPA)   Capturing the Past with Theatrical Design  

Anita Stewart.
Non-Standard Rotation. Spring 2021. Enrollment limit: 16.

Theater artists interpret history for 21st century audiences with every play they make. In this intermediate Theater class students will learn theatrical research techniques that target the Zeitgeist of an era. Students will first analyze visual representations of five decades of American history (e.g., clothes people wore, streets they walked, and social and political norms of the day). They then will apply that visual information to five representative texts, analyzing each with the goal of synthesizing the textual and the visual. Students will then create design projects using physical elements like scenery, lighting, costumes, and props to create a visual world that connotes not only time and place, but also meaning.

Prerequisites: THTR 1301 (same as DANC 1301)- 1303.

THTR 2401  (c, VPA)   Playwriting  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

A writing workshop for contemporary performance that includes introductory exercises in writing dialogue, scenes, and solo performance texts, then moves to the writing (and rewriting) of a short play. Students read plays and performance scripts, considering how writers use image, action, speech, and silence; how they structure plays and performance pieces; and how they approach character and plot.

Prerequisites: THTR 1100 - 1799.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Fall 2016.

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

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 25.  

Chekhov, Ibsen, Brecht, and Beckett are undoubtedly 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 rarely work together to benefit from the insights each approach can offer. Several plays by each, including “A Doll's House,” are co-presented. “The Seagull,” “The Good Person of Sezuan,” “Waiting for Godot,” and a few plays by more recent playwrights that one might call legacies of these foundational works (e.g., Caryl Churchill, Suzan-Lori Parks, Martin McDonagh) are considered. Plays are critically read and some are performed. (Same as: ENGL 2457)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2017.

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.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020.

THTR 2508  (c, ESD)   Performing Freedom  

Lindsay Livingston.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. Enrollment limit: 35.

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.

THTR 2510  (c, ESD, VPA)   Performing America: Identities on Stage  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 35.  

What does it mean to act (or dance) like an American? In 1840, French writer Alexis de Tocqueville argued that the characteristics of this young nation, the United States of America, and its people could be studied in its theaters. He based this on a few key observations. Theater is a social event, where people gather in groups to watch other groups of people interact. Theater is also an immediate art, performed live in front of a specific audience. Takes its start from Tocqueville's observations by looking at American performances in drama, dance, and theatrical events as reflections of changing American identities. Looks at indigenous and colonial drama, but a majority of the course focuses on drama, musical theater, and dance of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, looks at the ways in which specific performances defined what it meant to be American, as well how individual artists reshaped theater and dance to represent their own diverse identities. As part of the reading, attends to the variety of identities--racial, ethnic, gendered, classed, and religious--that emerge from and continue to define the diversity of America on stage. (Same as: ENGL 2902)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

THTR 2550  (c, ESD, VPA)   Performing Histories: Critical Engagements with Dance and Theater  

Every Other Spring. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Performance reflects the society in which it is created--and also reveals it. This course uses the lens of theater and dance to explore key moments, figures, and styles throughout history. In particular, we consider the social, cultural, and historical contexts that frame various types of performances by focusing on how theater and dance have been used to reinforce, challenge, or dismantle structures of power and privilege. Using embodiment, performance, archival research, reenactments, and digital history, students will learn to critically engage with the ways in which various historical evidence are preserved and in what contexts. In effect, students will gain a better understanding of how power dynamics shape what we know of the past. (Same as: DANC 2550)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

THTR 2813  (c, VPA)   Taking Liberties with Shakespeare  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Playwrights for the Restoration and eighteenth-century stage set about improving Shakespeare, correcting what they saw as flaws in the original plays. “King Lear” received a happy ending. “The Tempest's” Caliban got a wife. “The Merchant of Venice” became “The Jew of Venice.” Compares the Shakespearean originals to the altered versions in order to explore questions of artistic license, revision, and changing notions of comedy and tragedy. Discusses how larger changes in the theater itself, including the use of women actors, transform the Shakespearean scene. Note: This class fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2306)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

THTR 2823  (c, VPA)   English Renaissance Drama  

Aaron Kitch.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. Enrollment limit: 35.

Explores the flourishing of new forms and modes of theater making— including revenge tragedy, domestic tragedy, and city comedy—in the period following the construction of the earliest commercial theaters in London in the 1570s. Situating plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries in their historical and literary contexts, we examine the political and cultural function of the early modern stage as we analyze a range of plays from in relation to questions of gender, race, and performance history. Students will select, memorize, and perform scenes from the plays, working together in small groups over the course of the semester. Our primary focus is non-Shakespearean drama, including plays by Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and John Webster. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors. (Same as: ENGL 2200)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Fall 2017, Fall 2016.

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. (Same as: ENGL 2654, AFRS 2630)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

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 2018.

THTR 3202  (c)   Comedy in Performance  

Davis Robinson.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2020. 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.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

THTR 3205  (c)   Advanced Acting: Modern Repertoire  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 16.  

An advanced level acting course that builds on the practices developed in Acting I and Acting II. Beginning with the work of Anton Chekhov, students transform their understanding of Stanislavskian text analysis by learning and applying Active Analysis, the method created at the end of Stanislavsky’s life while he was under house arrest in Soviet Russia. Students apply Active Analysis to other seminal performance texts that transformed the field when published, e.g. Henrik Ibsen, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, August Strindberg, Maria Irene Fornes, and Caryl Churchill. Active Analysis is taught and practiced in conjunction with physical theater training methods (e.g., Michael Chekhov, Suzuki, and Viewpoints) to bring the text off the page, resulting in full performance connections between the mind, emotional life, and body in performance.

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

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020.

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

Lindsay Livingston.
Non-Standard Rotation. Spring 2021. 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: Fall 2016.

THTR 3405  (c, VPA)   Advanced Dance-Theater Company: Repertory and Performance  

Every Other Spring. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Focuses on building original dance-theater performance work, and when possible, restaging seminal works that in some way challenge or blur distinctions between theater and dance and working on repertory by guest artists. Dancers and actors will look closely at their respective practices to better understand the potential overlaps and how they might inform a shared practice. Voice, text, movement, performance states, narrative and nonnarrative forms are all potential elements to be explored in the work we make. Most of the class is studio-focused, however, in-class material is supported by readings, video and film, live performance, and writing assignments. Students will perform in the Spring Dance Concert and off campus when opportunities allow. (Same as: DANC 3405)

Prerequisites: DANC 2211 - 2212 or DANC 2221 - 2222 or DANC 2231 or DANC 2401 or THTR 2201 - 2203 or THTR 2846 or THTR 3201 or THTR 3203 - 3206 or THTR 3401 (same as DANC 3401).

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

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

Lindsay Livingston.
Every Other Year. Spring 2021. 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.

THTR 3502  (c, VPA)   Performance in the Twenty-First Century  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Examines contemporary forms such as live art, neo-cabaret, dance theater, theater of images, new circus, solo performance, site-specific theater. Hybrid by nature and rebellious in spirit, these practices reject the boundaries and conventions of traditional theater and dance. Yet for all its innovation, contemporary performance has roots deep in the twenty-first-century avant-garde. What, these days, is new about performance? Through readings, film screenings, and our own performance making, considers the genealogical roots of performance and investigates the ways twenty-first-century performance explores body, mind, technology, social justice, intercultural and transnational aesthetics, and globalism. Assignments include readings, research presentations, written responses, and short-form performance projects. (Same as: DANC 3502)

Prerequisites: Two of: either THTR 1501 - 1599 or either DANC 1501 - 1599 or THTR 2500 - 2599 or DANC 2500 - 2599 and THTR 2000 - 2969 or DANC 2000 - 2969.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2019.

THTR 3503  (c, IP, VPA)   Hispanic Theater and Performance  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 18.  

Explores the professionalization of Spanish theater, starting in Spain with the development of the three-act comedia and moving across the Atlantic within public theaters, courtyards, convent theaters, and the streets. Examines the topic of performance, considering staging, costuming, set design, the lives of actors, and adaptation in both historical and contemporary contexts. Playwrights of special focus include: Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, María de Zayas, Ana Caro, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. Taught in Spanish. (Same as: HISP 3110, LAS 3210)

Prerequisites: HISP 2409 (same as LAS 2409) or HISP 2410 (same as LAS 2410).

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

THTR 4040  (c)   Studio  

Abigail Killeen.
Every Spring. Fall 2020. 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. This is the first half of a two-semester sequence with THTR/DANC 4041 to be taken in the spring when projects are presented. Students are expected to take both semesters for the major. 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 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018.

THTR 4041  (c)   Studio  

Abigail Killeen.
Every Spring. Spring 2021. 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. (Same as: DANC 4041)

Prerequisites: THTR 4040 (same as DANC 4040).

Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Spring 2019.