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Course Offerings

Fall 2014

AMS 381/GSS 379/THR 383/LAO 381History of American Popular Entertainments(LA)This course investigates the history of popular entertainments in the United States from the colonial era to the present. Moving briskly among some of the myriad sites, sounds and spectacles that have captivated diverse American audiences, this course tracks how entertainment genres, venues, personalities and phenomena have shaped U.S. culture in enduring and significant ways. This course examines how U.S. entertainment--as simultaneously industrial operation and cultural production--has mapped routes of social encounter, mobility and resistance, while also serving as a platform for individual expression and imaginative escape.Ronny RegevBrian E. Herrera
ATL 499/THR 499Princeton Atelier: Pay Attention: The Art of Here and Now(LA)In a world where technology shapes the way we think, it is hard to free ourselves from it. How are we changing to accommodate the open faucet of information? How has our ability to pay attention transformed? Marianne Weems, director of NYC-based Builders Association ensemble will work with students to investigate the area of 'presentism'. Working in a cross-disciplinary mode, students are invited to examine their experience of the 'here and now' through readings, discussion, games, and blogging.Marianne Weems
FRE 211/THR 211French Theater Workshop(LA)L'Avant-Scène will offer students the opportunity to put their language skills in motion by discovering French theater in general and by acting in French, in particular. The course will introduce students to acting techniques while allowing them to discover the richness of the French dramatic canon. Particular emphasis will be placed on improving students' oral skills through pronunciation and diction exercises. At the end of the semester, the course will culminate in the performance of the students' work.Florent Masse
THR 201Beginning Studies in Acting: Scene Study(LA)An introduction to the craft of acting through scene study monologues and, finally, a longer scene drawn from a play, to develop a method of working on a script. Emphasis will be placed on honesty, spontaneity, and establishing a personal connection with the scene's substance.Suzanne L. AginsTracy E. Bersley
THR 205Introductory Playwriting(LA)This is a workshop in the fundamentals of writing plays. Emphasis will be on solving problems of structure, dramatic action, and character. Attention will also be given to innerlife, language, atmosphere on stage, creating living dialogue, and examining the sources to be used in writing, etc.Robert N. Sandberg
THR 300/COM 359/ENG 373/ANT 359Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies(LA)A hands-on approach to this interdisciplinary field. In addition to key readings in performance theory, we will attend theatre and concerts and sporting events, visit museums, attend community celebrations, observe people's behaviors in restaurants and on the street. We will analyze live performance, adapting techniques applied to written texts to space- and time-based events. We will also practice ethnographic methods to collect stories to adapt for performance and address the role of the participant-observer as a corollary to the scholar-artist, which requires thinking about ethics and the inherent social responsibilities of this work.Stacy E. WolfJill S. Dolan
THR 301Intermediate Studies in Acting: Scene Study II(LA)A continuation of THR 201: Guide students in ways to develop a role and to explore important texts and characters in an imaginative and honest manner.Mark S. Nelson
THR 303/AMS 330/SOC 350Ethnographic Playwriting(LA)This course delves into a collaborative, ethnographic approach to making theater. We will read, watch and discuss the work of subculture theorists, theater-makers and other artists and thinkers, all of whom use staged conversations as the basis for characters, scenes and entire works. We will hash out ethics and responsibilities for those of us who engage communities outside our own.What does it mean to take responsibility for someone else's words, write them down, and give them back? What is it like to put the words of a stranger in your mouth? Finally, we will make theatrical material using this approach for an end of semester showing.Staff
THR 304/ENG 369Christopher Durang: My Life in Art(LA)This course will focus on the lifetime achievement of one of the nation's greatest playwrights, Christopher Durang, who will be participating in the class as the inaugural Roger S. Berlind '52 Playwright-in-Residence. We'll focus on Durang's writing and rehearsal process, the writers who have meant most to him, the joys and pains of theatrical collaboration, and the perils of writing comedy with a satiric edge.Christopher DurangMichael W. Cadden
THR 308/GSS 304/LAO 308Playing Against Type(LA)This workshop course for actors, directors and scholars rehearses how to play with and against "type" in performance. The course uses scene- and monologue-study to press upon the limits of the conventions of typecasting. Course participants will experiment with cross-gender and cross-cultural casting; mask improvisation; conceptual casting; and performing across age, size, and ability. Throughout, the course engages relevant scholarly literature assessing the transformational act of taking on a role and uses in-class exercises, presentations and performances to press theory into practice (and vice versa).Brian E. Herrera
THR 334The Nature of Theatrical Reinvention(LA)This seminar explores how iconic pieces of theatre can be re-explored for modern audiences. The course will examine various aspects of how an artist can think out-of-the-box and the mechanisms the artist can use to do so. There will be discussions, theatre visits, possible access to theatre practitioners and assignments which will encourage the participant to explore their own imaginative approach to storytelling. The course is designed for performers, directors, designers but would also be of interest to dancers, writers and those interested in how theatre can be challenging and relevant.John M. Doyle
THR 335/MUS 303Development of the Multi-Skilled Performer(LA)A practical class. This is a workshop based class for those interested in multi-skilled performance and in how performance skills can illuminate new forms of theatre making. Ideally participants should have musical skills and be able to bring an instrument to work with. A lack of instrument would not preclude somebody from participating. It is helpful, but not necessary if students can read music. The course is also open to those interested in directing or other aspects of storytelling. It is also available to music students who are interested in all aspects of performance.John M. Doyle
THR 400/VIS 400Advanced Theatrical Design(LA)This course bridges the gap between students taking introductory design courses in set, costume or lighting design, and successfully designing a production on campus. The course is designed to endow students with practical skills that will enable them to actually design a production, and to support them in making technical decisions as well as in collaborating and communicating with the rest of the creative team and the technical staff. The course will combine an exploration of visual story-telling and creative collaboration with a grounding in the practical and communicative skills necessary to create the physical world of a production.Jane F. Cox
THR 411Directing Workshop(LA)Special directing assignments will be made for each student, whose work will be analyzed by the instructor and other members of the workshop. Students will be aided in their preparations by the instructor; they will also study the spectrum of responsibilities and forms of research involved in directing plays of different styles.Timothy K. Vasen
THR 451The Fall Show(LA)The Fall Show provides students with a rigorous and challenging experience of creating theater under near-professional circumstances. A professional director, design team, and stage manager, as well as two weeks of performances in the Berlind Theatre, are key components.The Fall Show involves an extensive rehearsal period and concentrated tech week,often requiring more time and focus than a typical student-produced production might. This course is repeatable once for credit. Students cast in the Fall Show, or those who take on major production roles (such as Asst. Stage Manager, Asst. Designer, or Asst. Director), will receive course credit.Tracy E. Bersley
VIS 441/CWR 441/THR 441Notes on Color(LA)This seminar will explore the idea of color through a wide range of scientific, philosophical and aesthetic theories. While the eyes of normally sighted human beings render color in roughly the same manner, our reactions and ability to "see" color vary. Far from being a fixed entity, color is a deeply personal and psychological component of human perception and art. In addition to readings, presentations, and discussions, students will be required to keep two kinds of color diaries-one using portable watercolors and another using language-to chronicle their color perceptions, as well as write a paper on an artwork they encounter on campus.James Welling

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