Skip to main content

Notice

Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Theater

COURSES

1. Introduction to Theater Studies: How Performance Happens

10F, 11X: 10A

Plays are written to be performed. Reading and analyzing them is different from reading novels or poems. Watching them performed is different from watching films or dance. Students will explore the collaborative process of the theater event through sessions with actors, directors, designers and dramaturges. We will ask: how are plays structured? how do plays become performances? how shall we look at work that is non-scripted, grounded in improvisation, ritual or the display of specific skills? how does performance participate in culture? what is theatricality? Dist: ART. Winograd and the staff.

7. First-Year Seminars in Theater

Consult special listings

10. Special Topics in Theater

10F: 10 11W: 12, 2A 11S: 10, 11 12S: 2

In 10F at 10 Human Rights and Performance (Identical to Comparative Literature 34). This course explores performance texts and theater scholarship that engage with the discourse of human rights.  The course examines various case studies of state-sanctioned violations of human rights and how theater and performance artists have responded to those violations.  In addition to a series of short response essays, each student will develop an independent research project throughout the term. Dist: ART or INT. Edmondson.

In 11W at 2A (Section 1), Acting for Musical Theater. This course will introduce student to the techniques used by actors/singers to play musical theater scenes believably, honestly and dynamically. Basic acting techniques will be taught as well as work in singing, text analysis, movement and speech. Students will begin with individual songs, then prepare, rehearse and present two-person musical scenes from Company, West Side Story, Side Show, Jane Eyre, Into the Woods, Passion, She Loves Me, The Secret Garden, Follies and others. Permission of the instructor is required. Dist: ART. Dunne.

In 11W at 12 (Section 2), Unveiling the Harem Dancer. The historical legacy of Orientalism continues to perpetuate a stereotypical image of the exotic female dancing body. We will consider the Oriental dancer as an entry point to examine contexts of the colonial encounter, global circulation, and postcolonial conditions. We will also explore issues of gender and sexuality in Arab Islamic culture and address questions about the social agency of the female dancer. Materials include theoretical texts, travel accounts, films, and performances. Dist. ART. Yessayan.

In 11W, at 10 (Section 1), Psychology of Clothing and Fashion. This course explores how we use clothes as we seek to understand ourselves, and the world around us. Clothing provides a frame of reference for interpreting abstract social processes. We will attempt to uncover the social meanings of appearances in their multifaceted contexts. Students will be challenged to think in an inclusive, integrative manner about concepts including historical meanings, cultural dynamics, issues of identity and community. Lectures, projects, critiques and field trips to the Hood Museum. Open to all classes. Dist: ART. L. Kohn.

In 11S at 11 12S: 2 (Section 2), The Tragedy and Comedy of Greece and Rome (Identical to, and described under, Classical Studies 2).

15. World Theater History I: Classical and Medieval Theater

10F, 11F: 2

This course will use a dramaturgical approach to explore manifestations of world theater during the classical and medieval periods. Specific East Asian performance traditions will also be addressed. The class will engage with key performance texts from these periods and geographical areas through a dramaturgical lens; that is, we will apply our understanding of theater history and dramatic criticism to the production process. As students conduct archival research, compile production histories, compare translations, and develop collaborative creative projects, they will become acquainted with the role of professional dramaturgs as well as the potential of dramaturgy to expand the horizons of contemporary theater practice. Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Edmondson.

16. World Theater History II:  Early Modern Theater

11S: 10A 12S: Arrange

This course will use a dramaturgical approach to explore manifestations of world theater during the early modern period (fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries). This rich period includes English Elizabethan, Jacobean/Carolinean, and Restoration theater; the Spanish Golden Age and the Spanish colonial encounter in the Americas; French neoclassicism; and the rise of the sentimental drama of the eighteenth century. The class will engage with key performance texts from these periods and geographical areas through a dramaturgical lens; that is, we will apply our understanding of theater history and dramatic criticism to the production process. As students conduct archival research, compile production histories, compare translations, and develop collaborative creative projects, they will become acquainted with the role of professional dramaturges as well as consider the potential of dramaturgy to expand the horizons of contemporary theater practice. Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Edmondson.

18. Modern Drama I (Identical to Comparative Literature 33)

10F: 2A 11F: Arrange

Major international plays of classic modernism will be set in the context of the art movement of the early 20th century. We will study the theatrical qualities of the modern theater text and the nature of the characters which govern its action in the works of Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov, Buchner and Brecht, O’Neill, Williams and Miller. The impulsive, irrational texts of Futurism, Expressionism, Dada and Surrealism will also be considered. Videotapes will accompany class lectures and discussion.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART or INT; WCult: W. Winograd.

19. Modern Drama II

11W: 10A 12W: Arrange

This course will investigate the nature of performance at the end of the 20th century. It will focus on the processes of making performance, the negotiation between traditional theater text/practice and the avant-garde, the shared concerns of performance and visual artists (happenings, performance art), and the social and/or political purposes of performance. Readings will include key critical and theoretical texts in theatre and such fields as post-modernism, gender studies, and feminist criticism. Performance work will be viewed live and/or on video.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART or INT; WCult: W. Winograd.

22. Black Theater, U.S.A. (Identical to African and African American Studies 31)

Not offered in the period from 10F through 11S

This course will examine African American playwrights, drama, and theater from 1959 to the present. Further exploration will focus on the impact of civil rights, the Black Arts movement, and cultural aesthetics on the form, style, and content of African American plays. Readings will include plays of Hansberry, Baldwin, Baraka, Kennedy, Childress, Shange, Wolfe, Wilson, Parks and others.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: CI. Colbert.

23. Topics in African Theater and Performance (Identical to African and African American Studies 54)

11W: 2A 12W: Arrange

This course introduces the student to the startling diversity of sub-Saharan African theatre performance. Through an exploration of performance traditions and plays, the course addresses the cultural and political complexities of this troubled but vibrant continent. The course is organized around a series of key issues and debates, such as the intersection of ritual and theater, the role of colonialism and imperialism, resistance to the state, gender and performance, and the theater of war. Although the performance traditions and playwrights of several countries will be touched upon in the course of the term, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda receive a strong emphasis.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: NW. Edmondson.

24. Asian Performance Traditions (Identical to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 24)

11S: 2A 12S: Arrange

This course studies the performance traditions of Asia, focusing on China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Classical forms may include Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku, Beijing opera, Sanskrit drama and wayang kulit. Attention is paid to social, religious, and aesthetic influences on these traditions and to theories on which they are based. The history and religious beliefs behind some of these theatrical practices, their training and dramatic techniques, and the way they are received today will be examined. Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: NW. Chin.

26. Movement Fundamentals I

11W, 12W: 2A

An introduction to movement for the stage, this course will animate the interplay between anatomy, movement theories and performance. Through exploration of physical techniques, improvisation and movement composition, students will experience a fundamental approach to using the body as a responsive and expressive instrument. Assignments will include readings, written work, class presentations, mid term exam and final paper.

Instructor permission required. Dist: ART. Evans.

27. Movement Fundamentals II

11S, 12S: 2A

A continuation of Theater 26, this class will explore further the relationship between efficient and expressive movement and body connectivity. Contact improvisation, conditioning, kinesiology and movement repertoire form the foundation from which class will explore individual performance. Assignments include readings, written work, class presentations and a final paper.

Prerequisites: Theater 26. Dist: ART. Evans.

28. Dance Composition

10F, 11F: 2A

An in-depth study of the principles of dance composition leading to choreographic projects. Students will receive training in both dance composition and criticism, developing the requisite tools for choreography while acquiring the vocabulary for sophisticated choreographic analysis. Reading and writing assignments on contemporary issues in dance will be the departure for student’s theoretical and creative exploration. To this end the class will concentrate on individual student choreography. Student’s class work will be performed in an informal showing at the conclusion of the term.

Prerequisites: Theater 26 and 27 or permission of the instructor. Dist: ART. Evans.

29. Dance Studies in Performance

10F, 11F: Arrange

Emphasis will be placed on advanced technical training in dance studies, development of mature rehearsal skills and achievement of individual performance goals, culminating in an annual dance concert. This course consists of two dance technique classes per week and daily rehearsals Monday through Friday. In addition, students will have the opportunity to study and work with innovative and cutting-edge guest choreographers during their residencies on campus.

One course credit is offered for three consecutive and combined terms of participation in Theater 29 and will be granted only after successful completion of all three terms of study. The course is included as part of a student’s official course load only in the first term (fall); a grade is given upon completion of the final term (spring). Up to three course credits for Theater 29 may be counted toward the Dartmouth degree.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART. Evans.

30. Acting I

10F: 10A, 2A 10W, 10S: 10A 11F: 10A, 2A 12W: 10A 12S: 10A

Basic introduction to acting technique for the stage. Designed to develop ability to play dramatic action honestly and believably, using realistic/naturalistic material as well as self-scripted autobiographical writing. Course work includes exercises and improvisations exploring awareness, relaxation, observation, the senses, voice, and physical and emotional life. Work in preparation of the monologue will be introduced. Scene work, in the second half of the term, will focus on breaking down the play, analysis, identity, motivation and action. Out-of-class assignments include required readings from acting texts and plays. Attendance at, as well as responses to, a number of stage productions scheduled during the term is required. A commitment to regular journal writing in the form of an Observation Notebook will be expected.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Do not pre-register for this course: registration is invalid without permission from the instructor. To enroll in this course you must first interview with the instructor. Interviews are conducted on the first day of classes. A sign-up sheet for interviews will be posted in Shakespeare Alley the day before classes begin. Dist: ART. Dunne, Kohn, Rice.

31. Acting II

11W: 10A 12W: 10A

Further study of acting technique for the stage. Course work includes continued exer-cises, improvisations, and naturalistic/realistic scene study. Out-of-class assignments include the reading of plays and theoretical works on acting technique; required attendance at area stage productions; analytic and critical writing assignments; scene preparation, investigations, and rehearsal; and an extensive acting journal of work done in and out of class.

Prerequisite: Theater 30 and permission of the instructor. Dist: ART. Dunne

32. Acting III

11S: 2A 12S: Arrange

An advanced scene study class that focuses on developing a process for performing non-realistic acting texts. Students will encounter plays that present unique challenges for actors in terms of language, physicality, characterization, style, content, and text analysis.

Prerequisites: Theater 30, 31 and permission of the instructor. The department recom-mends that Acting III should be taken in the term following Acting II. Dist: ART. Horton.

34. Acting for the Camera

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S

Introduction to acting technique for the camera. Designed to develop ability to play dramatic action honestly and believably, taking into consideration the presence and role of the camera. Using naturalistic contemporary film scripts, course work includes exercises and improvisations, both on and off camera, focused on relaxation, concentration, and imagination, as well as scene work focused on text analysis, motivation, action, and character development. Out-of-class assignments include readings from texts, scripts, and articles; required attendance at area film showings; analytic and critical writing assignments; scene preparation, rehearsals and location shooting. Several class exercises and assignments will be done in conjunction with film studies students enrolled in Film Studies 37: Directing for the Camera.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Permission to enroll will be given based on an interview with the instructor. Dist: ART.

36. The Speaking Voice for the Stage

11S, 12S: 2A

This course is an examination of the principles and practice of freeing the natural voice. It proceeds from the notion that “voice” and “acting” are inseparable. Although it is an introduction to the use of voice in the theater, it is in no way limited to the actor. A specific progression of exercises will be presented to facilitate freeing the body of tensions, discovering the natural breath, releasing vibrations of sound from the body, and opening the channel for sound (throat, jaw, tongue). Resonance, vocal freedom, and articulation will also be explored. Techniques for accessing emotional and psychological truth will be practiced as fundamental to the actor’s creative process. A groundwork will be laid for physical and vocal presence. Each student will be responsible for the development and practice of a vocal warm-up. A variety of speaking assignments will be made to develop confidence, presence and emotional expressivity. Text materials utilized will emerge from self-scripted autobiographical storytelling. A strong commitment to the work is necessary to explore what it means to find one’s voice.

Do not pre-register for this course: registration is invalid without permission from the instructor. To enroll in this course you must first interview with the instructor. Interviews are conducted on the first day of classes. A sign-up sheet for interviews will be posted in Shakespeare Alley the day before classes begin.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART. Rice.

40. Technical Production

10F, 11W, 11F, 12W: 10

An introduction to the technical aspects of scenic and property production, exploring traditional and modern approaches. Topics include drafting, materials and construction, stage equipment, rigging, and health and safety. Lectures and production projects.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART. Silver.

41. Stage Management

10F: 3A

An introductory course in the theories, techniques, and practices of stage managing a production from its initial stages to the conclusion of the run. Plays, musicals, opera, dance, and touring productions will be examined from the perspective of the stage manager. Working with directors, choreographers, and other members of the production team will be discussed as well as calling shows. Students will acquire practical experience through assignments on Department of Theater productions. When practical, field trips to such places as Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, or American Repertory Theatre will be arranged and will include discussions by their production stage managers.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART. Cunneen.

42. Scene Design I

11W, 12W: 2A

An introduction to the basics of scenic design through weekly projects in scale models, drawings, research, lighting and storyboards. Students will also study the collaborative process between scene designers, directors, costume and lighting designers. Suitable for students interested in theater, visual and video art, installation, film, architecture, and sculpture. Students will have the opportunity to assist student and faculty scene designers on Department of Theater productions.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART. Alexi-Meskhishvili.

43. Scene Design II

11S: 2A 12S: Arrange

Further study of the design process and the creation of visual expressions of dramatic text. Emphasis will be placed on the difference between theater, opera and ballet. Students will work with scale color models and have opportunities to design student directed department productions.

Prerequisite: Theater 42, or permission of the instructor. Dist: ART. Alexi-Meskhishvili.

44. Lighting Design I

11W: 11 12W: Arrange

An introduction to the practical and artistic elements of theatrical lighting design. The course will include topics in color theory, form, movement, composition, and the creative process. Through analyzing the script and studying light in nature, film, and art, students will prepare projects that explore the possibilities of light in the theater. Students will have the opportunity to work on Theater Department productions with faculty and student lighting designers. Lectures, discussions, design projects, and critiques.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART. Kotlowitz.

45. Composition and Design

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S

Composition and Design is a study of visual composition and how it can be used to communicate ideas in the theater. This class is designed for anyone who is interested in visual composition—as a designer, director, actor, artist or audience member. It will cover the process of taking a concept, a thought, a story, a mood, or an emotion and transforming it into a visual idea. Students will create compositions using collages and all the elements of the theater- actors, scenery, costumes, lights, and sound. Projects will explore artistic expression, communication and collaboration while examining how we perceive the visual world and how, as theater artists, we can manipulate that perception. Investigations may incorporate painting, sculpture, music, poetry, photography, film, dance and theatre. Emphasis will be placed on student projects and critiques.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART. Kotlowitz.

46. Costume Production

12S: 10

This course explores the techniques used in executing theatrical costumes. Through draping, costume construction, mask making, millinery, costume props and fabric modification, the course will help the student recognize and understand the principles of creating a costume and the safe use of costume shop materials, tools and equipment. Lectures, projects, and critiques.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART. Richters.

48. Costume Design I

10F, 11F: 11

An introductory course in the appreciation of the costume design process as part of the dramatic production. Through weekly projects students will study the principles of line, texture, and color as well as the history of costume from the Renaissance through the Eighteenth century. Lectures, design projects, and critiques.

Open to all classes, with instructor’s permission. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Kohn.

50. Playwriting I

10F: 3A 11S, 11F, 12S: Arrange

The aim of the course is for each student to write the best one-act play he or she is capable of writing. It is open to students both with a Theater background and those without. This class will involve a number of preliminary exercises, the preparation of a scenario, the development of the material through individual conferences, and finally the reading and discussion of the student’s work in seminar sessions.

Open to all classes. Limited enrollment. Dist: ART. Sutton.

51. Playwriting II

10S, 11S: Arrange

Permission of the instructor is required. Dist. ART. Sutton.

54. Directing

11S: 3A 12S: Arrange

An introductory course in directing for the stage. Topics include the role and function of the director in the contemporary theater; the basic tools of proscenium blocking and staging, such as composition, picturization, movement, and gesture; structural script analysis; and basic actor coaching techniques.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Prerequisites: Theater 30 and permission of the instructor. Dist: ART. Hackett.

60. Classical Performance I

11X, 12X: D.F.S.P.

This course is taught by the LAMDA faculty. Theater 60 is an intensive course in classical theater training focused on acting (including improvisation), movement (including movement theater, clown and historic dance), and voice (including singing). Texts include Shakespeare and either Jacobean or Restoration plays. This typical British conservatoire experience is designed for students interested in acting, directing, playwriting, design, stage management, dramaturgy or criticism. Offered only as a part of the Theater Foreign Study Program in London. This course is graded as credit/no credit.

Prerequisites: Theater 1 and either 15, 16, English 24 or 26 are required. In addition Theater 30, 31, and 32 are required OR Theater 50 and 51 are required OR Theater 30 and Theater 54 are required OR two of either 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, or 48 are required. Dist: ART. The staff.

61. Classical Performance II

11X, 12X: D.F.S.P.

A continuation of Classical Performance I. This course is graded credit/no credit. Dist: ART. The staff.

62. Plays in Performance—Perception and Analysis

11X, 12X: D.F.S.P.

Offered only as a part of the Theater Foreign Study Program in London, this seminar will integrate the study of theater with the experience of plays in performance. By providing intense, comparative experience of play going, the course intends to broaden students’ knowledge of the dramatic repertoire, to heighten their awareness of production approaches and values, and to encourage them to develop considered critical response to theater. Stu-dents will attend a number of required performances and in addition attend performances of their own choosing—normally a total of three plays per week. Productions will represent a variety of periods and styles of playwriting, and a similarly diverse range of production companies and approaches to performance. Weekly seminar meetings will focus on critical responses to plays and productions, with background provided by guests from the professional theater (directors, writers, performers, designers, critics). Students will maintain journals and provide brief written critiques.

Dist: ART; WCult: W. The staff.

65. Drama in Performance

11X, 12X: 2A

A class designed to investigate methods for the development of new work for the theater. Students will participate in all aspects of a main-stage production designed especially for this course. In addition, students will intern with the New York Theatre Workshop during their August residency at Dartmouth. The class will also include fieldtrips, visits by guest artists and independent work in the student’s area of concentration. There are mandatory ticket and transportation costs associated with this course.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors by permission of the instructor. Dist: ART. Horton.

80. Independent Study

All terms: Arrange

This course is designed to enable qualified upperclass students, who have completed the appropriate supporting course work, to engage in independent study in theater under the direction of a member of the Department. A student should consult with the faculty member with whom he or she wishes to work as far in advance as possible, and not later than the term immediately preceding the term in which the independent study is to be pursued.

A written proposal and the approval of the faculty member and of the Chair are required.

90. Senior Seminar

11W, 12W: Arrange

A weekly seminar, conducted as part of the Culminating Experience. Visits by guest artists and critics, discussion and development of student culminating project proposals, critiques of student work, and, where practical, trips to theaters and other locations of interest to the Seminar. Attendance in the seminar and participation in the trips is required of all senior theater majors (standard or modified). Enrollment in Theater 90: The Senior Seminar is required of all majors. May be counted as one of the five courses in theater practice.

Permission of the instructor is required. Dist: ART. Horton.

91. The Honors Thesis

10F, 11W, 11S: Arrange

An Honors project, which normally extends through two terms and receives two major credits, must include a thesis or thesis project. This course must be elected by all honors candidates. For acceptance into this course see the section on Theater Honors Program.