Teaching

Theatre History I

Students in Theatre History I perform an end of term project about medieval theatre.

Theatre History II

Students in Theatre History II perform in an end of term project about Brecht.

Gender and Theatre

Students in Gender and Theatre perform in an end of term project about the Takarazuka Revue.

Please click on each course title for more course information.

Theatre History I: Antiquity to Naturalism

This conference is a rigorous investigation into the study and practice of theatre history. It is essential for theatre artists and scholars—from designers to playwrights, from dramaturgs to actors—to have a deep understanding of the origins and developing practices of the craft and profession of theatre, and the evolving arts of playwriting and playmaking throughout history. This course provides that foundation by researching and questioning the act of making theatre from the ancient Greek period through the late 1800s, when today's dominant styles of realism and naturalism began to emerge. Read more...

Theatre History II: Naturalism to Now

Throughout this conference we will investigate the dominant theatre paradigm of the 20th century: realism, with a focus on how the century's many avant-garde theatre artists vigorously challenged it, and in the process altered our understanding of what theatre can be and do. This course is designed to help us develop an understanding of some of the more influential work of such challengers (including playwrights, directors, designers, theorists, and actors) through an examination of their work, and a look at what they were working against. This conference incorporates both theory (theatre historical and dramatic literature approaches), as well as practice (end of term performance projects). Throughout the course, we will continually inquire into the very idea of the "avant-garde(s)", especially as we see them repeatedly become mainstream. Read more...

Gender and Theatre

This five-part class examines the roles gender has played in the shaping of world theatre alongside the roles the theatre has played in the shaping of various cultural conceptions of gender. We will focus on 20th and 21st-century performance, most specifically performance from the past forty years, including various examples of cross-dressing, the notable endeavor of "re-dressing" canonical plays, the ascent of solo performance artists and trans* performance, and questions of theatre and gender raised by performers from Japan to Cuba. In the process, we will interrogate the historical, cultural and personal variability of the notion of "gender" itself. In this course, we will talk about theatre through the lens of gender, constantly asking ourselves: "What are theatre people doing with the idea of gender?" Read more...

Dramaturgy

The question "what is a dramaturg?" yields dozens of wildly different responses. Through an examination of the art, craft, and study of dramaturgy, we will attempt to build answers for this vexing question, and, even more importantly, we will seek to discover who dramaturgs are, how they work, and what they do. In this conference, we will study the large number of things that make up the art of dramaturgy: translation and adaptation, new play development, production dramaturgy, in-depth research, literary management, season selection, and artistic collaboration, among others. We will also study established dramaturgs, their writings, and how they work in the theatre. This conference will combine theoretical and practical approaches, collaborative work and individual research. Through participation in this conference, you will acquire a "toolbox" of practical and analytical skills that can be applied in various dramaturgical modes, from criticism to production. Read more...

Playwriting

This conference is an exploration of the craft and form of playwriting. In it, we will read a selection of plays from contemporary playwrights, work regularly on writing exercises, and delve into the questions "what is a play" and "why playwriting?" Our primary focus is on developing the craft of writing plays. We will focus on process in lieu of product, and hold two in-process public showcases during the term. Read more...

Advanced Playwriting

An extension of Playwriting, this course is an advanced workshop in writing for the theatre. In this conference, we will work on several larger projects over the course of the semester, culminating with staged readings of student works. We will focus on the workshop and revision processes, work with writing prompts, hold in-class readings, and study and view new plays by established playwrights. Read more...

Directing

This conference is an investigation of approaches to script analysis and directorial tools for working with actors in bringing a text from page to stage. We will explore the process of developing and implementing a production concept: its formulation through analysis, rehearsal processes, and realization in theatrical terms in performance. Lab work will be supplemented by relevant writing by influential directors. Read more...

Translation and Adaptation

How do stories work? From nuanced word choice to major plot points, how can the same play sound so different depending on the translation? Why do some stories make good stage adaptations, and others are terrible failures? How does a group of people work together to make a performance based on a non-dramatic text? This course provides advanced work for students of playwriting, directing, and dramaturgy through a deep investigation into the arts of translation and adaptation for performance. In this studio/conference, we will examine the crafts of translation and adaptation, and engage in a variety of translation exercises, utilizing our language skills and knowledge of writing for performance. We will carefully examine different translations of plays, look at contemporary practices of adaptation, and study both of these processes as artists and scholars. The second half of the class will focus on adapting non-dramatic works for performance, and will culminate in a collaborative performance project. Throughout, we will focus on questions of how language and storytelling work in stage performance, and the role of the translator/adapter in the collaborative process. Read more...

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies: Reading Theatre History

This conference is an investigation into the study and practice of theatre history. Shakespeare writes that theatre is a "mirror up to nature." Bertolt Brecht is credited with saying, "theatre is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it." In the field of theatre history, both of these assertions are true. This course asks how theatre reflects—and shapes—what happens beyond the stage. Through a deep reading of plays alongside primary documents, notably manifestos and theoretical essays, we will examine several key moments in theatre history including Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Neoclassical France, Naturalism in Scandinavia, and several key moments in the twentieth-century. This course offers a deep investigation into how today's dominant styles of theatre came to be. This study of theatre history provides a window into political, social, cultural, religious, and art histories, as well as an investigation into the many roles that go into making theatre: from playwright to performer to dramaturg to designer. This course researches and questions the act of making theatre throughout history, and helps unpack how and why we make theatre the way we do today. Through theatre history we become better theatre practitioners scholars, and artists. Through theatre, we will learn more about our world as it was, it is, and may be. Read more...

 

Class project photos by Kate Bredeson