Theatre 6525: History, Literature, Criticism I (Graduate Course, Fall 2018)
Theatre 6526: History, Literature, Criticism II (Graduate Course, Spring 2019)
Designed for first-year MFA actors and second-year MFA set, lighting, and costume designers, This course sequence fundamentally affirmed the interconnectedness of history, dramatic literature, and theory as well as their inseparability from theatrical practice. This was not simply a history class for actors and designers, but rather a space for theater makers (including the professor) to learn how use scholarship and pedagogy to inform their own artistic practice. Though we moved roughly chronologically, we also thought historiographically: how could we make connections between plays, cultural contexts, and critical or theoretical discourses without unilaterally declaring what works and theatrical practices were worthy of our study and consideration? Because each of us had encountered theatre history in some form before and had some understanding of what constitutes a standard Western “canon,” we used the opportunity of these classes to go deeper.
Theatre 4935: Theories and Practices of Site-Specific Performance (Spring 2018)
This course had three major movements. First, we defined site-specific, immersive, and ambulatory performance and situated them historically, placing them within traditions of both visual and performing arts. Next, we explored the breadth of contemporary performances that interrogate and utilize site, examining both performance documentation and theory. Finally, we tried our hands at creating mediated and conceptualized site performances of our own. Along the way, we utilized the writing techniques of the historians and scholars we were studying to develop our own writing methodologies towards contemporary performance.
TPP 4600: Playwriting Workshop (Fall 2018)
In this class, students interested in playwriting learned by doing. We explored dramatic structure, influential plays, and conventions of contemporary scripts, but will did so in order to question them rather than reify them. By completing four major writing assignments (a “Bakeoff” inspired by Paula Vogel, Mac Wellman, and Constance Congdon’s classic exercise, a Ten-Minute Play, and Adaptation, and a One-Act) and workshopping their material with their peers, students tried their hands in a variety of formats, styles, and conventions, developing a “toolkit” of techniques that worked for them and fueled their own individual processes. While students had the option to hear one of their final plays performed in a reading environment, the emphasis here was on process, not on product.
Theatre 4481: Dramaturgy (Spring 2015)
In addition to the standard tools of textual analysis and research, this course emphasized the practical and interpersonal skills of rehearsal room dramaturgy. Students supported a production, honed their presentation skills in lectures and talkbacks, explored international trends in contemporary playwriting, and practiced collaborating with playwrights responsibly.
Theatre 4303: Play Analysis (Fall 2015, Spring 2015-2017)
This course privileged an understanding of disparate dramatic structures, challenging students to differentiate between the patterns and efficacies of various forms in conversation, writing, and production.
Theatre 4110: History of Theatre on Stage I (Fall 2018, Fall 2019)
Theatre 4111: History of Theatre on Stage II (Spring 2019)
Beginning with Diana Taylor’s concepts in The Archive and the Repertoire, this course offered a crash course on over two millennia of performance history, beginning in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and ending at the English Restoration with stops in continental Europe, Japan, India, China, and Southeast Asia. Attention to the 19th and 20th centuries emphasized global traditions of Avant-Garde performance. In roughly chronological order, it explored plays, theoretical texts, theatre spaces, cultural artifacts, and embodied performance practices.
Theatre 2000: Introduction to Theatre for Non-Majors (Summer 2014-2017)
Designed to fulfill a university “Diversity in Western Culture” requirement, this course introduces students to a wide range of performance practices and theatre histories. The course also frames current trends and controversies in the American theatre, exposing students to the works of Katori Hall, Young Jean Lee, Qui Nguyen, and Lynn Nottage as well as site-specific performances.
Theatre 1008: Beginning Acting (Fall 2019)
Created primarily for nonmajors, this course integrated reading exercises, live performance attendance and analysis, and self-reflection and journaling with a wide range of exercises as well as physical and vocal training from different traditions. Designed with an “actor’s toolbox” approach, the course encouraged students to develop their own individual processes and culminated in performances of scenes from a diverse range of contemporary plays.