Areas of Study: The Theater and Performance Program offers courses in Context, Technique, and Creative Practice and Research, and students are required to take classes in all three areas of study. Context courses include the history of theater and performance, contemporary practice, theories of theater and performance, dramatic literature, world theater. Technique courses include skills-based classes in playwriting, directing, acting, voice, movement, dramatic structure, performance, and composition. Creative Practice and Research comprises productions, performance laboratories, master classes and specialized workshops.  All courses carry 4 credits except where otherwise indicated.

 

Moderation Requirements: The following 5 courses are required for students wishing to moderate into the Theater and Performance Program:

1. THTR 145 Introduction to Theater and Performance: Revolutions in Time and Space

2. THTR 110 Introduction to Acting: The Actor and the Moment

3. THTR 107 Introduction to Playwriting: the Theatrical Voice

4. THTR 244 Introduction to Theater Making (spring semester)

5. THTR 146 Introduction to Theater History

In addition, students participate in the creation and performance of a group-devised Moderation project.

 

 

TECHNIQUE:

 

15307

THTR  101   

 Acting for Non-Majors

Naomi Thornton

. . . Th .

3:45pm-5:45pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

2 credits    Scene preparation and beginning scene technique.  Emphasis on relaxation, breathing, and concentration.  Teaching the actor to make choices and implement them using sense memory and to integrate this work with the text.  Group and individual exercises and improvisations. Continuous work on the acting instrument stressing freedom, spontaneity, and individual attention. Materials: poems, monologues, stories, and scenes.  Reading of American plays, 1930 to present.  Class size: 12

 

15308

THTR  107   A

 Intro to Playwriting

Zakiyyah Abdul-Rahiim

. . W . .

1:30pm-4:30pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

An introductory course that focuses on discovering the writer’s voice. Through writing exercises based on dreams, visual images, poetry, social issues, found text, and music, each writer is encouraged to find his or her unique language, style, and vision.  A group project will explore the nature of collaborative works.  Students learn elements of playwriting through writing a one-act play, reading assignments, and class discussions. All students welcome, preference to Theater majors.  (No writing sample required.)   Class size: 12

 

15309

THTR  107   B

 Intro to Playwriting

Jorge Cortinas

. . . Th .

10:10am-1:10pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

See above.  Class size: 12

 

15310

THTR  110  A

INTRO TO ACTING:  The Actor & the Moment

Jean Wagner

. T . Th .

1:30pm-2:50pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

 

15846

THTR  110  B

INTRO TO ACTING:  The Actor & the Moment

Jean Wagner

. . W . F

10:10am- 11:30am

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

In this class we examine how an actor brings truth to the smallest unit of performance. The richness of the moment is created by the imaginative, physical, psychological, intellectual and emotional qualities that the actor brings to it. We explore ways to gain access to richly layered authenticity through games, improvisations, individual creations and exercises in given circumstance.  Students are given tools to transcend accepted logic, embrace risk-taking, and live fully in the present.  Class size: 16

 

15312

THTR  203   

 Directing Seminar

Jonathan Rosenberg

. T . Th .

10:10am- 11:30am

FISHER RESNICK

PART

Cross-listed: Film & Electronic Arts This class introduces students to fundamental practical and theoretical concepts in directing. The art and craft of the director involves the close analysis of texts, the conceptualizing of a production, the translation of the text into the language of the stage, and the work with collaborators including actors and designers. The exploration in this class includes exercises examining the language of the stage, analytical and practical work on texts, and an examination of the work and writings of seminal directors. There will be weekly assignments of work that will be brought in and examined in class and one longer more substantial project for the end of the semester. Class size: 10

 

15311

THTR  208   

 Intermediate Playwriting

Zakiyyah Abdul-Rahiim

. . . Th .

1:30pm-4:30pm

FISHER CONFERENCE

PART

Students will initially experiment with different forms and then focus on developing a one-act play (35-45 pages), with sections of the work-in-progress presented in class for discussions. Students will develop characters and themes most effective within the one-act format. The students will also read a wide range of dramatic literature from the twentieth century to the present day, and be exposed to diverse styles of playwriting. Prerequisite -- One of the following: Intro to Playwriting, a screenwriting workshop or a poetry workshop.  Students should email the instructor before on-line registration to express interest.

Class size: 10

 

15314

THTR  209   

 Scene Study

Lynn Hawley

M . W . .

11:50am-1:10pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

4 credits   A course intended for students who have taken one semester of Intro to Acting and would like to continue their study. The course deals with movement from a games oriented curriculum into work with theatrical texts and discovery of the processes of scene study. Class size: 12

 

15315

THTR  250   

 Dramatic Structure

Gideon Lester

. T . Th .

1:30pm-2:50pm

OLINLC 120

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Literature  In this seminar we will explore the dynamics, mechanics, and fundamental building blocks of drama, and discover how analysis of a play's structure can be indispensable and revelatory for theater artists and scholars.  We will investigate models of dramatic structure from Aristotle and the Greeks, through Shakespeare, neoclassicism, and modernism, to contemporary experimental and “post-dramatic” theatre.  We will consider plays, dramatic theories, and performances, as well as practical methods for putting structural discoveries to use in rehearsal and production.  Students will become adept at several modes of structural analysis of texts and performance events.  Assigned work includes substantial reading, a series of written exercises, and a comprehensive structural map of at least one full-length play with an accompanying written analysis and plan for production.  Class size: 16

 

15313

THTR  251   

 Commedia dell'Arte

Geoffrey Sobelle

M . . . .

1:30pm-4:30pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

This advanced acting workshop introduces students to the rudiments of Commedia Dell’Arte, a classic theatrical form based on 16th century Italian street theatre.  Fast-paced, highly physical lazzi (comedic “bits”) are rooted in the class struggles between the servants (the zanni) and their masters (the vecci.) Commedia is cut-throat comedy born of social critique.  The archetypes have present-day counterparts, but by living fully in the characters -- their passions, appetites (sexual, financial, culinary), and idiocy -- we find a humanity that transcends its history.  This is a demanding physical acting class.  Students will be expected to bring a full-throttle physicality, a high level of play and a brave sense of presence/humanity.  They will learn mask technique through structured improvisation in class.  Presentations of applied principles will be prepared outside of class to be performed/critiqued on a weekly basis.  Pre-requisite:  Introduction to Acting  Class size: 16

 

15316

THTR  308   

 Advanced Scene Study

Naomi Thornton

. . . Th .

1:30pm-3:30pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

PART

3 credits    Scene Technique with work on specific rehearsal tasks and practice of their application. Continued work on the acting instrument, understanding the actor as artist and deepening the physical, emotional, intellectual connection and availability of each actor. Advanced individual exercises, scenes, and monologues from all dramatic literature. Intended for Upper College students, others by permission. Prerequisite: Introduction to Acting.  Class size: 12

 

 

CONTEXT:

 

15317

THTR  145   

 Intro to Theater & Performance: REVOLUTIONS IN TIME & SPACE

Jean Wagner

. . W . F

10:10am- 11:30am

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

AART

This course introduces a sequence of key concepts and ideas in world theater, and should ideally be taken at the start of a student’s journey through the Theater and Performance curriculum.  We will base our discussions on primary and secondary texts and modes of performance from 2,500 years of world theater, starting with Aristotle and the Greek tragic playwrights and approaching the cutting edge of contemporary performance practice.  We will ask questions about interpretation, ephemerality, and reenactment, investigate how great artists from across the centuries have controlled our experience of theatrical time and space, and examine such topics as the representation of reality on stage, the relationship between performance and audience, and the constantly evolving interplay of theater and democracy.  Class size: 25

 

15208

THTR  310   

 Survey of Drama: the birth of tragedy, the death of tragedy

Thomas Bartscherer

M . . . .

4:40pm-7:00pm

BLUM HALL

HUM

Cross-listed: Classical Studies, Experimental Humanities, Literature, Philosophy  Two pivotal works in the history of the interpretation of tragic drama—The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche and The Death of Tragedy by George Steiner—will set the agenda for our inquiry into the origins of western theater in the dramas of classical antiquity and the fate of tragedy as an art form in the modern world. In addition to assiduous study of Nietzsche and Steiner, we shall be reading a broad selection of the tragedies these authors discuss, including plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Racine, Büchner, and Beckett. We shall also watch film adaptations of selected tragedies and, schedule permitting, attend a staged performance. The course will integrate close reading, literary and philosophical analysis, and practical scene work. All readings will be in English.   Class size: 15

 

15321

THTR  317   

 20th Century Avant Garde Performance

Miriam Felton-Dansky

M . . . .

1:30pm-3:50pm

FISHER CONFERENCE

AART

Cross-listed: Art History, Experimental Humanities, Literature  "Set fire to the library shelves!" wrote the Italian Futurists in their first manifesto of 1909. With their revolutionary politics, audience provocations, and enthusiastic embrace of the new, the Futurists inaugurated a century of avant-garde performance. This course will investigate that century, tracing the European and American theatrical avant-gardes from 1909 to 1995, including movements and artists such as Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada; John Cage, Allan Kaprow, and Happenings; utopian collectives of the 1960s; Peter Handke, Heiner Müller, the Wooster Group and Reza Abdoh. We will explore questions including: the implications of assuming the mantle of the "avant-garde"; the contested status of the dramatic text in avant-garde performance; the relationship between performance and emerging media forms; and avant-garde artists’ efforts to create radical fusions of art and life. This course will require a research paper, reading responses, and a presentation. Class size: 15

 

15595

THTR  336   

FEMALE INFERNOS:

Parks, Churchill, Jelinek

Jean Wagner

. T . . .

4:40pm-7:00pm

FISHER STUDIO NORTH

AART

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies, Literature  In this course we will examine the dramatic works of three groundbreaking and politically-engaged, contemporary women playwrights – the African-American writer Suzan-Lori Parks, England’s Caryl Churchill and Austrian playwright Elfrida Jelinek. Each possesses a distinctly singular voice. Yet as a group they have much in common, including their experimental and radical approaches to writing drama. Each is formally experimental, self-consciously theatrical and playfully inventive. In her own way, each challenges contemporary ideas of feminism and prods audiences to think about how they intersect with such concepts as race, class and capitalism. Still, the work of each is highly individual. As we investigate their similarities and differences we will ask ourselves, what common  revelations do they have the potential to illuminate? Among the plays and essays that we will investigate are Parks’ The America Play and Elements of Style, Churchill’s trailblazing play Cloud Nine and the later absurdist plays Blue Kettle/Blue Heart, and The Princess Plays by Jelinek. Assignments will include in-class presentations, a research paper or performance project accompanied by an essay, and a final project. Class size: 16

 

15322

THTR  353   

 Performing Queer

Jorge Cortinas

. . W . .

1:30pm-4:30pm

FISHER  CONFERENCE

AART/DIFF

Cross-listed: Art History, Gender & Sexuality Studies   Theater and performance artists who are interested in upending hetero-normative constructions of gender have long used a powerful array of performance strategies such as camp, cross dressing, cabaret, utopic longing, disidentification and radical re-imaginings of both private and public sex acts. This seminar will conduct close readings of critical readings grounded in feminism, post-colonialism, and queer studies, and then explore how those texts illuminate and complicate the work of artists such as Justin Bond, Split Britches, Taylor Mac, Nao Bustamante and Charles Ludlam. In addition to written and oral assignments throughout the semester, students will complete a final project that unpacks and demonstrates familiarity with these queer performance strategies. The final project may be an academic paper or a creative project. The focus and form of the final project must be approved by the instructor.   Class size: 15

 

 

CREATIVE PRACTICE & RESEARCH:

 

 

15319

THTR  244   A

 Intro to Theater Making

Geoffrey Sobelle

M . W . .

11:50am-1:10pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

This course follows “Introduction to Theater and Performance” as the second class in a sequence exploring the intellectual and creative methods of making theater. During the course of the semester all students will take turns working collaboratively as performers, directors, writers, dramaturgs and designers. The work created in this class will be presented at the end of the semester and will serve as the moderation project for students intending to major in Theater and Performance.  Class size: 16

 

15320

THTR  244   B

 Intro to Theater Making

Jonathan Rosenberg

. T . Th .

11:50am-1:10pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

See above.  Class size: 16

 

15323

THTR  321   

 SocialLY Engaged Theater-Making

Aaron Landsman

. . W . .

1:30pm-4:30pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

Cross-listed: American Studies, Anthropology, Human Rights  An advanced course in the theory and practice of socially engaged, “ethnographic” theater-making.  We will read and discuss the work of artists who use interviews and staged conversations as their basis for their performances, including Lola Arias, Ralph Lemon, and Pablo Helguera, and explore their methodologies in creating our own performances.  We will also read theorists such as Gregory Snyder, Shannon Jackson, and Jodi Rios. Assignments in and outside of class will include practice interviews with peers, as well as dialogue with members of communities beyond Bard.  We will use ethnographic techniques such as deep listening and thick description to develop original texts and performances. We will explore questions that include:  Where do we locate ethics and responsibilities when engaging communities in the making of our work? What does it mean to take someone else’s words, write them down, and give them back in performance? What can we learn from speaking the words of a stranger?  The course may be of particular interest to moderated students in Sociology, Human Rights, and Anthropology, as well as from the Arts Division. Class size: 12

 

15325

THTR  331   

 Devised Theater Lab

Gideon Lester

. . . . F

10:10am-1:10pm

FISHER RESNICK

PART

This class will explore the innovative and adventurous process of devising performance works for the stage. Through practical exercises including improvisations, composition exercises, and ensemble techniques, students will learn how to generate ideas, research, shape, organize and create new works for the stage. Students will experiment with creating work based on non-dramatic, fictional source material, both for theater spaces and site-specific locations. Theories of narrative and dramatic structure will be examined, and students will experiment with methods and techniques for applying these creatively in practice. We will examine how several contemporary artists and ensembles generate new works. Assignments will include composition and dramaturgical exercises of various lengths and levels of complexity, and active participation in collaborative creations.  Class size: 12

 

15324

THTR  345   

 Writing the Fantastic

Neil Gaiman

TBD

TBD

.

PART

Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities   2 credits  This advanced intensive reading and writing workshop explores the history of the fantastic, approaches to fantasy fiction, and the meaning of fantasy today.  We will read authors including Dunsany, Margaret Yourcenar, Kipling, Shirley Jackson, Gene Wolfe, and R. A. Lafferty, and write new fiction in response to our readings.  Students will complete a longer work of fantasy fiction by the end of the semester.  Note: The course will meet in April for 3-hour evening sessions, dates to be determined. Interested students should send a cover letter and 5 page writing sample to theaterapp@bard.edu by midnight on December 1, 2014.  The list of accepted students will be announced by December 10, 2014.  Only moderated students are eligible to apply. Class size: 12

 

15342

THTR / DAN  350   

 Junior / Senior Seminar

Leah Cox

. T . Th .

11:50am-1:10pm

FISHER CONFERENCE

 

See Dance section for description.

 

 

See also:

 

15392

HR  331   

SPACES OF RESILIENCE: Social Justice in Urban Territories

Jeanne van Heeswijk

M . . . .

2:00pm-4:20pm

OLINLC 115

AART

Cross-listed: Art History, Studio Art, Environmental & Urban Studies, Theater   Global urbanization and the resulting current economic crisis, shifting geopolitical boundaries and socio-cultural demographics have generated numerous local zones of conflict. This course will look for strategies of resilience, focusing on spatial resistance and the interplay of art and activism in the public sphere. It will explore how artists and political activists use arts-based methodologies such as performative acts of civil disobedience and creative forms of protest to work for social justice in urban territories, to challenge and transform these systems’ underlying rules. It will address the complex relationship of art and activism and the forms in which artists and activists engage with human rights struggles to seek what concepts the human rights context may provide in learning from these actions, interventions and strategies. (Jeanne van Heeswijk is the Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism for 2014-15).  Class size: 18

 

15393

HR  344   

 Urban Curating: MODES OF ACUPUNCTURE

Jeanne van Heeswijk

. T . . .

10:10am- 12:30pm

 

CCS

AART

Cross-listed: Art History, Studio Art, Environmental & Urban Studies, Theater  In a time of accelerated globalization, over-regulation, and rapid changes in our daily environments, populist images prevail and people can feel increasingly de-invested and excluded. How might people transform their own 'territory' to an environment where they can create, produce, disseminate, distribute and have access to their own cultural expressions? This course will look at how artistic and curatorial practices can re-engage and bear witness to the veiled vectors of power that shape civic space, reorganize systems of interaction, and challenge existing political, social and economic frameworks, addressing how areas of tension in contemporary society are made visible through these interventions. Through reading, workshops, and discussion, students will explore how alliances between politics and art can be imagined and tested. (Jeanne van Heeswijk is the Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism for 2014-15).  Class size: 9