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.






THTR 101

 Acting for Non-Majors

Naomi  Thornton

  W       3:10 pm-5:10 pm



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



THTR 107 A

 Intro to Playwriting

Zakiyyah  Alexander

   Th    4:40 pm-7:40 pm



Cross-listed: Written Arts 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



THTR 107 B

 Intro to Playwriting

Chiori   Miyagawa

    F      1:30 pm-4:30 pm



See above.  Class size: 12



THTR 110

 The Actor & the Moment

Jean  Wagner

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm



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



THTR 209

 Scene Study

Jonathan Rosenberg

 T  Th 10:10 am-11:30 am



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



THTR 243

 Voice and Text

Lindsey  Liberatore

M         1:30 pm-4:30 pm



This course introduces actors and performers to the fundamentals of voice work and text analysis.  Students first develop their vocal apparatus by applying a range of techniques (including Fitzmaurice Voicework, Linklater, and yoga) to access greater range and variety of vocal character and to rid the body of tension and free the authentic voice.  We will learn safe warm ups and preparatory exercises that can be used in rehearsals and in private practice.  Students will be taught to approach text by seeking out dynamic phasing, operative words, and arc, creating a profound connection between body, breath, voice, and language.  While the course is primarily intended for Theater & Performance students, it may be of interest to others who which to develop their public speaking skills.  This course fulfills a Technique requirement in the Theater & Performance Program.  Class size: 15



THTR 255

 Physical Theater

Jack  Ferver

     Th             1:30 pm-4:30 pm



Cross-listed:  Dance  This course gives performers tools to find the truthful physical expression of their characters, and to build strength and mobility as they create powerful and nuanced performances.  Our work will consist of several parts: first we will slough off habitual behavior and postural “holds” through a comprehensive warm-up using aspects of Graham, Alexander, and Release Technique; once the body has been strengthened, we will use impulse-based improvisation exercises to build kinetic awareness and hone intuitive prowess; finally we will explore scene work to find a character through movement and to remain present and fully invested at each moment of a performance.  Students will be assessed on in-class exercises and participation throughout the semester, as well as frequent technical and practical assignments.  Pre-requisite: Introduction to Acting.  Class size: 16



THTR 307

 Advanced Acting

Lynn  Hawley

M         10:10 am-1:10 pm



This is a studio acting class where students will explore scenes from challenging plays of varied styles. Extensive rehearsal time outside of class is required. Pre-requisites: Intro to Acting and Scene Study, or by permission of the instructor.  Class size: 12



THTR 308

 Advanced Scene Study

Naomi  Thornton

   Th    1:30 pm-3:30 pm



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



THTR 322

 Dramaturgy in Action

Gideon Lester

  W       10:10 am-1:10 pm



Dramaturgy, the study of how plays are built, provides an invaluable toolkit for theater artists of every kind.  Unexpected creative and theatrical insights can result from the rigorous analysis of language and structure – for directors, actors, designers, or writers.  In this advanced studio course, students learn techniques for the detailed analysis of a play’s mechanics, then put their discoveries to practical use through weekly staging exercises. We will explore dramatic architecture at the macro and micro level, examining beats, scenes, acts, and entire plays, and immediately test our theories in the laboratory of the rehearsal studio.  The courses will mine dramatic texts from several genres and periods, from the Greeks and Shakespeare to Gertrude Stein and Heiner Müller, and also look at staging solutions from major contemporary directors.  Ideally students will have already taken THTR 250: Dramatic Structure, although this is not a requirement.  Class size: 12







 Power and Performance in the     Colonial Atlantic

Christian  Crouch

Miriam  Felton-Dansky

M  W    11:50 am-1:10 pm



Cross-listed: American Studies; Experimental Humanities; Historical Studies  Societies in different historical periods have habitually used performance to stage, reinforce, and re-imagine the scope of political and colonial power. The history of the theater, therefore, is inextricably connected with the history of how societies have performed conquest, colonialism, and cultural patrimony in different parts of the world. This interdisciplinary course, covering performance and power of the early modern period, will disrupt habitual assumptions about both the disciplines of theater and history. Students will read baroque plays, study their historical contexts, and experiment with staging scenes, to uncover the links between imagined and actual Atlantic expansion and the impact of colonialism, 1492-1825. Artistic forms to be examined include the English court masque, the Spanish auto sacramental, and spectacles of power and conversion staged in the colonial Americas; plays will range from Shakespeare's The Tempest to Marivaux's The Island of Slaves to allegorical works by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and more.  Class size: 30



THTR 260

 Black American playwrights

Zakiyyah Alexander

      F               10:10 am-1:10 pm



Cross-listed: American Studies  This seminar will explore the work of contemporary black/African-American playwrights who have helped to advance dramatic literature in the 21st century, but have sometimes been marginalized by mainstream American theater.  We will examine the works of noted playwrights such as Adrienne Kennedy, Kia Corthron, and Brandon Jacobs Jenkins as well as lesser known or less produced writers including Marcus Gardley, Christina Anderson, and Daniel Alexander Jones.  We will discuss the social and political context of their plays, their creative influences, dramaturgical strategies and critical reception.  Students will write papers and give research reports on design aesthetics, production history, and dramaturgy.  The course will culminate in a group project, creating proposals for production of one of these plays.   Class size: 15



THTR 336


Jean Wagner

  W       1:30 pm- 3:50 pm



Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies  In this course we will examine the complexity and diversity of contemporary theater and performance by women. We will begin with an investigation into the roots of feminist theater, and then explore contemporary practices through the lens of gender and performance theories. We will then investigate how contemporary women in theater and performance are changing, adapting and re-imagining definitions of both gender and performance through their work. Students will research contemporary writers and performers and engage with these works both creatively and critically, through presentations and papers. Students will also prepare scenes from selected plays and explore the theatrical techniques suggested by the writers. Discussions will address how theatrical and performance traditions initiated by women find expression in feminist performance practices today. Writers and performers whose works we will investigate include Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Adrienne Kennedy, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane. Performer/writers will include Lisa Kron, Karen Finley, Ann Liv Young and  Marina Abramovic, among others.  Class size: 15






THTR 241

 Performance Composition

Jack   Ferver

     F    10:10 am-1:10 pm



Cross-listed: Dance A Creative Practice course in which students develop original movement- and text-based performances, using a series of exercises to locate and deepen self-expression. The semester begins with stretch and placement techniques and core work to develop a neutral and ready body, followed by a sequence of impulse-based improvisation techniques enabling students to find authentic movement and push past their physical limitations. These improvisations will lead into original phrase work, training students to develop their own unique choreographic and performance styles.  The second half of the semester is focused on writing composition.  Students will complete timed writing exercises in class, designed to free the creative voice, and will then be given individual guidance and dramaturgical assignments, leading to the development and performance of an original text and movement score. Class size: 16



THTR 244 A

 Intro to Theater Making

Jean   Wagner

 T  Th 10:10 am-11:30 am



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



THTR 244 B

 Intro to Theater Making

Jonathan  Rosenberg

 T  Th 11:50 am-1:10 pm



See above.  Class size: 16



THTR 248


Chiori  Miyagawa

  W       1:30 pm-4:30 pm



Cross-listed: Victorian Studies; Written Arts This is a playwriting workshop in which the students will write time-traveling plays. They will explore the journeys of two 19th century journalists who raced around the world at the same time in opposite directions competing to finish first, and by this act, changed the face of journalism in the U.S. Students will write several short plays following either Nellie Bly’s route (eastward starting by steamboat) or Elizabeth Bishland’s route (westward starting by railway), and may set each scene in any time period between 1889 and the present. Through this project, students will encounter how world cultures were presented in the U.S. by the most popular media of the time--newspapers--and how this exciting and unique contest influenced later generations of writers. By choosing time periods according to cultural and sociopolitical interests in different continents, countries, and cities, students will experience imaginary travels through time. Potential settings include Folkestone, England; Boulogne, France; Brindisi, Italy; Port Said, Egypt; Aden (modern day Yemen); Penang (modern day Malaysia); Yokohama, Japan; Singapore and more. The source material will be drawn from 19th century journalistic writing, histories, and biographies.  Final project will be completing an around-the-world-journey-play that is each student’s own unique version.
Prerequisite: One creative writing class in any genre. Priorities will be given to those who have taken a playwriting class. Class size: 10



THTR 310

 Survey of Drama: solo performance

Nilaja  Sun

M         1:30 pm-4:30 pm



This course introduces solo performance through the review and discussion of several solo pieces, their unique structures and the performers such as Spalding Gray, Anna Devere Smith, John Leguizamo and Mike Daisy who created them. Through writing, theatre, and improvised exercises, students explore their own stories, those which have been woven into the fabric of their lives and craft a personalized solo piece. Pre-requisite: Intro to Acting: The Actor and the Moment.  Class size: 15



THTR 338

 World Puppetry

Amy  Trompetter

 M        10:10 am-1:10 pm



Cross-listed: Dance  The course offers an historic overview of puppetry forms from many cultures, a study of their profound engagement with social issues, and techniques for making puppet theater that is relevant in the 21st century. Students will be given guidelines and materials to make their own puppet shows and to perform in class on a bi-weekly basis. Assigned research readings and video materials introduce: Aragouz, the 12th c. Egyptian hand puppet that ridiculed the invading tyrant Mamlu; Mobarak, the Persian Shia string puppet who criticized Ottoman Sunis and survived; Punch, the hand puppet that mocked British Renaissance authorities and continues today; Mamulengo, comic wooden puppets appearing on 16th c. Brazilian sugar plantations to mitigate slave owner cruelty; and Syrian hand puppet shows mocking President Assad’s repressive regime. Other recent mask and puppetry research includes Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater and Tadeuz Kantor’s Crikot 2. The semester culminates with a group puppetry performance inspired by the Sicilian marionette tradition.  Class size: 12



THTR 405

 Junior / Senior Colloquium

Gideon Lester

  W       6:30 pm-8:00 pm



The Zócalo is the bi-weekly colloquium for the Theater & Performance Program. It is a forum in which students and faculty share news and ideas of relevance to the field and the Program, and to meet visiting artists and other guests. Several times each semester students present work-in-progress performances in the Zócalo, and receive structured feedback from their faculty and peers.  For students entering the College in or after Fall 2015 only: Moderated students in Theater & Performance are required to enroll in the course pass/fail for both semesters of their Junior and Senior years, and to pass all four semesters of the course. Students who have not moderated into Theater & Performance are also welcome to enroll. The Zócalo carries 0 credits.  Class size: 30