Theatre (THE)

Scott Olinger, Jim Van Valen (Chair), Janeve West


  1. THE 115 or 216 or 310;
  2. THE 107 or 108;
  3. THE 201;
  4. THE 311;
  5. One of the following: THE 343, 344, 345, 348, 376-379;
  6. THE 346 and 347;
  7. Two credits comprised of eight participation quarter-credit courses as follows: at least one quarter-credit of THE 715; at least two quarter-credits of THE 750 (taken as early as possible); at least one quarter-credit of THE 751, 752, 753, or 754; and the remaining four quarter-credits earned at the election of the student from any of the following: THE 715, 750, 751, 752, 753, 754; and
  8. Three other full-credit courses from the Theatre Department. At least one of these three courses must be at or above the 300 level. One of the following courses may be substituted: CLA 364 (Masterpieces of Greek and Roman Theatre), ENG 240 (Theatre, Architecture, and the Arts in Great Britain), ENG 323 (Shakespeare I: Comedies and Romances), ENG 324 (Shakespeare II: Histories and Tragedies), ENG 327 (Shakespeare after Shakespeare: Performance and Cultural Criticism).

Minor: THE 115 or 216 or 310; THE 107 or 108; THE 201; THE 346 or 347; any one of the following: THE 343, 344, 345, 348, 376-379; one credit comprised of at least two different participation quarter-credit courses chosen from the following: THE 715, 750, 751, 752, 753, 754.

107. Stagecraft
Introduction to methods and materials of building theatrical scenery for production. Students are required to help build scenery for upcoming Theatre Department productions through lab work, utilizing methods learned in classroom component. Stage lighting instruction covers basic electrical theory, functions and properties of light, and hanging and focusing of various theatrical lighting fixtures. (Fine Arts) SCHNEIDER or STAFF

108. Costume Construction
Introduction to costume construction technology, including sewing, pattern reading and draping, through classroom and laboratory work. A brief survey of dress throughout history is included. Students are required to help in the construction of costumes for an upcoming Theatre Department production. (Fine Arts) KELCHEN

115. Basic Acting
Study and practice in the essentials of the art and craft of acting. Emphasis will be given to observation, ensemble work, and character development, and all will be explored through scene and monologue study, class activities and performances, and paper/presentation assignments. (Fine Arts) CLARK, HOVLAND, or VAN VALEN

160. Fundamentals of Theatre Design
Exploration of the role and process of design as it relates to theatrical production. Students complete practical exercises in scenic, costume, lighting, and sound design, and learn to critically analyze and respond to design work with the elements of design vocabulary. (FYS) OLINGER

201. Play Analysis
Study and practice of play analysis with an emphasis on exploring the potential for live performance embedded in a written text. Students will learn to employ a three-tiered approach to analyzing plays: textual/structural, dramaturgical/contextual, and creative/intuitive. Offered three out of every four years. (Fine Arts) WEST

206. Sound Design
Explores the role of the theatrical sound designer and sound engineer in the design and production process. Course includes understanding the principles and properties of sound, especially as a design element in the theatre; digital and analog recording; and editing, mixing and playback techniques. Projects focus on the challenges and difference in recording, playback, and the use of sound in theatrical settings and configurations. Recommended prerequisite: at least one Theatre production participation credit (THE 750, 751, 752, 753, or 754); THE 753 is particularly recommended. (Fine Arts) SCHNEIDER

216. Voice and Movement
Development of vocal and physical vocabularies for the stage. The class will focus on giving specificity and simplicity to the use of voice and body for theatrical expression. Through the exploration of dramatic texts (both prose and poetry), the incorporation of various techniques, and the study of basic anatomy and physiology, the course seeks to enable the actor to communicate with a greater capacity the energy, life, and limitless possibilities found in language whether spoken through the voice or expressed through movement and gesture. Prerequisite: THE 115. (Fine Arts) VAN VALEN

260 through 265. Topics in Theatre Production
Various techniques and processes explored in relation to theatre production. Recent topics have included period undergarment construction, rendering, and mask making. See Topics Courses. (Fine Arts)

266. Drafting for the Theatre
Instruction in computer-aided drafting for theatre applications. Focuses on scenic and lighting design. Course uses AutoCAD. Alternate years. OLINGER

267. Stage Make-up
Design and application of theatrical make-up in a laboratory setting. Practical considerations for performance, aiding character development through careful design, and some appliqué technique are covered. Alternate years. (Fine Arts) KELCHEN

268. Scene Painting
Instruction in the craft of painting for the stage in a laboratory setting. Focus on duplicating texture and pattern for large format viewing, faux finish techniques, and study of light and shadow. Alternate years. (Fine Arts) OLINGER

269. Drawing and Rendering for the Theatre
Studio study of rendering techniques and drawing skills useful to theatrical artists. The course combines instruction in traditional and hand methods with Adobe Photoshop and other digital platforms. Prerequisite: THE 107 or 108. Alternate years. (Fine Arts) OLINGER

270 through 279. Topics in Theatre History and Drama
Introductory studies in analysis, critical theory, and dramaturgical skills. See Topics Courses. (Humanities)

280/380. Internship: see Courses 280/380.

281. Dance Workshop
Improvisation, technique, choreography, and historical perspective for beginning dance students. Offered subject to availability of faculty. May be repeated for credit. (Fine Arts) STAFF

290/390. Individual Project: see Courses 290/390.

303. Scenic Design
Exploration of the role of the scenic designer in the design and production process. Emphasis on creating an environment for the play based on analysis of the script and utilizing elements of design - line, form, balance, composition, color, etc. Through project work, students explore the uses, problems and practical considerations of proscenium, thrust, and arena configurations. Building upon the principles learned in THE 107 and 266, students are expected to have an understanding of basic construction techniques and drafting. Prerequisites: THE 107 and sophomore standing. Alternate years (alternates with THE 304). (Fine Arts) OLINGER

304. Lighting Design
Exploration of the role of the lighting designer in the design and production process. Emphasis on employing a lighting inventory to develop mood, achieve focus, and provide visibility for theatrical productions, based on analysis of the script and the visual approach to the play. Project work focuses on the challenges and differences in designing lighting for the proscenium, thrust, and arena stages. Building upon the principles learned in THE 107 and 266, students are expected to have an understanding of basic lighting equipment and drafting. Prerequisites: THE 107 and sophomore standing. Alternate years (alternates with THE 303). (Fine Arts) OLINGER

305. Costume Design
Exploration of the role of the costume designer in the design and production process. Building upon skills learned in THE 108 and through script and character analysis, students begin to develop the visual design of clothing for a play using line, color, silhouette, texture, etc. Project work focuses on developing research and rendering skills, as well as budgeting and allocation of costume technology assets. Prerequisites: THE 108 and sophomore standing. Alternate years (alternates with THE 267). (Fine Arts) KELCHEN

310. Acting Studio
A studio course that explores certain topics in performance, methodology, scene study, and acting approaches for the advanced theatre student. Such areas of study may include: solo performance, approaches to characterization, acting methodologies, mask work, and the creation of monologue, music, and story-telling repertoires. The course will cover one topic each year and may be repeated providing that the topic is different. Prerequisite: THE 216. (Fine Arts) CLARK, HOVLAND, or VAN VALEN

311. Directing I
Theory and practice of directing with emphasis on the realistic genre. Prerequisites: THE 115, THE 201 and a declared major in Theatre. Recommended prerequisite: one-quarter credit in a Theatre participation course (THE 715, 751, 752, 753, 754); 715 is particularly recommended. WEST

312. Directing II
Advanced directing with emphasis on rehearsal and production procedures. Prerequisite: THE 311. May be taught as a tutorial. Offered upon request. WEST

316 through 320. Topics in Theatre Performance
Special topics in acting and direction. See Topics Courses. (Fine Arts)

321. Playwriting Seminar
Techniques of, and practice in, writing scenes or short plays. Prerequisites: THE 115 and writing-designated course (W). May be repeated once for credit with different instructor. (Fine Arts) STAFF

331. Advanced Acting
Advanced study of the working process of the actor in both monologues and contemporary scenes. The work includes physical and vocal technique, performance study, and audition preparation. Prerequisite: THE 216. Alternate years. (Fine Arts) CLARK or VAN VALEN

332. Advanced Scene Study
Building on the techniques learned in Basic Acting and Voice and Movement, this class will emphasize scene work and scene analysis through the use of "heightened language" texts, the study of classical plays and playwrights, and exposure to dramatic verse. All class work and exercises will focus on closely examining the text, embracing the given circumstances, playing an action, and responding to the partner through a detailed exploration of Stanislavski and An Actor Prepares. Prerequisite: THE 216. Alternate years. (Fine Arts) VAN VALEN

343. Women and Theatre: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
Examination of the historical role of women in theatre and the interrogation of gender and sexuality in contemporary theatre practice. The course has parallel tracks: a consideration of women's historical participation in the theatre as performers, writers, and directors; a critical inquiry into the ways that women have been represented in the theater from the seventeenth century to the 1990s. Prerequisite: THE 201, writing-designated course (W). Offered every third year. (Humanities) WEST

344. History of Music Theatre
Examination of the evolution of music theatre, from its beginnings in European operetta to its flowering in the Broadway theatre of the mid-twentieth century. Topics include music theatre's unique fusion of music, lyrics, and libretto, and its elaboration and development in recent decades. Prerequisite: THE 201, writing-designated course (W). Offered every third year. (Humanities) WEST

345. Twentieth Century Performance
An examination of representative works from the twentieth century that deal with ideas and formal elements that are not bound up in traditional narrative. The course explores the historical circumstances of the creation of these works and argues for an expanded understanding of theatre that encompasses all kinds of aesthetic performance. Prerequisite: THE 201, writing-designated course (W). Offered every third year. (Humanities) WEST

346. Canon Shots: Classics of Dramatic Literature and their Contexts
This course in dramatic literature surveys playtexts which have been especially influential in theatre history prior to the mid-twentieth century. Plays studied include acknowledged masterpieces from ancient Greek, early modern, Elizabethan, and Restoration comedy texts, as well as an assortment of nineteenth and early twentieth century classics. Prerequisite: THE 201, writing-designated course (W). Offered two out of every three years. (Humanities) WEST

347. Contemporary Drama
This course in contemporary playwriting focuses on selected playtexts written after the mid-twentieth century. It is intended to survey the range of contemporary dramaturgy, emphasizing plays acclaimed for their quality and influential impact on other writers. Prerequisite: THE 201, writing-designated course (W). Offered two out of every three years. (Humanities) WEST

348. Theatre and the Arts in New York City
The study of American art and culture, focusing particularly on theatrical performance, opera, and dance. Typically includes backstage tours, museum and gallery visits, and workshops with local actors, designers, and other theatre artists. Taught in New York City. Registration entails additional costs. Prerequisite: writing-designated course (W). Alternate years. (Humanities) OLINGER, VAN VALEN, or WEST

350. Advanced Theatre Production
Prerequisites: permission of the Department and appropriate coursework and/or production work to fulfill the project. Available only as a tutorial. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the Department. Offered upon request.

370 through 379. Topics in Theatre History and Drama
Studies centering on a particular nationality, period, playwright, or genre. See Topics Courses. Prerequisite: writing-designated course (W). (Humanities) HUNTER

485. Advanced Study
Advanced studies in the areas of directing, acting, design, theatre history, speech, or communications media. Prerequisite: permission of the Department. Offered upon request. May be repeated for credit.

715. The Rehearsal Process (1/4)
Participation within a semester in one major role in a full-length play or the equivalent. (Fine Arts) (CR) CLARK, HOVLANDVAN VALEN, or WEST

750. General Production Practicum (1/4)
Practical exploration of the production process in the areas of scenery and prop construction, costuming, lighting, and sound. Requires three hours per week over the course of terms one through four or five through eight. Hours are scheduled with instructor. (Fine Arts) (CR) KELCHEN or SCHNEIDER

751. Scenery and Props (1/4) (Fine Arts) (CR) OLINGER or SCHNEIDER

752. Costumes and Make-up (1/4) (Fine Arts) (CR) KELCHEN

753. Lighting and Sound (1/4) (Fine Arts) (CR) OLINGER or SCHNEIDER

754. Theatre Administration (1/4) (Fine Arts) (CR) OLINGER or WEST

964. Chicago Arts Semester: see Cornell-Approved Domestic Off-Campus Programs.