Our faculty pilot new courses in preparation for adding them into the permanent curriculum. We also hire guest professionals to teach courses from their areas of expertise. Recent new and topics courses (as of Fall 2019/Spring 2020) include:
Gender and Race Theory in Performance (Fall 2019, Sarah Bellamy)
This course introduces students to debates, methods, and conceptual frameworks in race and gender, as represented in performance. It engages students in an interdisciplinary exploration of key terms–such as corporeality, embodiment, intersectionality, and performativity–that remain central to the fields of gender and sexuality, critical race theory, and performance. Through drafts and revisions of written work, critical dialogues and oral presentations in small groups, peer feedback, and analytical reading, students will engage in questions around identity formation, structural inequality, and the politics of citizenship.
Creative Non-Fiction Performance (Fall 2019, Beth Cleary)
This course proposes several varieties of contemporary creative nonfiction as templates for solo performance creation. Diary, investigative journalism, lyric essay, memoir – through these and other forms, CNF is a creative writing practice that proposes, essais, worlds for the page akin to solo works’s provisional worlds for the stage. Students will read CNF essays through questions of strategy, scene, and voice; then, they will study solo performance as embodied essay. Through this cross-genre investigation, students will be fortified in making their own creative nonfiction performance essays for the course. Performing experience helpful, but keenness is all.
Playing for Life (Spring 2020, Beth Cleary)
Games and Improvisation are methods of discovery for performers. A given text or situation offers only so much: it is the actor who must supply the offstage histories, the unimagined details, the impulses that make a character, a world, onstage. In Playing for Life, students will examine the histories, applications and purposes of many games contemporary performers play, through key texts and exercise descriptions. We will play games and use improvisation techniques developed by the great proponents of imagination training in theatre: Stanislavski, Chilton, Spolin, Boal and others. We will look at extra-theatrical applications of games, in sites like activist training, therapy training, special needs and language education, business and senior living centers. Final projects may include designing a games- or improvisation-based curriculum for a target group, and a performance. Students should be prepared for physical movement in all class periods.
Staging Adoption: Oedipus to Wicked (Beth Cleary, Spring 2020)
From Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex through the many foundlings in Shakespeare and melodrama, playwrights have staged questions about bloodlines, origins and legitimacy. Since mid-20th century Adoption Reform movements worldwide, playwrights and performers have staged dilemmas of the Adoption Triad, including donor conception, transracial/transnational adoption, search/reunion, and other urgent topics. The course material here includes plays and performance texts, as well as contextual, interdisciplinary readings from adoption studies, history and legal studies. Among final project options, students may create a new performance text that stages adoption as a site of identity, dis/identification, power and/or possibility.
Magic in Motion: Advanced Technologies of Performance (Tom Barrett, Spring 2020)
This course will undertake the process of technical design. The challenges and problems one must overcome in bringing a design to full realization. We live in a performance world greatly influenced by film and spectacle; and these influences create great technical challenges. This course will cover some foundational material science and then focus on 2-3 specific technical areas for deeper exploration.