Theater Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Nathan Roberts, Rm. 102, 220 York St., 432-1310;

As a branch of the humanities and as a complex cultural practice, theater claims a rich history and literature and an equally rich repertoire of embodied knowledge and theory. Theater Studies emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between practice and scholarly study. The major combines practical training with theory and history, while stressing creative critical thinking. Students are encouraged to engage intellectual and physical approaches to explore diverse cultural forms, historical traditions, and contemporary life. As the study of theater is interdisciplinary in scope and global in perspective, students are expected to take courses in cognate disciplines such as history, philosophy, anthropology, political science, film, art, literature, and foreign languages. Faculty members are affiliated with a range of departments; their diverse expertise lends breadth and depth to course offerings and enables students to devise a course of study reflective of their developing interests.

Special features of the program are the production seminars, guided independent study projects, and senior project. Each production seminar concentrates on study, through practice, of one aspect of work in the theater; examples are approaches to acting, directing, writing, dance, design, or digital media in performance. Each seminar involves numerous projects that grow out of the term's work. For example, the project may be the production of a play or several plays, adaptation or translation of existing works, or creation of original plays, performance pieces, or set design. Independent study projects give the student freedom to pursue individual and group-generated projects under the guidance of a Theater Studies faculty member. All production seminars require permission of the instructor (by application or audition). Independent study project courses are open only to majors.


The prerequisites for the major are THST 110 and THST 111.

Requirements of the Major 

The major consists of ten term courses beyond the introductory prerequisites (THST 110, 111), one of which must be THST 210, Introduction to Performance Concepts. Students are encouraged to enroll in a balanced combination of courses involving studio work and courses with literature, history, and theory content. Of the ten required term courses, four must focus on dramatic literature or theater history. At least one of the four courses should include dramatic literature originating in a language other than English. Students are urged to read plays in the original languages whenever possible. Students should choose additional courses to develop the perspectives achieved in the production and literature courses. 

Credit/D/Fail Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major in Theater Studies.

Senior Requirements 

Majors satisfy the senior project requirement in one of two ways. They may undertake a one-term senior project (THST 491) or, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies, they may take one of the dramatic literature or theater history courses, or a production seminar, as a senior seminar. Senior projects may take the form of directing, designing, writing a play or musical, performing a role, choreographing a dance piece, or writing a critical essay. Performance-oriented projects are in addition to a senior essay, which is an integral requirement of THST 491. For students interested in mounting a production as part of their senior project, collaboration with fellow seniors is strongly encouraged, and collaborative projects will be given preference in the selection process. While collaboration is an important criterion considered by the faculty, it in itself does not guarantee that a project will be selected for inclusion in the curricular season. Proposals for senior project productions will normally be approved only for students who have previously served as producers of other students' senior projects.

Students wishing to undertake a senior project must submit a proposal before the deadline announced by the DUS. This deadline typically falls before spring break of the junior year; students in the junior year will be provided with information and guidance towards the preparation of this rigorous proposal in the months leading up to the deadline. Each proposal is submitted to a faculty committee for approval.


Courses in the School of Drama Majors in Theater Studies are encouraged to consider taking selected courses in design, dramaturgy, and theater management, with permission of the instructor, the director of undergraduate studies, and the registrar of the School of Drama. Undergraduates may not, however, enroll in acting or directing courses offered by the School of Drama. Students enrolling in School of Drama courses should note that a maximum of four term courses from the professional schools may be offered toward the bachelor's degree. Students also should note that the academic calendars of the School of Drama and of Yale College differ. The School of Drama calendar should be consulted for scheduling. 


Prerequisites THST 110, 111

Number of courses 10 term courses beyond prereqs (incl senior req)

Specific course required THST 210

Distribution of courses 4 courses in dramatic lit or theater hist, 1 with reading in lit other than English

Senior requirement Senior seminar or senior project (THST 491)

Theater Studies offers courses in theater practice (acting, directing, design, dance, playwriting, musical theater performance, and digital media performance) and theater history and theory (dramatic literature, criticism, and performance theory). It involves study of performance techniques and directing methods along with exposure to various dramaturgical and critical analyses of performance texts within a range of cultural contexts. The Theater Studies major is not a conservatory training program, but rather approaches the study and practice of theater as a humanistic discipline with its own critical and theoretical language, methodology, and materials.

First-year students interested in the Theater Studies major should take THST 110 and THST 111 as introduction to dramatic literature, performance text analysis, theater history, and principles and theories of acting, design, dance, and directing. This course sequence is open to all students and is the prerequisite for most other courses in the major.

Enrollment in the Theater Studies major is open. Applications for the major, in the form of auditions for THST 210  are accepted each year at the end of the spring term from students who have successfully completed THST 110 and THST 111THST 210 is a core requirement of the Theater Studies major, and the audition process allows the department to determine the appropriate number of sections to offer in a given year. Any student who auditions for THST 210 and has completed the course's prerequisites (THST 110111) will gain admission.


Professors Christopher Bayes (Practice) (School of DramaTheater Studies), Daphne Brooks (African American Studies, American Studies, Theater Studies), James Bundy (School of Drama, Theater Studies), David Chambers (Adjunct), *Toni Dorfman (Adjunct) (Theater Studies), *Daniel Harrison (Music), Joan MacIntosh (Practice) (Theater Studies, School of Drama) *Lawrence Manley (English), *Deb Margolin (Practice) (Theater Studies), Donald Margulies (Adjunct) (English, Theater Studies), *Charles Musser (Film & Media Studies, American Studies, Theater Studies), Tavia Nyong'o (Theater Studies, American Studies), *Marc Robinson (School of Drama, Theater Studies, English), Gregory Wallace (Practice) (School of Drama, Theater Studies)

Assistant Professors Erich Bolton (Adjunct) (School of Drama, Theater Studies), Emily Coates (Adjunct) (Theater Studies, School of Drama), Elise Morrison (Theater Studies)

Lecturers Hal Brooks, Lacina Coulibaly, Daniel Egan, Grant Herreid, Iréne Hultman, Annette Jolles, Michael Korie, Bronwen MacArthur, Marsha Norman, Lynda Paul, Nathan Roberts, Renee Robinson, Brian Seibert, Shilarna Stokes

*Member of the Executive Committee for the program.

Core Curriculum in Theater Studies

THST 110a and THST 111b, Survey of Theater and DramaElise Morrison

An introduction to theater history, plays, aesthetic theories, and performance techniques. From antiquity to the Restoration period in the fall and continuing through to the present in the spring.  HU
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

* THST 210a, Introduction to Performance ConceptsStaff

A studio introduction to the basic techniques of acting, including the actor's vocabulary and performance tools. Improvisation, performance exercises, and scene work based on Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Michael Chekhov, Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, and Hagen. Admission by audition. Open to Theater Studies majors only. Required for Theater Studies majors in the year immediately following THST 110, 111.  RP

Drama and Dance: History, Theory, Literature

* THST 097a, Anatomy in MotionBronwen MacArthur

The connection between advances in human anatomy and kinesiology—the science of human movement—and dance practices from the early 1900s to the present. Study of seminal texts and practical exercises that drove the research of Frederick M. Alexander, Mabel Elsworth Todd, Barbara Clark, and Lulu Sweigard and the application of their ideas in contemporary movement practices today. Topics include the synthesis of dance and science; the reeducation of alignment, posture and balance; the use of imagery; and the unification of mind and body. No prior dance experience required. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.   HU
MW 9am-10:15am

* THST 098a, Composing and Performing the One Person PlayHal Brooks

First-year actors, playwrights, directors, and even students who have never considered taking a theater class, create their own work through a combination of reading, analysis, writing, and on-your-feet exercises. Students read texts and view performances that are generated by one actor in an attempt to discover the methodology that works best for their own creations. The course culminates with a midterm and final presentation created and performed by the student.  Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program. 
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 099b / FILM 045b, Dance on FilmEmily Coates

An examination of dance on film from c. 1920 to the present, including early Hollywood pictures, the rise of Bollywood, avant-garde films of the postwar period, translations of stage choreography to screen, music videos, and dance film festivals. The impact of industry, circulation and audience, aesthetic lineages, and craft in the union of the two mediums. Students develop an original short film for a final class project. No prior dance or filmmaking experience necessary. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* THST 228b / ENGL 244b / FILM 397b, Writing about the Performing ArtsMargaret Spillane

Introduction to journalistic reporting on performances as current events, with attention to writing in newspapers, magazines, and the blogosphere. The idea of the audience explored in relation to both a live act or screening and a piece of writing about such an event. Students attend screenings and live professional performances of plays, music concerts, and dance events.  WR, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* THST 236a / MUSI 185a, American Musical Theater HistoryDaniel Egan

Critical examination of relevance and context in the history of the American musical theater. Historical survey, including nonmusical trends, combined with text and musical analysis.  WR, HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 317b / ENGL 224b / LITR 349b, Tragedy and Drama of ReconciliationJan Hagens

Close reading of dramas of reconciliation from the Western canon that have traditionally been categorized as tragedies. Ways in which the recategorization of such plays lends additional complexity and meaning to their endings and allows for new interpretations of the texts, their authors, and the history of drama.  HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 326a / EAST 405a / MUSI 476a, Chinese OperaKelsey Seymour

This course introduces students to varieties of Chinese opera through plays, Chinese theories of music and acting, modern scholarship, and recorded media. Furthermore, students learn strategies to evaluate written and performed aspects of Chinese opera in a manner that can be extended to Western opera, film, and other performed genres.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 329a / ENGL 361a, Theater NowMarc Robinson

Study of the drama, performance, and dance theater created in the last ten years, with special attention to work produced in 2017-2018. Readings from both published and unpublished American and British plays, contemporary criticism and theory, interviews, and essays by the artists themselves. Video of works created by companies such as Elevator Repair Service and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. May include attendance of productions at performance spaces in and around New York City.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 333b / MUSI 377b, Stephen Sondheim and the American Musical Theater TraditionDaniel Egan

The musical theater of Stephen Sondheim, both as a popular phenomenon of the contemporary Broadway stage and in relation to models and forms employed in the past.  HURP
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 351a / GMAN 261a / LITR 243a / MUSI 376a, CabaretLynda Paul

This seminar explores cabaret as both a historical and a contemporary form of musical-literary-theatrical performance, approaching it from historical, theoretical, and practical perspectives. We read about famous historical cabarets; watch films based on cabaret; read plays, short stories and novels; listen to cabaret songs; learn about the lives of cabaret performers; and analyze the works of contemporary American cabaret artists. More broadly, we examine the values and aesthetics underpinning cabaret’s central themes as a form, and explore the music-theatrical predecessors to the manifestation of these concepts in contemporary cabaret. These thematic explorations will lead us around the world and back and forth in time. In order to put our discussions of cabaret into a wider theatrical context, we will also explore a number of other performance genres related to cabaret, including commedia dell’arte, vaudeville, burlesque, circus, and minstrelsy. Historical and theoretical discussions will be combined with creative, performance-based assignments.  HU
TTh 4pm-5:15pm

* THST 370b / PLSH 248, Polish Theater and Its Traditions

Exploration of the rebellious, defiant, and explosive nature of Polish theater, including ways in which theater has challenged, ridiculed, dissected, and disabled oppressive political power. Polish experimental and absurdist traditions that resulted from a merger of the artistic and the political; environmental and community traditions of the Reduta Theatre; Polish-American theater connections. Includes attendance at live theater events as well as meetings with Polish theater groups and actors.  HUTr

* THST 380b / AMST 370b, The History of DanceBrian Seibert

An examination of major movements in the history of concert and social dance from the late nineteenth century to the present, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater, and different cultural forms. Topics include tradition versus innovation, the influence of the African diaspora, and interculturalism. Exercises are used to illuminate analysis of the body in motion.  WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 388b / HUMS 178b, Revenge Tragedy and Moral AmbiguityToni Dorfman

A study of plays and films variously construed as revenge tragedy that raise aesthetic and ethical issues, including genre, retribution, "just wars," public vs. private justice, and the possibility of resolution. How questions of crime, punishment, and justice have been posed in drama, from classical Greece through the twentieth century.   HU
M 10:30am-12:20pm

* THST 402a / ART 386a, Experimental Writing and PerformanceEmily Coates and Elise Morrison

A practical and theoretical exploration of formal experiments in writing as means of creating and analyzing contemporary performance. The course considers a broad range of written forms, including the artist-essayist, performative writing, writing for virtual and blended reality scenarios, and ethnographic and experimental writing for performance. Guest artists and field trips to see performances augment class time. Admission is by application, with a writing sample included.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 406a / AFAM 428a, Dance and Black Popular CultureBrian Seibert

Examination of dance in black popular culture and of black dance in American popular culture, more generally, from 19th-century slave dances and blackface minstrelsy through MTV and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Course materials include primary source documents from the white and black press, theoretical and historical essays, and film.  WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 420b / AFAM 413b / AMST 448b / WGSS 415b, Samuel Delany and his WorldsTavia Nyong'o

Exploration of sex, science fiction, and the downtown scene in New York City, through the archives and writings of Samuel R. Delany. Particular attention to the intersections of music, nightlife, avant-garde performance, literature, and visual art, within the context of social movements from feminism, gay liberation, and HIV/AIDs activism.  HU
T 2:30pm-4:30pm

Playwriting, Production, and Performance

* THST 095b, The Process of New Play Development in American TheaterHal Brooks

How does a play move from concept to page to production? What are the steps involved along the way? What are the techniques within each phase that playwrights, directors, and actors utilize towards developing a play? This course seeks to show potential theater studies majors the practical aspects of new play development beyond the role of actor. Students are introduced to voices and stories that have recently emerged, treating the script more as a fluid blueprint rather than an unchangeable text. Students will analyze and compare various versions of a playscripts through reading, staging and discussion. Each student will explore texts through the eyes of directors, playwrights, actors, designers and dramaturgs - and will at times adopt those roles within exercises. The course will highlight the last fifteen years in American theater which has seen an unprecedented explosion of new plays, playwrights and new play development incubators. Works by playwrights Will Eno, Annie Baker, Danai Gurira, Sarah Ruhl, Branden Jennings-Jacobs and Sam Hunter will be investigated, analyzed, and explored.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 098a, Composing and Performing the One Person PlayHal Brooks

First-year actors, playwrights, directors, and even students who have never considered taking a theater class, create their own work through a combination of reading, analysis, writing, and on-your-feet exercises. Students read texts and view performances that are generated by one actor in an attempt to discover the methodology that works best for their own creations. The course culminates with a midterm and final presentation created and performed by the student.  Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program. 
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 202a, Costume Design for TheaterJessica Ford

An intensive course exploring the art and work of the costume designer in the performing arts. Students expand on the process "from page to stage," including but not limited to period research, costume drawing, production documentation, and the process of translating a design into the third dimension. Major stylistic developments in twentieth century costume are explored. Students generate a  costume design for a Shakespeare play and an entire musical or opera.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 207b / ENGL 214b, Introduction to DramaturgyLynda Paul

Introduction to the discipline of dramaturgy. Study of dramatic literature from the ancient world to the contemporary, developing the core skills of a dramaturg. Students analyze plays for structure and logic; work with a director on production of a classical text; work with a playwright on a new play; and work with an ensemble on a devised piece.  WR, HU
T 3:30pm-6:20pm

* THST 211b, Intermediate ActingHal Brooks

Continued study of acting as an art, building on performance concepts introduced in THST 210. Various approaches to the actor's task, requiring deeper understanding of conceptual issues and increasing freedom and individuality in building a character. Exercises, monologues, and scene work. Admission by audition. Prerequisite: THST 210.  HURP
MW 10:30am-12:20pm

* THST 212b, Community Engaged Theater: US Companies, Productions, and PracticesShilarna Stokes

This seminar introduces students to the contemporary art and practice of community engaged theater, which connect professional artists to people from various walks of life who have stories to tell and ideas to express, and who want to explore performance as a medium of communication. Alongside readings that introduce students to the historical, theoretical, ethical, and artistic contexts of community-engaged theater in the United States, students learn about several major companies currently producing work in this field: Theatre of the Oppressed-NYC, Cornerstone Theater Company, Roadside Theater, Sojourn Theatre, Albany Park Theatre Project, and Urban Bush Women. In addition to studying their productions and processes through readings and visual materials, students have regular opportunities to acquire "on-your-feet" practice with techniques used by these companies as well as opportunities to converse with artists in the field.  HU
TTh 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 224a / MUSI 228a, Musical Theater Performance IAndrew Gerle

The structure and meaning of traditional and contemporary musical theater repertoire. Focus on ways to "read" a work, decipher compositional cues for character and action, facilitate internalization of material, and elicit lucid interpretations. For singers, pianists, and directors. Prerequisites: MUSI 211 and 219, or with permission of instructor. Admission by audition only. May be repeated for credit. For audition information e-mail  HURP
F 1:30pm-4:30pm

* THST 226b / MUSI 229b, Musical Theater Performance IIAnnette Jolles

The collaborative process and its effect on musical theater performance. Choreography, music direction, and origination of new works. Analysis of texts, scripts, and taped or filmed performances; applications in students' own performance. May be repeated for credit. For audition information e-mail  RP
F 1:30pm-4:30pm

* THST 231a, Chekhov in PerformanceGregory Wallace

A studio-based exploration of the world of Anton Chekhov, focusing on acting technique through scene work as well as character analysis and development. Admission by audition only.  HU
T 8:25am-12:20pm

* THST 235b / ART 235b, Dance TheaterIrene Hultman Monti

A studio-based introduction to movement vocabularies, physical techniques, and choreographic repertoire from post-1950 modern and postmodern dance theater to the present. Through a historical survey of major aesthetic shifts in dance, the course focuses on building the essential skills of a dance artist: the heightened awareness of time and space, the ability to read and translate diverse choreographic ideas, and the ability to question in motion. Open to students of all levels and majors.    HU
MW 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 237b, Introduction to Scenic DesignAlan Edwards

An introduction to the theory and practice of scenic design for theater. Topics include the history of scenic design; visual storytelling and theatricality; text analysis; the relationship between the designer, the director and the text; the role of the designer within the production process; methods for communicating design concepts (such as rendering, modeling and drafting); and considerations for evaluating a given design.  RP
M 1:30pm-3:30pm

* THST 300a, The Director and the Text IToni Dorfman

Basic exercises in approaching dramatic or other literary texts from the director's perspective. Particular attention to the many roles and functions of the director in production. Rehearsal and production of workshop scenes. Open to junior and senior Theater Studies majors, and to nonmajors with permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: THST 210.  HURP
MW 10:30am-12:20pm

* THST 301b, The Director and the Text IIDavid Chambers

This is a laboratory practicum designed for theatre-makers—directors, actors, dramaturgs, designers, and writers—who wish to examine innovative strategies for contemporary theatre performance. The dramatic text has lost its formerly undisputed authority as a set of instructions for participants, and increasingly become a pretext for highly individuated artistic agendas, an object with which numerous games can be played. We look at new modes of production for re-imagined classic texts—Shakespeare, Moliere, Chekhov; the preparing and rehearsing of contemporary non-linear texts: Suzan Lori Parks, Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, Elfriede Jelinek, Caryl Churchill; the post-dramatic theatre of artists like Reza Abdoh, Heiner Muller, and Big Art Group; and finally the practice of radical devising groups like Complicite and Gob Squad, where the making of the text precedes its transcription. Prerequisite: THST 300 or permission of instructor.  HURP
F 1:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 312a, Censorship, Theater, and PerformanceShilarna Stokes

This seminar guides students in developing complex and persuasive positions concerning freedom of expression by inviting them to closely examine connections between censorship, theater, performance, and contemporary culture. Students expand their understanding of the interrelated concepts of censorship and performance by reading current theories and definitions. They study the ways censorship is enacted and resisted in plays by Ibsen, O'Neill, Bond, Churchill, and Birch and they create and perform scripts that explore strategies for counteracting the work of censoring authorities. Finally, they research and analyze examples of censored and censoring performances in contemporary culture, offering their own interpretations and suggesting paths forward.  HU
MW 4pm-5:15pm

* THST 313b, Special Projects in Theater StudiesAnnette Jolles

Adaptation or creation of an original, stage-ready script and/or score, with the expectation that the script will be staged as a Theater Studies production seminar in a subsequent semester. Course work involves all aspects of dramaturgy, production research, directed rewriting, and workshopping. By invitation, or by proposing the project in consultation with appropriate faculty and the DUS.

* THST 315a / ENGL 211a, Acting ShakespeareJames Bundy

A practicum in acting verse drama, focusing on tools to mine the printed text for given circumstances, character, objective, and action; noting the opportunities and limitations that the printed play script presents; and promoting both the expressive freedom and responsibility of the actor as an interpretive and collaborative artist in rehearsal. The course will include work on sonnets, monologues, and scenes. Admission by audition. Preference to seniors and juniors; open to nonmajors.  HURP
F 1:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 318b / MUSI 340b, Analyzing, Directing, and Performing Early OperaGrant Herreid and Toni Dorfman

Study of a seventeenth-century Venetian opera, with attention to structural analysis of text and music. Exploration of period performance practice, including rhetorical expression, musical style, gesture, dance, Italian elocution, and visual design. Production of the opera in conjunction with the Yale Baroque Opera Project. Open to all students, but designed especially for singers, instrumentalists, and directors. Admission by audition only. May be repeated for credit. For audition information e-mail  HURP
Th 4pm-6pm

* THST 319a / AFAM 313a, Embodying StoryRenee Robinson

The intersection of storytelling and movement as seen through historical case studies, cross-disciplinary inquiry, and studio practice. Drawing on eclectic source materials from different artistic disciplines, ranging from the repertory of Alvin Ailey to journalism, architectural studies, cartoon animation, and creative processes, students develop the critical, creative, and technical skills through which to tell their own stories in movement. No prior dance experience necessary.  HU
TTh 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 320a / ENGL 453a, PlaywritingDonald Margulies

A seminar and workshop on reading for craft and writing for the stage. In addition to weekly prompts and exercises, readings include modern American and British plays by Pinter, Mamet, Churchill, Kushner, Nottage, Williams, Hansberry, Hwang, Vogel, and Wilder. Emphasis on play structure, character, and conflict.  RP
T 2:30pm-5pm

* THST 321a / ENGL 477a, Production Seminar: PlaywritingDeborah Margolin

A seminar and workshop in playwriting. Emphasis on developing an individual voice. Scenes read and critiqued in class. Admission by application, with priority to Theater Studies majors. A writing sample and statement of purpose should be submitted to the instructor before the first class meeting.
MW 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 322b / ENGL 481b, Advanced PlaywritingDeborah Margolin

A seminar and workshop in advanced playwriting that furthers the development of an individual voice. Study of contemporary and classical plays to understand new and traditional forms. Students write two drafts of an original one-act play or adaptation for critique in workshop sessions. Familiarity with basic playwriting tools is assumed. Open to juniors and seniors, nonmajors as well as majors, on the basis of their work; priority to Theater Studies majors. Writing samples should be submitted to the instructor before the first class meeting. Prerequisite: THST 320 or 321, or a college seminar in playwriting, or equivalent experience.  RP
MW 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 327b / ENGL 468b, Advanced Playwriting WorkshopDonald Margulies

An intensive workshop in advanced playwriting techniques. Discussion of works by contemporary playwrights. In addition to weekly exercises, students write a full-length play. Admission by application only. Application details and forms are available at
T 2:30pm-5pm

THST 332b, Production Seminar: Electr(onic)aNathan Roberts and Elise Morrison

This production seminar focuses on the practice of adaptation as we re-view/ revisit the ancient Greek story of Electra through the digitized, networked, intersectional lens(es) of contemporary digital culture. As we work with the ensemble of student designers, writers, and performers to stage a devised, intermedia adaptation of Electra, we explore strategies of choral performance in the context of classical tragedy, cultural myth-making, and site-specificity. Our focus on adaptation serves as a means of examining the “timeless” resonance of ancient myths like Electra, as well as a means of charting our contemporary relationship to themes of patriarchy, feminist power, revenge, and the aftermath of war through explicit engagements with digital technologies of communication, commerce, entertainment, and warfare that structure our world today. The course culminates in fully staged public performances of the work in the Whitney Theater at the end of the term.  HU
TTh 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 334b, Advanced Study for Acting and Directing for Solo PerformanceDeborah Margolin

For the actor, the call to perform alone onstage happens in many different dramaturgical contexts. Solo performance is at once an old and new art form: Homer sang the Odyssey by himself; Hamlet stands alone onstage questioning his own ontology and the nature of being in general. Priests, stand-up comedians, monologuists, TED-talkers: all solo artists. These instances demand of the actor the very specific and unusual kind of presentness that characterizes solo performance. And for the director of solo performance, the challenges are also very particular: how to establish the actor’s relationship to the audience, and how to direct the audience to the actor, be it as scene partner, as confidante, as eavesdropper, as a body of concerned witnesses. This course examines all dramatic modes of aloneness onstage, all the way through from the thinking-aloud of the soliloquy, the in-medias-res monologue, the stand-up comedy routine. Text analysis is followed by the study of acting techniques in best accordance with any given text. Students have the opportunity to perform classic monologues, as well as to explore modern performance texts and comedic performance. Students are also required to take on responsibilities for directing others in focusing and shaping solo work, and therefore thinking about the way aloneness on stage signifies, in ways that are both similar and very different to traditional, multicharacter scene work.
MW 3:30pm-5:20pm

* THST 335b / AFST 435b, West African Dance: Traditional to ContemporaryLacina Coulibaly

A practical and theoretical study of the traditional dances of Africa, focusing on those of Burkina Faso and their contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on rhythm, kinesthetic form, and gestural expression. The fusion of modern European dance and traditional African dance. Admission by audition during the first class meeting.  HURP
TTh 10:30am-12:20pm

* THST 340a, Ballet NowDaniel Ulbricht

A practical investigation of seminal ballets in the repertory of New York City Ballet. Tracing a sweeping history of artistic innovation from the early twentieth century to the present, this course covers the technique and aesthetic details that constitute New York City Ballet’s style and follow the ways that these stylistic strengths are applied and transformed in the contemporary ballets of the 21st century. Repertory excerpts move through foundational works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins to ballets created in the past fifteen years by some of the most prominent ballet choreographers working today. Prior dance training required. Admission is by audition.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

THST 405b, Physical Comedy and Clown TechniqueChristopher Bayes

A practical study of physical acting and clown technique. Exercises in musicality, playful abandon, and active listening; simplicity and vulnerability through the connection of body and voice. Examination of each actor's unique relationship to the clown and the comic world. Preference to Theater Studies majors; open to nonmajors with permission of the instructor.
M 2:30pm-5:30pm

* THST 412b, Libretto Writing for Musical TheaterMarsha Norman

Practical instruction in book writing for musical theater combined with close reading of historical and contemporary examples of the genre. Weekly exercises focus on issues of craft, creativity, and collaboration.  RP
F 11:30am-1:30pm

* THST 414a, Lyric Writing for Musical TheaterMichael Korie

The craft of lyric writing in musical theater, opera, and crossover works. Both historical models and new composition used as objects of study. Analysis of song form and placement, and of lyric for character, tone, and diction. Creation of lyrics in context.  Limited enrollment. Interested students should write to for application requirements. May not be repeated for credit.  HURP
M 11:30am-1:20pm

* THST 427a / AMST 349a, Technologies of Movement ResearchEmily Coates

An interdisciplinary survey of creative and critical methods for researching human movement. Based in the motion capture studio at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, the course draws movement exercises and motion capture experiments together with literature from dance and performance studies, art, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, cognitive science, and the history of science to investigate the ways that artists and scholars conceive of human movement as a way of knowing the world. Students will develop their own projects over the course of the semester.  No prior experience in dance required.
T 10:30am-12:20pm

* THST 428b, Projection Design and TechnologyErich Bolton

An introduction to projection design and technology. Media as a storytelling tool; emerging trends in projection design technology. Engagement with and analysis of projection designs in current productions. Students create original storyboards and media based on reading and analysis of both classic and contemporary texts.
F 9:25am-11:15am

* THST 437a / ER&M 437, Playwriting Workshop behind Bars: Sacred Texts and Social JusticeRonald Jenkins

Through the study of theatrical works that have been adapted from sacred texts, the course introduces students to playwriting techniques helpful for writing their own scripts based on a socially conscious reading of sacred texts. Possible collaboration with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in adapting Dante's Divine Comedy for the stage.  HU
M 4:30pm-9:30pm

Special Projects

* THST 471a and THST 472b, Directed Independent StudyNathan Roberts

An independent study should generally conform to the standards and procedures of the senior project, THST 491, even when not undertaken by a senior. If the independent study is a performance or directing project, the adviser visits rehearsals and performances at the mutual convenience of adviser and student. The project must be accompanied by an essay of about fifteen pages, worth about half the final grade. Although the paper's requirements vary with the project and its adviser, it must be more than a rehearsal log. The paper typically engages interpretative and performance issues as revealed in other productions of the work (if they exist). The writing should be concomitant with rehearsal, to enable each to inform the other, and a draft must be presented to, and commented on by, the adviser at least a week before—not after—the final performance. The final version of the paper, incorporating adjustments and reflections, should be turned in to the adviser no later than ten days after the performance closes, and no later than the first day of the final examination period. An essay project entails substantial reading, at least four meetings with the adviser, and a paper or papers totaling at least twenty pages. A playwriting project normally requires twenty new script pages every two weeks of the term and regular meetings with the adviser. A final draft of the entire script is the culmination of the term's work. Application forms are available from the director of undergraduate studies. Juniors may use one term of these courses to prepare for their senior projects. Open to juniors and seniors. Prerequisites: THST 210 and one seminar.

* THST 491a or b, Senior Project in Theater StudiesNathan Roberts and Daniel Egan

Students must submit proposals for senior projects to the Theater Studies office by the deadline announced by the director of undergraduate studies. Attendance at weekly section meetings is required for all students undertaking production projects. Application forms are available in the Theater Studies office, 220 York St.