FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF THEATER STUDIES
Professors Daphne Brooks (African American Studies, Theater Studies), Vasudha Dalmia (Religious Studies), Richard Lalli (Adjunct) (Music), *Lawrence Manley (English), Donald Margulies (Adjunct) (English, Theater Studies), J. D. McClatchy (Adjunct) (English), *Charles Musser (Film Studies, American Studies, Theater Studies), *Joseph Roach (English, African American Studies, Theater Studies), *Marc Robinson (School of Drama, Theater Studies, English), Ellen Rosand (Music), *Robert Stepto (African American Studies, English, American Studies)
Associate Professors *Toni Dorfman (Adjunct) (Theater Studies), Gundula Kreuzer (Music), Joan MacIntosh (Adjunct) (Theater Studies, School of Drama), *Deb Margolin (Adjunct) (Theater Studies)
Assistant Professors Sarah Demers (Physics), William Fleming (Theater Studies, East Asian Languages & Literatures), Christopher Semk (French)
Lecturers Jessica Berson, Emily Coates, Lacina Coulibaly, Daniel Egan, Grant Herreid, Annette Jolles, Michael Korie, Dominika Laster, Elise Morrison, Nathan Roberts, Rachel Sheinkin
Senior Lectors Krystyna Illakowicz, Bárbara Safille
*Member of the Executive Committee for the program.
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.
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 and guided independent study projects. Each production seminar concentrates on study, through practice, of one aspect of work in the theater; examples are approaches to acting, directing, writing, dance, or design. Each seminar involves numerous projects that grow out of the term's work. For example, the project may be 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 major The major consists of ten term courses beyond the introductory prerequisites (THST 110, 111), one of which must be THST 210. 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 be chosen from four different periods of dramatic literature or theater history or from four different cultures. A suggested scheme might be one course in each of four of the following categories: Shakespeare, African American theater, Greek drama, melodrama, British drama, modern American drama, contemporary American drama, German drama, or other courses in dramatic literature and 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 are encouraged to choose additional courses to develop the perspectives achieved in the production and literature courses. These courses may be selected (1) as a study of material that has influenced or provided sources for a playwright or theater; (2) as a study of the historical, political, or religious context of a particular playwright, theater, or literature; (3) as a study of forms of expression contemporary with a particular theater or author, for example, courses in music, art history, architecture, or film; or (4) as a study of theoretical aspects of the theater through courses in such areas as linguistics, aesthetics, psychology, or the history of criticism.
Credit/D/Fail For the Class of 2016 and subsequent classes, courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major in Theater Studies.
Senior requirement Majors satisfy the senior 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 as a senior seminar. Senior projects may take the form of directing, designing, or writing a play, 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. Students wishing to undertake a senior project must submit a proposal before the deadline announced by the director of undergraduate studies. Each proposal is submitted to a faculty committee for approval.
Students interested in mounting a production as part of their senior project are encouraged to develop collaborative proposals among actors, writers, directors, designers, dancers, or dramaturgs. Students proposing a collaborative production project have priority for rehearsal time and production slots in the Whitney Theater Space, 53 Wall Street. Proposals for senior project productions will normally be approved only for students who have previously served as producers of other students' senior projects.
Courses in the School of Drama Undergraduates may not enroll in acting or directing courses offered by the School of Drama. Majors in Theater Studies, however, are encouraged to consider taking selected courses in design, dramaturgy, and theater management, with permission of the instructor and the registrar of the School of Drama. For a description of these courses, see the director of undergraduate studies. Meeting times and places are posted in Online Course Information.
Students enrolling in School of Drama courses should note that only four term courses given in the professional schools may be offered toward the bachelor's degree. Permission to count any School of Drama course toward the major in Theater Studies must be obtained from the director of undergraduate studies at the beginning of the term in which the course is taken. 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.
Unless otherwise specified in individual course descriptions, courses in the School of Drama are not open to the Credit/D/Fail option.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
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, each from a different period or culture as specified (1 with reading in lit other than English)
Senior requirement Senior sem or senior project (THST 491)
Core Curriculum in Theater Studies
THST 110a and THST 111b, Survey of Theater and Drama Staff
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.
* THST 210a, Introduction to Performance Concepts Staff
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 235a / ART 235a, Dance Theater Emily Coates
A practical and theoretical survey of dance theater history. Introduction to movement vocabularies, physical techniques, and repertoire from post-1950 modern and postmodern dance theater. Open to students of all levels and majors.
* THST 303a / ENGL 336a / LITR 323a, The Opera Libretto J. D. McClatchy
A selective survey of the genre from its seventeenth-century Italian origins to the present day. The libretto's history, from opera seria to opéra comique to melodrama, featuring libretti by Hofmannsthal, W. S. Gilbert, and Auden. Emphasis on literary adaptations, from Da Ponte and Beaumarchais to Britten and Thomas Mann. Source material includes works by Shakespeare, Schiller, Hugo, Melville, and Tennessee Williams. Readings in English; musical background not required.
* THST 329b / ENGL 361b, Theater Now Marc Robinson
Study of the drama, performance, and dance theater created in the last ten years, with special attention to work produced in 2014–2015. 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.
* THST 333b / MUSI 337b, Stephen Sondheim and the American Musical Theater Tradition Daniel 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.
* THST 355a / AMST 366a / ENGL 419a, Modernism and American Theater Marc Robinson
Examination of modernist principles as they are adapted to, and tested in, American theater. Playwrights include Eugene O'Neill, Gertrude Stein, e. e. cummings, Djuna Barnes, Mae West, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Jane Bowles, and Frank O'Hara.
* THST 380b / AMST 370b, The History of Dance Emily Coates
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.
* THST 406b / AFAM 428b / AMST 335b, Dance and Black Popular Culture Constance Hill
Approaches to theorizing performance, in particular dance performance of a black diaspora. Uncovering methodologies pertinent to the discovery and analysis of dance performance, intersections of black popular culture, and concepts of the corporeal.
* THST 409b, Slavery, Freedom, and Performance from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Daphne Brooks
The radical politics and poetics of performances emerging out of slavery as well as those that speak back to the problem of slavery. Particular attention to questions of embodied subjugation and resistance, the use of conventional theatrical forms (e.g., racial melodrama, blackface minstrelsy), and avant-garde performance strategies (musical experimentalism, visual spectacle) from the nineteenth century to the present day.
* THST 411a / ENGL 390a / HUMS 169a, Art and the Stage in Britain Joseph Roach
The intersection of the fine and performing arts in London and in the British provinces and colonies, from the stage designs of Inigo Jones in the seventeenth century to those of David Hockney in the twentieth and twenty-first. Survey of major styles in stage design, theatrical portraiture, theater architecture, and ephemera. Extensive use of collections in the Yale Center for British Art.
* THST 416b / ENGL 384b / FILM 461b / LITR 364b, British Cinema Katie Trumpener
Survey of the British film tradition, emphasizing overlap with literature, drama, and art; visual modernism; documentary's role in defining national identity; "heritage" filmmaking and alternative approaches to tradition; and auteur and actors' cinema.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm; Su 6pm-10pm
* THST 426a / ENGL 429a / LITR 417a, Maps and the Western Literary Imagination Ayesha Ramachandran
The influence of mapping and changing notions of space on literary form, from the cartographic revolution of the sixteenth century to the modern spatial-digital revolution of GPS mapping. Spatial literacy in verbal and visual texts; maps in books and as books; literary uses of mapping practices; recent literary theory on the spatial turn. Works by More, Camões, Montaigne, Voltaire, Pynchon, Walcott, and Chamoiseau. Use of the map collections in Yale's Sterling Memorial and Beinecke libraries.
* THST 431b / AFAM 403b, Black Women and Popular-Music Culture Staff
Forms of musical artistry innovated by black women artists as sites of social, political, and cultural rupture, revision, and resistance. The intersecting politics of race, gender, class, and sexuality in popular-music culture considered through black women's sonic performances. Examination of voice, lyricism, embodied performance, and spectacle. Artists range from Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Eartha Kitt to Nina Simone, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, and Janelle Monáe.
* THST 435b, Greek Drama Andrew Szegedy-Maszak
Introduction to Greek drama, focusing primarily on the tragedies produced in Athens in the fifth century B.C.E. Emphasis on locating the dramas in terms of their cultural context, including mythic and epic background, Athenian history, and dramatic conventions. Tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; comedies by Aristophanes; readings from modern critical essays.
* THST 439b, Race and Gender in Performance: The Seventeenth Century to the Present Rebecca Prichard
Study of a range of contemporary and early modern plays to interrogate representations of race and gender in the early modern period and their connection to a contemporary semiotics of race and gender. Comparing texts from the classic literary canon of Western civilization with contemporary plays and other modern texts drawn from a variety of disciplines (film, music, visual art), students examine the construction of identity and subjectivities under colonial systems and capitalist modernity and explore aesthetics of resistance and change in historical and contemporary abolitionist literature and popular culture.
* THST 441b / WGSS 413b, Feminist Theater and Performance Elise Morrison
Introduction to a range of works by feminist scholars, activists, playwrights, and performers who have used theatrical performance as a means by which to critique and reimagine cultural representations of gender and sexuality. Mapping out of significant theories, debates, and performance strategies that emerged out of the feminist movement(s) of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Students research, perform, and critically engage with historical and contemporary examples of feminist performance work.
* THST 446b, Dance, Commerce, and Capital Jessica Berson
Dance as a force in the global marketplace. The use of dance to embody unspoken relationships between production and pleasure, consumption and desire. Examination of such relationships through theoretical models drawn from dance and performance studies, cultural studies, marketing, business, and consumer culture studies. How dancing bodies generate a particular performance economy that engages specific strategies of representation, substitution, and identification.
* THST 455b / FREN 322b / HUMS 163b / MUSI 474b, French Baroque Spectacle Staff
Introduction to the major critical, performance, and historiographical issues associated with French lyric spectacle in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Major plays, ballets, and operas by Molière, Corneille, Quinault, with music by Lully, Rameau, Campra, and others. Examination of historic and modern productions; use of original materials from Yale collections. Knowledge of French desirable but not required.
Playwriting, Production, and Performance
* THST 211b, Intermediate Acting Joan MacIntosh
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. HU RP
* THST 224a / MUSI 228a, Musical Theater Performance I Annette Jolles
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
* THST 226b / MUSI 229b, Musical Theater Performance II Joel Fram
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 email@example.com.
* THST 230b, Advanced Acting and Scene Study Deborah Margolin
Combination of exercises and scene study to deepen the understanding and playing of action. Admission by audition. Open to junior and senior Theater Studies majors only. May be taken more than once. Prerequisite: THST 211.
* THST 290b / ENGL 388b, Poetics of Performance Justin Sider
Introduction to the oral interpretation of poetry. The expressive principles of social communication and cultural practice as implemented by performance. Experiences of empathy, pathos, and mood; techniques of embodying, projecting, and breathing; modes of analysis, figuration, and interpretation.
* THST 300a, The Director and the Text I Toni 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.
* THST 315b, Shakespeare Acted Staff
An attempt to realize some of Shakespeare's texts through performance. Emphasis on problems of language: how to give language meaning, clarity, and form, while making it suggestive and natural, in alliance with other acting considerations. Close work with sonnets and monologues, with duologues, and finally with scenes. Admission by audition. Preference to seniors and juniors; open to nonmajors.
* THST 318b / MUSI 322b, Analyzing, Directing, and Performing Early Opera Grant Herreid
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 and directors. Prerequisites: MUSI 211 and 219. Admission by audition only. May be repeated for credit. For audition information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* THST 320a / ENGL 453a, Playwriting Donald Margulies
A seminar and workshop in writing for the stage. Readings include modern American and British plays by Pinter, Mamet, Churchill, Kushner, Williams, and Wilder. Emphasis on play structure, character, and conflict. In addition to weekly exercises, students write a one-act play.
* THST 321a, Production Seminar: Playwriting Deborah 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.
* THST 324b, Playwright-Director Laboratory Toni Dorfman
An exploration of the collaboration between the director and the playwright in the creation of new work. Particular attention to the shaping of dramatic action, structure, and characters. Short scenes are written, staged, critiqued, and revised. Prerequisites: THST 210; for directors: THST 300; for playwrights: THST 320, 321; or with permission of instructor.
* THST 327b / ENGL 468b, Advanced Playwriting Workshop Donald 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. Prerequisite: an intermediate course in playwriting or screenwriting, or with permission of the instructor.
* THST 335a / AFST 435a, West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary Lacina 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.
* THST 343a, Public Speaking Elise Morrison
Development of skills in public speaking and in critical analysis of public discourse. Key aspects of rhetoric and cultural communication; techniques for formulating and organizing persuasive arguments, engaging with an audience, and using the voice and body effectively.
* THST 376a, Digital Media in Performance Elise Morrison
Practical and theoretical innovations in contemporary theater and performance brought about by new technologies and forms of information exchange in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Exploration of how the live body on stage is reconfigured and reimagined through technological intervention. Priority to majors in Theater Studies, in Art, and in Computing and the Arts. Students must preregister during the reading period of the preceding term.
THST 382b, The Company and the Text: Portrait of a Lady Deborah Margolin
Techniques used for the creation of devised work in prominent theater companies of the twentieth century. Henry James's Portrait of a Lady used as a foundational text for exploring ensemble techniques and devising work collaboratively. Readings from and about works by the Open Theater, the Living Theater, Jerzy Grotowski's Poor Theater, Women's Experimental Theater Company, Mabou Mines, Split Britches, Wooster Group, and Elevator Repair Service. The course culminates in the creation and performance of a piece of devised theater.
* THST 383a, Actor and the Text: The Tempest Toni Dorfman
Critical and practical exploration of Shakespeare's Tempest, culminating in a public performance. Admission by audition in August. Preference to seniors.
* THST 395b / ART 389b, Postmodern Dance Emily Coates
A studio-based exploration of the epochal shift in choreographic aesthetics known as postmodern dance. The social and historical context in which postmodern dance emerged, including the reconstruction of key dances from the 1960s and 1970s; the evolution of postmodern dance aesthetics into the twenty-first century.
* THST 402a / ART 386a, Experimental Writing and Performance Dominika Laster and Emily Coates
A practical and theoretical exploration of the relationship between creative and critical writing and contemporary performance. Includes field trips to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. Admission by application with writing sample.
* THST 403b / ENGL 464b, Ovid and Plays of Transformation Sarah Ruhl
A workshop in reading and writing plays of transformation, with a focus on Ovid's influence on ancient and contemporary drama. Students write new plays inspired by Ovidian form. The course culminates in staged readings of students' plays.
THST 405a, Physical Comedy and Clown Technique Christopher 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.
* THST 412b, Libretto Writing for Musical Theater Rachel Sheinkin
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.
* THST 414a, Lyric Writing for Musical Theater Michael 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. May not be repeated for credit.
* THST 437b, Playwriting Workshop: Adaptation, Sacred Texts, and Social Justice Ronald 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.
* THST 447b / ART 387b / PLSH 447b, Objects in Performance Dominika Laster and Nathan Roberts
Examination of the meanings and functions of material objects in performance and of the performer-object relation, with attention to historical, theoretical, and practical perspectives. Focus on the work of Tadeusz Kantor, the Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer, and theater director. Development of a devised theatrical work that culminates in a public performance. Admission by interview or audition.
* THST 471a and THST 472b, Directed Independent Study Dominika Laster
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 Studies Dominika Laster and Nathan Roberts
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.