Fall 2014 Courses
Fall 2014 courses are listed on this page for convenience. For the most accurate and up-to-date listing of course offerings, please visit the course timetable at the Office of the Registrar website:
Complete descriptions of all Theatre Arts courses, please visit:
THEATRE IN PHILADELPHIA (THAR 076.301)
FRESHMAN SEMINAR - This class is open only to the freshman class.
Instructor: Malague, R. – Tues & Thurs., 3 pm to 4:30 pm
The focus of this course will be on investigating and experiencing live theatre in Philadelphia. This semester we will have the opportunity to see numerous plays in production. We will examine the theatre experience in its entirety, considering: place and space of performance; audience; production elements such as directing, acting, and scenic design; as well as the play or performance piece itself. In addition, we will examine the state of the contemporary theatre culture of Philadelphia by looking at: the history of theatre in the city; the theatre buildings themselves; as well as the history, mission, and current state of selected theatre companies. Our readings will include: historical and theoretical context for the attending the theatre and viewing plays in production; scripts for plays we will see; and local newspaper coverage of the Philadelphia theatre scene. The course will also include tours of local theatres as well as discussions with local and visiting theatre artists.
INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE (THAR 100.601)
Instructor: Fox, D. – Tues., 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
What is theatre? For whom—and by whom—is it created and performed? What does it take to “make” theatre? What is the role of theatre in society and in our culture(s)? Why—and how—is the theatre a unique art form? This course is an “introduction” to the art of the theatre. We will learn to read plays not merely as pieces of literature, but as scripts designed for performance; live viewing of some of these plays in production will be a feature of the class. We will examine the roles of actor, director, designer, and playwright; we will look back at moments in the theatrical past—and forward to new ways of thinking about performance. This course is also an introduction to people: guest lectures will be given by members of the Theatre Arts Program faculty and by Philadelphia practitioners and scholars.
Ancient Greece to the European Enlightenment: from the Classical to the Middle Class
Ferguson TR 1:30-3 (fall 2015)
This course investigates the history of theatre practice in Europe and Asia from Fifth-Century Athens to roughly the end of the Eighteenth Century. In addition to analyzing major dramatic works, this course examines the evolution of production methods —scenography, acting, costuming, theatre architecture - across cultures and key socio-historical moments. Readings will be drawn from historical research, theoretical writings, plays and contemporary social documents. A particular focus will be on the integral role that the theatre plays as a cultural institution in the ongoing civic life of major cities. The course approaches theatre as broadly interdisciplinary and examines its intersection with religious practice, political developments, national identity, geography, the visual arts and the urban landscape.
INTRODUCTION TO ACTING (THAR.120)
Section 120-301 – Instructor: Ferguson, M. – Tues./ Thurs., 1:30 pm to 3 pm – Freshman Seminar
Section 120-302 – Instructor: Malague, R., - Tues./ Thurs., 12 noon to 1:30 pm – Freshman Seminar
Section 120-303 - Instructor: Schlatter, J. – Tues./ Thurs., 10:30 am to 12 Noon
Section 120-304 – Instructor: Doherty, S. – Friday, 2pm-5pm
Rooted in the system devised by Konstantin Stanislavsky, this course takes students step by step through the practical work an actor must do to live and behave truthfully on-stage. Beginning with relaxation and physical exercise, interactive games, and ensemble building, students then learn and put into practice basic acting techniques, including sensory work, the principles of action, objectives, given circumstances, etc. The semester culminates in the performance of a scene or scenes, most often from a modern American play. This course strongly stresses the responsibility of the actor to work and especially to one's fellow actors. Practical work is supplemented by readings from Stanislavsky and a variety of other acting theorists that may include Uta Hagen, Robert Cohen, Stella Adler, among others. Students are required to submit short essays over the course of the semester in response to the readings and in preparation for their final scene project.
INTRODUCTION TO DIRECTING (THAR 121-301)
Instructor: O’Connor, D., - 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm
The aim of this course is to provide students with a basic knowledge of directing through an introduction to the functional tools of the craft. Classes provide lectures and practical work in dealing with topics such as the function of the director, analyzing a script, visual composition, blocking, stage business, and working with actors. This course is a prerequisite for Advanced Directing.
INTRODUCTION TO LIGHT, SET AND COSTUME (THAR 130.301)
Instructors: Baratta, E. and Johnson, C. – PLEASE NOTE: This course has been moved to the Spring 2015 Semester
This course will introduce students to the traditional elements of scenic composition, including stage scenery and props, lighting, costume design. Students will gain an appreciation for the breadth of historic scenic convention as well as an understanding of the roles played by historic convention in modern stagecraft. Theatrical relationships between actor/audience/setting/text will be examined using the analysis of play scripts, theatre history, theoretical writings, illustrations and other media as a series of case studies. Emphasis will be given to an understanding of the role of design and technology in the transformational event of the theatre production, and the various contextual approaches that inform the design process, including the role of the theatre designer/technician as artist and collaborator within the framework of the production team. Project work in this course includes: design studies, research and critical writing, project presentation, and a practicum project associated with the Theatre Arts Program production schedule. See the online syllabus for more information on this class.
CONCEPTS OF LIGHTING (THAR 131.301)
Instructor: Whinnery, P. – Mon./ Weds., 2 pm to 3:30 pm
Course will meet in the Performing Arts Shop; 4100 Walnut Street.
In this course we will cover the basic concepts of the art and craft of Stage Lighting Design. As a craft we will examine mechanics and technology of lighting design including light sources, power distribution, optics, and control. As an art we will explore how lighting ties together all the visual elements of a production and helps create an appropriate atmosphere that heightens the audience's understanding and enjoyment of the play. Topics include: what light is, what it does, and how light influences our perception and understanding of what we see. Exercises will help the student learn how to see and to understand how light shapes and affects the appearance people and objects on stage and in everyday life. Projects work will emphasize design theory and practice (design methods, script analysis, and drafting skills). Lighting design has it roots in the theatre. The theatre continues to be a prime training ground for lighting designers, no matter what their field.
INTRODUCTION TO COSTUME (Thar 132-301)
Instructor: Hiibel, M., - Tues. 3 pm to 6 pm
Costume history and design provides a framework for organized study and practice in this particular facet of theatre production. This course will examine the history of costume starting with ancient Egyptian clothing, and concluding with 19th century dress. Students will develop a practical understanding of costume design for the theater by experiencing the costume design process from script analysis to presentation of a final design. They will also learn the tools and resources available for conducting costume research, and acquire a vocabulary relevant to the discussion of costume design, theory and history.
VOICE FOR THE ACTOR (THAR 170.301)
Instructor: Doherty, S. – Mon., 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm
This introductory course is designed to help the actor find new freedom and range of expression with their voice and to connect their voice to their impulse. Our focus on relaxation, sensitivity and awareness, using Fitzmaurice Voicework techniques inspired by yoga and meditation, help the student access and develop their own authentic sound. They will learn how to support their voice in a healthy way, with a view to longevity, spontaneity and flexibility of use. In this course, these kinds of vocal exercises will be applied to short, character monologues, in order to foster sensitivity to our voices and breath and to the habits and tensions we have formed around speaking in public. For an actor, reconnecting with their authentic voice is essential for an honest, connected and compelling performance. This training is also useful for anyone who wants to speak in public with confidence, sincerity and ease.
INDEPENDENT STUDY (THAR 199.000) Arranged
ACTING SHAKESPEARE (THAR 236.401)
Cross listed with Engl 236.401
Instructor: Mazer, C. – Tues./ Thurs., 12 Noon to 1:30 pm.
Prerequisites: Thar 120 or Thar 121 and Permission of the Instructor.
This course is not open to freshmen.
Through specialized readings, writing assignments, and in-class acting exercises, the class will develop methods of interpreting Shakespeare's plays through theatrical practice. Topics include: Shakespeare's use of soliloquy, two and three person scenes, the dramatic presentation of narrative source material, modes of defining and presenting the "worlds" of the plays, and the use of theatrical practice to establish authoritative text.
SEEDS OF MODERN DRAMA (THAR 275-401)
Instructor: Mazer, C. – Tues./ Thurs., 10:30 am to 12 Noon
This course examines western drama from the middle of the nineteenth century through the First World War, which aspired to new levels of theatrical and social realism, and then experimented with piercing the boundaries of the realism that it had just achieved. Readings will include plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, Hauptmann, Wedekind, Synge, Shaw, Granville Barker, Elizabeth Robins, and Chekhov. For more information, click here.
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN DRAMA AND THEATRE (Thar 275-402)
Instructor: Schlatter, J. – Tues./ Thurs., 3 pm to 4:30 pm
Historically, great civic and national cultures have been identified with, and at times defined by, their great theatres. Today, in America, theatre is thriving due to the immense creativity of our playwrights and other theatre artists, the enthusiastic support of a wide audience, and a passionate commitment by both theatre companies and audiences to engage vital social issues. This course will investigate the contemporary American theatre as an indispensable asset in helping our country sustain a vigorous public culture. It will also enable us to create a collective portrait of who we are as a culture at this very critical time in our history. This course will examine a range of new plays by acclaimed authors such as Paula Vogel, Sarah Ruhl, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Lynn Nottage, Christopher Durang, among others. Students will research major national theatre companies, both traditional and experimental, and individual theatre artists who continue to forge new work. The course will include attendance at local theatre companies such as The Wilma Theatre, Arden Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company, and class visits by Philadelphia theatre professionals.
SENIOR THESIS (THAR-299.000) Arranged
REHEARSAL & PERFORMANCE (THAR 350.301)
Instructor/Director: Ferguson, M., – Meets primarily evenings, 7 pm to 11 pm until production.
Permission is needed from instructor through audition or interview.
For more information, watch our website for updates. http://www.sas.upenn.edu/theatrearts/
This course is designed to provide students with deep intellectual and artistic immersion into the theatrical process through intensive research, rehearsal, and performance of a full-length stage piece. Students may enroll in this course as actors (by audition only) or as assistant directors, stage managers, dramaturgs, or designers (by permission of the instructor). Theatre Arts 350 may be taken multiple times, as the research and performance process will be different for every project. Each semester, the faculty-directed play will be featured in the Theatre Arts Program production season.
PROVOCATIVE PERFORMANCE (Thar 579-640)
Instructor: Malague, M. –Wednesday., 6 pm to 9 pm
What is “feminist theatre?” This course will examine a wide array of performance pieces by and about women, designed to provoke social, political, and personal change. Ranging from the serious to the hilarious—and sometimes outrageous—our readings will center on plays and performance art pieces; we will also study live and filmed performances. These will be contextualized with material on feminist theatre theory and history. The class will take full advantage of events occurring on campus and in Philadelphia during the course of the semester; we will also welcome guest speakers (more specifics will be provided when various cultural calendars for the fall of 2014 are announced). Enrollment note: Advanced undergraduates may be admitted with instructor's permission.
Course offerings listed here may change to reflect the needs of the program and its declared majors.
Theatre Arts Program
Marcia Ferguson , Program Director
Kevin Chun, Administrative Assistant