Theater Subjects

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Introductory
21M.600 Introduction to Acting Anna Kohler

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-5, HASS-A

Explores the actor's tools: body, voice, mind, imagination, and the essential self. Through studio exercises, students address issues of honesty and creativity in the theatrical moment, and begin to have a sense of their strengths and limitations as communicating theatrical artists. Provides an opportunity for students to discover their relationship to "the other" in the acting partner, the group, the environment, and the audience. Limited to 20 per section.

Antigone (9780872205710), Hamlet (9781451669411) and Plays of Anton Chekhov (9780060928759) are required for only Section 2.

Plays of Anton Chekhov (9780060928759) is required for section 7 and 8.

21M.601 Drawing for Designers Oana Botez

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-6, HASS-A

 
Explores drawing as a fundamental component of the design process. In-class drawing exercises focus on developing the hand-to-eye relationship and pre-visualization skills essential to any designer. Studies the use drawing as a route to understanding space and form and achieving accuracy through expression. By drawing figures, landscapes and/or still life compositions in a variety of media, students investigate the figure/ground relationship while dealing with tone, line, and composition, which are all requisite elements of design. Provides exposure to designers who have used drawing as a central component of their work, such as Robert Wilson, John Conklin, and Louis Kahn, as well as artists, like Leonardo da Vinci, Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Jonas, and William Kentridge. Students create a portfolio that includes in-class drawings, studies done outside of class, and one research-based written project. Limited to 20.

The syllabus for section 1 with Oana Botez is attached.
The syllabus for section 2 with Sara Brown is attached.

 

 

21M.603 Introduction to Design for Theater Sara Brown

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-6, HASS-A

Introduces the fundamental skills and concepts of scenography through a series of individual design projects structured to explore the relationship of the performer to the environment, the interrelation of lighting and stage design, and the evolution of visual narrative. Develops a basic visual literacy for the theater by honing skills in drawing, model building, 3-D modeling, digital image manipulation, and color theory. Projects complimented by study of artworks and theories by Cindy Sherman, Sol LeWitt, Alan Kaprow, Robert Wilson, Bertolt Brecht, Caspar Neher, and others. Enrollment may be limited.

All readings will be provided via stellar. Students will need access to computers with Adobe Photoshop (9.99 per month for students), Vectorworks Spotlight 2017 (free for students). Laptops with these programs installed is recommended though not required - see instructor for accommodations as needed. Additionally, students should plan on purchasing approximately $100 worth of supplies over the course of the semester. 

 

21M.604 Playwriting I Laura Harrington

(Same subject as 21W.754[J]) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Introduces the craft of writing for the theater, with special attention to the "play" in playwriting. Through weekly assignments and in-class exercises, students explore scene structure, action, events, voice, and dialogue. In workshop format, students present individual work for feedback and are encouraged to bring a sense of fun, joy and playfulness to their writing. Readings include published plays, which provide exposure to a variety of styles, voices, and structures. Emphasizes process, risk taking, and finding one's own voice and vision.

21M.605 Voice and Speech Keely Eastley

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-5, HASS-A

Concentrates upon freeing the natural voice through awareness of physical, vocal and, at times, emotional habits and the willingness and desire to experience change. Teaches progression of contemporary approaches to voice through in-class vocal exercises. Students use sonnets or poems as vehicles to explore the components of language and the need to communicate and reveal oneself through the voice. Designed for students interested in theater or developing their voices for presentations and professional speaking. Limited to 14; preference to Theater majors, minors, and concentrators who have pre-registered.

21M.606 Introduction to Stagecraft Stephanie Rodemann

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-3-2, HASS-A

Provides a foundation in theater technology, examining the creation of a theatrical production from conception to performance. Explores the realization of an artistic and structural vision for a play, taking into account all facets of technical theater: history of productions, types of technical roles, design, drafting, carpentry, costume, lighting, rigging, stage management, sound, and video. Students serve on the production team responsible for building, installing and/or running the department's show that semester. Limited to 18.

21M.611 Foundations of Theater Practice Janet Sonenberg

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Introduces the ideas, skills, and aesthetic issues which comprise the creation of the theatrical event. Guest artists and faculty members introduce the work of different disciplines such as directing, stagecraft, design, acting, dramaturgy, and criticism. Readings and in-class exercises help students understand and experience the basic creative impulse in each area.

21M.624 Acting with the Camera Anna Kohler

Prereq: 21M.600 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Studio workshop explores the discipline of acting for the camera through in-class exercises that focus on the creative challenges inherent to both filming and being filmed. Investigates the performer in the history of cinema, television, and multimedia stage performance through readings, screenings, and experimentation with the theory and practice of performing for and with the camera. Culminates in student-written, edited, directed, and acted short films. Instruction in written and oral communication provided. Limited to 20.

21M.645 Motion Theater Jay Scheib

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Introduces the ideas, skills, and aesthetic issues which comprise the creation of the theatrical event. Guest artists and faculty members introduce the work of different disciplines such as directing, stagecraft, design, acting, dramaturgy, and criticism. Readings and in-class exercises help students understand and experience the basic creative impulse in each area.

21M.690 Sport as Performance, CI-H Claire Conceison

(Subject meets with 21M.691) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A, CI-H

Seminar investigates the aesthetics of sport as theatrical performance and explores the performance of race, gender, class, nation, and sexuality in sport. Readings drawn from theatre/performance studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, gender studies, history, and kinesiology. Topics include barnstorming, Olympics, Title IX, Native American mascots, and a variety of sports ranging from football to figure skating. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 18.

21M.691(G) Sport as Performance Claire Conceison

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.690) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

Seminar investigates the aesthetics of sport as theatrical performance and explores the performance of race, gender, class, nation, and sexuality in sport. Readings drawn from theatre/performance studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, gender studies, history, and kinesiology. Topics include barnstorming, Olympics, Title IX, Native American mascots, and a variety of sports ranging from football to figure skating. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment Limited.

Intermediate
21M.700 China on Stage, CI-H Claire Conceison

(Subject meets with 21M.701) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A, CI-H

Explores the role theater productions have played in shaping Chinese society, politics, and cultural exchange during the past century. Topics include censorship, audience reception, and current translingual and cross-cultural trends. Examines plays in English translation, videos, photographs, archival materials, and English-language books and articles about Chinese theater. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited.

21M.701(G) China on Stage Claire Conceison

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.700) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

Explores the role theater productions have played in shaping Chinese society, politics, and cultural exchange during the past century. Topics include censorship, audience reception, and current translingual and cross-cultural trends. Examines plays in English translation, videos, photographs, archival materials, and English-language books and articles about Chinese theater. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited. 
 

21M.703[J] Media and Methods: Performing Jay Scheib

(Same subject as CMS.403[J]) 
Prereq: CMS.100, 21L.011, or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-3-6 

Seminar examines an array of performance disciplines from the perspective of the performer. Explores what it means to read the human body as a dynamic medium of expression; how fundamental techniques of the performer shift across cultural borders and in step with changing social contexts and historical traditions; and how the expressive tactics of one media platform adapt to the demands of another. Students engage in close analysis of performance practices, acquiring a theoretical and historical framework for thinking about performance across disciplines. Complemented by outside readings, video viewings, short essays, and studio performances, this course is intended to provide students with an introduction to core concepts in performance studies as they relate more generally to the study of media. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication provided. Limited to 20.

21M.704 Music Theater Workshop Anna Kohler

Prereq: 21M.600 or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-6, HASS-A

Introduces applications of music in theater and performance. Encourages experimentation with different genres of singing, acting, and movement by exploring an array of historical and contemporary styles and techniques. Students develop and perform their own original songs and textual materials, gaining a theoretical and practical understanding of the actor's contribution to the dynamic form of musical theater. Previous experience in musical theater not required.

21M.705 Actor and the Text Anna Kohler

Prereq: 21M.600 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Gives students who have begun the process of bringing themselves to a dramatic moment the opportunity to apply their skills to scripted material. Studio work in this class further develops the completeness, spontaneity, and honesty of expression of the actor's body, imagination, and voice; and introduces written material and the problems of synthesizing the self, the moment, and the scripted word. Weekly rehearsals with a scene partner. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.710 Script Analysis, CI-H David R. Gammons

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A, CI-H

Focuses on reading a script theatrically with a view to mounting a coherent production. Through careful, intensive reading of a variety of plays from different periods and different aesthetics, a pattern emerges for discerning what options exist for interpretating a script. Students discuss the consequences of those options for production. Enrollment limited.

21M.711 Production Seminar Caleb Hammond

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A 

Pursues detailed study of a particular playtext or theme and is related to some planned production activity during the following IAP. Seminar activities may include guest speakers from various disciplines who approach some aspect of the playtext or theme from the perspective of their fields; various theatrical practitioners; and critical and scholarly presentations by seminar members.

21M.715 Topics in Theater Arts: New American Playwriting

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A after petition 

Despite lack of federal funding, despite daily proclamations of its demise, new American theatre continues to flourish. This course will examine the exciting terrain of new experimental writing for the theatre, focusing on what is known as “Off Broadway” “downtown” or “indie theatre.” We will read work by both new voices and influential playwrights from earlier generations. Alongside this close analysis of the plays will be an examination of the changing institution of American theatre. The course will also serve as an introduction to writing about plays in performance. Students will see at least one production during the term and develop their skills as analytical thinkers.

21M.732 Costume Design Oana Botez

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Studio workshop designed for students who possess a basic understanding of the principles of design and seek a more intensive study of costume. Students develop designs through a collaborative creative process that incorporates production dramaturgy and script analysis, and map those findings to a scenographically charged directorial concept. Fosters period research, conceptual design, and rendering skills through practical studio exercises. Instruction in life drawing, visual presentation, and basic costume construction provides the tools for applying conceptual design skills in performance.

21M.733 Set Design Sara Brown

 

Prereq: 21M.603 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Investigates the creation of stage environments for live performance. Students develop stage designs related to current production projects at MIT. A research paper exploring the work of a theater designer is also required. Focuses on developing the designer's communication tools, particularly in the areas of visual research, 3-D digital model making, and design presentation. Examines the relationship of stage design to theater architecture, emerging media technologies and dramaturgies of the 20th and 21st centuries.

All readings will be provided via stellar. Students will need access to computers with Adobe Photoshop (9.99 per month for students), Vectorworks Spotlight 2017 (free for students). Laptops with these programs installed is recommended though not required - see instructor for accommodations as needed. Additionally, students should plan on purchasing approximately $100 worth of supplies over the course of the semester. 

 

21M.734 Lighting Design Joshua Higgason

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Explores the history, concepts and techniques of sculpting space with light within a contemporary context. Students experiment with a wide range of approaches, tools, and skills to develop their own creative vision. Focuses on discrete forms that include live performance, installation, architecture, and developments in applied technologies. Studio projects alternate between conceptual studies and realized designs reflective of students' own unique interests and talents. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.735 Technical Design for Performance

Prereq: 21M.606 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Studio examines the role of the technical designer as an integral member of an ensemble. Focusing on the artistic process, students develop their own unique approaches to stage design, lighting, sound, video design and other new media applications for the performing arts. They also explore an array of pre-production research and rehearsal techniques and analyze dramatic texts. Introduces theoretical and practical aspects of technical design, from the budgeting of time and selection of materials, to use of new technologies. Culminates in a public showing of final design projects for an invited audience.

21M.785 Playwrights' Workshop Wesley Savick

(Same subject as 21W.769[J])
(Subject meets with 21M.789) 
Prereq: 21M.604, 21W.754, or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Continued work in the development of play scripts for the theater. Writers work on sustained pieces in weekly workshop meetings, individual consultation with the instructor, and in collaboration with student actors, directors, and designers. Fully developed scripts eligible for inclusion in the Playwrights' Workshop production. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.789(G) Playwrights' Workshop Wesley Savick

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.785[J], 21W.769[J]) 
Prereq: 21M.604, 21W.754, or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-2-7 

Continued work in the development of play scripts for the theater. Writers work on sustained pieces in weekly workshop meetings, individual consultation with the instructor, and in collaboration with student actors, directors, and designers. Fully developed scripts eligible for inclusion in the Playwrights' Workshop production. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.790 Directing Jay Scheib

(Subject meets with 21M.791) 
Prereq: 21M.600; 21M.710 or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-6, HASS-A

Explores several models of directing, each with its unique structures, philosophy, terminology, and techniques. Exploration is intended to lead to the development of an individual voice for each student and clarity in his/her directorial point of view. Class sessions concentrate on how a point of view is arrived at through analysis of material and the way the results are rendered with the basic tools of theater. All points of view are honored as long as they can be actively supported by the work. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.791(G) Directing Jay Scheib

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.790) 
Prereq: 21M.600; 21M.710 or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-6

Explores several models of directing, each with its unique structures, philosophy, terminology, and techniques. Exploration is intended to lead to the development of an individual voice for each student and clarity in his/her directorial point of view. Class sessions concentrate on how a point of view is arrived at through analysis of material and the way the results are rendered with the basic tools of theater. All points of view are honored as long as they can be actively supported by the work. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

Advanced Topics and Practica
21M.800 All the World's a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance Charlotte Brathwaite

(Subject meets with 21M.801) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Investigates repertoire from international creators of theater, opera, performance art, and dance. Explores diverse storytelling and directorial points of view, examining the contexts which inform approaches to performance making. Discusses specific cultural and political shifts that have inspired the work of international artists, such as Marina Abramovic (Serbia), Pina Bausch (Germany), Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe), Ping Chong (US/Canada), Peter Sellars (US), and The Yes Men (US). Weekly readings, screenings and guest artists provide the foundation for an understanding of the role of director as an artist who finds inspiration in the contradictions of the world.

21M.801(G) All the Worlds a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance Charlotte Brathwaite

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.800) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

Investigates repertoire from international creators of theater, opera, performance art, and dance. Explores diverse storytelling and directorial points of view, examining the contexts which inform approaches to performance making. Discusses specific cultural and political shifts that have inspired the work of international artists, such as Marina Abramovic (Serbia), Pina Bausch (Germany), Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe), Ping Chong (US/Canada), Peter Sellars (US), and The Yes Men (US). Weekly readings, screenings and guest artists provide the foundation for an understanding of the role of director as an artist who finds inspiration in the contradictions of the world. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignment

21M.803 Performance and Design Workshop Nicole Paschal

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 0-3-0 

Provides directed practice in the disciplines of performance practice, including design, acting, directing, technical theater, management, dramaturgy and other creative fields. Students test and refine their skills by participating in the creation of produced plays, intensive workshops, installations and other design or performance projects in dance, film, music theater, opera, and other performing arts events. Students work closely with faculty, peers and guest artists. Students seeking to design individual performance and design workshops must be supervised by a theater arts faculty member, and obtain his or her written approval.

21M.806 Applied Performance and Design Production Nicole Paschal

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 0-6-0 

Provides opportunities for applied practice in the disciplines of performance, including acting, directing, playwriting, design, technical theater, dramaturgy, and management. Students test and refine their skills in the prototyping of design projects, installations, plays, dance, film, music theater, opera, and other performing arts events. They also apply theory and practice while tracing the research and rehearsal process through production and public presentation in the theater or in the studio. Students seeking to design an applied project must be supervised by a theater arts faculty member, and obtain his or her written approval.

21M.809 Performance and Design Intensive Nicole Paschal

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 0-9-0 

Multidisciplinary, term-long, independent study geared toward the development of significant artistic and technical projects in performance and design. Students pursue projects in an array of fields and are invited to propose artistic and research projects as actors, directors, designers, dramaturges, and/or technical designers. Often in conjunction with Theater Arts-produced productions, proposals for intensives must be vetted and supervised by a member of the Theater Arts faculty with whom the student will work over the course of term.

21M.830 Acting: Techniques and Styles Olivia D'Ambrosio

(Subject meets with 21M.835) 
Prereq: 21M.624, 21M.705, or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Refines the student actor's use of the language of the stage with work on text and physical presentation. Explores issues of style, including the understanding and honoring, in performance, of the specific requirements from several different periods of the Western theatrical tradition. Periods may differ from term to term. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.840 Performance Media Joshua Higgason

(Subject meets with 21M.841) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A 

Integrates media and communication technologies in performing arts. Studio exercises provide a forum for experimentation. Contemporary and historical techniques for media integration examined through readings, viewing videos and short written essays. Technologies examined include digital imaging, composite and live feed digital video, and web-based performance. Engages the designer, director, choreographer, performer, visual artist or programmer in the practice of integrating media into live art events. Equipment is provided. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.841(G) Performance Media Joshua Higgason

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.840) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

Integrates media and communication technologies in performing arts. Studio exercises provide a forum for experimentation. Contemporary and historical techniques for media integration examined through readings, viewing videos and short written essays. Technologies examined include digital imaging, composite and live feed digital video, and web-based performance. Engages the designer, director, choreographer, performer, visual artist or programmer in the practice of integrating media into live art events. Equipment is provided. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.847 Topics in Performance Studies

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.846) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9

 

21M.851 Independent Study in Performance and Design: Interactive Design and Projection for Performance Joshua Higgason

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
3-0-9, HASS-A Credit awarded after petition​

Spring 2017 Subject: This course undertakes a study of the design, history, artistic purposes, and programming techniques involved in the development of creating interactive performance design systems for controlling video projection, media, and lighting for live performances. Through a study of readings, viewings of historical and contemporary works, and in class practice and performance, we will use motion sensing input devices like the Kinect, proximity sensors, infrared-light tracking, accelerometers, live video, generative graphics, and other methods to create interactive design systems for performance. This course is designed to engage artists, designers, directors, choreographers, performers, and students of different backgrounds in the practice of interactive design for live performance.

 

 

21M.851 Independent Study in Performance and Design Nicole Paschal

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units arranged 

Multidisciplinary independent study provides opportunity for individual practica in the performing arts. While opportunities may include directed theoretical research and practice in production and performance with permanent and visiting faculty, students are encouraged to propose independent programs of study to a member of the theater arts faculty. Permission of supervising faculty member required.

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Stage Combat

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

Fall 2017 Topic: Stage Combat
In this course, students will learn techniques and principles of safe theatrical fighting suitable for both stage and film. The first unit focuses on hand-to-hand combat that can be adapted for a variety of story-telling needs, from slapstick comedy to brutal verisimilitude. The second unit introduces combat props such as historical swordplay (rapier and broadsword) and modern violence (knives and found objects). This is an acting class, not a marital arts, self-defense, or stunt class; as such, your other theatrical training (such as movement, voice, and text) will be incorporated and built upon. Scene work will range from Shakespeare to contemporary plays.

Materials for this course include a pair of gloves and a practice sword (a Nerf sword from Toys R Us is fine). These materials generally come to $30-$35 dollars. You will need to wear movement clothes and sneakers to class sessions. 

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

Class explores elements of performance in a studio setting. Topics vary from term to term; may be taught by visiting faculty. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9 

Advanced multidisciplinary studio workshop provides opportunity for advanced study in the performing arts. Topics vary from term to term; may be taught by visiting faculty. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

21M.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts: Acting Shakespeare Kim Mancuso

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9 

Fall 2017 Topic: Acting Shakespeare 
Advanced multidisciplinary studio workshop provides opportunity for advanced study in the performing arts. Topics vary from term to term; may be taught by visiting faculty. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

21M.864 Research in Theater

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units arranged 

Offers directed research in the spheres of theory, history, performance studies, dramaturgy, etc. Permission of the supervising member of the Theater Arts faculty required.

21M.865(G) Research in Theater

Graduate Level
Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units arranged 
 

Offers directed research of advanced theatrical subjects occurring in either the performance or theoretical spheres. May be repeated for credit with permission.

21M.ThT Pre-thesis Tutorial Janet Sonenberg

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 1-0-5​

Definition of and early-stage work on thesis project leading to 21M.THU Undergraduate Thesis in Music or Theater Arts. Taken during the first term, or during IAP, of the student's two-term commitment to the thesis project. Student works closely with an individual faculty tutor. Limited to Music or Theater Arts Majors.

21M.THU Undergraduate Thesis Janet Sonenberg

Prereq: 21M.THT
Units arranged 

Completion of work on senior major thesis in Music or Theater Arts under supervision of a faculty tutor. Includes oral presentation of thesis project early in the term, assembling and revising final text and meeting at the close with a committee of Music or Theater Arts faculty evaluators to discuss successes and limitations of the project. Limited to Music or Theater Arts majors. 
 

21M.UR Undergraduate Research in Music and Theater Arts