Class Schedule | Fall 2020

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Theater and Performance Studies
21M.690 Sport as Performance
Lecture Conceison T
2:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Seminar investigates the aesthetics of sport as theatrical performance and explores the performance of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, and nation in sport. Readings drawn from theatre/performance studies, anthropology, sociology, race studies, gender studies, history, and kinesiology. Topics include barnstorming, Olympics, Black athletes, Title IX, Native American mascots, political activism in sport. Limited to 18.

21M.710 Script Analysis, CI-H
Lecture Gammons MW
2:00-3:30
Virtual

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

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Focuses on reading a play's script critically and theatrically, with a view to mounting a coherent production. Through careful, intensive analysis of a variety of plays from different periods and aesthetics, a pattern emerges for discerning what options exist for interpreting a script from the distinct perspectives of the playwright, the actor, the designer, and the director. Students discuss the consequences of those options for production. Enrollment limited.

21M.715 Creating the world we want: Protest, Activism and Performance
Lecture Brathwaite T
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous

Taking inspiration from the earth shaking events of 2020 – the novel Coronavirus pandemic and the international uprisings against racism and police brutality – our class will look at how individual action done as a collective has ignited powerful political, social, economic and cultural shifts to the status quo and how art has been essential to that work. From the emboldening ritual Vodoun dances that precede​d the 1791 Haitian revolution, to Harriet Tubman’s songs guiding the enslaved to freedom on the underground railroad, to the lunch counter sit-ins of the 1960s, to the Act Up die-ins of the 1980s to a Columbia student’s Mattress Performance protesting college campus rape culture, to the Mexican Zapatistas and Oakland Black Panther's use of captivating visual art, up until the chants of Black Lives Matter being heard around the globe today – there has been a long connection between art and activism, performance and world making.

This course we will examine historical and current social fights for justice and the artistic tools used to make those changes possible as we learn about the oppressed peoples of the world and create work that will serve to inspire our own community to change.

This class welcomes a diversity of voices. BIPOC, LGBTQIA, introverts, disabled, artists, strategists, designers, scientists, and freedom minded individuals are all encouraged and welcome. No performance experience necessary. The goal of this class is to actively work towards changing the future by understanding our shared history.

21M.716 Play Translation and Cultural Transmission
Lecture Conceison M
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Through reading texts about translation and by doing an independent project, students develop skills in translation theory and practice, culminating in a public staged reading of their translations. Each student chooses a dramatic text from a non-English language and translates a scene during the semester. Readings include topics such as globalization, adaptation, gender in translation, and postcolonial approaches to translation. Weekly seminar. No final exam. Enrollment limited. No prerequisite, all language levels welcomed.

Performance Practice
21M.600 Introduction to Acting
Lecture 1 Gammons MW
11:00-1:00
VIrtual
Lecture 2 Mancuso MW
1:00-3:00
Virtual
Lecture 3 Torn MW
3:00-5:00
Virtual
Lecture 4 Hammond MW
3:00-5:00
Virtual
Lecture 5 Kohler TR
1:00-3:00
Virtual
Lecture 6 Mancuso TR
3:00-5:00
Virtual
Lecture 7 Torn TR
7:00-9:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
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.

21M.601 Drawing for Designers
Lecture 1 Lacey T
7:00-10:00
Virtual
Lecture 2 Lacey W
7:00-10:00
Virtual
Lecture 3 NEW Haac M
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-6
HASS-A

1 hr/wk synchronous lecture; 2 hrs/wk asynchronous lecture/demos

This course 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. Students use observational drawing as a route to understanding space and form and achieving accuracy through expression. By drawing figures, landscapes, and still life compositions in a variety of media, students investigate figure/ground relationships while dealing with tone, line, composition, and other elements of design. Lessons also expose students to artists and designers who have used drawing as a central component of their work. Students create a portfolio that includes in-class drawings, studies done outside of class, and one research-based project. Lab fee required. Limited to 20.

21M.603 Introduction to Design for the Theaters
Lecture Brown MW
11:00-1:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

1.5 hrs/wk synchronous lecture; 1.5 hrs/wk asynchronous lecture

Introduces the fundamental skills and concepts of visual design for the theater through a series of individual design projects that explore the relationship of the performer to the environment, the interrelation of lighting and stage design, character development through visual means, and the evolution of visual narrative. Develops a basic visual literacy for the theater by honing skills in visual research, drawing, model building, 3-D modeling, and digital image manipulation. Projects will be developed in response to plays, music, poems, short stories and more. For their final project, students will develop designs that imagine live performance considering current public health constraints. Students will work with physical media using art materials kits and using an iPad and Apple Pencil (please take advantage of MIT’s iPad and pencil lending program as needed.) Class work will also require a computer capable of running Adobe Photoshop and Vectorworks. If material costs or computer requirement are a hardship please contact the professor directly to discuss resources and accommodations. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.604J Playwriting Fundamentals
Lecture Urban T
7:00-10:00
Virtual

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

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Introduces the craft of writing for the theater, with special attention to the basics of dramatic structure. Through weekly assignments and in-class exercises, students explore character, conflict, language and plasticity in scenes and short plays. In workshop format, students present individual work for feedback and heavily revise their work based on that response. Readings include a variety of plays.

21M.605 Voice and Speech
Lecture 1 D'Ambrosio MW
11:00-1:00
Virtual
Lecture 2 D'Ambrosio MW
1:00-3:00
Virtual
Lecture 3 Eastley TR
1:00-3:00
Virtual
Lecture 4 Eastley TR
3:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
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 18; preference to Theater majors, minors, and concentrators who have pre-registered.

21M.606 Introduction to Stagecraft
Lecture Rodemann TR
11:00-1:00
Virtual/Optional In-Person Elements

Prereq: None
4-6-2
HASS-A

4 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

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 plays, different technical roles, design, drafting, carpentry, costume, lighting, rigging, stage management, sound, and video. Students will be assigned projects related to that week’s topic and present their projects to the rest of the class every other week. Students are expected to have access to: a computer that can run Autocad and Zoom, a hooked up webcam and microphone, reliable internet, a printer, and basic craft supplies like paper, ruler, glue, tape, etc. All other supplies and reading material will be provided by MIT Theater Arts. Limit 18.

21M.608 Screenwriting
Lecture Urban W
2:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Explores the fundamentals of screenplay writing. Presents skills to create compelling characters and stories in different dramatic genres (comedy, drama). In addition to their own writing, students read a selection of screenplays and watch short films that form the basis of class discussion early in the term. Class is modeled on a professional development workshop in which participants, over the course of the term, write a short screenplay, including a final draft. Enrollment limited.

21M.622 Physical Improvisation: Scores and Structures
Lecture Safer TR
11:00-1:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
4-0-8
HASS-A

2 hrs/wk synchronous lecture; 2 hrs/wk asynchronous lecture

Active bodies moving in and interacting with negative space, one's imagination, one's body, other bodies (HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN VIRTUALLY? WE’LL EXPLORE THAT), the present room and rooms from memory, geometry, stillness, and more. We abandon the notion of pre-planning, and experience a surprising flow, opening up to whatever might happen. Ranging from exploring very specific structures to discovering via diving into the unknown. Develop alertness in order to work in an energetic state of physical disorientation, self-correcting what doesn't work and reinforcing what does on the spot, discovering physical/emotional truths and shared moments that leave you aware, centered, incredibly present, and sharply alive. Enrollment limited.

Ideally you will have: space to move around, space on the floor (hopefully 8’ x 8’ open, but we can adapt!), and a yoga mat.

21M.623 Physical Improvisation: Bodies in Motion
Lecture Safer TR
3:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
4-2-6
HASS-A

2 hrs/wk synchronous lecture; 2 hrs/wk asynchronous lecture

Taking a Somatic approach to how the body can interact with reality, (ie Experiential and Sensation based, as opposed to a regimented form base), we explore the realities of the body in space and motion - interacting with the floor, the structure of the body, gravity, momentum, inertia, alignment, yielding, pushing, reaching, exploring. Thinking with the body, letting the brain be one among many organs that might not be in charge all of the time. Both contemplative and active and personal and expressive.

Ideally you will have: space to move around, space on the floor (hopefully 8’ x 8’ open, but we can adapt!), and a yoga mat.

21M.624 Acting with the Camera
Lecture Kohler TR
3:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
4-0-8
HASS-A, CI-M

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
Lecture Hammond M
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Examines the theatrical event from the perspective of composition in a performance workshop. Studio exercises address the process of developing a theatrical work through an internalized understanding of compositional principles in theater. Examines physical action in time and space. Includes outside readings, videos, short essays, and in-class discussions. Provides the performer, director, choreographer, designer or writer opportunities to engage with large and small group ensembles in creation of theatrical events. Topics include image, motion, shape, repetition, gesture, and spatial relationship. Preference to majors, minors, concentrators. Admittance may be controlled by lottery.

21M.731 Sound Design for Theater and Dance
Lecture Frederickson M
2:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
4-0-8
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

This class will examine the role of music and sound in the contemporary theater. Students will develop the creative and technical skills necessary to practice the art of sound design. Using the Viewpoints as a framework to discuss what we hear and see, we will practice deep listening to gain insight into how music and sound influence the experience of live theater and dance. Students will combine text analysis and technical skills to develop sound design projects and audio plays to be presented in class. Technical skills to be addressed include sound recording, editing, processing, and sound cue creation in a DAW. QLAB software programming and principles of sound system design will address live theater applications.

21M.734 Lighting Design
Lecture Higgason M
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
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.842/843 Live Cinema Performance
Lecture Scheib M
7:00-10:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-2-7
HASS-A

3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture

Interdisciplinary studio introduces students to the theoretical basis, technical idiosyncrasies and the artistic practices of Live Cinema Performance. Merging the disciplines of the performer and director, scenographer and cinematographer, choreographer and filmmaker, this course examines the meaningful integration of live theatrical and cinematic idioms. Studio exercises, readings, screenings, field trips and in-class presentations give students the opportunity to study the history and theory surrounding the development of the genre and to engage the artistic practice from both sides of the camera. Guest artists, lectures and master classes deepen the perspective. Each course will focus on a particular dramatist, theme, or artistic genre, culminating in a research-driven, full-length collaboration to be presented in the final week of class for an invited audience. Graduate Students enrolled in 21M.843 complete additional readings and assignments. Enrollment limited.

21M.A17 Acting for Real
Lecture Scheib M
3:00-5:00
Virtual

Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1

First Year Studio Seminar takes a deep dive into the legacies and acting techniques of the fabled Actor’s Studio. In pursuit of 1:1 verisimilitude in performance, students examine the vast contributions to the field of stage and film acting luminaries Lee and Paula Strasberg and especially their infamous remix of Stanislavski’s ‘method.’ Students explore the work of Marilyn Monroe, Sidney Poitier, Montgomery Clift, Dorothy Dandridge, Jane Fonda, and develop strategies for camera acting techniques of their own.  Guest conversations with faculty from other areas such as sound design, choreography, acting, playwriting, production design, directing, etc. provide additional layers of applicable knowledge to expand the experience. Guest artists via Zoom from around the world deepen the perspective.

Applied Performance and Practica
21M.803 Performance and Design Workshop
TBA
TBA
Virtual

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
TBA
TBA
Virtual

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
TBA
TBA
Virtual

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.851 Independent Study in Performance and Design
TBA
TBA
Virtual

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.URG UROP in Music or Theater Arts (graded)
TBA
TBA
TBA

Units arranged 

Individual participation in an ongoing music research project. For students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Progam.