Theater Arts Class Schedule | Spring 2024

Show DescriptionsHide Descriptions

Select course title for course description.

 

Subjects in Theater Arts
21M.600 Introduction to Acting
Lecture 1 Rubio MW
11:00am-1:00pm
50-201
Lecture 2 Rubio MW
3:00-5:00pm
50-201
Lecture 3 de Oliveira Foster MW
1:00-3:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 4 de Oliveira Foster MW
3:00-5:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 5 Green TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 6 Green TR
1:00-3:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 7 Irizarry TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 8 Irizarry TR
11:00-1:00pm
W97-160

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8
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 M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 2 Lacey T
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 3 McLeod W
2:00-5:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 4 McLeod W
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 5 Lacey R
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-261

Prereq: None
3-0-9

HASS-A

ENROLLMENT LIMITED. MUST PRE-REGISTER!

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. Students create a portfolio that includes in-class drawings, studies done outside of class, and one research-based written project. Lab fee of $35 required. Limited to 20 per section. 

21M.603 Introduction to Design for the Theater
Lecture Brown F
2:00-5:00pm
W97-261

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

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.605 Voice and Speech
Lecture 1 Eastley TR
11:00am-1:00pm
50-201
Lecture 2 Eastley TR
1:00-3:00pm
50-201
Lecture 3 Eastley TR
3:00-5:00pm
50-201

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 Gitchel TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-275

Prereq: None
4-6-2
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.607J Playwriting Methods
Lecture Urban R
2:00-5:00pm
4-251

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 
HASS-A

Builds understanding of the methods playwrights use to transform an idea - drawn from their own lives, news and current events, even the plays of other writers - into a reality. Students use a variety of inspiration to write their own new scenes and short plays. Examines how research can help develop an idea for a new play and discusses ways to adapt a classic text for the contemporary stage. Writers also conduct personal interviews and use the transcript as source material for a new scene.

21M.608J Screenwriting
Lecture Urban W
2:00-5:00pm
W97-267

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A
 
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.623 Physical Improvisation: Bodies in Motion
Lecture 1 Safer TR
1:00-3:00pm
W97-162
Lecture 2 Turner MW
11:00-1:00pm
W97-162
Lecture 3 Turner MW
1:00-3:00pm
W97-162
Lecture 4 Rodriguez MW
9:00-11:00 am
W97-162
Lecture 5 Rodriguez TR
9:00-11:00 am
W97-162

Prereq: None
4-2-6
HASS-A

Explores the realities of the body in space and motion - interacting with gravity, momentum, inertia, alignment, negative space, one's imagination, one's body, other bodies, the present room and rooms from memory, geometry, stillness, and more. By releasing tension and abandoning the notion of pre-planning, students experience a natural, spontaneous flow of movement, opening themselves up to, and diving into, whatever might happen. Develops 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 students aware, centered, incredibly present, and sharply alive. Enrollment limited.

21M.645 Motion Theater
Lecture de Oliveira Foster T
7:00-10:00pm
W97-160

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

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.705 Acting Intensive
Lecture Rubio MW
1:00-3:00pm
50-201

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
Lecture 1 Yoo M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-267

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

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.711 Production Seminar
Brown R
7:00-10:00pm
W97-269

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A 

In this studio workshop, students will engage with theater making practices that blur the lines between real-life experience and performance. The course will start with a survey of the pioneering happenings and events created by Allan Kaprow, Ana Mendieta, Yoko Ono, Lee Mingwei, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and others. Studio exercises provide students the opportunity to explore their own individual and collective voices in artistic creations. Students develop proposals for their own happenings around the theme of assemblage. Selected proposals will be submitted for consideration in the DEI arts festival that will be held during the 2024/2025 Academic year.

21M.712 Choreography: Making Dances
Lecture Safer TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
Units: 4-2-6

HASS-A

A workshop course focused on choreographic methods and principles as the launching point for building dramatic performance.

Participants will propose pieces they would like to develop – solos, duets, group works, etc. and the class will both lay groundwork for generating material and focus on defining and expanding each person’s unique voice as creator of performance.

The class will culminate in public performances of students work.

Enrollment by permission of instructor.

21M.714 Contemporary American Theater: The Immigrant Experience, CI-H
Lecture De Simone R
7:00-10:00pm
W97-267

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

Examines the exciting terrain of contemporary American writing for the theater, focusing on what is known in New York as "Off Broadway," "downtown," or "indie theater." Students read work by influential playwrights from earlier generations alongside plays by new voices currently in production in Boston, New York, and across the country. Students also examine the changing institution of American theater, reading a selection of plays in order to determine what constellation of issues and concerns they engage. Discussions unpack how these plays reflect, challenge and re-construct the idea of America in the 21st century. Enrollment limited.

Spring 2023 Topic:

Through the reading and viewing of plays, students analyze how theater illuminates cultural/racial perspectives on the contemporary immigrant experience in the United States. The course focuses on playwrights and directors of the last twenty years, and on stories by recent immigrants from China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Pakistan, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, among others. Students consider how theater can lead audiences to rediscover their heritage, exchange family and personal narratives, explore social issues of identity and diversity, and foster community engagement. Topics for discussion include: cultural appropriation, reclamation, and discovery; assimilation and passing; stereotyping and identity affirmation. Everyone is welcome, no prerequisites needed. 

21M.731 Sound Design for Theater and Dance
Lecture Frederickson T
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-269

Prereq: None
4-0-8
HASS-A

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.732 Costume Design
Lecture Haac M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-275

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

HASS-A, CI-M

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.734 Lighting Design
Lecture Higgason M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-160

Prereq: Permission of instructor
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.784 Producing Podcasts
Lecture Frederickson M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-269

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Students write and produce a pilot episode of a narrative podcast (about fifteen minutes in length); sources come from interviews or research that students conduct. At the start of the term, students pitch possible stories. Discussions of selected episodes of narrative podcasts such as Serial, Homecoming, and This American Life. Introduces the basics of podcast recording with a primer on using Logic Pro X and hardware like the Apogee Duet. Students record and edit a rough draft of their podcast using provided portable recording studio kits. Podcasts shared with the larger MIT community at the Podcast Listening Room at the end of term.

21M.785 Playwrights Lab
Lecture Urban W
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-267

Subject meets with 21M.789
Prereq: 21M.780 or Permission of instructor
4-0-8
HASS-A

Continued work in the development of play scripts for the theater. Writers work on one-act plays in weekly workshop meetings in addition to individual script meetings with the instructor. All students see their work presented as a stage reading during the MTA Playwrights Lab. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 10.

21M.790 Fundamentals of Directing
Lecture Scheib M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-165

Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9

Studio workshop introduces students to the collaborative artistic practice of directing for the theater, opera, and other live performance disciplines. Weekly sessions provide students the opportunity to develop innovative theatrical events through rigorous analysis of dramatic texts, social practices, musical scores and libretti, and other source materials. With a focus on collaboration, students conduct dramaturgical research, experiment with behavior and motion, create compositional studies, design interventions, and complete other scenographic exercises culminating in an end-of-semester presentation for an invited audience. Generative studio prompts are complimented by selected readings, field trips, interactions with guest artists, and video viewings. Students are encouraged to bring their own unique points of view and to celebrate difference. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.812 Theater Arts Production
Lecture Irizarry W
7:00-10:00pm
W97-160
Lab Irizarry F
2:00-5:00pm
W97-160

(Meets with 21M.822: Graduate Level)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-3-6

Students to join Theater Arts faculty and staff in the development of a fully-staged production for an audience in MIT's laboratory for the performing arts at W97. Students collaborate as performers, designers, writers, choreographers and technicians. Weekly rehearsals, design labs, and workshops introduce students to an array of rehearsal and performance techniques over the course of the term. Culminates in a public performance, open to students at all levels of experience. Each term evolves a different project which may include community-driven interventions, classical or contemporary plays, devised works, screenplays, musicals or other live performance events. 

21M.816 Advanced Play Translation
Lecture Conceison W
7-10pm
4-253

Builds on skills and theories introduced in 21M.716, with the goal of expansion of the one-scene translation project from the previous class into a full-length play translation. Includes selected readings and continued weekly progress on the play translation project, in consultation with instructor. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.820 Production Design Visualization
Lecture Higgason M
2:00-5:00pm
W97-261

Subject meets with 21M.821 (Graduate level)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A

Engages the skills and techniques used by contemporary production designers to pre-visualize their designs. Students explore perspective drawing, painting, drafting, storyboarding and an array of physical and 3D computer modeling techniques used in theatrical and cinematic production design practices. Emphasizes the combination of digital and analog approaches. Studio projects focus on the challenges of adapting existing found spaces as well as imagined environments for the stage and screen. Using the Nine Square Grid problem, students create virtual reality landscapes and interact dynamically with their production designs in AR and VR. Includes readings, video viewings and talks by guest artists. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

Special Topics in Theater Arts
21M.715 Topics in Theater Arts: From render to Reality
Lecture 1 Haac M
2:00-5:00 pm
W97-261

This class focuses on the art of Character and Costume Design, exploring different visual communication techniques and fabrication methods to help students take their ideas from concept through construction. Students will use both digital and traditional drawing materials, discuss basic pattern making and clothing construction, and create fabrication samples of their designs. This class can be taken with 21M.732 – Costume Design.

21M.861 Topics in Performance Technique: Hip-Hop
Lecture Previlus M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9
HASS-A Credit will be awarded 

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.

Fall 2023 Topic: Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop was born out of the necessity to express one's true self in the face of any adversity. Course features dance instruction for all levels - beginner to experienced. Discussions, demonstrations and lectures on race, history, as well as exploration of musicality, gestures, beats, poly-rhythms and, mannerisms, trace the roots of the culture back to west Africa. Course concludes with a collaborative final project/performance. NOTHING is more powerful than self-exploration, especially through Hip-Hop.

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Dancing with Cameras
Lecture Clark F
2:00-5:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-8
HASS-A credit will be awarded

Spring 2023 Topic: Dancing with the Camera

In Dancing with Cameras we will learn skills for planning, filming and creating your own dance films, or screendances. The form is a hybrid of the various techniques of film/video and the practice of choreography. Participants will be encouraged to use items they have available to them including smartphones or a DSLR camera, and free or non-free editing software. No dance experience is required though you will move and become the subjects in each other’s films! During the course we will make multiple studies and one-minute films culminating in longer final projects to be presented in our mini dance film festival at the end of the semester. We will watch screendances, learn about the history of the genre, and experiment with forming unique cinematic voices.

Catalog Description

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: Contemporary dance
Lecture Arrais TR
11:00-1:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
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.