Class Schedule | Fall 2021

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Theater and Performance Studies
21M.690 Sport as Performance
Conceison W
2:00-5:00 pm
4-253

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

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. Limited to 18. 

21M.700/701 China an Stage, CI-H
Conceison W
7:00-10:00 pm
4-253

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A, CI-H
21M.701 (Graduate Level)

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. Enrollment limited to 15.

21M.710 Script Analysis, CI-H
Scheib F
2:00-5:00 pm
W97-261

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.800/801 All the World's a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance
Brathwaite M
7:00-10:00 pm
4-153

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 
HASS-A

21M.801 (Graduate Level)

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 assignments.

Performance Practice
21M.600 Introduction to Acting
Lecture 1 Mancuso TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 2 Mancuso MW
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 3 Green MW
3:00-5:00 pm
W97-269
Lecture 4 Hammond TR
1:00-3:00 pm
W97-269
Lecture 5 Gammons TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W16-RRB
Lecture 6 Gammons TR
3:00-5:00 pm
W16-RRB

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.

21M.601 Drawing for Designers
Lecture 1 Lacey M
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-261
Lecture 2 Lacey W
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-261

Prereq: None
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. 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.604J Platwriting Fundamentals
Urban T
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-267

(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 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. Enrollment limited.

21M.605 Voice and Speech
Lecture 1 D'Ambrosio MW
11:00am-1:00pm
50-201
Lecture 2 D'Ambrosio MW
1:00-3:00 pm
50-201
Lecture 3 Eastley TR
1:00-3:00 pm
W97-162

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
TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-105

Prereq: None
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.622 Physical Improvisation: Scores and Structures
Safer TR
3:00-5:00 pm
W97-160

Prereq: None
4-0-8
HASS-A

Explores physical improvisation in dance/theater from a variety of task-based, conceptual vantage points. Focuses on conceptual frameworks for generating intensely physical dramatic actions and dances that unlock the students' creativity. Investigates topics such as narrative, how stories and scenarios can elicit movement and emotionally resonant physical interaction; visual composition, creating movement and actions on stage from an imagistic starting point; and hypothetical worlds, movement based on the creation of rules for alternate worlds (e.g., strange, indigenous time, strange evolution). Explores solos, duets, trios, and larger ensemble improvisations. Enrollment limited.

21M.623 Physical Improvisation: Bodies in Motion
Lecture 1 Safer TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 2 TR
11:00am-1:00pm
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.624 Acting with the Camera (CI-M)
Kohler TR
3:00-5:00 pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
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
Green F
2:00-5:00 pm
W97-162

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.704 Music Theater Workshop
Kohler T
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-162

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.731 Sounds Design for Theater and Dance
Frederickson TR
3:00-5:00 pm
W97-275

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.733 Set Design (CI-M)
Brown TR
3:00-5:00 pm
W97-261

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

Investigates the creation of set design for live performance. Students develop designs related to current production projects at MIT. 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 set design to theater architecture, emerging media technologies and dramaturgies of the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to creating their own designs, students research, write about, and present the work and practice of a set designer.

21M.737 Interactive Design for Projection and Live Performance
Higgason M
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-160

Prereq: None
3-4-5
HASS-A

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. 

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.780 Writing the Full-Length Play
Urban M
2:00-5:00 pm
W97-267

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Students write and extensively revise a full-length play, from an initial idea to a revised draft. For our purposes, any script longer than thirty minutes and under a hundred minutes is considered a full-length play. Students respond to each other’s work using a method inspired by dancer Liz Lerman, giving non-prescriptive advice and feedback to their fellow writers. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.784 Writing and Producing Narrative Podcasts
Urban M
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-267
Frederickson

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Taught by K. Urban and C. Frederickson

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, and students pitch possible stories. Focuses on the fundamentals of dramatic storytelling in first half of term. Discusses selected episodes of narrative podcasts such as Serial, Homecoming, and Welcome to Night Vale. 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 a mix of student and professional actors, working in conjunction with a professional director. Podcasts shared with the larger MIT community at the Podcast Listening Room at the end of term.

21M.830/835 Acting: Techniques and Styles
Sonenberg MW
3:00-5:00 pm
W16-RRA

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

21M.835 (Graduate Level)

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.861 Topics in Performance Technique: Devised Performance: In the Theater Laboratory
Mancuso M
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-269

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A Credit will be awarded 

Explores elements of technique in a variety of performance disciplines.  Topics vary from term to term; may be taught by visiting faculty. May be repeated for credit if content differs. 

Fall 2021 Devised Performance: In the Theater Laboratory

The student ensemble will collaboratively devise an original work for theater based on collective research, memory, imagination and creation of a physical score.

Students will engage the empty space as “laboratory”.
Inspired by preliminary research into the work of contemporary theater collectives - Teatr Laboratorium (Poland), Grupo Yuyachkani (Peru), Complicité (London), Pina Bausch (Germany); and Tectonic Theater Project, Mabou Mines, the Open Theatre, and SITI Company (U.S.)- students will expand their ability with improvisatory techniques; develop scenography for their production; and identify and utilize elements as partners: light, sound, projected image, costume, and object.
 
The class includes periodic showings of work to engender informative critique from selected guests;  readings; journaling; visits from guest artists; and an encounter with a devised theatre company. Culminates in a final performance.

21M.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts: Talking and Dancing
Safer T
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-160

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 2021: Talking and Dancing

Exploring and inhabiting that amazing zone between dance and theater that is equal parts both. We will dig into techniques to generate text from movement, movement from text, and integrate the two into hybrid performances that are as much dance as they are theater, using the language of words in conjunction with the language of the body. Opportunities to explore solos, duets, groups, and to work with existing texts and to write one’s own.

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

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 Prodoction
Brathwaite TBA
TBA
TBA

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
TBA

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
TBA

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.