Class Schedule | Spring 2021

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Theater and Performance Studies
21M.710 Script Analysis , CI-H
Lecture 1 Gammons MW
2:00-3:30 pm
Virtual
Lecture 2 Barall M
2:00-5:00 pm

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 Topics in Theater Arts: Creating the world we want: Protest, Activism, and Performance
Lecture 1 Brathwaite T
7:00-10:00 pm
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.846 Topics in Performance Studies: Mixed Race Theater and Film
Lecture 1 Ferreira TR
3:00-4:30 pm
Virtual

Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A

Through class exercises and the study of theater and film, students analyze how performance complicates and illuminates intersectional perspectives on multiracial identities. The course surveys historical and contemporary representations of mixed race from 19th-20th century US theater and film to 21st century works that place mixed race center stage. With a special focus on the mixed race experiences for people of African, Latinx and Asian descent in the United States, students consider how performance can lead audiences to exchange personal narratives, engage in meaningful conversations, explore personal and social issues of identity and diversity, and foster community engagement. Everyone is welcome. No prerequisites. Enrollment limited.  For more information, email euniceferreira123@gmail.com.

21M.848 Performance Studies: Advanced Theories in Sport
Lecture 1 Conceison W
7:00-10:00 pm
Virtual

Prereq: 21M.690, permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A

Seminar explores connections between athletics and theatre, performance studies, sociology, anthropology, and history. Focuses on performance of nation, race, and gender in sport, and how sport performs in society. Specific topics selected based on the research focus of each student. Enrollment limited.

Performance Practice
21M.600 Introduction to Acting
Lecture 1 Gammons MW
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 2 Mancuso MW
1:00-3:00 pm
Virtual
Lecture 3 Hammond MW
3:00-5:00 pm
Virtual
Lecture 4 Mancuso TR
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 5 Mancuso TR
1:00-3:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 7 Brathwaite TR
3:00-5:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 8 Torn MW
7:00-9:00pm
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
7:00-10:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 2 Lacey W
7:00-10:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 3 Lacey 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.605 Voice and Speech
Lecture 1 D'Ambrosio MW
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 2 Eastley TR
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 3 Eastley TR
1:00-3:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 4 D'Ambrosio MW
1:00-3:00 pm
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 1 Fulton TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-105 and Virtual

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.607J Playwriting Methods
Lecture 1 Urban T
7:00-10:00 pm
Virtual

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A

How do playwrights do research? In this workshop, you will write scenes and short plays and your inspiration will be interviews that you conduct, the news and current events, or even a classical tragedy by Sophocles. We will explore how research is a part of writing a new play. Students will also read classical and contemporary plays in order to better understand how plays are made.

21M.608J Screenwriting
Lecture 1 Urban W
2:00-5:00 pm
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.623 Physical Improvisation: Bodies in Motion
Lecture 1 Safer TR
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual
Lecture 2 Houston-Jones TR
11:00am-1:00pm
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.645 Motion Theater
Lecture 1 Hammond M
7:00-10:00pm
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.702 Live Solo Performance
Lecture 1 Kohler T
7:00-10:00pm
Virtual

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Studies the theatrical canon of monodramas and solo performances to hone individual acting skills. Goes on to explore each student's original artistic voice by presenting strategies in composing and staging work, thus introducing them to experiments with performing the self in society. Each student creates their own original performance piece by the end of the term. Enrollment limited. 

21M.705 Acting Intensive
Lecture 1 Kohler MW
1:00-3:00 pm
Virtual

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.712 Choreography: Making dances
Lecture 1 Safer TR
3:00-5:00 pm
Virtual

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
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.733 Set Design (CI-M)
Lecture 1 Brown TR
7:00-9:00 pm
Virtual

Prereq: None
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.735 Technical Design for Theater: Projection Design (CI-M)
Lecture 1 Higgason M
7:00-10:00 pm
Virtual

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

Spring 2021 Topic: Projection Design

21M.790 Director's Craft
Lecture 1 Sonenberg TR
11:00am-1:00pm
Virtual

(Subject meets with 21M.791) 
Prereq: 21M.600; 21M.710 or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A, CI-M

Explores several models of directing, each with its unique structures, philosophy, terminology, and techniques. Develops 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. Provides instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.840 Performance Media
Lecture 1 Frederickson TR
3:00-5:00 pm
Virtual

(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.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts: Unbound - Exploring the Dramatic Imagination
Lecture 1 Brown TR
1:00-2:30 pm
Virtual

Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A

Explores and utilizes artistic processes that focus on collaboration and cultural exchange. Participants will include MIT students and a selected group of incarcerated women from the Suffolk County House of Correction (Participants from MIT may be of any gender identity).

Introduces students to artists across disciplines who utilize collaborative processes to develop performance works and designs. Students from MIT and the HOC will read texts and explore works by theater artists and theorists. All students will collaborate to create visual designs based initial source material that could include literature, music, non-fiction writing etc. At the end of this course, students will have a hands-on understanding of models used by artists to create works of art and theater collaboratively. The course will necessarily explore how these collaborations can be enriched by including people with a diverse set of circumstances.

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 Prodoction
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 and Theater Arts (graded)
TBA
TBA
TBA

Units arranged 

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