Theater Arts Class Schedule | Spring 2023

Show DescriptionsHide Descriptions

Select course title for course description.

 

Theater and Performance Studies
21M.707 Theater and Race: Mixed Race Theater and Film
Lecture Ferreira W
2:00-5:00pm
4-251

Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9

HASS-A

Spring 2023 Topic: Mixed Race Theater and Film

What kinds of stories do film and stage tell about mixed race experiences? Does performance reinforce racial stereotypes or can it challenge binary notions and lead to more nuanced understandings of racial identities? Storytelling is the primary imperative for stage & film and is one of the most effective means to communicate across differences and create community. Through class exercises and the study of film and theater, students will analyze how performance complicates and illuminates intersectional perspectives on multiracial identities. The course will survey 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 will consider how performance can lead audiences to explore personal & social issues of identity, exchange personal narratives, engage in meaningful conversations on race and culture, and foster community engagement.  Everyone is welcome. No prerequisites. Enrollment limited.

Catalog Description

Explores Black, Latinx, Asian American, Indigenous, and/or mixed race theater through the lens of identities and experiences. Emphasis on BIPOC voices, plays, artists, theater ensembles, collectives, and cultural organizations. Topics may include cross-ethnic casting, public action and activism, and other emerging contemporary performance platforms. Seminar discussions, readings, research and creative projects, sessions with visiting artists and scholars, and attendance of at least one live performance inform and enrich the experience. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

21M.710 Script Analysis, CI-H
Lecture Yoo W
7:00-10:00pm
W97-269

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.714 Contemporary American Theater: The Immigrant Experience, CI-H
Lecture De Simone M
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. 

Performance Practice
21M.600 Introduction to Acting
Lecture 1 Hammond TR
1:00-3:00pm
W16-RRB
Lecture 2 Hammond TR
3:00-5:00pm
W16-RRB
Lecture 3 Rubio TR
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 4 Rubio MW
1:00-3:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 5 MW
3:00-5:00pm
W97-269
Lecture 6 Green MW
1:00-3:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 7 Green MW
3:00-5:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 8 Hammond TR
11:00am-1:00pm
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
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 2 Lacey T
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 3 Lacey W
7:00-10:00pm
W97-261
Lecture 4 McLeod F
2:00-5:00pm
W97-261

Prereq: None
3-0-6
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 Fundamentals of Theater Design
Lecture Brown TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-261

Prereq: None
3-0-9
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. Lab fee required. Enrollment may be limited.

21M.605 Voice and Speech
Lecture 1 D'Ambrosio MW
1:00-3:00pm
50-201
Lecture 2 Eastley TR
11:00am-1:00pm
50-201
Lecture 3 Eastley TR
1:00-3:00pm
50-201
Lecture 4 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.607J Playwriting Methods
Lecture Urban W
2:00-5:00pm
W97-267

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.623 Physical Improvisation: Bodies in Motion
Lecture 1 Safer TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-162
Lecture 2 Clark TR
3:00-5:00pm
W97-160
Lecture 3 Turner MW
11:00am-1:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
4-2-6
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.645 Motion Theater
Lecture Green W
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 Sonenberg TR
1:00-3:00pm
W16-RRA

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 Clark TR
1:00-3:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
Units: 4-2-6
HASS-A

Laboratory-style class explores and invents techniques used to create dances. Students practice techniques focused on how and where to begin making a dance - sampling some of the endless ways to start a process, such as from the body, an idea, text, or a song - and then how to build up from there. Students make dances that are more than just a collection of moves, but events that do something, say something, or ask something. Builds a clear understanding of how a dance has an arc, a clear beginning, middle, and end, so that by doing it or watching it, both participants and audience end up somewhere new. Develops an understating of, and facility with, a wide variety of topics used to explore, start and generate movement, dance and performative events involving bodies moving through space. Enrollment limited.

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.747 Talking and Dancing
Lecture Safer T
7:00-10:00pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Interdisciplinary dance theater studio invites students to investigate the spaces between dance and theater. Students engage in an array of acting and dance techniques to generate text from movement and movement from text. In-studio exercises examine the process of melding the expressive languages of words with languages of the body. Students use existing texts and compose original texts in the development of solo, duet, and ensemble projects. Explores the process of seeing and providing peer feedback to further expand the process of revision. Readings, short writings, video viewings, and guest lectures provide multiple avenues of understanding and illumine differing ways of making. Culminates with an opportunity for students to refine, develop, and share their projects in performance.

21M.780J Writing the Full-Length Play
Lecture Urban T
7:00-10:00pm
W97-267

(Same subject as 21W.780[J])
Subject meets with 21M.781 (Graduate level)
Prereq: None
Units: 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. Limited to 10.

21M.784 Producing Podcasts
Lecture Frederickson T
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.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.

21M.842 Live Cinema Performance
Lecture Scheib M
7:00-10:00pm
W97-165

Subject meets with 21M.843 (Graduate level)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A

Interdisciplinary studio introduces the theoretical basis, technical idiosyncrasies, and artistic practices of Live Cinema Performance. Examines the meaningful integration of live theatrical and cinematic idioms through merging the disciplines of the performer and the director, scenographer and cinematographer, choreographer and filmmaker. 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 engage the artistic practice from both sides of the camera. Guest artists, lectures, and master classes deepen the perspective. Each session focuses 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. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited.

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

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

Spring 2023 Topic: Hip-Hop

Communicates how hip-hop music was born out of the necessity to express one’s true self in the face of adversity. Course features dance instruction for all levels from beginner to experienced. Discussions, lectures, and demonstrations will explore musicality, gestures, beats, and polyrhythms, while tracing the genre back to the cultures of West Africa.

Catalog Description

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.  Enrollment may be limited.

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Dancing with the Camera
Lecture Clark TR
11am-12:30pm
W97-162

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

Spring 2023 Topic: Dancing with the Camera

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.

Applied Performance and Practica
21M.803 Performance and Design Workshop
Urban TBA
TBA
TBA
Safer 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 Production
Urban TBA
TBA
TBA
Safer 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
Urban TBA
TBA
TBA
Safer 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 Perforamnce 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.

21M.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts: Spring Production
Urban WR
7:00-10:00pm
W97-162
Safer WR
7:00-10:00 pm
W97-162

Prereq: None
3-0-9

Production studio invites students to join Theater Arts faculty and staff in the development of a fully-staged production for an invited audience in MIT’s new laboratory for the performing arts at w97. Students are immersed in the collaboration 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 semester. Culminating in a public performance, students at all levels of experience are encouraged to join. Each semester evolves a different project which may include community-driven interventions, classical or contemporary plays, devised works, screenplays, musicals or other live performance events.