Theater Subjects

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Theater and Performance Studies
21M.611 Foundations of Theater Practice Janet

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A

Introduces the ideas, skills, and aesthetic issues which comprise the creation of the theatrical event. Guest artists and faculty members introduce the work of different disciplines such as directing, stagecraft, design, acting, dramaturgy, and criticism. Readings and in-class exercises help students understand and experience the basic creative impulse in each area.

21M.690 Sport as Performance Claire

(Subject meets with 21M.691) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A, CI-H

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 China on Stage, CI-H Claire

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

HASS-A, CI-H

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.701(G) China on Stage Claire

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.700) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

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. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited. 
 

21M.706 Asian American Theater Claire

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-1-8, HASS-A

Explores plays about the Asian American experience. Readings include plays and materials about cultural and political issues, family, and identity. Course includes short formal and creative writing assignments and scene work resulting in a collaborative final performance. Limited to 18.

21M.710 Script Analysis, CI-H David R.

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 Caleb

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A 

Pursues detailed study of a particular playtext or theme and is related to some planned production activity during the following IAP. Seminar activities may include guest speakers from various disciplines who approach some aspect of the playtext or theme from the perspective of their fields; various theatrical practitioners; and critical and scholarly presentations by seminar members.

21M.711 Production Seminar: The Futures of Opera — Richard Wagner’s Parsifal Jay

Prereq: None
3-0-9
HASS-A

Pursues detailed study of a particular playtext or theme and is related to some planned production activity during the following IAP. Seminar activities may include guest speakers from various disciplines who approach some aspect of the playtext or theme from the perspective of their fields; various theatrical practitioners; and critical and scholarly presentations by seminar members. Participation in the IAP production is not required.

Fall 2019 Topic: The Futures of Opera — Richard Wagner’s Parsifal

Research-based studio seminar centers on the work of Richard Wagner and the Bayreuther Festspiele broadly and his 1882 production of Parsifal specifically. Seminar examines historical and contemporary stage innovations while experimenting toward a critical realization of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) masterpiece: Parsifal. Adjacent to our leap into the vast universe of Grail mythology, this studio seminar will include a component that examines existing efforts to incorporate AR and VR in live performance settings, and  endeavors to make a series of prototypes pursuant to the integration of Augmented Realities AR, Virtual Realities VR and/or  Hybrid/Mixed Realities in the development of a live opera performance environment. Conceptual diagrammatic studies, Readings, Writings, Video Viewings, Listenings, Guest lectures, and a bit of Programming is complimented by studio performance compositions resulting in a full-on case-book-nod to Lessing’s Hamburgishe Dramaturgie. 

Course concludes with a computationally-engaged, experience-elevated, live performance prototype drawn from moments of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal.

21M.714 Contemporary American Theater, CI-H Ken

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.

21M.715 Topic in Theater Arts: Survey of 20th and 21st Century Performance Practices Caleb

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9 
HASS-A by petition

Spring 2018 Topic- Performance: Survey of 20th and 21st Century Performance Practices

What does it mean to perform, to create a work of art in the living moment of now, performer and audience experiencing shared time and space?

This course examines the performative act across disciplines including theater, live art, dance and other parallel practices. Works by a diverse range of artists will be discussed comparatively and in a sociohistorical context.

We will observe how themes, forms and movements developed, exploring aesthetic and conceptual intersections and divergences. We’ll discover surprising parallels in the work of radically different artists. 
______
Multidisciplinary seminar provides opportunity for study in performance theory and practice. Topics vary from term to term; may be taught by visiting faculty. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

21M.715 Topics in Theater Arts: New American Playwriting Ken

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9, HASS-A after petition 

Despite lack of federal funding, despite daily proclamations of its demise, new American theatre continues to flourish. This course will examine the exciting terrain of new experimental writing for the theatre, focusing on what is known as “Off Broadway” “downtown” or “indie theatre.” We will read work by both new voices and influential playwrights from earlier generations. Alongside this close analysis of the plays will be an examination of the changing institution of American theatre. The course will also serve as an introduction to writing about plays in performance. Students will see at least one production during the term and develop their skills as analytical thinkers.

21M.800 All the World's a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance Charlotte

(Subject meets with 21M.801) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 
HASS-A

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.

21M.801(G) All the Worlds a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance Charlotte

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.800) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

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.

21M.846 Topics in Performance Studies: The China Theater Experiment Claire

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 
HASS-A

Multidisciplinary lecture/workshop engages students in a variety of approaches to the study and practice of performance as an area of aesthetic and social interaction. Special attention paid to the use of diverse media in performance. Interdisciplinary approaches to study encourage students to seek out material histories of performance and practice. May be repeated for credit if topics differ.

Fall 2018 Topic: The China Theater Experiment
This course explores hot topics in China through contemporary plays and culminates in a creative project and/or production. All texts and acting exercises are in English. Enrollment limited. No final exam.

21M.846 Topics in Performance Studies: Comedy Across Media

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

Spring 2018 Topic: Comedy Across Media

In this practice-based course we will take a laboratory approach to the production of comedy across a multitude of media platforms. Texts exploring various theories of comedy will be read alongside histories of comedic artists, tropesand aesthetics. Each week we will look at, listen to, watch and analyze examples of these, asking not only what makes them funny (or not), but also how these artists employ the media in which they work to comedic effect. These media may include live performance, drawings, diagrams, sculpture, broadcast and recorded sound, photographs, music, film, video and digital media, among others. The primary objective of this course, however, will be the creation of our own comedic artworks and the establishment of a discourse surrounding them informed by the above. Each week students will produce and present their own self-directed and collaborative artworks, exercises, Bield recordings, texts and performances in a generous and supportive environment. At the end of the semester, each student will submit a portfolio of their work along with a personal statement articulating the theory and approach they developed over the course of the semester, referencing the readings, screenings and discussion we engaged in. Multidisciplinary lecture/workshop engages students in a variety of approaches to the study and practice of performance as an area of aesthetic and social interaction. Special attention paid to the use of diverse media in performance. Interdisciplinary approaches to study encourage students to seek out material histories of performance and practice. May be repeated for credit if topics differ.

 

21M.846 Topics in Performance Studies: Play Translation and Cultural Transmission Claire

Prereq: No prerequisite, all language levels welcomed
3-0-9
HASS-A

Multidisciplinary lecture/workshop engages students in a variety of approaches to the study and practice of performance as an area of aesthetic and social interaction. Special attention paid to the use of diverse media in performance. Interdisciplinary approaches to study encourage students to seek out material histories of performance and practice. May be repeated for credit if topics differ.

Fall 2019 Topic: Play Translation and Cultural Transmission
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. No prerequisite, all language levels welcomed. Enrollment limited. 

21M.847 Topics in Performance Studies

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.846) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9

 

21M.848 Performance Studies: Advanced Theories of Sport Claire

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.

Theater and Performance Practice
21M.600 Introduction to Acting

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 Sara

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.603 Introduction to Design for Theater Sara

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 of $35 required. Enrollment may be limited.

 
21M.604 Playwriting Fundamentals Ken

(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 Olivia

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 Stephanie

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.608 Screenwriting Ken

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 Daniel

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 Anna

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 Caleb

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.702 Live Solo Performance Anna

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.704 Music Theater Workshop Anna

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.705 Acting Intensive Anna

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.732 Costume Design Oana Botez

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.733 Set Design Sara

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.734 Lighting Design Joshua

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 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.

21M.735 Technical Design for Performance

Prereq: 21M.606 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

Studio examines the role of the technical designer as an integral member of an ensemble. Focusing on the artistic process, students develop their own unique approaches to stage design, lighting, sound, video design and other new media applications for the performing arts. They also explore an array of pre-production research and rehearsal techniques and analyze dramatic texts. Introduces theoretical and practical aspects of technical design, from the budgeting of time and selection of materials, to use of new technologies. Culminates in a public showing of final design projects for an invited audience.

21M.735 Technical Design for Performance: Creative Sound Design Christian

Prereq: 21M.606 or Permission of instructor
4-0-8
HASS-A, CI-M

Studio examines the role of the technical designer as an integral member of an ensemble. Focusing on the artistic process, students develop their own unique approaches to stage design, lighting, sound, video design and other new media applications for the performing arts. They also explore an array of pre-production research and rehearsal techniques and analyze dramatic texts. Introduces theoretical and practical aspects of technical design, from the budgeting of time and selection of materials, to use of new technologies. Culminates in a public showing of final design projects for an invited audience.

Fall 2019 Topic: Creative Sound Design
Sound design for theater and dance. Rooted in the ideas of collaboration, deep listening, and the Viewpoints, this class will examine the role of sound and music in the contemporary theater. Students will develop techniques and skills for text analysis, system design, sound editing, cue building, Qlab programming, voiceover recording, and the use of microphones in performance. Projects will include ambience recording, cue building, Qlab projects, and will culminate with a reading of a complete play with sound design by the class.

21M.737 Interactive Design and Projection for Live Performance Joshua

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-4-5 
HASS-A

Studies design, history, artistic purposes, and programming techniques involved in the development of interactive performance design systems for controlling video projection, media, and lighting for live performances. Includes readings, viewings of historical and contemporary works, and in class-practice and performance. Students use motion-sensing input devices, such as the Kinect, infrared-light tracking, accelerometers, live video, and generative graphics, to create interactive design systems.  Enrollment limited.

21M.785 Playwrights' Workshop Ken

(Same subject as 21W.769[J])
(Subject meets with 21M.789) 
Prereq: 21M.604 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, CI-M
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. Enrollment limited. 

21M.789(G) Playwrights' Workshop Ken

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.785[J], 21W.769[J]) 
Prereq: 21M.604 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8 

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. Enrollment is limited to 10.

21M.790 Director's Craft Janet

(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.791(G) Director's Craft Janet

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.790) 
Prereq: 21M.600; 21M.710 or permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-6

Explores several models of directing, each with its unique structures, philosophy, terminology, and techniques. Exploration is intended to lead to the development of 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. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

21M.830 Acting: Techniques and Styles Olivia

(Subject meets with 21M.835) 
Prereq: 21M.624, 21M.705, or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8, HASS-A

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.830 Acting: Techniques and Styles- Mask and Clown Kāli

(Subject meets with 21M.835) 
Prereq: 21M.600 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8
HASS-A

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.

Mask and Clown
This semester we will be invested in a study of creative expression through the physical theater techniques of mask and clown. Through improvisation and characterization with Full-Face Masks, Traditional and Contemporary Commedia dell’Arte masks, and the world’s smallest mask of the Red Nose, you will learn to take  outrageous creative risks, expand your physical and vocal range, develop your sense of humor, connect to an audience, and play with abandon. Inspired by the various kinds masks and clowns throughout history, you will create your own theatrical vocabulary that will organically accumulate into solo and group performance material.

21M.835 (G) Acting: Techniques and Styles- Mask and Clown Kāli

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.830) 
Prereq: 21M.600 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8
HASS-A

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.

Fall 2019: Mask and Clown
This semester we will be invested in a study of creative expression through the physical theater techniques of mask and clown. Through improvisation and characterization with Full-Face Masks, Traditional and Contemporary Commedia dell’Arte masks, and the world’s smallest mask of the Red Nose, you will learn to take  outrageous creative risks, expand your physical and vocal range, develop your sense of humor, connect to an audience, and play with abandon. Inspired by the various kinds masks and clowns throughout history, you will create your own theatrical vocabulary that will organically accumulate into solo and group performance material.

21M.835 (G) Acting: Techniques and Styles Olivia

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.830)
Prereq: 21M.600
Units: 4-0-8

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 versions complete additional assignments.

21M.840 Performance Media Joshua

(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.841 (G) Performance Media Joshua

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.840) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

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.842 Live Cinema Performance Jay

(Subject meets with 21M.843) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-2-7, HASS-A

Interdisciplinary studio merges the disciplines of the performer, designer, cinematographer, director, playwright and technician, and examines the deep integration of live theatrical and cinematic idioms. Studio exercises, readings, field trips and in-class presentations provide the opportunity to study the history and theory surrounding the development of genre, and to engage the practice from both sides of the camera. Includes guest artists, lectures, and master classes. Students regularly test what they develop in studio on the stage. Each class focuses on a particular dramatist, theme, or artistic genre and culminates in a full-length collaboration that will be presented in the final week of class for an invited audience. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited.

21M.843 (G) Live Cinema Performance Jay

Graduate Level
(Subject meets with 21M.842) 
Prereq: None 
Units: 3-2-7 

Interdisciplinary studio merges the disciplines of the performer, designer, cinematographer, director, playwright and technician, and examines the deep integration of live theatrical and cinematic idioms. Studio exercises, readings, field trips and in-class presentations provide the opportunity to study the history and theory surrounding the development of genre, and to engage the practice from both sides of the camera. Includes guest artists, lectures, and master classes. Students regularly test what they develop in studio on the stage. Each class focuses on a particular dramatist, theme, or artistic genre and culminates in a full-length collaboration that will 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: Devised Performance in the Theater Laboratory Kim

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 2019 Topic- Devised Performance: In the Theater Laboratory

Course Goal: to gain holistic understanding of how theater works, and to explore the challenges of building performance from scratch, not necessarily from a written script, but from an ensemble’s collective inspiration, research, and imagination.

Participants will:
Devise an original performance as an ensemble
, identifying its unique process for developing and realizing live performance.
Explore the empty space as laboratory for the actor/ creator. This space provides an opportunity to navigate the complex dynamics present in collective creation.
Learn improvisatory techniques to create image. Answer the question: what is the source of creative impulse.
Research the work of contemporary theater practitioners and collectives  such as Grotowski’s Teatr Laboratorium, El Teatro Campesino, Complicite, Tectonic Theater Project, Mabou Mines, Pina Bausch, The Open Theatre, and SITI Company.
Identify the ensemble voice: what and by which means a collective is compelled to speak. Engaging issues identified by the ensemble. (i.e. “Who am I / who are we in the early part of the 21st century”; individual / collective relationship to present environmental and socio-political landscapes;  interpersonal and cross-cultural identity.)
Engage inspiration, imagination, and dialogue, through physical and vocal action. Make design choices and develop appropriate space for their production; identify elements as partners (light, sound, video, costume, object.)

Open in-progress work to selected observers several times during the term and incorporate appropriate critique in rehearsal.

Includes class visits by guest practitioners who will share their own work process; attendance at performances of devised work; a visit to a theater collaborative whose devised work is central to their existence; outside readings, film, journal-writing for source research and a short essay based on the semester’s work.

21M.861 Topics in Performance Technique: Physical Improvisation Daniel

Prereq: None 
Units: 3-0-9 

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.

Fall 2018 Topic: Physical Improvisation
Explore the bodily realities of motion – gravity, momentum, inertia. Rolling, falling, going upside down, lifting and being lifted. Like surfing combined with martial arts combined with fluid dynamics. By releasing tension and abandoning the notion of pre-planning, you experience a natural, spontaneous flow of movement, opening yourself up to, and diving into, whatever might happen. Alertness is developed 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.

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Projection Design Joshua

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

Fall 2019 Topic: Projection Design 
Course undertakes a study of the history, design methods, artistic purposes, and practical execution of projection design for live performance. Through a study of theoretical readings, viewings of historical and contemporary works, practical software application, and with an emphasis on in-class practice and performance, students will develop projection designs for live theater performances. Focuses on developing skills  with storyboard and communication tools, content creation, design methodologies, video hardware, programming, and application. This course is designed to engage artists, designers, directors, choreographers, performers, and students of different backgrounds in the practice of design for theater. Enrollment may be limited. 

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Stage Combat

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

Fall 2017 Topic: Stage Combat
In this course, students will learn techniques and principles of safe theatrical fighting suitable for both stage and film. The first unit focuses on hand-to-hand combat that can be adapted for a variety of story-telling needs, from slapstick comedy to brutal verisimilitude. The second unit introduces combat props such as historical swordplay (rapier and broadsword) and modern violence (knives and found objects). This is an acting class, not a marital arts, self-defense, or stunt class; as such, your other theatrical training (such as movement, voice, and text) will be incorporated and built upon. Scene work will range from Shakespeare to contemporary plays.

Materials for this course include a pair of gloves and a practice sword (a Nerf sword from Toys R Us is fine). These materials generally come to $30-$35 dollars. You will need to wear movement clothes and sneakers to class sessions. 

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice- Choreography: Making Dances Daniel

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

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.

Fall 2018 Topic- Choreography: Making Dances
A class about making dances: for shows, for videos, for concerts, for wherever you might need a dance. We will explore techniques focused on how and where to begin making a dance, and then how to build up from there. Maybe starting from the body, starting from an idea, starting from something written, starting from a song, and more;  there are endless ways and we will look at some of them. How can a dance be more than just a collection of moves but actually do something, say something, ask something? How can it have an arc, a clear beginning, middle, and end, so that by doing it or watching it, we end up somewhere new?

For all levels of dance and choreography experience.

21M.862 Topics in Performance Practice: Beginning Screenwriting Ken

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8
HASS-A by petition

Spring 2018 Topic: Beginning Screenwriting

Our workshop explores the fundamentals of screenplay writing and it is intended for the beginning screenwriter. Students will complete a short screenplay of 10-12 pages by the end of the term. To that end, students will write a synopsis, a plot outline (“treatment”) and two drafts of the screenplay. The course teaches students to create compelling characters and seductive stories in different dramatic genres (comedy, drama). In addition to their own writing, students will read a selection of screenplays and short films. These texts will form the basis of class discussion early in the semester. The class is modeled on a professional development workshop (such as a development opportunity like Sundance Lab). To that end, we will respond to each other’s work using a method inspired by dancer Liz Lerman. By using a specific structure, students will learn how to give non-prescriptive advice and feedback to their fellow writers. In addition to completing all assignments on time and coming to class prepared, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in theatre, film and television outside of class. Enrollment limited.

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.862 Topics in Performance Practice- Choreography Lab: Practical Dance Theater Daniel

Prereq: None 
Units: 4-0-8 

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.

Spring 2019 Topic- Choreography Lab: Practical Dance Theater

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

Over the semester, participants will propose, develop, and present a performance based in Choreography and utilizing Dramaturgy, Costume, Sound, and Lighting Design, and the crossover between Dance and Theater. The process will be exploratory - we will look at rehearsal as a place to make discoveries and shape them, starting from the collision of ideas and movement and expanding outward from there. 

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.863 Advanced Topics in Performance: Solo Performance Anna

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 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.

Fall 2018 Topic: Solo Performance
All you need is you
- performing the self in society
A course in live solo performance

We are fully engaged in the world around us, and our unique view of it provides us with the material and the ability to create and perform.

This class will introduce you to strategies of creation that rely only on one performer's presence on stage - you . We will highlight exercises, and study artists and actors who dedicate themselves to the world of solo performance, towards the goal of each student creating their own solo performance. After that, those strategies and experiments will then be further developed to explore their use in structuring larger group performances.

21M.863 Advanced Topics in Theater Arts: Interactive Design and Projection for Live Performance Joshua

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 3-0-9
HASS-A by petition

Spring 2018 Topic: Interactive Design and Projection for Live Performance

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. Through a study of readings, viewings of historical and contemporary works, and in class practice and performance, we will use motion sensing input devices like the Kinect, infrared-light tracking, accelerometers, live video, generative graphics, and other methods to create interactive design systems for performance. 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.

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.

Advanced Topics and Practica
21M.803 Performance and Design Workshop Nicole Paschal

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.803/6 House of Correction Mural Project Sara

Learn the basic skills and techniques used to create large scale paintings while working with incarcerated artists to paint a mural at the Suffolk County House of Correction.

Painting Sessions will be held:
January 7th - 24th, 2019, Monday - Friday from 12pm - 5pm
After IAP students can participate to develop an augmented reality component to the mural.
Interested? Email Sara Brown at saralb@mit.edu

21M.806 Applied Performance and Design Production Nicole Paschal

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 Nicole Paschal

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.

NOTE: If you are interested in participating in a practicum during Fall 2019 semester, please complete this interest form. Once you have completed the form with your avalibity and preferences, you will hear back from a member of the Theater Arts staff with your practicum assignment. 

21M.851 Independent Study in Performance and Design Nicole Paschal

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.864 Research in Theater

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units arranged 

Offers directed research in the spheres of theory, history, performance studies, dramaturgy, etc. Permission of the supervising member of the Theater Arts faculty required.

21M.865(G) Research in Theater

Graduate Level
Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units arranged 
 

Offers directed research of advanced theatrical subjects occurring in either the performance or theoretical spheres. May be repeated for credit with permission.

21M.ThT Pre-thesis Tutorial Janet

Prereq: Permission of instructor 
Units: 1-0-5​

Definition of and early-stage work on thesis project leading to 21M.THU Undergraduate Thesis in Music or Theater Arts. Taken during the first term, or during IAP, of the student's two-term commitment to the thesis project. Student works closely with an individual faculty tutor. Limited to Music or Theater Arts Majors.

21M.THU Undergraduate Thesis Janet

Prereq: 21M.THT
Units arranged 
CI-M

Completion of work on senior major thesis in Music or Theater Arts under supervision of a faculty tutor. Includes oral presentation of thesis project early in the term, assembling and revising final text and meeting at the close with a committee of Music or Theater Arts faculty evaluators to discuss successes and limitations of the project. Limited to Music or Theater Arts majors.

21M.UR Undergraduate Research in Music and Theater Arts

Units Arranged
[P/D/F]

 

21M.URG UROP in Music or Theater Arts (graded) Nicole Paschal

Units arranged 

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