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Major in Theater

A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in all courses counted toward the theater major. The minimum of nine courses must include the following:
  1. Two courses in the literature of theater, normally ENGL 266 and 267. With permission of the director of the program, ENGL 211, 321, or 322 may be substituted for 266.
  2. Two courses in craft, ENGL 250 and 254. These are ordinarily taken in the first two years of a student’s program.
  3. ENGL 454 or ENGL 455.
  4. ENGL 495 and ENGL 496.
  5. At least 2.00 course credits from a list of approved electives in the theater program, the English department, or from among drama courses in other languages. Electives include ENGL 211, 252, 253, 259, 268, 321, 322, 332, 349, 350, 351, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 454, 455, and 491 (independent study, if taught by a faculty member in the theater program). With the permission of the student’s adviser and the director of the program, courses in art and art history, selected courses in music, creative writing, philosophy, or religion may count as cognate courses toward a major in theater, each cognate course counting for one-half credit toward the major.
  6. A total of 40 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses taken. No more than 20 hours may be completed in a single semester. These hours are done in support of the University Theater program.

Minor in Theater

A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in all courses counted toward the theater minor, which must include five courses or their equivalent in the categories below:
  1. ENGL 266 or 267, 250, and 254.
  2. Two or more full-credit courses (or full-credit equivalents) at the 300- and 400-level from the required, elective, or cognate courses listed above in the description of the theater major.
  3. A total of 20 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses taken. These hours are done in support of the University Theater program.

Course Offerings: Theater 

Introductory Theater Courses

250  Stagecraft
J. Morain
A study of technical aspects of theater, including set and properties construction, scene painting, costumes, lights, and sound. Course requirements include 20 hours of backstage work on University Theater productions. This course is open to all students, with theater majors and minors given priority. Seniors are admitted by permission only. This course is offered every term.

252  Scenic Design
M. Kellogg
Elements of scenic design from initial concept to practical realization, including script analysis, the creation of a ground plan, elevations, renderings, and a model. Aspects of costume design are also covered. Course requirements include 12 hours of backstage work on University Theater productions. This course is offered every term. Seniors are admitted by permission only.

253  Costume Design
M. Kellogg
A hands-on introduction to costume design, including script reading and analysis, period research, clothing as an expression of character, and basic principles of design. Coursework involves the extensive use of collage, sketching, and painting to create original costume designs. This course is offered in the spring term and includes a six-session costume construction lab. Seniors admitted by permission only.

254  Basic Acting
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
An introduction to the craft of acting. The course consists of group exercises to develop physical awareness, concentration, imagination and trust. An introductory exploration of text analysis and character is explored through monologue and/or scene work. No prerequisites. First-year and sophomore students only or permission of instructor.

259  Performance I
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
Credit for performance in a University Theater production. This 0.50 credit course may be combined with any other 0.50 course.

266  Introduction to Drama
C. DuComb
An introduction to dramatic literature, theater history, and performance theory from classical Athens to contemporary Broadway. Readings include canonical plays by major Western dramatists, as well as a selection of dramatic texts from other parts of the world. This course is usually offered in the fall term. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission only. Students with credit for ENGL 211 may not receive credit for ENGL 266.

267  Modern Drama
C. DuComb
A survey of the new theatrical styles to emerge in Europe and American in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students read a selection of historically important plays and consider the relationship between a play’s literary form and it realization in performance. This course is usually offered in the spring term. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission only.

268  Contemporary Plays
C. DuComb
This course juxtaposes a selection of major plays from the last thirty years with new works by emerging and experimental playwrights in order to track both established patterns and new directions in contemporary drama and theater. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission only.

Advanced Theater Courses

349  Global Theater
C. DuComb
An exploration of Asian, African, indigenous, and diasporic performance traditions, spanning theater, dance, ritual, and performance in everyday life. Course materials include plays, documentary films, and selected reading in history, anthropology, and performance theory.

350  Practicum
A. Giurgea
Concerted, directed work in a specific theatrical skill. Variable credit.

351  Boiling Over: Theater and Performance in the American Melting Pot
C. DuComb
In 1908, Israel Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot — which centers on a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants — introduced an oft-repeated catchphrase for cultural assimilation into the politics of twentieth-century America. This course delves into the melting pot by asking how we perform our American identities, both onstage and off.  Readings include a racial melodrama and a minstrel-show sketch from the nineteenth century alongside major twentieth-century plays by Eugene O’Neill, Amiri Baraka, Luis Valdez, Tony Kushner, and Anna Deavere Smith. When schedules and funding allow, students take a field trip to see a professional production of an American play related to the course topic, and the final unit of the course explores contemporary playwrights’ reflections on the limits and possibilities of cultural assimilation.

353  Theater Play and Improvisation
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A course designed to cultivate the actor’s creativity, spontaneity, and collaborative skills through theater play, games, and improvisation.

354  Basic Directing
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea
An introduction to the art of theater directing. Class projects are developed into workshops and site-specific productions. Students learn about what makes a director the “central intelligence” of theater. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

355  Advanced Acting
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A technique and scene study class designed to be an exploration of plays with heightened language and/or style, e.g., Shakespeare, Molière, other verse drama, the Greeks, Brecht. Prerequisite: ENGL 254.

356  Playwriting
General principles of playwriting. The goal of the course is the creation by each student of a piece that can be presented as finished work: a one-act play or one act of a longer play. Specific critiques of the works in progress are given regularly, and students are expected to edit and rewrite on the basis of these critiques.

357  Workshop in Children’s Theater
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
An introduction to performance through the creation of a play for children. Often the play is adapted from literature (story, fairy tale, myth). Students explore all aspects of collaboration in a final production at the conclusion of the semester. The course has a service-learning emphasis, which includes community based projects and touring the final production through New York State. Students are required to enroll in the corresponding lab. No prerequisites.

358  Narrative Screenwriting
A workshop approach to the craft of writing for the camera. Students read and analyze screenplays in order to understand the process of how the screenwriter tells a story. A complete, short, narrative screenplay is the final project for the course.

359  Performance II: Ensemble/Company Class
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A collaborative, performance-based class for all theatre majors and minors focusing on the rehearsal of a full-length work for public performance with a faculty director. No audition required for acting students who have completed the prerequisites. Prerequisite: ENGL 254 or permission of instructor.

454  Advanced Directing
A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea
Directing plays to be produced by the University Theater spring festival. The entire directorial process, from text analysis through performance, is covered under instructor’s supervision. Prerequisites: ENGL 354 and permission of instructor. With approval of English department chair, ENGL 454 can satisfy the seminar requirement of the English major. This course is offered in the spring term.

455  Theories of Theater
C. DuComb
Seminal writings in theater theory, focusing particularly on the evolution of performance and the role of theater and performance in society. This course considers how theories of theater have evolved since Plato, and the role of theory in contemporary performance and culture. Open to seniors and juniors only. ENGL 349 is recommended. With approval of the English department chair, ENGL 455 can satisfy the seminar requirement of the English major. Required of all theater majors.

456  Senior Seminar: Theater (r)Evolutions
A close study of a particular movement, theater, or theater artist that locates them in their particular cultural context and examines their contemporary significance.

495  Theater Capstone Seminar
A. Giurgea
A lecture/studio course that prepares students for the conceptual or creative project (ENGL 496) that is the culminating experience of the theater major. The seminar meets once a week for three hours and consists of visits by guest artists and critics, discussion and development of student culminating project proposals, critiques of student work, and, where practical, trips to theaters and other locations of interest to the seminar. Required of all majors.

496  Senior Project in Theater
A. Giurgea
A culminating experience for senior theater students. The project documents creative and scholarly work. Open to senior theater majors only.