Theatre Arts Minor

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The theatre arts minor provides an iterative balance of theory and practice that engages students intellectually and creatively. This combination of critical thinking and experiential learning offers students an in-depth understanding of the art of theater, as well as an introduction to the role of theater as both a form of commentary on, and as a reflection of, society and culture. The minor includes student participation in a minimum of three department sponsored theater productions via Theater Ensemble (FNRT-230) and Dramatic Theory and Text Analysis (FNRT-207).

Notes about this minor:

  • Posting of the minor on the student’s academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.


Required Courses
Dramatic Theory and Text Analysis
The course is designed to provide students with a foundation in major dramatic and performance theories including works by Aristotle, Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski, and a variety of other contemporary theorists and practitioners. In addition to surveying the work of key dramatic and performance theorists and theories, the course will engage students in the application of these theories in the study and analysis of play texts from a variety of periods, genres and cultures. Students will analyze these texts from the perspective of both the logistic and aesthetic requirements of production (as actors, directors and designers).
Theater Ensemble*
The Theatre Ensemble is an experiential-learning course in which students will have various opportunities to apply theoretic knowledge to practice through participation in a faculty mentored or faculty directed theatre production on campus. Course content will include CLA main stage productions, as well as other ensemble productions that perform or develop theatre performances covering a range of genres, periods and cultures. Students will be expected to write, create and/or analyze texts as well as participate as actors, designers, and technicians.
Choose three of the following
   Music and the Stage
A historical and cultural survey of collaboration between the arts of music and theatre, focusing on a selection of significant creative products that combine music and drama. Possible works studied include those by Shakespeare, Monteverdi, Mozart-Daponte, John Gay, Beethoven-Goethe, Wagner, Puccini, Brecht-Weill, and Bernstein, spanning the genres of Renaissance tragedy and comedy, opera seria, opera buffa, ballad opera, incidental music, romantic drama, Italian opera, music-drama, epic theatre, cabaret, vaudeville, and musical comedy.
   Fundamentals of Acting
This course will introduce students to the history and theory of acting in Western Culture from the late 19th century up to the present day. Particular focus will be paid to the theories of Stanislavsky and Stanislavsky-based approaches along with complementary and contrasting methods developed by such theorist/practitioners as Jerzy Grotowski, Lee Strasberg, and Sanford Meisner. Students can expect a course that combines lecture/discussion with practical exercises designed to apply concepts and theory using acting techniques designed to strengthen vocal and physical expression and to stimulate the imagination. In addition, actors will be introduced to scene work and develop skills for text analysis as a basis for character development. Assessment will include quizzes, papers, and in-class participation in exercises and scene work. As an introductory course, the course objectives are to provide students with a broad survey of the aesthetics, theory, and practice of acting.
   Devising Theatre
Devising theatre is a collaborative process in which a group of individuals produce a wholly new or adapted piece of theatre. This course is a hands-on exploration of that collaborative process and places students at the center of their own artistic expression. Through a series of class discussions and lectures, readings, writing assignments, creative exercises, brainstorming sessions, and acting workshops, students will learn about the history and theories of devised theatre as a tool for social change, while also generating their own theatrical pieces for individual and group presentation. Above all, this course fosters an ensemble-building atmosphere and imparts to students the importance of teamwork and communication in working toward a shared goal.
   Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship†
This course is designed to provide motivated students interested in technical theatre the opportunity to observe and participate in the theatre design process from conception to execution, while learning basic stagecraft skills involved in professional theatre production via an internship at a local theatre. Students will work directly with professional directors, designers and stage technicians on the production of a play from design concept to performance. The experience will allow active engagement in collaborative processes and methods commonly employed to create theatre productions. Depending upon the interests and abilities of the student, and the needs of the specific production, students may be assigned to a specific area of design stagecraft (i.e. Costumes or Scenic), or learn and engage in a more general capacity. The learning objectives of this apprenticeship are to give students an understanding of the goals and methods of design and stagecraft as critical elements in translating a play text into a fully realized artistically unified theatre expression. Students will have bi-weekly meetings with the instructor.
   Traditions of European Theatre
A survey of theatre and drama of selected European nations and periods, emphasizing plays and theatre productions in particular historical, artistic, and theoretical contexts (e.g. “Modernist European Theatre and Drama, 1890-1930” – “Romanticism and Realism on Continental Stages”; “France and Germany, 1789-1989”; “Theatre of the European Renaissance” ; “Major Dramatists of Scandinavia, Russia, and Central Europe”).
   Traditions of Theatre in the U.S. 
A historical survey of American theatre and drama, from the Colonial period to the early 21st century, focusing on a selection of significant plays and stylistic movements in the twentieth century. Plays studied include those by Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, and Tony Kushner, along with alternating selections by less well-known and/or marginalized American dramatists, 1925 to 2000. The varied types of drama, styles and modes of theatre production, and contributions of actors, directors, scenographers, theorists, and critics provide a continuous context for this study of America’s developing theatre arts.
   Traditions of Shakespearean Theatre
A course in Shakespeare’s drama that emphasizes the plays as potential theatre productions. Studying a selection of plays representative of the different acknowledged types of Shakespearean drama (comedy, tragedy, history, problem comedy, romance), students gain a broad understanding of the character and range of Shakespeare’s poetic-dramatic art. Experimenting with production activities such as oral interpretation, character presentation, and scene rendering, they acquire a practical appreciation of Shakespearean drama’s theatrical potency, of the original staging conventions, and of how each type of play makes particular generic demands on both performer and spectator. Augmenting the reading and expressive activities is a term research project focused on collaborative realization of a staging interpretation of selected scenes from the Shakespeare plays on the syllabus.
   African American Playwrights
A historical survey of African American playwrights and the significant moments, topics, and themes that informed their work from the late 1800’s to the early 21st century. Plays by American African Diaspora playwrights will be studied and will include works by Ira Aldridge, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Lynn Nottage, August Wilson, George C. Wolfe, Ed Bullins, Anna Deavere Smith, and Ntozake Shange. The varied types of drama, styles and modes of theatre production, and contributions of actors, directors, scenographers, theorists, musicians, and critics provide a continuous context for this study of America’s developing theatre arts.
   American Musical Theatre
This course is a survey of the development of the American Musical Theater, highlighting representative works, composers, librettists and performers of both the cultivated and vernacular traditions. It is further designed as an appreciation course, fostering the development of a greater appreciation for all types of stage music and the ability to better evaluate the quality of a work, the performance, and the performers.
   Performing Identity
This class is a critical, theoretical, and practical examination of the constitution and performance of personal identity within popular media as it relates to identity politics in everyday life. Through lectures, readings, film, and critical writing, students will examine elements of personal identity and diversity in popular media in order to foster a deeper understanding of how identity is constructed and performed in society.
   Special Topics in Performing Arts
Allows examination of a special problem or topic area in the theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and other performing and fine arts. Topics and specific content and methods vary from term to term. Each term’s offering, however, features an introduction to a historical period, movement, phenomenon, practitioner(s), or other subfield of study within performing arts and/or visual culture. In so doing, students develop theoretical and experiential knowledge of an artistic period, movement, phenomenon, practitioner(s) or other subfield of study within performing arts and/or visual culture.
   Special Topics in Performing Arts
An in-depth examination of a selected aspect of performing arts with a focus on performance and composition.

* Students must take Theater Ensemble (FNRT-230) three times.

† Students may substitute one credit of Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship (FNRT-260) for one credit of Theater Ensemble (FNRT-230).