Theatre Courses

Prepare to Perform

There’s nothing like the thrill of a live performance. Whether you’re a participant in the planning, a key player in the execution, or an enthralled member of the audience, you’re a part of something special. At RIT, all aspects of what goes into planning and executing a performance are covered, ensuring that when it’s time for the show to go on, you’ll be ready.

College of Liberal Arts Theatre Courses

FNRT-204
Credits 3
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.
FNRT-329
Credits 3
This course examines visual storytelling as an art form in video games. The study of visual storytelling in historic and contemporary art raises questions of social, cultural and political contexts as well as their impact on player experience. Through reading and analysis of art and video games, students will be exposed to different design techniques that visually express social concepts through mechanics, content and aesthetics. The course offers hands on experience with game engine software to create artistic game prototypes that incorporate theoretical approaches to cultural context. Topics may include the relationship of cultural context and environmental storytelling, the critical interpretation and application of visual techniques in fine art, the critical analysis of cultural and artistic themes in video games, creating meaningful worlds through visual and aural design, identity and representation in character design, and the impact of cultural context on the design of interactive and emergent narratives Students will use these concepts to create innovative game prototypes as meaningful cultural and artistic experiences.
PRFL-130
Credits 3
An introduction to theatre as a performing art. Students develop skills in reading, analysis and evaluation through an examination of theatre’s forms, constituent elements, and its cultural, stylistic and historical development.
PRFL-220
Credits 1
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.
PRFL-221
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-227
Credits 3
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).
PRFL-230
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-239
Credits 1
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.
PRFL-321
Credits 3
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”).
PRFL-322
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-323
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-324
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-327
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-330
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-331
Credits 3
This course examines the director’s creative process in translating a dramatic text into a theatre production. Key to this process is the need to develop deep capability in text analysis and interpretation, along with strong skills to meet the challenges brought on by the practical needs of production. Combining lecture and discussion with text analysis assignments and in-class exercises, students will learn how to approach the creation of a director’s production concept for a text, and then explore, through rehearsals and staging, the process of bringing a dramatic story to life on stage in an engaging and compelling manner. Particular emphasis will be placed on how to synthesize different elements with one another to create a coherent expression designed to elicit intellectual, emotional, and critical responses from audiences. Course will culminate with each student presenting a scene or short on-act play fully staged for peer and instructor feedback. Leadership, collaboration, presentation skills, creative problem-solving, and project management will be taught as crucial elements of the process.
PRFL-332
Credits 3
This course investigates the history, theories, and techniques of the theatrical stage manager in order to give a historical and practical understanding of its roles and responsibilities. Emphasis will be placed on the stage manager’s role in the collaborative process. Using readings, lectures, discussions, and practical exercises, students will learn the history, responsibilities, and procedures of stage management from pre- to post-production.
PRFL-489
Credits 3
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.
PRFL-490
Credits 1 - 3
An in-depth examination of a selected aspect of performing arts with a focus on performance and composition.

NTID Performing Arts Theatre Courses

PRFN-100
Credits 3
This course will examine the characteristics and elements of theatre and the performing arts, emphasizing the principles and conventions that guided theatre productions through history. The course examines the ways that theatre influences and is influenced by cultures and by individual life experience. Particular attention is paid to the development of scripts, visual theatre, theatre vocabulary, and the emergence of Deaf and multicultural theatre.
PRFN-102
Credits 3
This course introduces students to the technical and design processes of theatre, including scenery, costume, lighting, make-up, and prop craft. Students experience the range of skills needed to create successful productions, and identify their own areas of interest and strength for future theatre participation.
PRFN-110
Credits 3
This course introduces students to the actor's craft, process, and technique. Major performance methods are introduced in both physical approaches to acting (Grotowski, Delsarte, Alexander technique, multi-cultural methods from African Griot to Japanese Noh) and psychological approaches (Stanislavsky, Meisner, Hagan, Strasberg). Strategies for script analysis, translation, memorization, stage combat, mask, and mime prepare the student for Acting II.
PRFN-111
Credits 3
This course expands students’ understanding of the use of physical space through creative movement strategies. These are supplemented by images, gesture, and sign representation of story elements. Techniques developed from visual theatre practices are studied. Through active participation, students learn the language of movement, mime and visual theatre. Ensemble work based on performance standards, character creation, and theme development is emphasized.
PRFN-144
Credits 3
This course provides students with a wide range of dance movement and dance vocabulary, which is created from jazz dance, hip-hop and other contemporary dance idioms. Students will experience a variety of dance form through physical movement including the styles of Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett and Frank Hatchett as well as elements of street dance, including the styles of Laurie Ann Gibson and Shane Sparks.
PRFN-200
Credits 3
This course fosters the understanding and appreciation of design as part of theatrical productions with specific reference to the fields of scenic, lighting, and costume design and the personnel involved. Students will explore the historical and cultural aspects of theatre while examining the relationship to their activities in everyday life. Students will learn how theatrical scripts and stage directions influence the design, aesthetics, and use of space in a theatrical production, and how to use the script to visualize the design process. Deaf Theatre and other cultural references will be used to discuss the ever growing need to address diversity and accessibility in theatrical productions. Emphasis will be placed on using literary analysis of themes and metaphors inherent in a script to develop an appreciation for the artistic and aesthetic aspects of technical theatre. No artistic or technical skills necessary.
PRFN-203
Credits 3
This course provides hands-on exploration of basic scenic and lighting techniques utilized in theatre productions. Students gain an understanding of scenic construction methods and technology and lighting practice, as well as the safe and proper use of tools and equipment. This course prepares students for Theatre Practicum and running crew responsibilities.
PRFN-204
Credits 3
This course is an introduction to the methods and materials of theatrical painting and props through a project-oriented class. Techniques, communication, and use of appropriate materials and tools are emphasized. Students apply the skills learned to individual and group projects. This course prepares students for more specialized work in Theatre Practicum.
PRFN-205
Credits 3
This course explores basic stage makeup, mask and costume construction techniques. Students will gain an understanding of the visual ways to develop and present a character on stage. Student actors and technicians will create makeup designs, masks, and small costume pieces as a hands-on expression of the research and development of a character concept. This course prepares students for Theatre Practicum and running crew responsibilities.
PRFN-210
Credits 3
This course is a second-level course in the development of college student actors. This course covers advanced acting techniques and vocabulary, both for developing the actor's craft and for understanding the practical theatrical jargon used by professionals. Particular attention is paid to the physical, emotional, and mental actions an actor reveals to his/her audience. Development of script translation technique related to character development is also emphasized. Practical attention is given in preparing the student actor to enter the entertainment industry or community theatre with viable working skills.
PRFN-218
Credits 1 - 3
This course applies technical, performing, script analysis, stage management, and other skills to an actual theatrical production. Students contract with a department mentor for responsibilities and the appropriate credit expectations. In addition to production responsibilities, students are expected to complete reading and writing assignments connected to the production. This course is repeatable for credit.
PRFN-289
Credits 1 - 3
The description will be specified in each Special Topic Documentation Form.
PRFN-245
Credits 3
This course introduces the two important languages of dance: Ballet and Modern Dance. Through Ballet’s vocabulary (French, Sign Language, and English), discipline base, protocols, and specific movements, students perform floor, center, and barre work. This course also provides an introduction to dance that gives students access to the language as well as the fundamental movements of Modern Dance. The styles and technique of Martha Graham (contraction) and Jose Limon (fall and rebound) are explored. Ensemble work, performance standards and creation of character and theme are stressed. Each student is responsible for their own communication in the classroom. This course is open to all RIT students.