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.
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).
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 & 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: Creating Ensemble Based Performance
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.
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 Theatre in Europe
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 in Popular Media
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.
Fundamentals of Directing
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.
Fundamentals of Stage Management
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.
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.
Dance I: Jazz and Hip Hop
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.
Appreciation of Theatre Design
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.
Dance II: Modern Dance and Ballet
This course provides an introduction to Ballet and Modern Dance. Through Ballet's vocabulary (French, Sign, and English), discipline base, protocols, and specific movements, students perform floor, center, and barre work. The 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; an interpreter will not be provided.
* 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).
‡ At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level or higher.