Theater Course Descriptions
THE 101 Introduction to the Theater
Designed for the liberal arts student, this course explores many aspects of the theater: the audience, the actor, the visual elements, the role of the director, theater history, and selected dramatic literature. The goal is to heighten the student’s appreciation and understanding of the art of the theater. Play readings may include Oedipus Rex, Macbeth, Tartuffe, An Enemy of the People, The Government Inspector, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Waiting for Godot, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Topdog/Underdog, and Angels in America. The student will be expected to attend and write critiques of the Wabash College Theater productions staged during the semester he is enrolled in the course. This course is intended for the non-major/minor and is most appropriately taken by freshmen and sophomores.
THE 103 Topics in Theater and Film
These seminars focus on specific topics in theater and film. They are designed to introduce students to the liberal arts expressed by noteworthy pioneers and practitioners in theater and film.
Courtroom Drama on the Stage and Screen
The courtroom drama with its tightly woven plot, strict focus on tension and mounting suspense, sensational double twists, extraordinary closing arguments, archetypal lawyers, and a gallery of colorful characters is the subject of this seminar. The class will investigate a docket of courtroom dramas on the stage and in film, along with historical and theatrical materials related to this genre. Our study will include the notable films Paths of Glory (1957), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), In Cold Blood (1967), and The Verdict (1982), and stage plays adapted to film including Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men and Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men. This course is offered first half of the fall semester in 2013.
Explorers and Exiles in Theater and Film
Since the beginning of human settlement, there have been explorers and exiles, men and women who have voluntarily and involuntarily left their community to live, survive, and die elsewhere. The stories of these voyaging and displaced individuals often touch us profoundly. Why are we interested in human reaction to extreme situations or the unknown? What does it mean to be displaced and to settle in a strange land? Is civilized behavior only skin deep, and if given raw opportunities would we turn feral and bestial? In this seminar we will study journal writing, fiction, plays, and films of notable explorers and exiles. Our study will include David Malouf’s book An Imaginary Life, films such as Kon-Tiki (2012), North Face (2008), and The Endurance (2001), and plays including Patrick Meyers’ K2, and Ted Talley’s Terra Nova. This course is offered second half of the fall semester in 2013.
Topics in Film (TBA)
Offered first half of the spring semester in 2014.
Topics in Film (TBA)
Offered second half of the spring semester in 2014.
THE 104 Introduction to Film
This course is intended to introduce students to film as an international art form and provide an historical survey of world cinema from its inception to the present. The course will focus on key films, filmmakers, and movements that have played a major role in pioneering and shaping film. Selected motion pictures will be screened, studied, and discussed, with special emphasis placed on learning how to “read” a film in terms of its narrative structure, genre, and visual style. Specific filmic techniques such as mise en scene, montage, and cinematography will also be considered. Genre study, auteurism, and ideology will be explored in relation to specific films and filmmakers, as well as the practice of adaptation (from theater to film, and most recently, film to theater). This course is offered in the fall semester.
THE 105 Introduction to Acting
This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of acting through physical and vocal exercises, improvisation, preparation of scenes, and text and character analysis. Students will prepare scenes from modern plays for classroom and public presentation. Plays to be studied and presented include Of Mice and Men, Biloxi Blues, The Zoo Story, and original one-act plays written by Wabash College playwriting students. This course is offered in the fall semester.
THE 106 Stagecraft
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts and practices of play production. Students develop a deeper awareness of technical production and acquire the vocabulary and skills needed to implement scenic design. These skills involve the proper use of tools and equipment common to the stage, technical lighting, sound design, scene painting, and prop building. Students will demonstrate skills in written and visual communication required to produce theater in a collaborative environment. The course will prepare the student to become an active part of a collaborative team responsible for implementing the scenic design elements of theatrical productions. This course is offered in the spring semester.
THE 202 Introduction to Scenography
This course traces the design and technical production of scenery as environments for theatrical performance from concept through opening night. Areas covered include set and lighting design, technical production, and costume design. This course will provide the liberal arts student with an exploration of the creative process. Lab arranged. This course is offered in the fall semester.
THE 203 Costume Design
This course is an in-depth look at the process of costume design from start to finish. Through a series of design projects, students will explore the relation of costuming to theater history and performance, and the culture at large. Combining historical research, character and script analysis, collaborative projects, and the intensive study of the elements and principles of design, color theory and rendering, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the costume designer’s creative practice.
THE 204 World Cinema
The course will survey non-Hollywood international movements in the history of cinema. It will explore issues of nation, history, culture, identity and their relation to questions of film production and consumption in contemporary film culture. Emphasis will be placed on major directors, films, and movements that contributed to the development of narrative cinema internationally. The course will investigate a variety of genres and individual films, paying close attention to their aesthetic, historical, technological and ideological significance. For example, African cinema introduces themes of colonialism, resistance and post-colonial culture, while the New Iranian Cinema articulates problems of politics and censorship within a new national film culture.
THE 206 Studies in Acting
The process of acting, its history, theory, and practice, are examined through classroom exercises, text analysis, and scoring. Students will explore acting styles and perform scenes from the extant works of Greek tragedy, Renaissance drama, commedia dell’arte, Neoclassical comedy, and modern and contemporary drama. This course is offered in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: THE 105.
THE 207 Directing
The history and practice of stage directing is studied in this course. Students will examine the theories and productions of major modern directors and, through in-class scene work, advance their skills in directing. The course will also involve directorial research and preparation for projects involving classical and modern plays. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisite: THE 105.
THE 209 Dramaturgy
This course is intended to bridge the gap between theater history/literature/theory and the performance areas of theater. Aimed primarily at the theater major and minor (though by no means excluding others), this course will focus on the process of textual and historical research/analysis and its collaborative impact on the creative process of the director (production concept), actor (characterization), playwright (play structure, narrative, and character development) and designers (scenic, lighting, and costume design). Dramaturgy includes a study of various historical approaches to classic texts, as well as the process or research and investigation of material for new plays. Ideally, students enrolled in the course could be given dramaturgical responsibilities on mainstage and student-directed projects. This course is offered in the spring semester.
THE 210 Playwriting: Stage and Screen
An introduction to the basic techniques of writing for the stage and screen, this course begins with a discussion of Aristotle’s elements of drama. Students will read short plays, analyze dramatic structure, study film adaptation, and explore the art of creating character and writing dialogue. Course responsibilities included writing short plays and/or film treatments, participating in classroom staged readings, and discussing scripts written by other students in the class. Selected plays from this course will be presented each fall semester as part of the Theater Department’s Studio One-Acts production. This course is offered in the spring semester.
THE 215 The Classic Stage
The study of major theatrical works written between the golden age of classical Greek drama and the revolutionary theater of Romantic period will provide the main focus of this course. Attention will be paid to the history of the classic theater, prevalent stage conventions and practices, along with discussion of varying interpretations and production problems inherent in each play. Among the works to be read and discussed are The Oresteia, Antigone, The Bacchae, The Eunuch, Dulcitus, The Second Shepherds’ Pageant, Everyman, Doctor Faustus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Volpone, The Masque of Blackness, Fuente Ovejuna, Tartuffe, The Rover, She Stoops to Conquer, The Dog of Montargis, and Hernani. The plays will be discussed as instruments for theatrical production; as examples of dramatic structure, style, and genre; and, most importantly, as they reflect the moral, social, and political issues of their time. This course is suitable for freshmen and is offered in the fall semester of odd-numbered years.
THE 216 The Modern Stage (ENG 310)
The class will study the history of theater and the diverse forms of European drama written between 1870 and the present. Emphasis will be placed on an examination of the major theatrical movements of realism, expressionism, symbolism, epic theater, absurdism, existentialism, feminism, and postmodernism, as well as on the work of major dramatists including Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, August Strindberg, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett, and Caryl Churchill, among others. Attention will also be paid to theatrical conventions and practices, along with discussion of varying interpretations and production problems discovered in each play. The works to be studied include Woyzeck, A Doll House, The Master Builder, Miss Julie, The Importance of Being Earnest, Ubu Roi, The Cherry Orchard, From Morn until Midnight, Galileo, Waiting for Godot, No Exit, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Top Girls, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Terrorism. The plays will be discussed as instruments for theatrical production; as examples of dramatic structure, style, and genre; and, most importantly, as they reflect the moral, social, and political issues of their time. This course is suitable for freshmen and is offered in the spring semester of odd-numbered years.
THE 217 The American Stage (ENG 310)
This course will examine the rich dramatic heritage of the United States from the American Revolution to the present, with emphasis on the history of the U.S. stage and the work of major dramatists including Eugene O’Neill, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Edward Albee, among others. Plays to be studied include The Contrast, Secret Service, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Awake and Sing!, The Little Foxes, Our Town, A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman, Dutchman, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Glengarry Glen Ross, True West, The Colored Museum, Fences, Angels in America, How I Learned to Drive, and August: Osage County. The plays will be discussed as instruments for theatrical production; as examples of dramatic style, structure, and genre; and, most importantly, as they reflect moral, social, and political issues throughout the history of the United States. This course is suitable for freshmen and is offered in the fall semester of even-numbered years.
THE 218 The Multicultural Stage
This course will center on multicultural and intercultural theater and performance in the United States and around the world. The course will be divided into two sections: the first part of the course will focus on how theater has served as a way for marginalized racial and ethnic groups to express identity in America. We will look at plays written by African-American (Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus), Latino/a (Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, John Leguizamo’s Mambo Mouth), and Asian-American (David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, Julia Cho’s BFE) playwrights. The second part of the course will offer an overview of the state of contemporary global performance. Ranging from Africa (Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys), to Latin America (Griselda Gumbaro’s Information for Foreigners, Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden), to the Caribbean (Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain, Maria Irene Fornes’s The Conduct of Life), we will discuss how different cultures have performed gender, race, class, postcolonial and historically-marginalized perspectives. Throughout we will explore how theater exists as a vital and powerful tool for expressing the values, cultures, and perspectives of the diverse racial and ethnic groups in America and throughout the world. This course is suitable for freshmen and is offered in the spring semester of even-numbered years.
THE 303 Seminar in Theater
In this course we will examine the noteworthy theories, genres, authors, and critical approaches that have shaped theater, film, and performance for centuries. Though the topics will shift from year to year, this seminar will require students to write a number of substantive critical essays, participate in class discussion, and delve into secondary source material. Typical courses may include the following topic, which will be repeated regularly.
Prerequisite: One previous theater course.
Credits: 1 or 1/2
THE 317 Dramatic Theory and Criticism
This course will survey the significant ideas that have shaped the way we create and think about theater. The objective of the course is to examine the evolution of dramatic theory and criticism, and trace the influence of this evolution on the development of the theater. Ultimately, the student will form his own critical and aesthetic awareness of theater as a unique and socially significant art form. Among the important works to be read are Aristotle’s Poetics, Peter Brook’s The Open Door, Eric Bentley’s Thinking About the Playwright, Tony Kushner’s Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, Robert Brustein’s Reimagining the American Theater, and Dario Fo’s The Tricks of the Trade, as well as selected essays from numerous writers including Horace, Ben Jonson, William Butler Yeats, Constantin Stanislavski, Vsevolod Meyerhold, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Gertrude Stein, Antonin Artaud, Eugene Ionesco, Peter Schumann, Robert Wilson, Athol Fugard, Ariane Mnouchkine, Edward Bond, Augusto Boal, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Eugenio Barba. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisite: One previous course in theater history or permission of the instructor.
THE 318 Theater in Practice: Performance and Design
Individual students will work with a faculty member to advance and present a performance or design project (scene, lighting, costume, stage properties), and complete assignments related to a Wabash stage production. The course is designed for majors and minors active in performance areas of design, acting, directing, dramaturgy, and playwriting. This course is offered in the first and/or second half of each semester.
Prerequisite: THE 106 for designers, THE 105 for actors, THE 207 for directors, THE 209 for dramaturgs, or THE 210 for playwrights.
THE 319 Theater in Practice: Production and Stage Management
Individual students will work with a faculty member and the production staff in the development and stage management of a Wabash stage production. Students will study the entire production process, develop a prompt book and production documentation, and complete all assignments related to the management of rehearsal and performance. This course is offered in the first and/or second half of each semester.
Prerequisite: THE 106.
THE 487 Independent Study
Any student may undertake an independent study project in theater after submission of a proposal to the department chair for approval. Students are urged to use this avenue to pursue creative ideas for academic credit outside the classroom or for topics not covered by existing courses
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and the department chair.
Credits: 1 or 1/2
THE 488 Independent Study
Any student may undertake an independent study project in theater after submission of a proposal to the department chair for approval. Students are urged to use this avenue to pursue creative ideas for academic credit outside the classroom or for topics not covered by existing courses.
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and the department chair.
Credits: 1 or 1/2
THE 498 Senior Seminar
This course is designed as a capstone course for senior theater majors. Students will design and develop a major project in consultation with theater faculty. These projects will receive significant peer review and culminate in public presentations.
Prerequisite: Senior theater major status.
MAJORS, MINORS AND OTHER PROGRAMS OF STUDY
- ACCOUNTING (DUAL-DEGREE)
- COMPUTER SCIENCE (MINOR)
- EDUCATION STUDIES (MINOR)
- ENGINEERING (DUAL-DEGREE)
- GENDER STUDIES (MINOR)
- INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (MINOR)
- MODERN LANGUAGES
- MULTICULTURAL AMER. STUDIES (MINOR)
- PRE-MEDICINE (PRE-PROFESSIONAL)
- POLITICAL SCIENCE