Sampling of Courses

Design Response

In this course we will explore the techniques of theatrical design choices: choices in approach, style, and execution. We will try to address the process of designer response through a series of practical, collaborative exercises and, we hope, gain some insight into such questions as: 1) How can a designer validate his/her response? 2) What criteria should a designer establish during first readings? 3) How is style determined? 4) How is artistic consensus achieved? 5) How are style and approach expressed? 6) What is the importance of medium and technique to presentation and protfolio work? Expectations: As a student in an advanced theatre design course, you will be expected to do a considerable amount of work on your own. Your designs will be presented in class for critique and evaluation. Work will be based on a selected number of scripts in conjunction with individual progress conferences and more formalized presentations.

Documentary Drama

This course will explore the creation and ethics of documentary drama. Concentrating on contemporary American repertory, students will read and analyze the works of Peter Weiss, Anna Deavere Smith, Eve Ensler, and The Tectonic Theater Project, among others. Students will also have the opportunity to research, edit, and perform oral histories and historical documents, learning firsthand the responsibilities of representing a "real" story on stage.

Where are the Dressing Rooms?

Designers, choreographers, and performers frequently face a traditional empy space or, as is often the case, face a nontraditional space and then question how to "fill" or design within it. What elements help create the functionality and appropriateness of a perfomance space? We will explore a variety of spaces, western, non-western, traditional, non-traditional, and the "performers" who use or have used them. We will then focus on design elements such as scenery, lighting, and sound and examine the many ways these elements serve the text and/or vision of a performance piece within these spaces.

Classroom Drama: Theatre Education for K-12

This course focuses on strategies and techniques for teaching creative drama and theatre with young people in primary and secondary school settings including after-school programming. Throughout the semester we answer questions such as: What tools and skills are required to design and implement theatre curriculum? How is youth theatre implemented in schools? How can reader's theatre and oral interpretation of literature be utilized in classrooms? In addition, students focus on building their facilitation skills and establishing their teaching philosophy. The intersections of critical pedagogy and creative pedagogy are central to this component of the course. Guest artist educators and community engaged learning experiences provide practical examples of theatre education in action.

Directing Contemporary American Drama

This introductory course examines and applies principles of directing through the lens of twentieth and twenty-first century American drama. Primary considerations are investigating the world of the play: interpreting the action of the play: developing a collaborative language with designers, playwrights and actors: and staging the play. The principles are examined in (at least) four written assignments including one theatre review, and applied in a showcase of selected scenes from The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window by Lorraine Hansberry, Angels in America: Perestroika by Tony Kushner and Well by Lisa Kron. Required texts: the three aforementioned plays, and Thinking Like a Director, by Michael Bloom. Recommended text: A Director Prepares, by Anne Bogart.

The Performance of Biography

This interdisciplinary theatre course explores the dramatization of biographical and autobiographical material. Through writing and performance, we will identify and discuss approaches to creating biographical drama, and though selected readings will deconstruct the work of such contemporary artists as Eric Bogosian, Anna Deveare Smith, Marga Gomez, Lisa Kron, John Leguizamo, and David Rousseve. The course culminates in a public performance during which each student will present her or his own autobiographical or biographical material, dramatizing a clear "defining moment" in his or her own or another individual's life.

Take the Show on the Road

What does it take to produce, book, and tour a TYA (theatre for young audiences) production? This class will learn by doing using the model constructed by the founding members of Seedling Productions to produce and tour The Girl Who Fell Through a Hole in Her Sweater, by Naomi Wallace in association with the Eric Carle Museum. Hampshire Theatre Seedling Productions seeks to further the mission of Hampshire College by staging high-quality theatre for young audiences, which expands the imagination, challenges the intellect, and respects the diverse experiences of children. Through collaboration, education experimentation, and innovative exploration of the creative process, we produce performances and workshops, which stimulate participants to broaden their perceptions of childhood and their understanding of our global community. Students will research touring  practices (including marketing, booking, education components, and managing) of national and local TYA companies, then serve as producers, actors, publicity directors, company manager, designers, properties manager, education directors, stage managers, build and run crew, and creative drama workshop leaders for Seedling Productions. Rehearsals, production meetings, creative drama workshop planning, as well as set, costume and props construction will be followed by three weekends of performances at the Eric Carle Museum and several performances at area schools.