Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
He is currently collaborating with a team of theater makers from Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Pioneer Valley and writing "White Mourning," a play about whiteness, parenting, and history. Mr. MacAdams has a B.A. in theater and anthropology from Yale University and an M.F.A. in theater directing from Yale University. He teaches a range of classes in acting, playwriting, directing, and theater for social change.
This course replicates the fast-paced, collaborative spirit of a theatre ensemble at the beginning of a rehearsal process. Over the course of the semester, we'll begin work on plays by visionary playwrights from a range of identities who are bringing unheard stories to the stage and who are illuminating and redefining contemporary theatre (Plays will be selected by both the instructor and by students. Readings in past classes have included the work of Dominique Morisseau, Sarah Kane, Anna Deavere Smith, the After Orlando plays, and many others). After reading the plays, you'll do both dramaturgical research and create ensemble projects, including creative writing, design responses, visual art, storytelling, and dialogue on questions of race and casting. The course is designed for students of all theatrical disciplines as well as students of other disciplines who are passionate about collaborative work. The goals are to broaden your repertoire of new plays and to dive headlong into the question: how do we begin?
In this multi-disciplinary theatre class, you will create original written and performance pieces that weave together moments from your time at Hampshire with moments from Hampshire's past, gleaned from archival research and interviews. At the heart of this process is the idea that a community is made up of both memory and embodied experience, and that one of the roles of theatre makers is to form a bridge between what is seen and what is unseen. To do this, you will write scenes and spoken word pieces, create original performance work, conduct interviews with alums and others, and read and see material from almost fifty years of Hampshire's past. The piece will be presented as a work-in-progress at the end of the semester, to explore and embody your experiences through the lens of the visionary, contradictory, inspired, and at-times explosive story of our school and the land it occupies.
Applied theatre can be defined most simply as the utilization of the tools of theatre for a broad set of purposes such as education, community building, healing, conflict resolution, and advocacy. Applied theatre practices and creative processes are dialogic and are most often responsive to marginalized peoples, their stories, and local settings and priorities. This community-based participatory work primarily takes place in non-traditional settings focused on personal and social change. In this course, we will explore a variety of applied theatre practices including theatre of the oppressed, theatre in education, theatre for development, prison theatre, and other modes using theatre and drama to grapple with complex social issues. Our exploratory process will include as much practical application as research with several collaborative creative interventions throughout the semester.
This course is a hands-on, practical approach to directing grounded in listening, collaboration, and embodied practice. The work will be fast-paced: every three classes, you will either present a piece that you have directed or perform in a work directed by your peers. Some pieces will be devised, while others will be scripted, and rehearsals will largely take place outside of class. This practice will be complemented by the viewing of work of a range of contemporary theatre directors who challenge the boundaries of whose stories are told and reimagine how we see. A critical element in this process will be reflection on how your identity and history shape your relationship to the role of director and impact others' perception of you in that role - and how you can engage with these questions so that you can be more fully present in the rehearsal room, listen open-heartedly to your collaborators, and tell the stories that you are burning to tell.
Students in this course will explore moments in theater history when the way that we tell stories was shaped by the introduction of technical elements - from the role of fire in the beginning of many storytelling traditions to the ways that projection design is redesigning stage space in the present day. Learning will take place in the classroom, where students will read and discuss plays and historical texts, as well as in the shop, where they will create hands-on projects that reflect the role of technical elements as both practical tools and artistic mediums. The course will be taught with the technical support of Theatre Program Technical Director Amy Putnam.
From anti-Apartheid protest theater to D'Lo; from Teatro Campesino to students creating work at Hampshire and beyond, theater makers have often played a key role in envisioning and embodying social change. What sparks their passion? How do they balance theatrical craft with activist vision? And how can we learn from both their successes and from the places in their work that are inconsistent, incomplete, and contradictory? In this course, students will read texts, watch videos and on-line work, and lead discussions to explore the dynamic, electric, and sometimes explosive relationship between artists and their time.
In this course, you'll develop your craft by writing a series of short pieces for performance, followed by a longer work. The theatrical form can vary widely: naturalistic pieces, choreopoems, work expressed entirely in stage directions, stories you heard as a child, rants, plays with music, or whatever form necessary to tell your story. The process will help develop an ear for your authentic voice and also foster a community of writers defined by generous listening. Writing will be supplemented by reading the work of visionary playwrights, who may include: Dominique Morisseau, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Spalding Gray, Young Jean Lee, Thornton Wilder, Taylor Mac, and Tarell Alvin McCraney.