Will MacAdams, visiting assistant professor of theatre, received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.F.A. in theater directing from Columbia University. He has taught in CUNY's Center for Worker Education, Barnard College, high schools, after school programs, and in the juvenile justice system.
Past projects include: Flor, created with families of agricultural workers and Dust Bowl migrants in the California Central Valley (Cornerstone Theater; playwright); the Black Dirt Cycle, a series of three site-specific plays created with farmers, farm workers, and performers for the Warwick Summer Arts Festival (playwright, director, performer); Peter Handke's Kaspar, performed by theater students in Johannesburg at the beginning of the Mandela era (director); Eye to Eye, an original play about race and youth-police relations, created with future police officers and young people from New Haven, CT (director); and Cruising the Divide, an interview-inspired play about the divides of race and class during the celebration of the Kentucky Derby (Actors Theater of Louisville's Apprentice/Intern Company; playwright).
He is a past recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generation Leadership Fellowship, a civil rights award from Louisville's Carl Braden Memorial Center, and a Bates Fellowship, which brought him to Central Java, Indonesia to train in Javanese Shadow Puppetry.
This course is a hands-on, practical approach to directing guided by the belief that "directors learn to direct by directing." Our central focus is on the collaboration between actor and director. The pace will be rapid and the workload significant: weekly, students will either present a piece that they have directed or perform in a work directed by their peers. Many of these pieces will be ensemble-created and focus on specific areas of the director's craft, including: light and shadow; text analysis; music; visual composition, etc. Rehearsals will largely take place outside of class. Throughout the semester, students will explore, take risks, experience the joy and difficulty of collaboration, and challenge each other to make vital work.
This 300 level course explores theatrical collaboration between actors, directors, dramaturgs, designers, and stage and production managers during the production of an original play developed by students in the fall "Money Play" course. Under faculty supervision, students will move step by step through rehearsals, staging, script analysis, production meetings, the full run of a show, and verbal and written reflection on the production process. The curriculum seeks to identify vital collaborative practices across theatrical disciplines. Instructor permission only.
What is presence on stage? And how does an actor manifest it? This course examines the work of the actor through a hands-on, experiential approach, focusing on the body, voice, and imagination. The course begins with an exploration of the body, and how one's physical form can be both a text and a jumping off point to create visual poetry on stage. We will then move to naturalistic scenes as a way to develop tools of text analysis, character development, and receiving and sending action. Essential to all our exploration is the principle that dynamic life on stage is found not within oneself but in relationship to scene partners, an ensemble, and the audience.
"Nowadays it is fashionable to talk about race or gender; the uncool subject is class. It's the subject that makes us all tense, nervous, uncertain about where we stand." bell hooks Money and class divides define and splinter our national dialogue. How are these divides lived, embodied, and voiced? And how can the act of embodying one another's stories help us envision more equitable, common ground? Money Play is a two-semester course; students can take either semester, or both. In the fall, you will create original theatrical material through physical exploration, writing exercises and a community engagement process that involves the broader Hampshire community. In the second semester, we will produce and perform an original play from this material - in partnership with students in theater design and production. Central to this exploration will be the lived, embodied experience of our individual histories, and how class cuts across all our identities - particularly race and citizenship status. Theater experience is recommended for the course, but not required. Essential is your willingness to share stories across a wide-range of economic backgrounds and to engage in a process that is highly collaborative, vividly theatrical, and grounded in the radical potential of deep, generous listening.
From anti-Apartheid protest theater to Teatro Campesino; from playwright Jo Carson 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 an activist vision? And how can we learn both from their successes and from the places in their work that are inconsistent, incomplete, and contradictory? In this course, students will read texts, explore videos and on-line work, and also lead discussions about artists that they chose to be incorporated into the syllabus. The goal is explore the dynamic, electric, and sometimes explosive relationship between artists and their time.
This course will replicate the dynamic, collaborative spirit of a theater ensemble at the beginning of a rehearsal process. During the course of the semester, students will rehearse and present staged readings of a series of plays, including classical texts and contemporary plays from visionary playwrights of diverse races, identities, and artistic styles. Students will rotate through various production roles, and will make presentations as if they were at the beginning of the rehearsal process: a director will present their vision for the piece, a designer will present a design response, dramaturgs will present dramaturgical approaches, etc. As a class, we will explore the complex questions of identity and casting, and how they resonate at Hampshire and beyond. The course is designed to broaden students' repertoire of plays, to encourage students to make strong initial choices and to develop students' capacities to talk about, and through, their work
In this advanced directing course, students will explore the many ways that directors approach text. We will begin by reading a single play, and doing exercises inspired by the book 'Backwards and Forwards' (see Textbook Information). In the second part of the course, we will be partnering with a diverse group of contemporary, professional playwrights. Each student will cast and direct a short piece written by one of the writers and, in order to sharpen their collaborative skills, discuss the rehearsal process with the playwright twice. In the final section of the course, students will direct interview-based theater pieces created and performed by members of Talya Kingston's 'Documentary Drama' course (IA-0275). Pre-requisite: a directing or directing/design course at Hampshire or another of the five colleges.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
Mail Code HA
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002