2013-14 Catalogs

Course Descriptions

In the event that students believe they are qualified to enroll in a Theatre course, but have not completed the USM prerequisites for that course, they may contact the Department to request permission to enroll.

THE 101 Introduction to Theatre
This course provides a general introduction to all facets of theatre including dramatic literature, theatre history, acting, directing, playwriting, design, management, and theatre spaces, among others. Cr. 3.

THE 102 Acting for Non-Majors
This course will introduce students to theatre through the eyes of the performer. Students will gain a basic understanding of theatre as a performing art through lecture, discussion, and performance of scenes. Improvisational exercises, relaxation techniques, and character analysis strategies will be included. Students will also attend campus and area theatrical productions and be required to write critical reviews of the performances. Cr. 3.

THE 103 Contemporary Dance I
This course is designed to teach basic contemporary dance skills and vocabulary. The class is divided into two areas of study. Physical and technical development are learned through strengthening and stretching exercises. Proper body alignment is stressed for the most efficient and injury-free movement. Dance phrases are taught to enhance rhythmic and locomotor skills. Equal time will be devoted to improvisational skills and the study of choreographic techniques. Students will be required to attend contemporary dance performances. Course may be repeated once for credit. Cr. 3.

THE 104 Practicum in Costuming
This course is a laboratory session that allows practical application of theory discussed in THE 334 Costuming, by teaching sewing skills and allowing students to construct costumes for a University theatre production. Practicum is required for Theatre majors and recommended for all costuming students, but need not be taken concurrently with THE 334. Cr. 1.

THE 105 Practicum in Stage Lighting
A course focusing on the practical application of contemporary stage lighting technology and on the implementation of a lighting plot. Cr. 1.5.

THE 106 Practicum in Stagecraft
A practicum allowing the application of theory discussed in THE 135 to the construction, painting, and mounting of sets for University theatre productions. Practicum is required for Theatre majors and recommended for all stagecraft students, but need not be taken concurrently with THE 135 Stagecraft. Cr. 1.

THE 120 Acting: Stage Movement/Voice
This is a practicum course designed to introduce students to basic elements of the creative process of acting. Topics include kinesthetic awareness, techniques of acting theorists ranging from Michael Chekhov to Rudolph Laban, methods of character creation, elementary stage combat, improvisation, and voice and diction for the stage. Course culminates with student presentation of an original performance piece. Cr. 3.

THE 130 Musical Theatre Workshop I
A course designed to give students practical application of theatre practices in the fields of acting, design, scene construction, costuming, properties, lighting, management, and directing. A laboratory course. Prerequisite: restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 131 Musical Theatre Workshop II
A continuation of THE 130. Prerequisite: THE 130, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 132 Musical Theatre Workshop III
A continuation of THE 131. Prerequisite: THE 131, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 133 Musical Theatre Workshop IV
A continuation of THE 132. Prerequisite: THE 132, restricted to Musical Performance majors with an emphasis in musical theatre. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 134 Production Management
A survey/lab course designed to familiarize students with the organizational procedures of the theatre production process. Major areas of study include stage management and theatre production management with some reference to video and film production management. Additional topics include the running of crews in properties and wardrobe, operation of sound and lighting equipment, and production scheduling. This course includes a crew requirement for a University production. Cr. 3.

THE 135 Stagecraft
A lecture course in technical theatre and related topics relevant to technical direction. Specific areas of emphasis will include: theatre/stage terminology and organization, scene shop practices, and basic methods of construction as well as methods of rigging and moving scenery for the stage. Cr. 3.

THE 139 Theatrical Make-up
A practicum course in the fundamentals of design and application of theatrical make-up. Specific areas of study will include the relationship of character analysis to make-up; techniques of highlight and shadow; and make-up for youth, middle, and old age. Additional exercises introduce historical styles, creating a likeness, and nonrealistic make-up. Students will frequently apply theatrical make-up to their own faces in class. Cr. 3.

THE 141 Theatre Workshop I
A course designed to give students practical application of theatre practices in the fields of acting, design, scene construction, costuming, properties, lighting, management, and directing. A laboratory course. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 142 Theatre Workshop II
A continuation of THE 141. Prerequisite: THE 141. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 143 Theatre Workshop III
A continuation of THE 142. Prerequisite: THE 142. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 144 Theatre Workshop IV
A continuation of THE 143. Prerequisite: THE 143. The course may be repeated for credit. Cr. 1.

THE 150 Text Analysis
Text Analysis teaches students myriad ways of approaching, interpreting, and synthesizing texts (written, visual, and aural), especially scripts. Students will learn the skills necessary for actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, and scholars to explore and deconstruct texts in search of meaning, clues for staging possibilities, and cultural context. Cr. 3.

THE 170 Public Speaking
An introductory course in the art of public discourse. Primarily a lecture-performance course, students will learn the basics of informative, persuasive, and argumentative speaking, as well as the processes of problem-solving and informative discussion. Cr. 3.

THE 175 Oral Interpretation
A course in the assimilation and analysis of literary material (poetry, prose, drama) with emphasis on the techniques used in reading written material aloud to an audience. Designed to stimulate an understanding and responsiveness to literature and to develop the ability to convey to others, through oral reading, an appreciation of that literature. Cr. 3.

THE 201 Cultural History of Theatre
A course designed to provide students with a cultural history survey of theatre–from ancient Sumeria, Greece, and Rome through traditional Asian, Medieval, and Renaissance European and other historical styles/periods into the twenty-first century. Prerequisite: College Writing. Cr. 3.

THE 203 Musical Theatre Dance
This course will build upon basic movement skills with an emphasis on the dance styles required for musical theatre. Techniques offered will include jazz, ballet, and tap. In addition to skill training, class projects will include the staging and choreography of musical theatre selections. Cr. 3.

THE 204 Dress and Self Image
This course examines clothing from social, psychological, and aesthetic perspectives. Students will learn how people make sense of their lives and their world the cultural production of meaning represented by attire, appearance, and presentation. Prerequisite: College Writing. Cr. 3. 

THE 220 Acting: Scene Study

This is a practicum course designed to introduce students to basic skills of stage movement and characterization through the use of scene work. The course evolves from simple storytelling through monologues to scenes. The emphasis is on internal preparation through developing a role as well as on external techniques for projecting that role. Prerequisite: THE 120. Cr. 3.

THE 221 Acting: Stage Voice
This course emphasizes the development of the actor's voice, providing a progression of exercises to free and strengthen the voice as a tool of creative expression. The elements of vocal projection, range, diction, placement, and characterization will be explored. Prerequisite: THE 120. Cr. 3.

THE 224 Acting for the Camera
This course will give students practical experience acting in videotaped dramatic scenes, industrial role-playing, commercials, and narration. The course will emphasize the difference between stage and video/film acting techniques. Cr. 3.

THE 226 Professional Audition and Marketing Techniques
This course will give students practical experience in and information related to seeking employment as an actor. The audition section will include simulations of stage and related film and video situations. The marketing section will provide strategies in the professional actor's most time-consuming endeavor: looking for work. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 230 Designing for the Performer
This course offers the student an opportunity to explore the process of creating an environment for the performer, incorporating elements of scenic, costume, lighting, and audio design. Coursework includes the presentation of multimedia design projects. Cr. 3.

THE 234 Performance Business
Investigation of performance business best practices including business plans in the performing arts, theatre company creation budgeting, marketing, promotions and electronic media, performance health, and educational/professional theatre management roles. This course includes a promotions practicum. Cr. 3.

THE 235 Theatrical Drafting
A lecture/discussion/lab course in basic theatrical drafting/graphic practices relating to theatrical construction and design techniques. Concurrent enrollment in THE 236 Practicum in Design required. Prerequisite: THE 135. Cr. 3.

THE 236 Practicum in Design
A course focusing on the practical application of theory relevant to scenic, costume, lighting, and other theatre-related design topics. Cr. 1.

THE 250 Playwriting
A lecture-practicum course designed to acquaint the student with playwriting principles. Emphasis is placed on the one-act play form. Students will be required to complete a series of creative exercises culminating with writing of a one-act play. Prerequisite: THE 150. Cr. 3.

THE 271 Creative Drama
Study of methods for introducing young people to theatre as a total art form. Course to include the development of children's plays through improvisation as well as traditional children's literature. Work with children in various community settings will provide practical experience for the student. Cr. 3.

THE 275 Readers Theatre
This course teaches the process involved in arranging literature and other materials for performance or for use as a teaching tool. Elements of scripting, directing, and acting for simple, staged, chamber, and story theatre will be analyzed. Cr. 3.

THE 283 Aerial Dance
This course is designed to provide an introduction to aerial dance techniques. Aerial dance is composed of Feldenkrais Pilates, yoga, theatre, and trapeze work. In addition to these components, students will study training and injury prevention techniques, improvisation, and physical theatre. Cr. 3.

THE 303 Musical Theatre Performance
This course will provide students the opportunity to combine the skills of singing, acting, and dance as demanded by the art of musical theatre. In addition to vocal coaching, acting exercises, and choreography, students will be exposed to a variety of musical theatre genres and will be performing throughout the semester. The class will culminate with a public presentation. Prerequisites: THE 203 and THE 220. Cr. 4.

THE 321 Acting: Advanced Scene Study: Playwright Focus
This is a practicum for advanced actors, providing an in-depth scene study focusing on one or more playwrights. Emphasis will also be given to preparation for auditions. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 322 Acting: Contemporary Methods
This course will introduce a variety of acting techniques developed by master artists, beginning with an overview of the Stanislavski System and advancing to the work of Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Augusto Boal, and others. These techniques will be applied to exercises, scenes, and monologues performed throughout the semester. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 325 Directing
This course is designed to train students in theatrical organization and rehearsed techniques. It encompasses composition, picturization, movement, and rhythm. Some practicum is involved. Prerequisites: THE 150, and THE 230, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 331 Scene Design
Lecture and practicum in stage scenic design. Emphasis on the visual art and drafting of designs. Prerequisites: THE 150 and THE 230. Cr. 3.

THE 334 Costuming
This course introduces students to costume history and design, emphasizing the rendering and visual presentation of costume designs. Students learn by using the elements and principles of design, script and character analysis, and costume history research.  Prerequisites: THE 150 and THE 230; THE 230 may be taken concurrently.  Enrollment in THE 104 Costume Practicum is not required, but recommended. Cr. 3  

THE 335 Stage Lighting
Introduction to stage lighting design, elements of electricity, color, light sources, instrumentation, and control systems. Students will participate in lighting projects in practicum. Prerequisites: THE 150 and THE 230; THE 230 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 337 Sound Design
An introduction to the art and techniques of sound design. The class examines the creation of audio for a production environment, with emphasis on industry-standard recording techniques and communication tools, script and environmental analysis, and equipment and delivery systems. Prerequisites: THE 150 and THE 230; THE 230 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 350 Advanced Playwriting
A course for those who have taken THE 250 or have already written several plays. Emphasis will be placed on writing a full-length play for possible production by the University. A better-than-average competence in writing dialogue is imperative. Prerequisite: THE 250, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 351 Dramatic Literature and Theatre History I: Origins to 1500
This course examines Greek, Roman, and Medieval theatre history and dramatic literature. THE 351 asks students to think about theatre and dramatic literature in a broad array of cultural contexts. This class focuses on sharpening students' written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 150; THE 150 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 352 Dramatic Literature and Theatre History II: 1500-1800
This course examines the dramatic literature and history of traditional Asian, Renaissance, Restoration, and Enlightenment theatres. THE 352 asks students to think about theatre and dramatic literature in a broad array of cultural contexts. This class focuses on sharpening students' written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 150; THE 150 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 353 Dramatic Literature and Theatre History III: 1800-present
This course examines the dramatic literature and history of Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Expressionism, Epic Theatre, Absurdism, and Contemporary Theatre. THE 353 asks students to think about theatre in a broad array of cultural contexts. This class focuses on sharpening students' written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 150; THE 150 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 355 Journalistic Drama Criticism
This course will provide the student with a comprehensive analysis of the role of the writing critic in professional, community, educational, and amateur theatre. Stress will be placed upon development of a workable writing style. A minimum of five plays will be seen from which reviews will be generated. Prerequisite: THE 150. Cr. 3.

THE 360 Butches, Bitches & Buggers: An Exploration of Modern Queer Drama
This course explores provocative portraits of queer life in modern drama including the evolution, reclamation, and employment of gender- and sexuality-specific language and stereotypes within and outside the LGBTQ communities. Prerequisites: College Writing & THE 150, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 372 Speaking to the Camera
This is an advanced public speaking and performance course introducing the student to the most common types of video presentations. Student performances of scripted speeches will be videotaped and evaluated based on content, delivery, and style. Prerequisite: THE 170. Cr. 3.

THE 375 Performance Arts
This theory and practice course allows students to experiment with the aesthetic interpretation of texts, focusing on extra-textual elements of presentation (such as sound, visual symbols/ images, spatial relations, hand-held light) in the staging of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. Theoretical and practical readings accompany in-class exercises and black box performances that strengthen skills in acting, directing, oral interpretation, forensics, play analysis, and design. Students elect a directing or a performance emphasis. Cr. 3.

THE 420 Acting: Styles
This course will examine the styles of acting found in the Classical (Greek and Roman), Elizabethan, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dramas. Prerequisite: THE 220. Cr. 3.

THE 421 Topics in Acting and Performance
An intensive study of a particular acting or performance technique chosen at the discretion of the instructor in accordance with his or her expertise and interests. May be repeated as topics vary, for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisite: THE 220, or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

THE 430 Topics in Design
A seminar in advanced design practices, the course will stress improving design and presentation skills by developing and presenting design projects. The design project will involve theatrical drafting, perspective sketching, rendering and model making techniques as required in the areas of specialty. Students will be required to work in two of the three areas of theatrical design: costume design, lighting design, or scenery design. In addition, historical styles will be surveyed in a lecture/discussion format. This discussion will include the impact of social and political attitudes as well as physical style and how these aspects may be applied to contemporary design. Prerequisite: instructor permission only. Cr. 3.

THE 434 Advanced Costuming
This course will continue the study of costume design begun in THE 334. The focus of class work and projects will be on specific problems encountered in costuming for the theatre. Lecture material and design assignments will be drawn principally from the twentieth century, though other time periods may occasionally be used. Students will work to improve rendering techniques as well as analytical skills. Concurrent enrollment in Theatre Workshop will provide a laboratory component to classroom study. Prerequisite: THE 334. Cr. 3.

THE 451 Topics in Dramatic Literature and Theatre History
An intensive study of a particular playwright, group, movement, or historical period chosen at the discretion of the instructor in accordance with his/her expertise and interests. May be repeated as topics vary for a maximum of nine credits. Prerequisites: College Writing, THE 150; THE 150 may be taken concurrently. Cr. 3.

THE 480 Adaptation: Text/Theatricality
This capstone course explores the theory and practice of adaptation. Students will investigate a politics of adaptation by studying texts, their re/presentation, and their reception through an historiographical lens. Students will both create and critique dramatic adaptations. Prerequisites: College Writing & THE 150, or instructor permission. Cr. 3. 

THE 490 Independent Study
Students should contact the Department regarding information for independent study. Prerequisite: permission of the Theatre Department. May be repeated for credit. Credit hours arranged.

THE 491 Project I
Investigation of special topics, or execution of special projects that fall within the purview of theatre. Students may select an interior intra-departmental committee of three professors to approve, assist, and oversee the project. Prerequisites: junior and senior standing, precise definition of project, and unanimous permission of committee. Students must obtain rules for this course from the department chair. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: permission of the Theatre Department. Credit hours arranged.

THE 492 Theatre Internship
Students will assume a full one-semester internship with a professional theatre or Readers Theatre Company. Students will be involved in management, acting, directing, or technical theatre as a member of the company. Each student will be assigned a faculty advisor who will make a biweekly evaluation of ongoing work. Participants will be required to keep a diary and/or portfolio to be reviewed by the faculty of the Theatre Department at the conclusion of the internship. All creative work done by the student will be evaluated by the advisor and at least one other, or if possible, all members of the department. Prerequisite: permission of the Theatre Department. May be repeated for credit. Credit hours to be arranged. Cr. 3-15.

THE 493 International Tour
Students in this course will rehearse an original or scripted production which will be performed at USM and then transported for presentation to an international venue determined by the instructor. Prerequisite: instructor permission only. Cr. 3.

THE 494 Theatre Institute: Techniques of Michael Chekhov
This course provides an intensive overview of the acting techniques created by Michael Chekhov. Areas of focus will include characterization, scene study, stage movement and voice, and teaching methods. The course will conclude with a works-in-progress performance. Typically offered summer only. May be repeated for a maximum of nine credits. Cr. 3.