Professors: Berthel (Chair), Menta (Director of Theatre), Potts, Reeves
Dedicated to the liberal arts traditions and innovations of Kalamazoo College, the Department of Theatre Arts offers students access to the collaborative nature of drama through the integration of both creative and analytical courses, production laboratories, internships, and individualized projects. By studying the wealth of worldwide theatre traditions reflecting the pluralism in our society and the interdependence of all peoples and cultures, students gain the research tools for self-discovery; informed, critical thinking; the ability to take action on their ideas and responsibilities; and the development of the kind of self-esteem and values that will lead them as artists toward enjoying a lifelong journey of personal growth and inquiry in a climate whereby each may learn to speak with his or her own voice.
Open to all, majors and nonmajors alike, theatre arts productions emphasize both personal and skill development in acting, design, stage management, technical areas, and directing. The productions also serve as creative activities for students and enjoyable, thought-provoking entertainment for audiences. The academic program focuses upon a wide range of dramatic styles, encouraging students to understand the breadth of dramatic literature from the classical to the most contemporary. Experiential components are clearly linked with classroom studies and offer involvement with the Festival Playhouse Company, drama study in England, student projects in the experimental Dungeon Theatre, placement with regional and professional theatres, and opportunity for participation in the GLCA New York Arts Program. Students interested in these opportunities should consult with department faculty regarding options and prerequisites.
Requirements For the Major In Theatre Arts
Number of Units
Ten units are required (including one unit of THEA 200), not including the SIP (a Theatre Arts SIP is encouraged, but not required).
Foundations (Two units to be completed in first year):
THEA 110 Stagecraft
THEA 120 Fundamentals of Acting
Explorations (Four units to be completed, if possible, by end of second year):
One design course (to be completed by end of sophomore year) chosen from among:
THEA 210 Stage Lighting
THEA 235 Costuming & Stage Makeup
THEA 240 Scenic Design
Two theatre histories chosen from:
THEA 155 Introduction to African-American Theatre
THEA 265 First Theatres
THEA 275 Theatre in the Age of Print
THEA 280 Theatre of Revolt: Modernism and Postmodernism
THEA 290 Asian Theatre
One dramatic literature course chosen from:
ENGL 264 Global Shakespeares
ENGL 265 Shakespeare
CLAS 240 Homer and Greek Tragedy
CLAS 220 Ancient Comedy & Satire
THEA 255 Playwriting
(Another option is that a third theatre history course may substitute for the one dramatic literature course. Appropriate courses taken at Study Abroad Centers may also be eligible.)
Connections (three units to be completed in junior and senior year):
THEA 380 Directing I
THEA 490 Senior Seminar
And at least one course chosen from among:
THEA 210 Stage Lighting
THEA 225 Developing a Character
THEA 235 Costuming & Stage Makeup
THEA 240 Scenic Design
THEA 305 Voice & Diction
THEA 420 Advanced Acting
THEA 445 Advanced Design
THEA 480 Advanced Directing
(The Design courses – THEA 210, 235, 240 – may count as an upper level course if the student is particularly interested in Theatre Design.)
THEA 200 Production Laboratory (one unit of four different 1/4 units)
Throughout their four years, theatre arts majors must distribute each 1/4 unit in a different area of production (acting, stage management, costuming, lighting, scenery, sound, properties, etc.)
The department believes strongly in the importance of interdisciplinary studies as a means of directly enriching a theatre focus and highly recommends cognate courses in the arts, literature, history, international area studies, writing, and women's studies. With the exception of the dramatic literature course, all courses for the theatre major must be taken on campus. All majors must complete one unit of THEA 200 as a graduation requirement, which is a regular part of their theatre production involvement. Please see the department faculty for specific instructions to complete the THEA 200 unit.
Requirements for the Minor in Theatre Arts
Number of Units
Six units are required.
One unit of THEA 200 (see THEA 200 requirement for major)
One unit from each of the following areas:
THEA 115, 120, 225, 305, 380, 420
THEA 110, 235, 210, 240
THEA 155, 260, 265, 270, 280, 290
Any two additional units in theatre arts.
Students should meet with department faculty when selecting this minor.
Theatre Arts courses
THEA110StagecraftIntroduction to the principal topics and practices of technical support for theatre production: construction of stage scenery, scene painting, properties, rigging/focusing of lights, sound techniques, basic technical craft skills, and production communication practices. Fifteen-hour production lab required.
THEA115Activating Theatre Techniques for Community DialogueA workshop course based on the Activating Theatre techniques of Augusto Boal. A developmental skills course in creating forum theatre for community and social change, and for moderating effective group dialogue. Interdisciplinary links with psychology, sociology, women's studies, and education with a focus on both experiential education and interpersonal communications.
THEA120Fundamentals of ActingIntroduction to the skills necessary for performing on stage. This course is an exploration of the fundamental techniques necessary for beginning scene and monologue study in modern and contemporary realism. Through physical and vocal exercises, text and character analysis, and scene studies, the student is introduced to the process of acting preparation and performance. Excellent course for nonmajors seeking an introduction to the art of acting.
THEA155Introduction to African-American TheatreSurvey/lecture course from an African-American perspective, examining the activities and developments of Black American life as evidenced through its theatre, with emphasis on history, philosophy, dramatic creations, criticism, and socio-psychological concerns. Includes lectures in theatrical contributions of Western and African civilizations.
THEA200Theatre Production LaboratoryEach student involved in a significant role on regular theatre productions is a participant in the Festival Playhouse company and shall thereby earn 1/4 unit of credit per production. Students may earn a maximum of two full units through THEA 200. Theatre Arts majors and minors must distribute each 1/4 unit in a different area of production (acting, stage management, costuming, lighting, scenery, sound, properties, publicity, etc.).
THEA210Lighting DesignExperiments and studies in the theories and techniques of stage lighting; emphasis on play analysis, sculpting with light, color theory, drafting, projection, and practical laboratories. Fifteen-hour production lab required.
THEA225Developing a CharacterAdvanced work in characterization with emphasis placed on building a character through various acting techniques, including Stanislavski, Suzuki, Viewpoints, and improvisational exercises. A continuation of THEA 120, this course is designed to deepen the student's understanding of their acting process combined with the discovery of voice and body in relation to character development. The course includes scene and monologue work, as well as written assignments. Prerequisite: THEA-120
THEA235Costuming and Stage MakeupThis course is split into two sections: stage makeup and costuming. The makeup section will introduce the student to the basic principles of makeup application and design for the stage. The costume section will introduce the student to the basic techniques, tools, and materials used in costume construction along with an introduction to costume shop organization. Fifteen-hour production lab required.
THEA240Scenic DesignPractical application and study of scenic design, including play analysis and historical research, followed by sketches, decor, drafting, construction of models, and color renderings. Focus upon the principles of movement, scale, color, light, silhouette, environment, and composition. Fifteen-hour production lab required.
THEA255PlaywritingAn introduction to playwriting, examining such topics as script analysis, dramatic structure, characterization, rhythm, and imagery. In addition to specific writing projects, students will also read and analyze representative plays.
THEA/SEMN265First TheatresThis sophomore seminar will survey the "first theatres" of many different areas of the pre-modern world -- including the Abydos Passion Play of ancient Egypt, Yoruba ritual, ancient Greek & Rome, Japanese Noh Theatre, early Chinese music drama, Sanskrit theatre of India, and European Medieval theatre. Through research, discussion, and critical thinking exercises, students will be encouraged to view performance as an intercultural and continually developing phenomenon in both art and daily life. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar.Prerequisite: Sophomores Only
THEA/SEMN275Theatres in the Age of PrintThis sophomore seminar will survey the theatre in Cultures in the Age of Print 1500-1900, including the Italian Renaissance, Spanish Golden Age, Neoclassical France, Elizabethan England, Japanese Kabuki and Bunraku Theatre, Indian Kathakali Theatre, English Restoration, and European and American melodrama of the 19th century. Through research, discussion, and critical thinking exercises, students will be encouraged to view performance as an intercultural and continually developing phenomenon in both art and daily life. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar.
THEA280The Theatre of Revolt: Modernism and Post-Modernism in Western TheatreA study of the Theatre of Revolt, an overview of Western theatre history and dramatic literature over the last 125 years including Brecht, Artaud, and Beckett. Emphasis on comparing realism and various forms of nonrealism, such as expressionism and absurdism, through the plays and trends in acting, directing, and design. Examination of what constitutes the modern theatre and our current age of post-modernism.
THEA290Asian TheatreA survey of selected topics in classical Asian theatre and performance from among the Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku Theaters of Japan; Yuan Drama and Classical Opera of China; Sanskrit Drama and Kathakali Dance Theatre of India; and some other historical and current performance trends and styles. A study of theories of intercultural performance and Asian theatre influences on the West.
THEA305Voice and DictionStudy of techniques for actors to develop the vocal production necessary for stage performance. Training in the Fitzmaurice Voicework and Skinner Method for Standard American English and phonetic ear training. Class exercises, monologues, vocal physiology, proper warm-up techniques, and care for the professional voice. Prerequisite: THEA-120 and sophomore standing.
THEA380Directing I with LabIntroduction to the art of stage direction including its history, development, functions, and components; study of script analysis, composition, working with actors, and the organization of a production. Weekly rehearsal lab required. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor
THEA395Mask PerformanceIn this upper level course students will learn performance techniques through the use of mask and mask physicalization. Course will focus on mask reflection technique, Laban work, and Commedia Dell Arte and use these styles to play large intentions, use broad tactics, and work within a world of non-naturalistice theatre to develop a wider range of expression. Students will also learn the sculpting and crafting methods of mask making to produce their own masks for performance work. Prerequisite: THEA-120 or THEA-110
THEA420Advanced Acting with LabIntroduction to the skills necessary to act in plays from some major periods and styles of dramatic literature: Shakespeare and Restoration. Class exercises, monologues, scene study, workshop performances, written assignments, and analysis of dramatic literature will form the basis of the course work. Specific costume pieces, including shoes, which are not provided by the department, are required to be worn during the classes and in the labs. Weekly rehearsal lab required.Prerequisite: THEA-305
THEA445Advanced DesignAdvanced forms of scenery, costume, or lighting study selected in consultation with the instructor. May involve portfolio development and design of main-stage productions. Prerequisite: THEA-210, THEA-235, or THEA-240
THEA465Theatre & Production ManagementThis course combines the fundamentals of theatre production management with the principles and practice of theatre arts management. Production fundamentals will include aspects of stage management and production supervision while stressing the application of efficient production methods. Theatre Arts management will study areas of management incldugin personnel, budget, audience analysis, fundraising, promotion, operation, and organizational strategies for academic, community and professional theatre.
THEA480Advanced DirectingAdvanced problems in directing for the upper-level student, with a focus on independent projects and directing a one-act play. Prerequisite: THEA-380
THEA490Senior SeminarPreparation for the professional working world in theatre. Résumé preparation, various workshops and professional guest speakers. Discovery and articulation of artistic goals through group activities, written assignments, and readings. Class group agenda project. Preparation for required departmental SIP presentations. Prerequisite: Theatre major with senior standing.
THEA593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.