Professors: Prius (Chair), Menta (Emeritus), Potts (Executive Director of Festival Playhouse), Reeves, Thomas
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, arts 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.
Ten units are required.
(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.)
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 and gender studies. With the exception of the dramatic literature course, all courses for the theatre major must be taken on campus. All majors and minors 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.
Six units are required.
Any two additional units in theatre arts.
Students should meet with department faculty when selecting this minor.
Introduction 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.
Activating Theatre Techniques for Community Dialogue
A 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 and gender studies, and education with a focus on both experiential education and interpersonal communications.
Fundamentals of Acting
Introduction 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, scene and monologue 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.
Introduction to African-American Theatre
Survey/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.
Theatre Production Practicum
Each 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.). Students must register themselves into Theatre 200 by then end of second week of the quarter in which they are participating. Instructor permission may be required.
Studies in the ideation and communication techniques of stage lighting; emphasis on play analysis, sculpting and painting with light, color theory, drafting, projection, and practical laboratories. Fifteen-hour production lab required.
An examination into the role of the dramaturg in modern theatrical practice that also considers the importance of dramatic structure as a means of achieving successful storytelling onstage.
Developing a Character
Advanced 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 partner and monologue work, as well as written assignments.
Costuming and Stage Makeup
This 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.
Practical 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.
An 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.
Theatre of Illusionism: Western Theatre From the Renaissance to Early Film
Study of Western theatre history from the Italian Renaissance to the evolution of early film, emphasizing the trend of the theatre to simulate the details of everyday life and the growth of theatre as an entrepreneurial institution that informed developments in audience, playwriting, acting, and design.
The Theatre of Revolt: Modernism and Post Modernism
A study of the Theatre of Revolt, an overview of Western theatre history and dramatic literature over the last 150 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, and an examination of what constitutes the modern theatre and our current age of post-modernism.
A 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.
Voice and Diction
Study of techniques for actors to develop the vocal production necessary for stage performance. Training in Fitzmaurice Voicework, Standard American English for neutralized dialect, and phonetic ear training. Class exercises, monologues, vocal physiology, proper warm-up techniques, and care for the professional voice.
THEA-120 and sophomore standing or with instructor permission.
Directing I with Lab
Introduction 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.
THEA-120 & Theatre Majors Only
Introduction 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 rehearsals.
Advanced forms of scenery, costume, or lighting study selected in consultation with the instructor. May involve portfolio development and design of main-stage productions.
THEA-210, THEA-235, or THEA-240
Advanced problems in directing for the upper-level student, with a focus on independent projects and directing a one-act play.
THEA-380; Instructor permission required
Preparation 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. This course also include Theatre Arts Departmental Comprehensive Written and Oral Exams.
Theatre major with senior standing.
Senior Integrated Project
Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated 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 -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details.
Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.