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Course Descriptions

Theater: The Audience Environment (DRA 1002/ELA 1031)
This course provides an in-depth look at the theater environment from an informed audience point of view. Students will examine the collaborative nature of a play as a piece of “living literature” in order to identify its shape, conflicts, climax, and resolution and how it is adapted to the stage. Plays will be looked at as reflections of our culture and we will question why they ultimately need to be seen and heard to be fully understood. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the components of effective playmaking and will apply these criteria to assess the effectiveness of theatrical productions, viewing both live stage performances and films. Assessments will include discussions, written responses/reviews, projects, and scene presentations. Lab fee: $60 (tickets and transportation). 3 credits.

Acting I (DRA 1003)
The urge to act is an instinctive and liberating pursuit. This class explores the fundamentals of stage acting through improvisation, vocal & physical theater exercises, monologues, and scene work. We investigate the concepts of place, character, and motivation, as well as developing relaxation, sensory awareness, imagination, and working in the moment. The course culminates in a fully memorized and blocked scene presentation. 3 credits.

Theater Workshop: Production & Performance (DRA 2013)
This course provides hands-on experience in various aspects of theater production and performance. This may include activities such as acting, lighting, sound, scenery, props, costumes, stage management, and promotion while working on plays presented each term. Students receive one credit for participation. There are rehearsals and work periods scheduled late afternoons and evenings. Students may register up until the third Friday of the semester without penalty. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (to be determined by audition, interview, and particular production needs). Note: This course may be repeated up to a limit of six credits total. Grading will be on a pass/fail basis. 1 credit.

Acting II (DRA 2015)
This course will examine monologues and scenes from a rich variety of American and European playwrights, exploring them from an actor’s point of view. Individual scenes will be rehearsed in order to discuss the playwright’s intentions through text analysis, how to break a scene into acting “beats,” a character’s motivation, and how to find the overall rhythm of a scene. This course may be taken more than once with a different subtitle. Examples: Classic American Playwrights; Acting Comedy; Modern European Playwrights; Acting Shakespeare. Prerequisite: DRA 1003 Acting I or permission of instructor. 3 credits.

History of Theater: The Subversive Art (DRA 3001)
The course is an introduction and overview of the theater art form that is both central and counter to Western culture. From the theater of the ancient Greeks through the medieval morality and mystery plays; Renaissance and Restoration up to the Modern theater of the early 20th century, we examine the greatest theater of every age and evaluate the lives and status quo opinions of its time. The course will cover play texts and examine their social, cultural, and philosophical backgrounds, and how they impacted our society. 3 credits.

Playwriting Workshop (DRA/ENG 3017)
Students will learn the basics of writing an original play by demonstrating the ability to decide on an “occasion” for the script, how to establish the use of location and setting, how to create characters, how to structure scenes and acts, how to make use of historic and/or public domain material, and how to present the finished script in the proper format. Each student will be assessed by creating a full playscript, which will be part of the class workshop experience. Prerequisite: ENG 2015 Creative Writing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

Fundamentals of Directing (DRA 3020)
This course provides students with the essential skills in directing a production, including choosing a script, casting , blocking, production elements, and analyzing the play for conflict, climax, and resolution. Students learn how best to dramatize the action with all of the scenic elements, and learn, most importantly, how to work well with actors. The course culminates in student- directed scenes and/or one acts. Prerequisite: DRA 1003 Acting I or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

Special Topics in Theater (DRA 2053/3053/4053)
The various levels of this course allow for advanced study of the art by providing a forum for students to examine a particular social issue as it has been dealt with in different plays, or by focusing on a particular playwright or group of playwrights. Students will demonstrate an understanding and ability to analyze particular social issues through the plays’ messages. Subtitles of this course may include: “Portrayals of Women in Theater and Film,” “Politics & Social Satire in Theater,” or “Race in the American Theater.” The playwrights covered may include: “Modern British Writers,” “America’s Southern Voices,” or “ Pulitzer Prize Playwrights.” Note: DRA 3053 may be taken up to six credits when a different subtitle is used. Prerequisite: ELA 1500 Voices of Community or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

Modern & Contemporary Drama: Challenging the Status Quo (DRA 4042)
This course examines modern theater in the context of its challenge to how we understand our history, lives, and cultural environment. Students will demonstrate proficiency in tracing contemporary drama back to its roots in the plays of Europe’s 19th century social activist playwrights Ibsen, Chekov, and Shaw. Students will also examine the impact of the Moscow Art Theater and Stanislavski’s Acting Method on America’s first major modern playwright, Eugene O’Neill, and his contemporary theatrical heirs. Student success will be assessed through discussions, research papers, and scene presentations. Prerequisite: DRA 1002 Theater: The Audience Environment or departmental approval. 3 credits.

Performance/Production Seminars (DRA 1037/2037/3037)
Specialized “hands-on” courses taught by visiting professionals in areas such as Voice and Movement, Acting for the Camera, Make-up and Costume, Musical Theater, Set and Lighting Design, Street Theater Improvisation, and Technical Theater. Prerequisite: DRA 1003 Acting 1 and /or Departmental Approval. Note: DRA 1037/2037/3057 may be taken more than once when a different subtitle is used. 3 credits.

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