Theater Courses


Introduction to Theater Making

THR 101 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Aaron Landsman · Elena Araoz

Introduction to Theatre Making is a working laboratory, which gives students hands-on experience with theatre's fundamental building blocks - writing, design, acting, directing, and producing.

The Radical Imagination

FRS 144 · Spring 2021

FRS 144 · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

How does the use of one’s imagination spark social and systemic change in the world? What does it mean to devote one's life to this kind of work? Blurring the lines between the creative and political experience, students will be introduced to the radical contemporary practices that interdisciplinary artists use to build creative, impactful lives. Our texts will include live and recorded performances, as well as historical and theoretical secondary sources. Every other week the class hosts an artist talk series featuring pioneering artists.

Beginning Studies in Acting

THR 201 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 2:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Suzanne Agins

An introduction to the craft of acting through scene study monologues and, finally, a longer scene drawn from a play, to develop a method of working on a script. Emphasis will be placed on honesty, spontaneity, and establishing a personal connection with the scene's substance.

Introductory Playwriting

THR 205 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays + Wednesdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Robert N. Sandberg

This is a workshop in the fundamentals of writing plays. Through writing prompts, exercises, study and reflection, students will be guided in the creation of original dramatic material. Attention will be given to character, structure, dramatic action, monologue, dialogue, language and behavior.


DAN 206 / MTD 206 / THR 206 · Spring 2021

U01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 1:30 - 2:50 PM

Instructors: Aynsley Vandenbroucke

The writer Annie Dillard says that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. With school as we know it upended, we have a unique opportunity to develop daily habits that contribute to lifelong independent learning and creating. We will look at practice as both verb and noun, paying special attention to the ways we embody the work (and change) we want to see in the world. Through somatic activities, talks with invited guests, projects, and readings (across the arts, sciences, philosophy, religion, and activism), we'll revel in the interplay between process and product, solitude and community, structure and freedom, life and art.

Yaass Queen: Gay Men, Straight Women, and the Literature, Art, and Film of Hagdom

CWR 207 / THR 207 / GSS 220 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Hilton Als

Modern queer writers have long written about the rich and complicated relationship straight cis women have had with queer men. And yet, outside of queer literary circles, little attention has been paid to how these relationships challenge or replicate traditional family structures, and form a community outside of the status quo. We will examine the stories male writers constructed and analyze women writers who held a mirror up to those straight and queer men who were drawn to lesbian culture. By examining photography and painting, we will further look at the artist's relationship to and identification with queerness, or straight female power.

Introduction to Set and Costume Design

THR 213 / MTD 213 / VIS 210 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Rachel Hauck · Sarita Fellows

This course introduces students to set and costume design for performance, exploring theater as a visual medium. Students will develop their ability to think about the physical environment (including clothing) as key components of story-telling and our understanding of human experience. Students will expand their vocabulary for discussing the visual world and work on their collaborative skills.

Theater and the Plague

THR 220 / COM 246 / ENG 226 / GHP 320 · Spring 2021

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Michael Cadden

Theater relies on the physical and emotional vulnerability of live bodies to experience the pity andterror that plague, war, systemic injustice, and more ordinary forms of disease and death inflict. As we face the twin pandemics of our own time, what can "plague drama" (prompted by outbreaks of typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, AIDS, etc.) tell us about how writers use literal and metaphorical diseases to give shape to a given cultural moment? We'll look at a wide variety mostly theatrical texts to explore how playwrights use the medium of the theater to literally embody and thus make visible physical, social, and metaphysical "dis-ease".


DAN 221 / THR 222 · Spring 2021

U01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Aynsley Vandenbroucke

In a universe filled with movement, how and why and where might we find relative stillness? What are the unique aesthetic, political, and daily life possibilities while school as we know it is on pause? We’ll dance, sit, question, and create practices and projects. We’ll play with movement within stillness, stillness within movement, stillness in performance and in performers' minds. We’ll look at stillness as protest and power. We’ll wonder when stillness might be an abdication of responsibility. We'll read widely within religions, philosophy, performance, disability studies, social justice, visual art, sound (and silence).

Making Work

DAN 226 / THR 226 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays, 12:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Miguel Gutierrez

This course is a laboratory space for intentional community where we focus on the creative process in making movement-based performance and dance. I offer prompts for you to make short performances and then we reverse engineer your process through a series of questions. We are interested in understanding how our work sits inside of the contemporary context. We will critique, absorb and discard inherited notions of dance in the service of creating pieces that come from a vital and necessary place. Reading ranges from artist statements to critical theory and you will watch works on video that reframe ideas of the choreographic.

Contemporary French Theater

FRE 228 / THR 227 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 1:30-2:50 PM

Instructors: Florent Masse

Contemporary French Theater will introduce students to the vibrant and diverse scene of contemporary theater in France. Every week we will read a new play by a celebrated or an emerging living playwright, and examine their shared topics of interest and writing styles.

Introduction to Irish Studies

ENG 228 / THR 228 · Spring 2021

S01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Fintan O'Toole

This interdisciplinary 200-level course offers a broad introduction to the study of Irish literature, history and culture.

One Flea Spare Project

THR 251 · Spring 2021

U01 · Mondays + Wednesdays, 1:30-2:50 PM

Instructors: Elena Araoz

In a joint project with students from Fordham University, Georgetown University, Purchase College, and UMass-Amherst, students will create a virtual new media response to Naomi Wallace' play One Flea Spare. This story about strangers quarantining together during London's 17th Century Great Plague, will provoke our wild artistic departure about our own communities' social iniquities, abuses of power, classism, racism, burden on essential workers, fake science, and questions about who can afford to survive a plague and the boundaries of gender and the body. Absolutely no theatre or performance experience necessary, just a desire to be creative.

Acting – Scene Study

THR 301 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM Thursdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Mark Nelson

The preparation, rehearsal and presentation of scenes from classic and contemporary plays, from Chekhov and Ibsen to Tony Kusher and Lynn Nottage. We will use the techniques and principles found in Uta Hagen's book, Respect of Acting.

Ghosts, Vampires and Zombies in Irish Theater and Literature

THR 302 / ENG 222 · Spring 2021

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Fintan O'Toole

From the spirits and banshees of oral legends to Bram Stoker's Dracula, from the classic works of Yeats, Synge and Beckett to Garth Ennis's Preacher comics and Anne Rice's Vampire novels, Irish culture has been haunted by the Otherworld. Why has the Irish Gothic had such a long ghostly afterlife on page and stage? Can we learn something about modernist works like those of Yeats and Beckett by seeing them through the perspective of popular fictions of the supernatural?

Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting

THR 305 / CWR 309 · Spring 2021

S01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Migdalia Cruz

A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, in this class, students will complete either one full-length play or two long one-acts (40-60 pages) to the end of gaining a firmer understanding of characterization, dialogue, structure, and the playwriting process. In addition to questions of craft, an emphasis will be placed on the formation of healthy creative habits and the sharpening of critical and analytical skills through reading and responding to work of both fellow students and contemporary playwrights of note.

Advanced French Theater Workshop

FRE 311 / THR 312 · Spring 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Florent Masse

In Advanced French Theater Workshop, students will focus their work on three main French playwrights: one classical, one modern, and one contemporary. This year, students will rehearse and perform excerpts from the great works of Molière, Alfred de Musset, and Pascal Rambert.

Performance in Extraordinary Times: Documenting and Analyzing the Present

DAN 314 / AMS 335 / ANT 356 / THR 314 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Judith Hamera

Performance and crisis have always been partners: entangled in epidemics, state violence and resistance, and austerity regimes, as well as the crisis ordinariness of settler colonialism and structural racism. This seminar examines performance in our extraordinary present using autoethnography, ethnography, and interviews.

American Musical Theatre: History and Practice

MTD 348 / THR 348 · Spring 2021

S01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: John Doyle

This course will explore the history and practice of musical theatre. Starting with the American musical's roots in minstrelsy and burlesque, the class will continue with Show Boat, the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, and contemporary shows.

Arts in the Invisible City: Race, Policy, Performance

HUM 352 / THR 350 / URB 352 / ENG 252 · Spring 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Nathan Davis

A so-called invisible city, Trenton is one of the poorest parts of the state, but intimately connected to Princeton. Examining the historical and contemporary racisms that have shaped Trenton, we will hear from activists, policy makers, artistic directors, politicians, and artists. Readings include texts about urban invisibility, race, community theater, and public arts policy. The course will follow the development of a new play by Trenton's Passage Theater, about a community-organized sculpture that was removed over "concerns" about "gang" culture. Students will conduct field interviews and work alongside dramatists and playwrights.

Performance as Art

VIS 354 / DAN 354 / THR 354 · Spring 2021

U01 · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Colleen Asper

This studio class will explore a broad range of approaches to art-based performance: from instruction pieces and happenings, to the body as language and gesture, to performance as a form of archiving

The Art of Producing Theater

THR 361 / MTD 361 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 11 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Mara Isaacs

This course explores models of producing and collaboration in the professional theater, with an emphasis on the relationship between reading and producing plays. Students will examine a wide variety of classic and contemporary plays and musicals as literature written for production with a detailed appreciation for what production entails, and will develop an understanding of the aesthetic, dramaturgical and values-based choices involved in producing theater.

World Drama

ENG 380 / COM 247 / THR 380 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays & Wednesdays, 11 am - 12:20 pm

Instructors: Robert N. Sandberg

This course is a survey of classical and modern drama from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. Topics will include Noh and Kabuki, Beijing Opera, Sanskrit theater, Nigerian masquerades and a variety of selections from the rich modern Indian and Latin American canons.

Theater and Society Now

THR 385 / AMS 385 / GSS 385 / LAO 385 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Brian Herrera

As an art form, theater operates in the shared space and time of the present moment while also manifesting imagined worlds untethered by the limits of "real" life. In this course, we undertake a critical, creative, and historical survey of the ways contemporary theater-making in the United States — as both industry and creative practice — does (and does not) engage the most urgent concerns of contemporary American society.

Revision Workshop

THR 409 / CWR 409 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Nathan Davis

This course will explore, through theory and (especially) practice, the rewriting/revising of plays, screenplays and teleplays. Students will begin the semester with a written piece of dramatic material that they wish to develop further. Through discussion, writing exercises, group feedback, and the study of existing scripts, each student will devise a revision process that is appropriate for their material and emerge with a new draft.

Decentering/Recentering the Western Canon in the Contemporary American Theater

THR 416 / AMS 416 / COM 453 / ENG 456 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 11 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Michael Cadden

Why do some BIPOC dramatists (from the US and Canada) choose to adapt/revise/re-envision/deconstruct/rewrite/appropriate canonical texts from the Western theatrical tradition? While their choices might be accused of re-centering and reinforcing "white"narratives that often marginalize and/or exoticize racial and ethnic others, we might also see this risky venture as a useful strategy to write oneself into a tradition that is itself constantly being revised and reevaluated and to claim that tradition as one's own. What are the artistic, cultural, and economic "rewards"for deploying this method of playmaking? What are risks?

Darkness and Light: Writing, Lighting, Blackness and Whiteness

ATL 494 / THR 494 · Spring 2021

C01 · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins · Jane Cox

How do you connect your verbal and your visual brain? This course will be a series of provocations to making art. Black playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and White lighting designer Jane Cox will lead the group in connected investigations in writing and lighting as well as intertwined historic and aesthetic notions of Whiteness and Blackness. We will focus our imagination on theatrical and poetic connotations of dark and light as well as the production and philosophies of light. Classes will consist of discussions and creative exercises, and we will work towards a showing of creative projects at the end of the semester.

Art and Change in the Panopticon

ATL 495 / THR 495 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Christine Jones · Gabriel Kahane

How might our obsession with convenience constrict our humanity? Is it possible to critique and dismantle systems of oppression from within? How do we reconcile the artist's need to enter into the experience of the Other with the need to be aware of structural inequities and the asymmetrical distribution of power? Join Christine Jones and Gabriel Kahane for a semester-long exploration of how we may aspire to change the world through art-making in a moment widely described as dystopian.