Theater Courses


Afronaut Ascension: A Creative Exploration of Afrofuturism & the Avant Garde

FRS 101 · Fall 2021

S01 · Mondays + Wednesdays, 1:30-2:50 PM

Instructors: Shariffa Ali

In this seminar students of all backgrounds are invited to participate in visiting some of the pioneers and innovators of Afrofuturist thought and literature and performance as well as becoming familiar with emerging technology like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Introduction to Art Making

LCA 101 · Fall 2021

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

Instructors: Colleen Asper · Mark Doten · Ruth Ochs · Shariffa Ali · Stacy Wolf · Olivier Tarpaga · Tess James

How do artists make art? How do we evaluate it? In this course, students of all levels get to experience firsthand the particular challenges and rewards of art making through practical engagement with five fields — creative writing, visual art, theater, dance, and music — under the guidance of professionals.

Introduction to Theater Making

THR 101 / MTD 101 · Fall 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.

Is Politics a Performance?

FRS 143 · Fall 2021

S01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Aaron Landsman

In this transformative time, when national politics seems frayed at best, local government meetings remain sites of direct democracy, effective leadership and creative action. "Is Politics a Performance?" looks at how we perform in these meetings, and who gets to play which roles.

ACTING against Oppression: Notes from the other América

FRS 187 · Fall 2021

S01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Vivia Font

In this course, we will closely examine the ways different theatermakers from Latin America have chosen to tackle social/political theater from the ‘60s to the present. Content warning: material may be sensitive for some.

Beginning Studies in Acting

THR 201 · Fall 2021

C01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM Wednesdays, 1:30-3:20 PM

Instructors: Nehassaiu deGannes

An introduction to the craft of acting through character work, monologue work and script analysis. By engaging in both collaborative efforts and independent explorations, we will experiment with various acting traditions and techniques to develop methods of approaching performance.

Introductory Playwriting

THR 205 · Fall 2021

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

Instructors: Nathan Davis

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.

Body and Language

DAN 208 / THR 208 / GHP 338 · Fall 2021

C01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Aynsley Vandenbroucke

In this studio course open to all, we'll dive into experiences in which body and language meet. We'll think about these from aesthetic, cultural, political, personal, and philosophical perspectives. We'll move and create together using tools from dance, theater, visual art, improvisation, somatic, and writing practices.

Storytelling with Technology for Performance

THR 210 / STC 210 · Fall 2021

C01 · Mondays, 12:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Andrea Lauer · David Bengali

Telling stories through performance is human nature, but how can we use technology to enhance, frame, or reveal new perspectives on stories told? Students will learn about tools and techniques from design professionals, and will engage directly and collaboratively with technology to design experiences focused around live performance. Areas covered may include projections and multimedia, lighting, interactivity, and programming for creative applications. This class hopes to bring together students with arts and STEM backgrounds, and does not require prior experience.

French Theater Workshop

FRE 211 / THR 211 · Fall 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Florent Masse

FRE/THR 211 will offer students the opportunity to put their language skills in motion by exploring French theater and acting in French. The course will introduce students to acting techniques while allowing them to discover the richness of the French dramatic canon

Introduction to Rhythm Tap Dance: Past Legacies, Future Rhythms

DAN 229 / MTD 229 / THR 229 · Fall 2021

U01 · Mondays + Wednesdays, 12:30-2:20 PM

Instructors: Michael J. Love

In this studio course, dancers will study the past, present, and future of rhythm tap dance by learning the techniques and Black American histories, traditions, and legacies that have established and continue to sustain the form. While learning fundamental steps and foundational routines, we will interact with various media curated to introduce some of rhythm tap's important people, happenings, and places.

The Art of Stand-Up

THR 238 · Fall 2021

U01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Maysoon Zayid

Comedian Maysoon Zayid will transform students from boring to hilarious in under 14 weeks. Each comic will leave this class armed with a ready for primetime, original stand-up comedy set. The class will tackle how comedy intersects with under represented groups, how to make fun of your family and deal with being disowned, song parodies and politics, and will culminate in a final comedy show on campus.

Hope and History: The Poems and Plays of Seamus Heaney

ENG 314 / THR 384 · Fall 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Fintan O'Toole

In his speeches and online presidential campaign, Joe Biden made repeated use of Seamus Heaney's lines about making "hope and history rhyme." Seamus Heaney, who died in August 2013, was rare among contemporary poets in having both a huge public following and the admiration of his peers: both a Wordsworthian romantic and a Joycean realist; an atheist in search of the miraculous; a cosmopolitan with a little patch of remembered earth; a lover of the archaic who could not escape the urgency of contemporary history. This course follows Heaney's rich career, placing him in the context both of modern Ireland and world literature.

Modern Irish Theatre: Oscar Wilde to Martin McDonagh to Riverdance

THR 316 / ENG 217 · Fall 2021

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Fintan O'Toole

This course explores the many different ways in which the whole idea of a distinctively Irish theatre has been transformed every few decades, from Wilde and Shaw's subversions of England, to the search of Yeats and Synge for an authentic rural Ireland, to the often angry critiques of contemporary Ireland by Murphy, Friel and Carr. Plays of the Irish diaspora (O'Neill and McDonagh) are examined in this context. The course will also explore the ways in which ideas of physicality and performance, including the popular spectacle of Riverdance, have conflicted with and challenged Irish theatre's peculiar devotion to poetic language.

Lighting Design

THR 318 / MTD 318 / VIS 318 · Fall 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Jane Cox

An introduction to the art and craft of lighting design for the stage and an exploration of light as a medium for expression. Students will develop an ability to observe lighting in the world and on the stage; to learn to make lighting choices based on text, space, research, and their own responses; to practice being creative, responsive and communicative under pressure and in company; to prepare well to create under pressure using the designer's visual toolbox; and to play well with others-working creatively and communicating with directors, writers, performers, fellow designers, the crew and others.

Staging Sex in the City of London: From Country Wives to Fleabags

ENG 319 / GSS 441 / THR 217 · Fall 2021

S01 · Tuesdays + Thursdays, 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Michael Cadden

This course charts a dominant motif of British stage comedy from the Restoration—when all hell broke loose with the return of the monarchy in 1660, the introduction of the actress, and the emergence of professional women playwrights—until the present day. We'll look at work by men and women celebrated for their always witty but often controversial representations of the sexual/romantic escapades of their contemporaries. Prepare to be disturbed as well as amused. One issue we'll want to consider: Why did men's work become canonical while their female colleagues, equally successful in their own day, were disappeared from the story?

Shakespeare: Toward Hamlet

ENG 320 / THR 310 · Fall 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Bradin Cormack

The first half of Shakespeare's career, with a focus on the great comedies and histories of the 1590s, culminating in a study of Hamlet.

Princeton Dance Festival Expanded: Politics of Care

DAN 324 / THR 327 · Fall 2021

U01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Larissa Velez-Jackson

This course will be a unique venture into dance culminating in a performance for the Princeton Dance Festival. This studio course explores dance-theatre practice to address the desires, needs, and realities of the body and it's greater community, centering the politics of self and group care. We will improvise in movement, somatics, vocal sound, song, spoken and written words, creating for and with each other, with the outcome being a greatly expanded skill set for the performing artist. Studio movement practice, creation and discussion will be supplemented by selected readings and out-of-studio creation as a practice of joy and resilience.

Movements for Diversity in American Theater

THR 332 / AAS 389 / GSS 342 / LAO 332 · Fall 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Brian Herrera

Theater artists routinely bend, twist and break all kinds of rules to create the imaginary worlds they bring to life on stage. Why, then, has the American theater so struggled to meaningfully address questions of equity, diversity and inclusion? In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical overview of agitation and advocacy by theater artist-activists aiming to transform American theatre-making as both industry and creative practice.

Gender Crossings in American Musical Theater

GSS 337 / MTD 302 / THR 347 / AMS 336 · Fall 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Brian Herrera

This course offers an intensive survey of gender crossings on the American musical theater stage. The course's study of American musicals (in terms of form, content and context) will be anchored in a historical exploration of world theatrical traditions of cross-gender performance. The course will examine multiple modes of cross-gender performance, while also considering musicals that stage gender role reversals and those that open questions of gender expression and identity.

Acting and Directing in Musical Theater

MTD 341 / THR 341 · Fall 2021

S01 · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: John Doyle

A practical hands-on introduction to acting and directing in musical theater. The course will require students to prepare songs and scenes from selected musicals with an eye to how best to approach the particular challenges the scene presents.

Illegal Gatherings Act — South African Protest Theatre

THR 355 / AAS 399 · Fall 2021

S01 · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Shariffa Ali

The South African Anti-Apartheid movement saw mass resistance against the government's racial segregationist policies. Students will learn about the conditions that gave rise to Apartheid and the Anti-Apartheid movement, taking a look at the instrumental role that the performing arts and protest theatre played in dismantling the unjust system.

Race in French Theater

FRE 390 / THR 390 · Fall 2021

Instructors: Florent Masse

Race in French Theater will investigate the question of race and diversity on the French stages. We will study efforts made in recent years to diversify representations both on stage and in the audience, and examine the concrete steps taken by major institutions, subsidized national theaters, festivals, drama schools, and commercial theaters. We will compare similar current undertakings in the world of dance and at the Paris Opera, and broaden the scope of our inquiries by looking at representation and inclusion in French cinema.

Theatrical Design Studio

THR 400 / MTD 400 / VIS 400 · Fall 2021

C01 · Fridays, 12:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Jane Cox · Lawrence Moten · Sarita Fellows · Tess James

This course offers an exploration of visual storytelling, combined with a grounding in the practical, communicative, collaborative and anti-racist skills necessary to create physical environments for live theater making. Students are mentored as designers, directors or creators (often in teams) on realized projects for the theater program season.

Theater Rehearsal and Performance

THR 451 / MTD 451 · Fall 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Elena Araoz · Tess James

This course will be an investigative performance driven process resulting in a music theater performance, devised by the students. Led by faculty member and professional director and actor Elena Araoz, this theatrical exploration will adapt to the public health circumstances in which we find ourselves and will culminate in performances that incorporate singing and spoken word.

Baby Wants Candy: Creating Comedy for Television

ATL 494 / CWR 494 / THR 494 · Fall 2021

C01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Al Samuels

In this course, led by critically acclaimed comedy writer Albert Samuels, students will participate in the in-process television pitch used by Samuels' cutting-edge improvisation group, Baby Wants Candy, including finalizing concept and script and developing a strong pitch. By the end of the semester, BWC will have a finished pitch package the group will present to Netflix, Amazon, Comedy Central and other networks/outlets. Students will develop their own original television concepts both in teams and individually, and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.

Women’s Work: The Evelyn Brown Project

ATL 499 / AMS 498 / THR 499 · Fall 2021

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Alice Reagan · Gwendolyn Alker

This course will use the reconstruction of Evelyn Brown, a movement piece by María Irene Fornés, to interrogate questions of female labor and its portrayal on stage. Fornés, arguably the most important Latina dramatist of the 20th century, sourced Evelyn Brown from the diary of an early 20th century New England domestic servant. The class will explore the relation of Evelyn Brown to Fornés' larger body of work and lead to deeper questions about staging mundane labor as performance during our time when labor inequality has grown exponentially. Our final project will be a first step to re-staging this little-known work in a professional venue.