Theater Courses


Introduction to Art Making

LCA 101 · Spring 2020

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

Instructors: Boris Fishman · Daniel Heyman · 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.

Beginning Studies in Acting: Scene Study

THR 201 · Spring 2020

C01 - Peter Kim · Mondays, 2:30 - 4:20 PM and Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm

Instructors: Peter Kim

An introduction to the craft of acting through spoken text, scene study and, finally, a longer scene drawn from a full length 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.

Body and Language

DAN 208 / THR 208 · Spring 2020

C01 · Thursdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Aynsley Vandenbroucke

In this studio course open to all, we will: dive into experiences in which body and language meet; think about these from aesthetic, cultural, political, personal, and philosophical perspectives; play with the physicality of voice and the material qualities of words and sentences; look for literary structures in movement; explore language from, in, around, and about (our) bodies; question hierarchies between body and language; deliberately lose ourselves in situations in which words fail or fall away; move and create together using tools from dance, theater, visual art, improvisation, writing, and somatic practices.

Learning Shakespeare by Doing

COM 212 / THR 212 · Spring 2020

S01 - Leonard Barkan · Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Leonard Barkan

A course on works of dramatic literature whose comparative dimension is theatrical performance. We will consider four Shakespeare plays covering a range of theatrical genres; the emphasis will be on the ways in which Shakespearean meaning can be elucidated when the reader becomes a performer. Students will move from the reading/performing of individual speeches to the staging of scenes to the question of how an overall theatrical conception for a play might be a key to the fullest understanding of the text.  Students will write papers about their readings and performances; grades will be based on both the writing and the performing.

Introduction to Set and Costume Design

THR 213 / MTD 213 / VIS 210 · Spring 2020

C01 - Sarita Fellows/Rachel Hauck · Wednesdays, 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.

Drama and Performance

THR 219 / ENG 248 · Spring 2020

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Michael Cadden

Most playwrights never intended to have readers. Their work was meant to be experienced in the theater. This course uses both live theatrical productions and online resources to discuss interpretive issues raised by the acting, directing, and design choices made in specific productions of classic plays as well as the larger question of what the proper object of critical inquiry is for those interested in drama. The word "drama" derives from the Greek word for "action". Do we "deactivate" drama with a phrase like "dramatic literature"? Does our usual conception of "performance" falsely rely on the pre-existence of a thing to "act"?


DAN 221 / THR 222 · Spring 2020

U01 · Wednesdays, 2:30-4:20 PM and Fridays, 1:30-3:20 PM

Instructors: Aynsley Vandenbroucke

In a universe filled with movement, how and why and where might we find relative stillness? What are the aesthetic, political, and daily life possibilities within stillness? In this studio course open to all, we'll dance, sit, question, and create substantial final 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).

Classical Mythology on the Modern U.S. Stage

CLA 305 / THR 304 · Spring 2020

S01 - Kay Gabriel · Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-2:50 PM

Instructors: Kay Gabriel

Dramatists in the 20th and 21st centuries have repeatedly adapted classical literature to performance on the contemporary stage. In this course we'll ask after the particular uses, pleasures, and challenges of classical adaptation: why adapt ancient material in the first place? How have contemporary dramatists deviated from their sources, and how have they remained "true" to them? We'll consider these and other questions in a survey of a century of performance, ranging from early 20th-century modernism to Hadestown.

Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting

THR 305 / CWR 309 · Spring 2020

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Nathan Davis

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.

Dance in Education: Dance/Theater Pedagogy

DAN 316 / THR 328 / HUM 317 / TPP 316 · Spring 2020

S01 · Fridays, 10:00 AM - 12:50 PM

Instructors: Rebecca Stenn

Dance/Theater Pedagogy Seminar explores the connection between engaged dance and elementary school literacy, mathematics and social studies while allowing students the opportunity to be civically engaged and contribute to the community.

Lighting Design

THR 318 / VIS 318 · Spring 2020

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.

Sound Design

THR 320 / MTD 320 · Spring 2020

S01 - Robert Kaplowitz and Jessica Paz · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Jessica Paz · Robert Kaplowitz

An exploration of theatrical sound design and engineering, this class will explore sound for both theater and music theater. We will investigate text from the point of view of sound, and learn how to communicate the ideas, palette and arc of a design to others. We will explore developing a creative process and turning our ideas into sounds that can be used onstage.

American Musical Theatre: History and Practice

THR 348 / MTD 348 · Spring 2020

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. Alongside the history of the musical, students will learn about the musical and theatrical tools of the genre, with an emphasis on directing and acting.

21st Century Latinx Drama

THR 353 / AMS 353 / GSS 417 / LAO 353 · Spring 2020

S01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Brian Herrera

This course offers a practice-based overview of theater-making in the twenty-first century through an intensive study of contemporary Latinx dramatists, companies, and movements in the United States. Through weekly readings, discussions and independent research/writing exercises, the seminar will investigate the cultural, artistic, social and political interventions of twenty-first century US Latinx drama.

Performance as Art

VIS 354 / DAN 354 / THR 354 · Spring 2020

U01 · Mondays, 12:30 - 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/events, the body as language and gestures, to various forms of lecture performance.

Theatrical Writing Studio

THR 406 / CWR 406 / ENG 250 / MTD 406 · Spring 2020

S01 - Robert Sandberg/Tamsen Wolff · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Robert N. Sandberg · Tamsen Wolff

A workshop course designed to support advanced student theater and music theater writers in exploring possible performance of their writing. Students will investigate their writing with a focus on collaboration, performance and production. Individualized creative assignments will be suggested for each student. Students will be introduced to methodologies for producing new works and for theatrical collaboration, and will discuss the writer's point of view in the rehearsal room, physical staging, working with performers and character development, and exploring visual storytelling.

50th Anniversary of Undergraduate Co-Education Theater Project

THR 407 / MTD 407 · Spring 2020

C01 · Fridays, 12:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Suzanne Agins

This course is designed to provide students with the experience of doing social and historical research in the service of creating theatrical content, in collaboration with alumnae artists, around the fiftieth anniversary of undergraduate co-education at Princeton. Students will be paired with working artist alumnae, and together will begin research at the university archives, and be led in historical research and social analysis studying the lives of women who graduated from Princeton in the early years of undergraduate co-education.

Topics in Drama: Theatre & Philosophy: From Plato to Hegel & Beyond

ENG 409 / THR 409 · Spring 2020

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 pm

Instructors: Gregor Moder

Philosophy has consistently used theater throughout history as a privileged metaphor for its own, theoretical procedures. Plato regarded the artistic form of theater as morally dangerous and epistemologically counter-productive. Yet at the same time, Plato explains the seamless functioning of the ideal republic as the perfect form of theater. On the other end of the historical arc-from Hegel to Deleuze and beyond-the development of philosophical concepts was understood precisely as a dramatization or performance of some sort. Which is it, then? Is theater a competitor, a detractor, or a companion of theory in its pursuit of the truth?

Topics in Drama: Theatre and Philosophy: From Plato to Hegel and Beyond

ENG 409 / THR 409 · Spring 2020

S01 · Thursdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Staff

Philosophy has consistently used theater throughout history as a privileged metaphor for its own, theoretical procedures. Plato regarded the artistic form of theater as morally dangerous and epistemologically counter-productive. Yet at the same time, Plato explains the seamless functioning of the ideal republic as the perfect form of theater. On the other end of the historical arc-from Hegel to Deleuze and beyond-the development of philosophical concepts was understood precisely as a dramatization or performance of some sort. Which is it, then? Is theater a competitor, a detractor, or a companion of theory in its pursuit of the truth?

Major Author(s): August Wilson: African American Life in the 20th Century

ENG 411 / AAS 413 / AMS 411 / THR 412 · Spring 2020

S01 - R.N. Sandberg · Mondays and Wednesdays, 11 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Robert N. Sandberg

August Wilson completed what many consider the most ambitious project of any American playwright. His cycle of ten plays, one for each decade, chronicles African American life in the 20th century. We will explore all ten plays as individual drama and depictions of history. We will read standard histories to gain background and context.

Early Modern Amsterdam: Tolerant Eminence and the Arts

ENG 448 / THR 448 / HUM 448 / COM 440 · Spring 2020

S01 - Nigel Smith · Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 - 2:50 PM

Instructors: Nigel Smith

Inter-disciplinary class on early modern Amsterdam (1550-1720) when the city was at the center of the global economy and leading cultural center; home of Rembrandt and Spinoza (Descartes was nearby) and original figures like playwrights Bredero and Vondel, the ethicist engraver Coornhert, the political economist de la Court brothers and English traveling theater. We go from art to poetry, drama, philosophy and medicine. Spring Break is in Amsterdam with museum visits, guest talks & participation in recreation of traveling theater from the period.

Theater Rehearsal and Performance

THR 451 / MTD 451 · Spring 2020

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: César Alvarez · Elena Araoz · Seonjae Kim

This course provides students with a rigorous and challenging experience of creating theater under near-professional circumstances. A faculty or visiting professional director will lead the process. This involves an extensive rehearsal and technical rehearsal period, requiring more time than a typical student production. Students cast in the show or taking on major production roles such as stage manager or designer will receive course credit.

Baby Wants Candy: Creating Comedy for Television

ATL 494 / VIS 494 / CWR 494 / THR 494 · Spring 2020

C01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Al Samuels · Zach Zimmerman

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 in groups and individually and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.