Faculty-Theatre

Theatre

Edward Isser, Ph.D., Professor and Chair

Lynn Kremer, M.F.A., Professor and The Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., Chair in the Humanities

Steve Vineberg, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities

Barbara L. Craig, M.F.A., Associate Professor

Scott Malia, Ph.D., Associate Professor

I Nyoman Catra, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow in Balinese Music, Theatre, and Dance

Kurt Hultgren, B.S., Lecturer, Costume Design

Jimena Bermejo, B.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

Audra Carabetta, B.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

Rebecca Gibel, M.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

Kaela S. Lee, M.Ed., Visiting Lecturer

Jennifer Polins, M.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

 

The Department of Theatre offers a variety of complementary perspectives on performance. Our acting classes teach students to interpret dramatic texts through a combination of western and eastern techniques for training body and voice. Dramatic literature and theatre history courses place texts in historical and thematic contexts while focusing on them as a medium for performance. We provide dance courses grounded in an understanding of dance history, as well as technique and composition, and design courses that explore visual interpretations of texts in performance. Our directing classes locate performance as an intersection of all of these disciplines and train students to read texts on several levels simultaneously. Film classes and tutorials in playwriting and screenwriting are also offered.

The fully equipped Fenwick Theatre houses the major productions of the department and dance concerts. A range of studio productions (directed by both faculty and students), workshops, and classes takes place in The Studio (O’Kane 481), The Pit (O’Kane 37), and the Dance Studio (O’Kane 28). Work on any department production is open to all Holy Cross students, faculty, and staff.

The Department of Theatre offers a major with a 12-course curriculum with two major emphases (Acting and Design). The following courses are required of all majors: Theatre History 1, Basic Acting, Design and Technical Production, American Drama 1920 to Present, and Modern Drama or Theatre History 2. Lab experience, combining Theatre Practicum and Advanced Theatre Practicum, is required for three semesters of all majors regardless of emphasis.  

Students with the Acting Emphasis are also required to take Voice in Acting 1, Shakespeare Through Performance, one semester of any dance course, and four electives chosen from courses offered by the department and tutorials in production, film, playwriting, dance, directing, dramatic literature, or design. Students with the Design Emphasis are required to take Scene Design, Lighting Design, and Costume Design, as well as four electives from an approved list of courses (see Department of Theatre website).  

Majors are required to complete a capstone project during their senior year. The capstone requirement is filled by performing, directing, designing (sets, lights, costumes, video, sound, etc.), or stage managing a significant production. Students may create a Film Studies minor through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Holy Cross Department of Theatre is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. 

Courses

Theatre Courses

Theatre
101
Basic Acting
Fall, spring

This course offers an approach to understanding, appreciating, and practicing the art of acting and theatre through classroom exercises, improvisations, and performances of scenes from late 20th- and 21st-century plays. One unit.

Theatre
110
Theatre Practicum
Fall, spring

Weekly lab work introduces students to tools and techniques in costumes, scenery, properties, and lighting. Student participation in Department of Theatre major productions gives them the opportunity to put those skills into practice. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and is required with enrollment in Basic Acting or Design and Technical Production. One-half unit.

Theatre
111
Basic Dance
Fall, spring

This is an introductory course for students with little or no dance experience. The course is a combination of studio and lecture/discussion. Students will learn proper alignment, basic positions, and dance combinations. Readings will cover the history of dance and the political and social changes that influence the creative process in the development of dance. Movement studies will be integrated with readings. One unit.

Theatre
125
American Drama 1920 to Present
Alternate years

American plays from the early work of Eugene O’Neill through that of contemporary dramatists are explored as theatre (through film and video) and as dramatic literature. This course looks at drama in historical and thematic contexts and as the expression of major American playwrights. One unit.

Theatre
127
Design and Technical Production
Fall

This class examines the arts and crafts required to mount a live theatrical production during the planning, preparation, and performance phases. It also explores the function and responsibilities of the design team. Class projects and enrollment in Theatre Practicum provide practical experience. One unit.

Theatre
131
Balinese Dance 1-2
Fall, spring

Balinese Dance is a performance class that surveys the rich classical, contemporary, and folk traditions of music, mask, dance, and theatre from Bali, Indonesia. Hinduism plays a significant role in the performing arts of Bali and will be discussed in relationship to performance. Students rehearse and perform with Gamelan Gita Sari, the Holy Cross gamelan orchestra. This course can be taken for two semesters. One unit.

Theatre
134
Television Comedy
Alternate years

Television Comedy is designed to introduce students to the history of television comedy, key artists and situation comedies, and theoretical frameworks for examining these works both in and out of context.  The goal is for students to learn to analyze television from a variety of standpoints as well as the ways it has both influenced and been influenced by time, place, and culture. One unit.

Theatre
135
Comedy on Stage and Screen
Alternate years

This course provides students with a theoretical foundation for a variety of styles of comedy. Students analyze plays and films and apply comic theory to them. The first half of the semester is devoted to establishing key concepts in the evolving theory of comedy. The second half of the semester focuses on specific comic styles and their conventions. The written work is tiered so that students can increase their mastery or comic theory and apply it to assigned films and plays. One unit.

Theatre
140
Holocaust on Stage and Screen
Alternate years

This course uses dramatic literature and film to examine the Nazi policies of genocide that were initiated and enacted before and during World War II. Various representational strategies are analyzed and contrasted in an effort to gauge the relative effectiveness of artists to come to terms with these ineffable events. Issues examined include the relationship between a dramatic text and its historical model, the problem of transfiguration, the applicability of a structural model for organizing texts, documentary versus dramatic enactment, varying national viewpoints, the emergence of feminist and gay perspectives, and the problem of exploitation and revisionism. One unit.

Theatre
141
Jazz Dance 1-2
Fall, spring

This is a studio course open to students with less than six months of dance experience. The course focuses on technique and touches on aspects of jazz history and its relationship to music and social history. This course can be taken for two semesters. One unit.

Theatre
145
Gay Theatre and Film
Alternate years

Gay Theatre and Film is designed to examine how art (specifically film and theatre) helps us define ourselves, both collectively and individually. Films and plays from different periods and cultures allow the students to examine the evolution of the human condition for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered populations. One unit.

Theatre
151
Ballet 1-2
Fall, spring

Beginning ballet technique is offered for those with less than six months of dance experience. The course emphasizes alignment, ballet positions and vocabulary, as well as the mastery of skills such as turning, jumping, and coordination. In addition to technique, the course introduces dance history and dance appreciation through readings, videos, and class discussion. To offer a richer and more contemporary experience of ballet, students depart from the ballet idiom and experiment with creating a personal movement vocabulary. This course can be taken for two semesters. One unit.

Theatre
160
American Film
Annually, spring

This introductory course teaches the student how to read a movie. Films are presented by genre and conventional examples of each genre are paired with movies that play with, undercut, or expand the conventions. The syllabus includes American movies from 1930 to the present. One unit.

Theatre
161
Theatre History 1: Classical to Romantic
Alternate years

This studies eastern and western theatre periods before 1900, including Classical Greek, Medieval, Renaissance, Kabuki, Neoclassical, and Romantic. Readings include plays by Euripides, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Calderon, Molière, Montzaemon, Schiller, Boucicault, and others. One unit.

Theatre
162
Theatre History 2: Modern and Contemporary
Alternate years

This course studies western and African theatre after 1900, including realism, naturalism, expressionism, epic theatre, metatheatre, and theatre of the absurd.  Readings include plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, Chekhov, Lorca, Brecht, Ionesco, Pirandello, Beckett, Soyinka, Pinter, Churchill, McPherson, and others. One unit.

Theatre
165
World Film
Annually, fall

Like American Film, this is an introductory course that teaches the student how to read a movie. However, the content is exclusively non-American films, viewed thematically and historically, as well as in their cultural contexts. The syllabus typically includes films from France, Italy, England, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Canada, and other countries. One unit.

Theatre
170
Modern Drama
Alternate years

This course surveys the major aesthetic movements of the last century, employing dramatic texts and theoretical writings to illustrate successive ideas. Movements such as naturalism, symbolism, expressionism, surrealism, and the absurd are examined through a close reading of works by Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Wedekind, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, and others. One unit.

Theatre
181
Modern Dance 1-2
Fall, spring

This is a basic introductory modern dance technique course for beginners or students with less than six months of dance experience. Students learn beginning modern dance exercises and movement combinations. The basic components of modern dance and its place in 20th-century art are examined. This course can be taken for two semesters. One unit.

Theatre
190
Stage Combat
Alternate years

Stage Combat unites creativity and critical thinking in a course that investigates the uses and effects of representative violence in classical and contemporary plays. The course introduces both armed and unarmed techniques while developing an appreciation of the use of the human body to express the intentions of the characters and the ideas of the work through physical means. Specific attention is paid to how the physical action can heighten and support the text. One unit.

Theatre
202
Voice in Acting 1
Annually

Students learn how to correct regionalisms, support the voice, and increase range in songs and dramatic texts. Healthy vocal production, flexibility, relaxation, and support are emphasized. Prerequisite: Theatre 101. One unit.

Theatre
203
Scene Study
Annually

This is an intensive scene study class. Plays ranging in style from Restoration to contemporary are analyzed and performed. Physical and vocal exercises from Basic Acting and Voice in Acting are continued with the addition of period style work. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 and 202. One unit.

Theatre
210
Advanced Theatre Practicum
Fall, spring

Students participate in Department of Theatre major productions through crew assignments in scenery and props, lighting, costumes, sound, and stage management. Schedule for the course is determined by the production schedule. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and may be taken multiple times. Theatre majors must take it twice. Prerequisite: Theatre 110. One-half unit.

Theatre
227
Scene Design
Alternate years, spring

Principles of scenic design and script analysis are used to create an environment for the action of the play. Includes a historical survey of scenic design, theatre architecture, period style, drafting, and rendering techniques. Work on a set for a Fenwick Theatre production provides practical experience. One unit.

Theatre
228
Lighting Design
Alternate years, spring

A study of the properties of light and the objectives of stage lighting in drama and dance, this course includes basic electricity and its control, lighting equipment, and drafting. Practical experience is obtained through designing and running a production. One unit.

Theatre
229
Virtual Realities
Alternate years

This course examines works that immerse an audience in an alternative reality, ranging from the fantasy island of Shakespeare's The Tempest to the video game MYST.  It includes use of unreal creatures, puppets, automata, and robots.  Students investigate and reproduce special effects used in theatre, dance, radio and cinema (when they were new media), and computer graphics. One unit.

Theatre
230
Costume Design
Every third year

This course introduces students to the process of script and character analysis as it relates to costumes. It develops sketching and painting techniques, as well as research of Greek, Renaissance, and 18th- and 19th-century fashion. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 and either 161 or 162. One unit.

Theatre
232
Balinese Dance 3-4
Fall, spring

Advanced Balinese Dance builds on the background and techniques covered in Balinese Dance 1-2. Students delve more deeply into the traditions of Bali and perform more advanced repertoire in a concert setting. Students may take this course for two semesters with the permission of the instructor, progressing to advanced repertoire of both traditional and contemporary Balinese dances, including solos. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Theatre 131. One unit.

Theatre
240
Directing
Fall

This course introduces students to the craft and theory of theatrical production. Students function as autonomous artists-writers, dramaturgs, and directors, producing a series of dramatic pieces in a workshop environment. This practical work is augmented by extensive scholarly research that provides a theoretical underpinning. Emphasis is placed upon conceptualization, composition, blocking, textual analysis, and working with actors. Prerequisite: Theatre 101. One unit.

Theatre
242
Jazz Dance 3-4
Annually

A studio course open to students with at least one year of previous dance experience. The course focuses on technique and touches on aspects of jazz history and its relationship to music and social history. This course can be taken for two semesters. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Theatre 141 or at least one year of dance experience. One unit.

Theatre
252
Ballet 3-4
Annually

The class follows a traditional format, including barre, adagio, waltz, petit allegro, and grand allegro. In addition to technique, the course examines dance history and dance appreciation through readings, videos, and class discussion. To offer a richer and more contemporary experience of ballet, students depart from the ballet idiom and experiment with creating a personal movement vocabulary. Students may take this course for two semesters. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Theatre 151 or at least one year of dance experience. One unit.

Theatre
263
Selected American Stage and Film Artists
Every third year

This advanced course is an intensive study of the work of two playwrights and/or filmmakers. By permission. One unit.

Theatre
282
Modern Dance 3-4
Fall, spring

This is an intermediate-level modern dance technique class. Students explore the aesthetic of modern dance through modern dance exercises and combinations and by engaging in critical discussion of selected dance performances in class and on video. Students may take this course for two semesters, progressing to choreography and performance. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Theatre 181 or at least one year of dance experience. One unit.

Theatre
302
Voice in Acting 2
Alternate years

This is an advanced course for students who are eager to develop their natural voices in a healthy manner. It builds on the vocal technique theory and training presented in Voice in Acting 1. Topics to be covered include an anatomy and physiology review, voice-over and commercial work, duets, solos, high intensity speaking, and a mini-seminar on where to learn about dialects. Prerequisite: Theatre 202. One unit.

Theatre
304
Audition Techniques
Fall

This advanced class focuses on monologues. Students prepare contrasting audition pieces that will be juried at the end of the semester. The course is for fourth-year students only. Prerequisites: Theatre 101, 202, 203, and 360. One unit.

Theatre
340
Advanced Directing
Spring

This course explores advanced theories and practices of theatrical direction. The semester begins with a series of lectures that introduces the avant-garde ideas and practices of artists such as Grotowski, Beck, Chaikin, Serban, Wilson, Akalitis, Bogart, and Boal. Students are expected to put some of these ideas into action as they tackle a short classical piece (Greek or Elizabethan) and then mount a full-length one-act by a major figure of the modern theatre (e.g., Chekhov, Strindberg, O’Neill, Pirandello, Beckett). Prerequisite: Theatre 240. One unit.

Theatre
360
Shakespeare Through Performance
Spring

Functioning as scholarly artists in a laboratory setting, students — working from both the Folio and modern editions — master the rudiments of Shakespearean performance, become acquainted with historical and contemporary staging conventions, investigate the notion of textual integrity, and explore dramaturgical issues. Particular emphasis is placed upon the desirability and/or need to subvert problematic texts through performance. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 and 202. One unit.  

Theatre
361
Film as Narrative
Every third year

This advanced course deals with narrative issues in film (point of view, time, structure, style, tone, adaptation). The syllabus includes American, British, French, Italian, Japanese and Scandinavian movies. By permission. One unit.

Theatre
370
Kamikaze Acting
Alternate years

Students write, coach, design, and act in original work that they develop. Directors, actors, and theorists who stretch the limits of performance — stylistically, socially, or conceptually — serve as models for students. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 & 202. One unit.

Theatre
400
Tutorial/Theatre
Fall, spring

Tutorials consist of directed study in selected theater, dance, and film topics such as acting, directing, play writing, literature, dance, stage management, set, costume, lighting and sound design, film, and screenwriting. By permission. One unit.

Theatre
405
Performance Recital
Fall, spring

This course is designed for the individual needs of advanced acting students. Rehearsal and performance in a major production is the main basis of grading. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 and 203. By permission. One unit.

Theatre
406
Performance for Audience
Fall, spring

Advanced acting work in a major role. Prerequisites: Theatre 101 and 203. By permission. One unit.

Theatre
450
Dance Performance
Fall, spring

This course is designed for the individual needs of advanced students doing movement-based work. It requires rehearsal and performance of major dance segments in a main stage production or a dance concert. Prerequisite: Any dance course. By permission. Two units.