(For 2016–2017 academic year) Professors
A. Giurgea Associate Professors
Kellogg, Sweeney Assistant Professors
DuComb Visiting Assistant Professor
Calamoneri Senior Lecturer
Theater predates recorded history and remains a vital mode of artistic expression in the modern world. The Department of Theater educates students in the interdisciplinary practice of theater through required courses in acting, directing, stagecraft, and stage design, as well as elective courses in playwriting and dance. Students also study theater as a social and cultural institution through courses in theater history and dramatic literature. Each semester, the department mounts a major production in the University Theater, directed either by a member of the theater faculty or a distinguished guest artist. Theater courses and University Theater productions are open, not only to theater majors and minors, but also to students from other departments and programs.
Theater students at Colgate learn by doing in the intellectually and physically rigorous environment of studio courses, rehearsals, and public performances. The curriculum transcends the artificial split of mind and body, encouraging students to develop skills in both logic and intuition that apply to any field of endeavor. A major or minor in theater fosters students’ ability to read closely, think critically, and communicate clearly — not only through speech and writing, but also through embodied presence. Students of theater are trained to integrate analytical, physical, emotional, and interpersonal intelligence in a way that few other courses of study demand.
By making and studying theater, Colgate students act out a variety of perspectives on the world, learning to problem solve and self-start through immersion in the challenges of the creative process. Students have opportunities both to lead and to collaborate. Graduates regularly pursue successful careers not only in theater but also in communications, media, business, law, and technology. Students interested in majoring or minoring in theater should discuss their plans with an adviser, and consider courses in English, music, art and art history, film and media studies, and foreign languages and cultures to complement their theater education.
Major in Theater
A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in all courses counted toward the theater major. The minimum of nine courses must include the following:
- Two courses in acting and directing, THEA 254 and THEA 354. THEA 254 should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
- Two courses in theater history and dramatic literature, normally ENGL/THEA 266 and ENGL/THEA 267. ENGL/THEA 211 may be substituted for 266 with permission of the director of the theater program. One of these two courses should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
- Two courses in stagecraft and design, THEA 250 and either THEA 252 or THEA 253. One of these courses should be completed by the end of sophomore year.
- Two additional full-credit courses (or the equivalent of two full credits) from a list of approved electives in theater or English, including 252, 253, 257, 259, 321, 322, 332, 349, 350, 351, 353, 355, 356, 358, 359, 454, 458, 491, or 496. With the permission of the director of the theater program, drama courses in other languages, selected courses in art and art history (such as ARTS 221, 287, and 322), and selected courses in music may also count towards the theater major.
- THEA 495, Senior Seminar in Theater.
- A total of 40 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses. The first 20 hours must be completed by the end of junior year and no more than 20 hours may be completed in a single semester.
- Participation in at least one University Theater production as a performer, dramaturg, designer, stage manager, assistant director, or in another capacity, as approved by the director of the theater program.
Minor in Theater
A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all courses counted toward the theater minor. The minimum of five courses must include the following:
- One course in acting, normally THEA 254.
- One course in theater history and dramatic literature, normally ENGL/THEA 266 or ENGL/THEA 267. ENGL/THEA 211 may be substituted for 266 with permission of the director of the theater program.
- One course in stagecraft or design, normally THEA 250, THEA 252, or THEA 253.
- One additional full-credit course (or the equivalent of one full credit) from a list of approved electives in theater or English, including 211, 252, 253, 257, 259, 321, 322, 332, 349, 350, 351, 353, 355, 356, 358, 359, 454, 458, or 491. With the permission of the director of the theater program, drama courses in other languages, selected courses in art and art history (such as ARTS 221, 287, and 322), and selected courses in music may also count towards the theater minor.
- THEA 495, Senior Seminar in Theater.
- A total of 20 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses. The first 10 hours must be completed by the end of junior year.
Honors and High Honors
Seniors with an average GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counted toward the Theater major may apply to pursue an honors project. The application process for honors will be discussed in THEA 495, Senior Seminar in Theater
. Proposals for honors projects should build on the student’s previous work in the Theater major. Proposals are normally due in October and must be approved by the Theater faculty.
Students pursuing an honors project are enrolled in THEA 496, Special Studies for Honors Candidates in Theater
, during the spring term of their senior year. This course will ordinarily take the form of an independent study with the supervisor of the student’s honors project. THEA 496
must be taken in addition to THEA 495
and to the minimum number of courses required for the Theater major. Students must complete their honors projects by a date specified by the Theater Program. If the Theater faculty approves a completed project for honors, the student receives a grade in THEA 496
. If a student withdraws from the program, or if the final project is not approved for honors, THEA 496
is converted to THEA 491, Independent Study in Theater
, and a grade is assigned by the student’s faculty supervisor. Concentrators who pursue Honors in Theater and do creative work must also complete a written thesis accompanying the creative project. Students are awarded high honors on the basis of the quality of their chosen artistic project, thesis, and the oral presentation.
Students with further questions should contact the chair of the theater department.
The department does not award Advanced Placement credit.
Because transferred courses must conform in content and rigor to Colgate’s curriculum, students intending to take a course in Theater at another institution must meet with the department’s transfer-credit adviser before enrolling in a course at another institution. Transfer credit for a Theater course taken at another college or university will be granted only by the approval of the department. The transfer-credit adviser grants preliminary approval for appropriate courses, which generally must resemble 300- or 400-level courses at Colgate. Upon return to campus, the student brings the course syllabus, all papers written for the course, and a transcript registering its completion to the transfer-credit adviser to receive final approval. No more than two courses (in the case of a minor, one course) may be transferred for major credit. Students may not use a transferred course to fulfill the 400-level seminar requirement of the major.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Students interested in graduate study should consult with their advisers and the department chair early in their programs to be advised about preparation for advanced work. The department also designates special advisers to meet with students interested in graduate work, and informational meetings are held to help juniors and seniors plan their applications for fellowships and graduate admission.
Course Offerings Theater courses bear the designation THEA. Courses in dramatic literature also carry the ENGL designation. For additional courses crosslisted in English and Theater, see the listings for ENGL 211, 321/322, and 458.
Introductory Theater Courses 250 Stagecraft J. Morain
An introduction to the “behind the scenes” disciplines that are required to successfully mount a theatrical production. Subjects will include set construction and painting, theatrical lighting, sound, stage management, rigging, and special effects, all with a strong commitment to workplace health and safe work habits. Students will be involved with the construction of the University Theater production and with the general operation of a working theater. Course requirements include 20 lab hours. This course is open to all students, with theater majors and minors given priority. Juniors and seniors are admitted by permission only. This course is offered every term. 252 Scenic Design M. Kellogg
A hands-on introduction to the theory and practice of theatrical set design, including play reading and analysis from the designer’s point of view, visual research, and the step-by-step development of individual design concepts into stage-worthy scenery. Basic technical skills, such as perspective drawing, drafting to scale and model building, are taught and put to use in the Dana design studio, with the goal of expressing the students’ ideas fully and articulately. This course is offered every term. Juniors and seniors are admitted by permission only. 253 Costume Design M. Kellogg
An introduction to designing costumes for the theater, with an emphasis on serving the playwright’s intentions, and the use of clothing as an expression of character and social history. Several plays are read, analyzed, researched and designed. Basic drawing and painting skills are taught and applied. A corresponding lab in the costume shop offers practical experience in simple costume construction techniques: patterning, draping, cutting and sewing. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission only. 254 Basic Acting A. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
An introduction to the craft of acting. The course consists of group exercises to develop physical awareness, imagination, and trust. Text analysis and character are explored through monologue and/or scene work. First-year and sophomore students only. 257 Workshop in Children’s Theater S. Giurgea
An introduction to performance through the creation of a play for children. Often the play is an original work or adapted from literature. Students explore all aspects of collaboration in a final production. The course has a service-learning component, which may include community-based projects and touring. Students are required to enroll in the corresponding lab. 259 Performance I Staff
Credit for performance in a University Theater production. This 0.50 credit course may be combined with any other 0.50 course. THEA 259
may be taken up to four times for half credit. No student can receive more than 2 credits in total. 266 Introduction to Drama C. DuComb
A survey of theater history and dramatic literature from ancient Athens through the early 19th century. Course readings explore the ritual origins of theater, as well as the relationship of theater to the politics of democracy and revolution. Plays on the syllabus include not only classics of Western drama but also exemplary theater texts from around the world. This course is usually offered in the fall term. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission of instructor only. Students intending to major or minor in theater ordinarily take either 266
by the end of sophomore year. This course is crosslisted as ENGL 266
. 267 The Modern Stage C. DuComb
A survey of the new theatrical styles to emerge around the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Course readings closely consider the relationship between a play’s literary form and its realization in performance, as well as theater’s response to the emergence of film, television, and new media. This course is usually offered in the spring term. Juniors and seniors admitted by permission of instructor only. Students intending to major or minor in theater ordinarily take either 266
by the end of sophomore year. This course is crosslisted as ENGL 267
. 271 Introduction to Contemporary Dance: Learning to Fall T. Calamoneri
This course introduces students to the concepts and practice of contemporary dance. Rooted in principles of release-technique and somatic studies, training emphasizes dynamic alignment and precise movement articulation. Students will gain confidence, fluidity, and control of their movement expression. Enrollment is limited to first-year and sophomore students. 272 Dance Imagery and Improvisation: Dance Landscapes T. Calamoneri
This course teaches students how to use imagery as a choreographic tool to develop personal and inventive movement expression. Exercises emphasize a holistic body-mind perspective and cultivation of subtle body consciousness. Drawing from Japanese butoh and American post-modern dance, we use guided improvisation to explore imagery from the inside out and to craft compositions. This course complements the introductory through advanced levels of contemporary dance technique, and also basic acting and theater improvisation courses. Students will learn to craft a physical narrative using the inner eye, rather than external shape and musical rhythm. Participants discover their aesthetic preferences and work to expand their expressivity.
Advanced Theater Courses 349 Global Theater C. DuComb
An exploration of Asian, African, intercultural, and postcolonial performance traditions, spanning theater, dance, ritual, and everyday life. Course materials include both classic and contemporary play texts along with selected readings in history, anthropology, and performance studies. This course is crosslisted as ENGL 349
. 350 Practicum Staff
Concerted, directed work in a specific theatrical skill. Variable credit. 351 American Theater: The Melting Pot C. DuComb
A study of theatrical manifestations of what it means to be American. In 1908, Israel Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot, which centers on a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, introduced an oft-repeated catchphrase for cultural assimilation into American politics. This course delves into the melting pot by asking how we perform our American identities, both onstage and off. Readings include Irish American, African American, Asian American, Native American, and Chicano plays from the 19th century to the present. This course is crosslisted as ENGL 351
. 353 Theater Play and Improvisation A. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A course designed to cultivate the actor’s creativity, spontaneity, and collaborative skills through play, games, and improvisation. 354 Basic Directing A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea
An introduction to the art of theater directing. Class projects are developed into workshops and site-specific productions. Students learn about what makes a director a “central intelligence” in theater practice. Priority given to theater majors and minors. 355 Advanced Acting A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A technique and scene study class designed to be an exploration of plays with heightened language and/or style, e.g., Shakespeare, Molière, other verse drama. Prerequisite: THEA 254
or permission of the instructor. 356 Playwriting Staff
General principles of playwriting. The goal of the course is the creation of a finished work: a one-act play, one act of a longer play, or a complete play. Writing for the theater represents emotional and artistic commitment and intellectual pursuit. As part of the learning process, students tackle the artistic and pragmatic challenges of building methodically from the seeds of inspiration to the crafting of the well-written play. Text analysis investigates classic and modern plays. The class is a first-hand initiation into the vocabulary and technique of collaboration for the development of original material. This course is crosslisted as ENGL 356
. 358 Narrative Screenwriting Staff
A workshop approach to the craft of writing for the camera. Students read and analyze screenplays in order to understand the process of how the screenwriter tells a story. A complete, short, narrative screenplay is the final project for the course. 359 Performance II: Devised Theater Workshop A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea, A. Sweeney
A collaborative, performance-based class focusing on the rehearsal of a full-length work for public performance with a faculty or guest director. Prerequisite: THEA 254
or THEA 353
or permission of instructor. 371 Advanced Contemporary Dance: Float like a Butterfly T. Calamoneri
For students with some technical dance training experience, this course challenges participants to be daring in their dance while finding ease and fluidity in their movement. Movement concepts and vocabulary draw from Judson Church Era choreographers and David Zambrano’s Flying Low techniques, which encourage fluid motion through the joints and acrobatic sequences that explore balance and controlled momentum. Prerequisite: THEA 271
or permission of instructor. 454 Advanced Directing A. Giurgea, S. Giurgea
A course in the entire directorial process, from text analysis through performance. Prerequisites: THEA 354
or permission of the instructor. 491 Independent Study in Theater Staff
Independent study for advanced theater majors in a topic not otherwise covered in the theater curriculum. All independent studies must be approved by the director of the theater program 495 Senior Seminar in Theater Staff
A studio course that brings together all senior majors and minors in a conceptual, creative project. THEA 495
is the culminating experience of the Colgate theater student. Students in the seminar create a piece of theater as an ensemble, developed not only through work with text but also through close attention to the raw materials of theater-making: time, space, and the body. Research and critical writing assignments form an integral part of the seminar, which may also include visits by guest artists and trips to see theater and performance beyond the Colgate campus. Offered in the fall. Students must enroll in the corresponding lab. 496 Special Studies for Honors Candidates in Theater Staff
Creation and presentation of a significant work of playwriting, directing, design, and/or performance. With permission of the director of the theater program, theater majors who wish to pursue a capstone project in the spring semester of senior year may enroll in THEA 496
. Capstone projects must be proposed in the fall semester of senior year. The project may also take the form of a long-form critical, historical, or theoretical essay.