THEA 01 Introduction to Theater functions as an experiential learning course. The course has been built for the non-major and also functions as a gateway course for both the Theater major and the Dartmouth Department of theater on the whole.
Through weekly hands-on making activites and many modes of critical spectatorship, students study and explore both theater as a live, performing art as well as undertake deep exploration of dramatic form and live performance's function in human communication. Experiential learning activities include experiences with acting, playwriting, design, and musical theater as well as many modes of critical writing and analysis of live performance.
The culminating unit of the course leads students on a three-week deep study of creating devised theater. Participants are divided into groups of five or six and through exploration, prompts, and guided exercises, eventually tasked with creating a 5-8 minute devised work-in-progress for presentation.
To complete this form of open-form creative work, I created a structured environment of study that included:
Structured physical theater exercises to introduce students to a new, non-naturalistic, highly physical movement vocabulary;
Intensive guided writing exercises based on the playwriting techniques of Maria Irene Fórnes to generate meaningfull text and ideas for their devised works;
Participants were guided through exercises that imparted techniques of group collaboration for the devised making process;
Participants presented several project-in-progress “moments” in class meetings for review and critique as performance exercises;
Participants rehearsed their projects both on their own time outside of class and through appointment with me.
For each group's project I served as both dramaturge and director and worked intensely both in and out of class meetings in these capacities.
Participants presented their projects in our classroom during the final week of the course.
SAMPLE PROJECT GALLERY
THEA 01 DEVISED THEATER PROJECT 04
THEA 01 DEVISED THEATER PROJECT 03
THEA 01 DEVISED THEATER PROJECT 02
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THEA 01 DEVISED THEATER PROJECT 01