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Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

Summer 2014 Courses for the M.F.A. in Playwriting

THEA 501  Playwright's Lab (4) Ristau

All students, faculty, staff, and guests meet regularly for readings of student work, guest presentations, exercises, and discussion. Students submit an example of their best work for available public reading slots. Students whose work is selected for readings are responsible for arranging, rehearsing, and presenting them. A moderated discussion follows each reading. Grades are primarily based on attendance and energetic participation with clear, perceptive, and informed analysis in discussion. Course must be repeated three consecutive summers.

THEA 510 Playscript Analysis and Criticism (4) Gogerty

Intensive critical analysis of the playscript as a blueprint for production covering representative texts from a range of theatre styles, genres, and periods. Plays are considered in both their original historical/cultural circumstances and implications for contemporary audiences.  The course covers major approaches to dramatic criticism and the tools used in theatre research. Required course for first-year students.

THEA 511: Dramaturgy (4) Borreca

Intensive study in theoretical and practical approaches to the realization of a text on the stage. Historical research, criticism, play analysis, conceptualization for production, cutting, adaptation, literary management, evaluation of text, advocacy of new writers, development of new plays, audience development, public relations, publicity, and arts education are all touched upon in this comprehensive survey of the role of the dramaturge.

THEA 515: Selected Dramatists: Bertolt Brecht (4) Borreca

Detailed analysis of a single author, their biographical background, and body of work. Some authors who may be examined are: William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Federico Garcia Lorca, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Sam Shepard, Maria Irene Fornes, and Suzan Lori Parks. The particular content will be dependent on the interests and expertise of the individual instructor.

THEA 520 Narrative Theory and Dramatic Structure (4) Ristau

Introduction to the basics of storytelling and the creation of dramatic texts using both organic and formulaic models with an emphasis on the one-act play. Students will learn to observe the world for meaning, build characters, place characters in settings, write monologues, create dialogue between characters, and lay the groundwork for longer, more substantive work. Required course for first-year students.


THEA 534: Writing Plays for Young Audiences (4) Adkins

Exploration of the creation of dramas designed to be performed both for and by children and young adults. While adaptation of existing children’s literature will be addressed, the focus is on the creation of original plays for young audiences.

THEA 550: Advanced Workshop (4) Moss

A workshop course in which students further develop skills in the writing and analysis of stage plays. Designed for students with prior experience in playwriting. May be repeated for credit.

THEA 551: Guest Seminar - Memoir as Performance (4) Gogerty

This course will focus on taking a playwright's personal history and adapting it for the stage, either as a solo performance piece or traditional play script. Students will examine existing memiors and discuss strategies for research, permissions, and compilation before crafting their own work in this genre as a final project.

THEA 570 Master Class - First Drafts (4) Ristau

In this intensive workshop students will create a completely new full-length play each week, resulting in six new first drafts over the six-week course. While it is possible that these first drafts might eventually be developed and revised into final drafts, the emphasis is on mastering the discipline necessary to produce substantive work on a deadline as well as reinforcing the student's understanding of the fundamentals of play structure.

Directing Certificate Courses:

THEA 510: Playscript Analysis and Criticism (Analytic 4CR) Gogerty
Covers genres, styles and dramaturgical analysis of the text for production

THEA 520: Narrative Theory and Dramatic Structure (Creative 4CR) Ristau

Introduction to the playwright's process, including a variety of approaches

THEA 5xx: Directing New Plays (Creative 4CR) Moss
Focused training in direction with an emphasis on the new play

THEA 5xx: Directors and Playwrights in Collaboration (2CR, repeated each summer) Ristau

Guided instruction leading up to the reading of a new play in Festival, and also functioning as a production meeting with participation of the playwright and performers discussing process and progress toward the presentation of the work to the public.

Course offerings dependent upon meeting minimum enrollment requirements.