Summer 2019 Courses

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) Taylor

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 context as well as implications for contemporary audiences. Course covers major approaches to dramatic criticism and the tools used in theatre research. Required course for first-year students.

THEA 515: Selected Dramatists: Contemporary Black Playwrights (4) Taylor

Detailed analysis of a single author or authors, their biographical background, and body of work.

THEA 520: Narrative Theory and Dramatic Structure (creative) (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. This is a required course for first-year students.

THEA 567: Short Forms (4) Ristau

This course is designed to introduce the student to short works as a viable form by exploring venues, publication opportunities, contests, festivals for scripts whose lengths run from one minute to ten.

THEA 575: Advanced Playwriting Tutorial (4) Seibel

Writers are given guided instruction in creating a full-length play, which is polished, complete, ready for production, and suitable for submission. This course is similar in structure to THEA 571, but where that course functions as an advanced version of Lab, this course functions as an advanced version of Narrative Theory and Structure with an emphasis on targeted exercises and exploratory writing rather than workshopping the actual text. As with Advanced Workshop, the play must not have been submitted in any previous course for credit without the prior approval of the program director as well as the current instructor as well as the instructor of the course for which it was originally submitted.

Directing Certificate Courses Open to Playwrights:

THEA 517: Design on a Dime (creative) (4) Robert

An introduction to design principles as applied to the production and presentation of new plays. Design areas covered will include scenic, costume, lighting and sound design as well as graphic illustration. This course will also be an introduction to stage scenery and construction. As part of the course, each student director will create two separate design palates based on the play they are directing in Festival, one envisioned with an $800 budget and one with a $20,000 budget. In this way, the director prepares for the possibility of staying connected to a project as it moves from a small studio theatre to the main stage of a larger venue. Playwriting students who take the course as an elective, but who are not directing in Festival, will work with the instructor to select a text as the basis for their designs–ideally, one of their own original plays.

THEA 522: Viewpoints and composition (creative) (4) seibel

Taken by playwrights, directors, and performers to build ensemble and open new avenues of collaboration on found, created, devised, and scripted text. Will include techniques for collaboration, building ensemble, group dynamics, psychophysical acting and improvisation, crafting theatre pieces based on found, devised, and scripted text.

THEA 561: Directors and playwrights in collaboration (analytical) (2) Ristau

Guided instruction leading up to the public presentation of a staged reading of a new play in Festival. All students enrolled in the certificate in New Play Directing will be required to direct a reading in the Hollins Playwright’s. This course is designed to guide directing students through the process of collaboration with a playwright, and includes practical exercises to ensure the playwright and director are on the same page. Monday meetings function as a kind of production meeting for the festival readings and will include Festival playwrights. Wednesday sessions are open only to the directing students to discuss their process and problems under the supervision and guidance of the instructor. Repeated each summer.

THEA 576: Company Creation and Management (creative) (4) Robert

An introduction to the structure of the non-profit theatre and how-to guide for creating a new company dedicated to the production and presentation of new plays. Concepts covered include arts administration, crafting a mission statement, forming a board of trustees, filing for non-profit status, legal issues and potential liabilities, fund raising, publicity, contracts, rental agreements, and other aspects of producing new work as part of a season or just a single showcase.

Performance Certificate Courses Open To Playwrights

THEA 522: VIEWPOINTS AND COMPOSITION (CREATIVE) (4) SeiBEL

Taken by playwrights, directors, and performers to build ensemble and open new avenues of collaboration on found, created, devised, and scripted text. Will include techniques for collaboration, building ensemble, group dynamics, psychophysical acting and improvisation, crafting theatre pieces based on found, devised, and scripted text.

THEA 565: Ensembles in Collaboration  (creative) (2) seibel

All students enrolled in the Certificate in New Play Performance will be required to perform in at least one, but no more than two, Hollins Playwright’s Festival readings. This course is designed to guide performance students through the process of collaboration from the initial table read with the playwright through final performance. The course affords performers an opportunity to debrief their experiences with an experienced theatre professional with expertise in best practices. Performance students are encouraged to serve as readers for festival season and selection and are invited to sit in on the casting session for Festival–at which time they will be able to make preferences known, hear frank discussions of casting needs by directors and playwrights, as well as having input on final casting decisions. Such transparency can be challenging, but is extremely instructive for all concerned.

Course offerings dependent upon meeting minimum enrollment requirements.