Summer 2017 Courses

THEA 501: Playwright’s Lab (4) Ristau

This is the signature course of the graduate playwriting program at Hollins University. It is intended to be repeated three times. Students registered for the course are expected to write a new, significant full length play during the interim period between summers, with the possibility of being scheduled for a public reading during the summer session. Each Monday session of the class will be a guest speaker or writing exercises, each Wednesday session will have a student reading of a new play selected on the basis of readiness for public presentation. Additional reading slots and workshops may occur depending upon the availability of the material to be read and/or presence of guest artists. Course must be repeated three consecutive summers.

THEA 510: Playscript Analysis (analytical) (4) Metzgar

In this course, we will develop tools and approaches for reading and interpreting plays as blueprints for performance. This course will provide an analytical vocabulary useful to graduate students pursuing an advanced degree in playwriting and dramaturgy. Drawing first on the analytical model set forth in Aristotle’s Poetics, the course focuses not only on what a play represents and means, but more importantly on how it does so: on how a dissection of a play’s dramatic elements (plot, character, etc.) and their interplay with one another can illuminate the play’s dramatic dynamics and theatrical potential. Using the Aristotelian model as a starting point, we will then explore other models and philosophies of dramaturgy. The course introduces the student to a wide range of dramatic genres and historical forms to their general formal principles, and to the specific embodiment of those principles in particular texts while also providing essential historical context for interpreting those genres and forms. Required course for first-year students.

THEA 513: Topics in Theatre History – History of Off-Off Broadway (analytical) (4) Moss

This course is designed to take the emerging playwright through the turbulent Sixties (1961 to l974, thirteen years underscored by the Vietnam War). Old societal strictures were breaking down on every corner and across America people were clamoring for new ways of thinking. Within a few small blocks in the East Village of New York City, theater artists were re-inventing the art form with little regard for the past and unleashing an explosion of creativity off-off Broadway. The study of this period of theatre history is designed to inspire new thinking about the limitless possibilities of the art of theatre and new play production.

thea 514: Theatre for social change (analytical) (4) Metzgar

This will be a focused study of plays advocating on behalf of special groups and/or targeting specific social issues, from the time of the Federal Theater Project to today.  Relevant areas of interest will include workers’ rights, anti-war protest, queer theatre, HIV/AIDS, poverty, gender, and politics.

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.

THEA 534: Writing Plays for Young Audiences (Creative) (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 536: Writing Plays with Music (Creative) (4) Tec

Writers are given guided instruction in creating stage plays which incorporate music. Students will be given some historical background in American Musical Theatre, Revues, and straight plays which incorporate original compositions. Students will have an opportunity to meet with and possibly work with a composer on short pieces which use music to help tell the story.

THEA 551: Guest Seminar: Teaching Theatre (analytical) (2) Adkins

This seminar will focus on developing a pedagogy and curriculum for creative dramatics in a classroom setting and provide a foundation for teaching theatre at all levels, from early childhood to graduate level instruction. The course will focus on the use of theatre games, a combination of writing and acting exercises, simple improvisation and other aspects of theatre education. It will also require research into current best practices and explore the way in which Ed Theatre programs affiliated with professional and non-profit theatres are structured and executed.

THEA 570: Master Class: First Drafts (Advanced Workshop (4) Ristau

In this intensive workshop, designed around the 48-hour bake-off technique pioneered by Paula Vogel and Mac Wellman, students will write a completely new full-length play each week using shared writing prompts and exercises 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.

THea 571: Master Class: Advanced playwriting tutorial (advanced Workshop) (4) tec

Writers are given guided instruction in creating a full-length play which is polished, complete, ready for production and suitable for submission.    

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 as well as graphic illustration. This course will also be an introduction to stage scenery and construction. As part of the course, students will use the ten plays selected for Festival and create design concepts for the play they are directing, taking into consideration a wide range of possibilities, styles, budgets and audiences.

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

A six-week intensive in the ensemble building techniques of Suzuki and Viewpoints training as developed by Anne Bogart and the SITI company.  This course is an introduction to a method of actor training which is primarily concerned with uniting the human body and the theatrical text by uncovering the actor’s innate expressive abilities through rigorous physical training to heighten their emotional and physical power on stage. The Viewpoints training grew out of the post-modern dance world and enhances the performer’s ability to deal with time and space by breaking those broad areas into six specific categories which facilitate ensemble creation of bold, theatrical work through strong physical, intellectual, emotional, and artistic choices.

THEA 561: Directors and playwrights in collaboration (analytical) (2) 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. This course is designed to be the director’s equivalent of Playwright’s Lab. It is intended to be repeated twice. Monday sessions are required production meetings and will include participation by the playwrights selected for Festival readings. Wednesday is the formal meeting of only the certificate directors.

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) SIEBEL

A six-week intensive in the ensemble building techniques of Suzuki and Viewpoints training as developed by Anne Bogart and the SITI company.  This course is an introduction to a method of actor training which is primarily concerned with uniting the human body and the theatrical text by uncovering the actor’s innate expressive abilities through rigorous physical training to heighten their emotional and physical power on stage. The Viewpoints training grew out of the post-modern dance world and enhances the performer’s ability to deal with time and space by breaking those broad areas into six specific categories which facilitate ensemble creation of bold, theatrical work through strong physical, intellectual, emotional, and artistic choices.

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

Guided instruction in the practicalities of performing in a new play still being revised, leading up to performance in one or two readings of a new play in Festival. 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. The festival presents 10 new plays to industry professionals from all over the world. This course is designed to guide performance students through the process of collaboration from the initial table read with the playwright through performance. This provides an opportunity for the student actors to develop a shared vocabulary for the stage and debrief their experiences in rehearsal as an ensemble of performers.

Course offerings dependent upon meeting minimum enrollment requirements.