Meadows School of the Arts
(2010 Undergraduate Catalog)
Stan Wojewodski, Division Chair
Rhonda Blair, Kevin Paul Hofeditz, William Lengfelder, Cecil O'Neal, Steve Woods. Associate Professors:
Michael Connolly, James Crawford, Charles Helfert, Russell Parkman, Sara Romersberger, Gretchen Smith, Claudia Stephens. Assistant Professors:
Leslie Brott, Jonathan Greenman, Ashley Smith. Lecturers:
Brad Cassil, Marsha Grasselli, Giva Taylor. Adjunct Lecturers:
Dawn Askew, Jason Biggs, Linda Blase, Steve Leary, J.D. Margetts, Kathy Windrow.
Undergraduate education in the Division of Theatre reflects a commitment to the rigorous study of theatre within a liberal arts context. To this end, undergraduate theatre majors pursue coursework not only in theatre, but also in the social and natural sciences, literature, the arts and humanities, and other areas of human culture and experience. A faculty adviser works closely with each student to develop a program of study best suited to the individual’s needs and career goals. In addition, the Division of Theatre presents an annual season of public productions chosen for their timeliness, public appeal and suitability for training. Practical experience in all areas of theatre operation is considered a vital part of the educational program.
The Division of Theatre is housed in the well-equipped facilities of the Meadows School of the Arts. These facilities include the Greer Garson Theatre (a 380-seat theatre with a classical thrust stage), the Bob Hope Theatre (a 400-seat proscenium theatre), the Margo Jones Theatre (a 125-seat "black box" theatre), the Hamon Arts Library and numerous rehearsal studios.
Prospective theatre majors at SMU are admitted by audition and interview. All prospective students prepare an audition, consisting of two contrasting monologues and a song. Candidates may also be asked to demonstrate improvisational skills. Students seeking admission into the B.F.A. in Theatre Studies program may also be asked to demonstrate ability in their particular area of interest by supplying writing samples, portfolio materials, etc.
Admission procedures for applicants seeking to transfer from other schools are the same as those for first-year applicants. Transfer students may begin work only in the fall term.
Students must continually demonstrate a high order of talent and commitment in both class work and production work to progress in the curriculum. At the end of each term, the faculty of the Division of Theatre evaluates each student’s progress, examining all aspects of a student’s academic and production participation.
Every student meets with the faculty to receive this evaluation. An unsatisfactory evaluation is accompanied by the reasons for this evaluation and the terms for continuation in the program. An unsatisfactory evaluation may also result in a student’s immediate dismissal from the program.
The Division of Theatre offers the B.F.A. degree in theatre with a specialization in theatre studies, and the B.F.A. degree in theatre with a specialization in acting.
When the total number of hours required to satisfy the General Education Curriculum requirements and the major requirements along with the major’s supporting course requirements exceeds 122 term hours, students in such majors will be exempt from three (3) hours of Perspectives and an additional three (3) hours taken from either Perspectives or Cultural Formations.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre With a Specialization in Theatre Studies
The B.F.A. degree in theatre with a specialization in theatre studies reflects a commitment to theatre training within the context of liberal education. Based on the division's philosophy that an understanding of and experience with the actor's process are essential to education and training in all areas of theatre, all undergraduate theatre majors focus on foundational actor training during the first two years of their program of study. Focused study in one area of theatre, chosen from directing, playwriting, stage management, critical studies and design, is required to complete the major. With the approval of the student’s theatre adviser and the chair of the division, this emphasis may be individualized to suit the specific goals of the student. All theatre studies students must complete at least 12 hours of upper-level courses among those offered in directing, playwriting, stage management, critical studies or design.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre With a Specialization in Acting
The B.F.A. degree in theatre with a specialization in acting is a unique program of specialized acting study within a liberal arts context. Enriched by the intellectual growth engendered by both their liberal arts and theatre courses, acting students engage in an intense investigation of acting at the highest level. The purpose of the program is two-fold: to prepare students for 1) entrance into the profession, and/or 2) admission to a top-flight, graduate training program. Upon completion of two years of foundational actor training, students in the acting major receive advanced training in the areas of acting, stage movement and stage voice.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre With a Specialization in Design and Technology
The B.F.A. in theatre with a specialization in design and technology is available with an emphasis on the environmental aspects of performance. Design and technology in scenery, costumes, lighting, properties, sound and stage management are taught in a series of courses and special projects throughout the four-year curriculum. The flexibility built into the degree requirements allows the students and their advisers to develop individualized programs of study, taking advantage of the variety of offerings in the Meadows School of the Arts. Productions are prepared under the close personal advisement and participation of the production faculty and staff.
The design and technology B.F.A. degree option provides students with a thorough background in theatrical design, construction, related technology and stage management. The specific topics of study include drafting, stagecraft, costume construction, costume pattern drafting, millinery, tailoring, computer imaging, computer-aided design, scenic painting, rendering and advanced technical theatre as well as design courses in costumes, lighting, scenery and sound.
Theatre Courses Open to All University Students
The following classes are open to all students. Note:
There are no performance opportunities for non-theatre majors.
1380. Mirror of the Age.
Introduction to theatre emphasizing the role of the audience in the experience of performance. Semiotic and communications models are used to explore the dynamic interaction and changing relationship between performance, audience and society. Theatre-going experiences are discussed and analyzed.
2311. The Art of Acting.
Basic work in acting, voice and movement for the non-theatre major. Relaxation, concentration, imagination, and the actor's exploration and use of the social world.
2319. Fashion: History and Culture.
People reveal who they are by what they wear. How? And why? A study of clothing: its role in and reflection of various historical cultures, including the relationship between fashion, art, architecture and the decorative arts of selected time periods. For majors and non-majors.
2321. Spectacle of Performance.
Ever wonder how they do that? Spectacle is part of life and culture. Students will learn to deconstruct spectacle and analyze its influence upon themselves and society at large. Visits backstage allow students to experience firsthand how effects are achieved. Students will be required to attend performances in a wide range of "live" venues and discuss what they observe, enabling them to view performance on a critical level. For majors and non-majors.
3312. Scene Study for Non-majors.
The fundamental objectives of the course are 1) to facilitate each actor's exploration of his/her full range and complexity of imaginative, intellectual, emotional and experiential life, and to facilitate each actor's access to these elements of self as useful tools of creative expression; and 2) to reinforce the actor's development of a method of text analysis as an entry to a tactical approach (objective, obstacle, action) to acting and to facilitate the integration of text analysis and self-use as a process to create an emotionally honest, powerful and effective moment of dramatic action on the stage. Prerequisite:
THEA 2311 or instructor permission.
3313. Introduction to Design for the Theatre.
An analytical study of stage design, including an introduction to the basic history, principles and languages of stage design. The course will include text analysis, elements and principles of design, and critical discussion of current theatre productions. For majors and non-majors.
3314. Lighting Design: Theatre, Film and Television.
An introduction to the practice of lighting design. Students will be required to study techniques, complete projects and make presentations in the discipline.
3316. Scene Design: Theatre, Film and Television. An introduction to the practice of scenic design. Students will be required to study techniques, complete projects and makes presentations in the discipline.
3318. Costume Design: Theatre, Film and Television.
An introduction to the practice of costume design. Students will be required to study techniques, complete projects and make presentations in the discipline.
3381, 3382. Theatre and Drama History I and II.
An examination of key moments in the history of Western theatre. Particular attention is given to selected dramatic texts and their social and cultural contexts. Also covers the dynamic interaction and changing relationship between performance, audience and society as this is influenced by the advent of actors, playwrights, designers and directors, and by changes in theatre architecture and the social definition of space.
4373. Creative Dramatics.
Creative problem-solving using the medium of improvisational theatre. Develops spontaneity and a sense of humor. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
4381, 4382, 4383, 4384. Studies in Theatre, Drama and Performance.
An examination of selected topics in theatre, drama and performance. Texts, topics and critical approaches vary.
4385. Studies in Theatre, Drama and Performance.
A senior-level, interdisciplinary seminar that examines cultural production through the media of art, architecture, dramaturgy, festival and theatre.
Courses for Theatre Majors
1303, 1304. Dramatic Arts Today.
An introduction to theatre and performance for entering theatre majors. Considers basic artistic concepts, disciplines and vocabulary common to this program, providing an elementary foundation in theatre with an emphasis on acting.
2101, 2201, 2301, 3101, 3201, 3301, 3302, 4101, 4201, 4301, 5301. Directed Study.
Independent work with theatre faculty on a specific topic chosen by the student.
2140. Lighting Running/Construction Crew.
Practical application of skills and knowledge studied in THEA 2240 to the mounting and running of a theatrical production; involves either serving on the running crew of a division production or completing 65 hours of work mounting a production. Theatre majors should complete this course by the end of the junior year. Departmental approval required for non-majors. Must be taken concurrently with or subsequent to completion of THEA 2240.
2141. Scenery Running/Construction Crew.
Practical application of skills and knowledge studied in THEA 2241 to the mounting and running of a theatrical production; involves either serving on the running crew of a division production or completing 65 hours of work mounting a production. Theatre majors should complete this course by the end of the junior year. Departmental approval required for non-majors. Must be taken concurrently with or subsequent to completion of THEA 2241.
2142. Costume Running/Construction Crew.
Practical application of skills and knowledge studied in THEA 2242 to the mounting and running of a theatrical production; involves either serving on the running crew of a division production or completing 65 hours of work mounting a production. Theatre majors should complete this course by the end of the junior year. Departmental approval required for non-majors. Must be taken concurrently with or subsequent to completion of THEA 2242.
2240. Lighting Practicum.
An introduction to the backstage crafts of theatrical lighting intended to give the student a broad understanding of the basic principles and technical procedures used in the design of lighting. Fifty-hour lab required. Departmental approval required for non-majors.
2241. Scenery Practicum.
An introduction to the backstage crafts of theatrical scenery intended to give the student a broad understanding of the basic principles and technical procedures used in the design of scenery. Fifty-hour lab required. Departmental approval required for non-majors.
2242. Costume Practicum.
An introduction to the backstage crafts of theatrical costume intended to give the student a broad understanding of the basic principles and technical procedures used in the design of costumes. Fifty-hour lab required. Departmental approval required for non-majors.
2271, 2272, 2273, 2274. Technical Theatre Laboratory.
Various workshops are structured to introduce students to a broad range of technical experience. The subject matter for these workshops may include: properties design and construction, audio design for performing arts, advanced electrics, and design and construction for film and television. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed. May be repeated for up to eight term credit hours.
2275, 2276, 2277, 2278. Technical Theatre Laboratory.
Various workshops are structured to introduce students to a broad range of technical experience. Subject matter may include properties design and construction, audio design for performing arts, advanced electrics, costume construction, and scenic construction for film and television.
2303. Acting I.
Exploration of the actor's imagination and the nature of acting, embracing training concepts of ease, honesty, sense memory and concentration.
2304. Acting II.
Beginning script work, in which the actor learns to analyze a scene for its events and to particularize these events in a series of expressive action tasks. Sophomore course. Prerequisite:
2305, 2306. Voice for the Stage I and II.
Connecting text/sound impulses to acting challenges. Also provides an introduction to breath and volume support and vocal exercises.
2307. Movement I.
Teaches students to individuate internal energies of the body, to use these energies to move the body to create precise statuary mime for the stage, and to begin to synthesize physical listening skills for ensemble acting. Skills taught include juggling, Hatha yoga, corporal mime, illusionistic pantomime, Tai Chi Chíuan and the improvising of mime pieces.
2308. Movement II.
Increases students' physical listening skills and practices these in unarmed stage combat. Skills taught include Tíui Shíuo, Chi Sao, foil fencing (left and right), French sabre, Kung-fu animals and conventions of unarmed stage combat. Prerequisite:
2322. Text Analysis.
Teaches skills necessary to read a play as an actor, director, playwright, designer and student of drama. Explores key styles and genres of dramatic literature.
2333. Technical Drawing for the Theatre.
Principles and practice in the techniques of drafting traditional and nontraditional types of stage scenery. Students will learn how to prepare and present construction and detail drawings for use in a scene, prop or electric shop.
2361. Introduction to Stage Management.
An exploration of the methods and techniques of theatrical stage management, including preproduction planning, scheduling, and conducting rehearsals and performances. Assignments are both theoretical and practical. Permission of instructor required for non-majors and first-year students.
2371. Theatre Technology I: Lighting Mechanics.
Basic principles of stage lighting design are introduced, including the mechanics and optics of lighting instruments, electrical theory and practices, control systems, basic design concepts, and color theory. Controllable qualities of light are investigated and demonstrated through the student’s participation on a lighting crew for a department production. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed. May be repeated for up to six term credit hours.
2372. Theatre Technology II: Costume Construction Techniques.
The course introduces students to basic costume patterning and construction methods. Students will not only study draping, drafting and flat-patterning, but will also learn terminology, equipment usage and the skills necessary to the entire costuming process. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed. May be repeated for up to six term credit hours.
2373. Theatre Technology III: Stagecraft.
Introduction to the organization of the scene shop, tool maintenance and usage, construction techniques, technical drawing development, computer applications, rigging, and time and material budgeting. Students will complete class projects and work on Meadows School of the Arts stage productions. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed. May be repeated for up to six term credit hours.
2374. Theatre Technology IV: Introduction to Theatrical Sound.
Introduction to the organization of the sound studio, maintenance and usage of equipment, recording techniques, and computer applications. Students will complete class projects and work on Meadows School of the Arts stage productions. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed. May be repeated for up to six term credit hours.
3205, 3206. Voice for the Stage III and IV.
The course presents experiences and exercises designed to free and develop the voice of the actor, and explores speech sounds and text work. Students learn methods for alleviating the physical barriers to sound production and begin to discover a full vocal range of two to three octaves. Prerequisites:
THEA 2305, 2306.
3207. Movement III.
This course teaches the extension of energy and physical listening skills. Other skills taught include quarterstaff, rapier and dagger, court sword, and broad sword. Prerequisite: THEA 2308.
3208. Movement IV. Allows the student to process personal experience into the movement and sound of a character. Skills taught include clowning, LeCoq figures and neutral mask. Prerequisite:
3303. Acting III.
A synthesis of first- and second-year curriculum leading to the development of a personal, effective and repeatable way of working as an actor.
3304. Acting IV.
Continuation and extension of THEA 3303, consisting of special projects in characterization studies. Prerequisite:
3307. Topics in Theatre: Playwriting.
This course will be conducted in a workshop structure. Led by a distinguished guest artist, each student playwright will spend the duration of the course developing and refining a short play. Student actors will conduct daily readings of each play, led by a director, and take part in discussion with the playwrights and director intended to assist the playwright in the development of his/her play. The course will culminate with a public reading of the student-written plays.
3310. Special Topics in Theatre.
This course focuses on specific topics pertinent to theatre performance. Subjects vary from term to term, and may include acting, voice and movement.
3319. History of Design: Fashion, Architecture and Interiors.
A historical survey of fashion, interior design and architecture, and how they relate to designing costumes and scenery for theatre, film and television.
3321. Topics in Design I: Lighting.
This course presents approaches to lighting design and poses specific design problems for the student to solve. Attention is also given to color, composition, cueing and production through presentations and discussions in class. Students will participate in department productions as assistant designers and electricians. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed.
3322. Topics in Design II: Director-Designer Relationship.
The course covers design metaphors, ground plans and terminology. It also explores the director-designer relationship and the elements of design as they relate to theatrical space. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed.
3323. Topics in Design III: Costume.
Students develop an understanding of the basic principles of costume design used to create statements about a play and its characters. Lectures and class discussions prepare students to confront specific problems in design projects. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed.
3324. Topics in Design IV: Sound.
This course introduces the basic principles of theatrical sound design, and the practices and skills required to develop a production's sound design and supportive technical documentation. Students are introduced to system layout, effects development, source researching and organization. The combined hands-on presentations and class assignments allow students to develop a working knowledge of the sound designer's responsibilities and skills. Students are expected to provide appropriate materials as needed.
3331. Playwriting I.
A creative exploration in the development of performance scripts with an emphasis on structural vocabularies of story, plot, character development and dramatic action.
3332. Playwriting II.
The intermediate techniques of playwriting with an emphasis on developing individual style and voice and writing one-act plays. Prerequisite:
3341. Directing I.
An introduction to the practices and methods of directing. Includes study in the work of major directorial innovators. Directing projects required.
3342. Directing II.
An intermediate-level course extending the work of THEA 3341. Final projects include the staging of a one-act play. Prerequisite:
3361, 3362. Stage Management I.
Fuller explanation of the methods and techniques of theatrical stage management. Prerequisite:
3373. Draping I.
A study of pattern-making that utilizes both the three dimensional approach of draping fabric on a dress form and drafting patterns by formula. Students learn to drape a basic bodice, skirt and collars. They also create a basic sleeve pattern by formula and manipulate the pattern to achieve a variety of shapes.
3374. Draping II.
Exploration of period dress from a draping point of view.
3375. Theatre Technology 5: Lighting Automation.
Advanced study in the field of automated lighting and control systems.
3376. Theatre Technology 6: Advanced Costume Construction Techniques.
A continuation in the study of costume construction.
3377. Theatre Technology 7: Advanced Stagecraft.
A continuation in the study of stagecraft. Students will explore advanced construction techniques, rigging, metal work and the use of automation in scenery.
3378. Theatre Technology 8: Advanced Techniques in Sound.
The use of sound to create an environment for a theatrical event will be explored. Students will complete a studio project and/or participate in a Meadows event.
3379. Computer-Assisted Design I.
Students learn the fundamentals of computer-aided design, using Vectorworks and Spotlight, in application for the theatre. The emphasis is on 2-D work, but some time is spent on 3-D work as well. Drafting, as such, is not taught. It is assumed that the student has an understanding of mechanical drawing and its conventions; the course focuses on how to apply that knowledge using a computer.
3380. Computer-Assisted Design I.
Using Vectorworks as the primary drafting software, the class focuses on the modeling of scenic and lighting designs, organization of the drawing layouts, rendering techniques, and lighting-specific CAD tools.
4105. Voice for the Stage V.
A continuation of the voice curriculum to further enrich the actor's technique and address any outstanding issues in the work. The vocal workout keeps the actor in tune with his/her instrument while preparing to enter the profession. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
4106. Voice for the Stage VI.
A continuation of the voice curriculum, including the study of the International Phonetic Alphabet and dialect/accent work as well as the addition of specific skills for a variety of media. Cold reading skills, studio time and use of microphones, and commercial work for radio and television spots are addressed. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
4207. Movement V.
An exploration of historical movement and dance, including selected dances, movements and manners of the 16th through the 20th centuries, and focusing on the embodiment of the style of those periods. Emphasis is placed on the dress, movement and manners of the Renaissance and classical Baroque periods. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
4208. Movement VI.
Physical self-study explored through mask work, including neutral mask, the masks of the commedia dellíarte, character mask and European clown. The exploration begins with finding a physical neutral, moves through the playing of the stock masked commedia characters and their counterparts in plays by Shakespeare and Moliere, and culminates with finding one's own personal clown. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
4303, 4304. Acting V and VI.
An actor's approach to classic texts through scene study, monologues and lecture/demonstration. Emphasis is on Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
4309. Business and Professional Aspects of the Theatre.
A preparation for graduating actors that includes compiling résumés, photographs, use of cold readings, monologues and scene work with a variety of scripts for repertory or summer theatre casting.
4331. Playwriting III.
Advanced work in the development of performance scripts for the stage with emphasis on full-length works. Prerequisite:
4332. Playwriting IV.
Advanced techniques of writing for the stage, including rehearsal and performance or produced theatrical event. Focuses on professional aspects of playwriting. Prerequisite:
4341. Directing III.
Advanced project studies in stage direction with emphasis on the interplay between director and other artistic collaborators (playwrights and/or designers). Prerequisite:
4342. Directing IV.
Advanced techniques in the interpretation of established dramatic literature and/or creation of original work for the stage. Emphasis on collaboration between director and playwright. This course is for the student seriously considering directing as a career. Time will be spent on exploring professional career choices for the young director. Prerequisite:
4357. Designing With Computers: Stage Projection.
Working with the tools necessary to create projected scenery, students learn the fundamentals of creating projected images for the stage.
4361, 4362. Stage Management II.
Fuller explanation of the methods and techniques of theatrical stage management. Prerequisites:
THEA 3361, 3362.
4363. Production Management.
This course introduces students to the role of the production manager for live entertainment. Budgeting, scheduling and the business aspects of the manager are discussed.
4386. European Theatre 1879–1953.
A survey of major figures and movements in European theatre beginning with the premiere of Ibsen's "A Doll's House" and culminating with the premiere of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."
4387. Art and Drama in Classical Athens.
This undergraduate seminar is an intensive reading and discussion course focused on the relationships between the visual arts and dramatic performances as seen against the historical background of golden-age Athens during the fifth century B.C.E.
4491, 4492. Special Project I and II.
This course serves to bring together three years of class work, shop/studio experience and growth to give each student a meaningful and challenging hands-on leadership experience in either the design or technical area.
4493, 4494. Summer Theatre Workshop 1 and 2.
Students may engage in summer theatre work and gain credit toward degree completion. May be taken twice for up to six term credit hours. Prerequisite:
Approval of enrollment and credit for this class must be obtained from the chair of the Division of Theatre and program head.
5398, 5399. Production Research and Development.
This course focuses on script analysis; background research; and performance design for the actor, designer, director and dramaturg.