Drama Department: Goals and Objectives
Although the requirements for concentration allow each student a good deal of individual choice, all drama majors take courses which explore dramatic literature and the history/theory of drama, as well as production courses in acting, directing, design, etc. Even in the production courses, however, we attempt to integrate practical work with more intellectual study by focusing on plays that are also being examined in our literature and theory courses. We believe that drama is important because of the ideas and vision contained in the significant dramatic texts of the past and present, and we expect our directors, both faculty and student, to bring a strong experimental point of view to each play they produce.
To achieve these goals, students take series of courses that explore production, dramatic literature, the history/theory of drama, while allowing them considerable individual choice. This sequence begins in the freshman year with Drama 102 and103, which give prospective majors a basic understanding of topics ranging from the art of collaboration to theatrical communication, design and technical elements, and essential skills of stagecraft. Drama 200 allows students to participate directly in departmental productions and thus apply the more theoretical knowledge they obtained in 102 and 103. In the sophomore year, all majors complete a full-year course on the sources of world drama and begin more intensive study of one or more theatrical skills. This coursework prepares sophomores for more advanced study of both the history and theory of drama and the practicum aspects of production. During the junior and senior years, majors must complete at least two, 300-level courses which further develop their understanding of drama and performance studies, and their ability to think critically and write effectively about the history and theory of drama. Normally, majors will also continue to participate in departmental productions and to develop their theatrical skills through courses ranging from Drama 302 (Problems in Design) to 382 (Acting for the Camera). Course instructors, as well as those involved in play productions, constantly evaluate students' progress in developing the theatrical skills explored in each course.
Most senior majors enroll in Drama 390 (Senior Project in Drama). In this course, the student undertakes and completes, with close faculty supervision, a significant project in dramatic literature, theater history, performance studies, acting, directing, design, or playwriting. Students are encouraged to collaborate on a project. Even when undertaking practicum projects in acting, directing, or design, students in 390 must produce a companion research paper of considerable length. In this way, before graduation, each student demonstrates to the faculty his or her ability to think and write about theater, as well as the more practicum skill or skills that he or she has acquired.