menu
William and Mary
search

Course Descriptions

150W. Freshman Seminar: Plays in Context
(GER 5) Fall and Spring (3-4,3-4) Staff.
An intensive exploration of a specific topic in theatre history and/or dramatic literature. No prior experience in theatre necessary. Four credits when satisfying freshman writing requirement. Does not satisfy major requirements. Normally available only to freshmen.

152W. Freshman Seminar: Introduction to Theatre
(GER 6) Fall and Spring (4,4) Owens, Palmer.
A study of theatrical performance for students with special performing interest and aptitude. An examination of the historical, literary, cultural and theatrical backgrounds for selected plays leads to projects which explore acting, directing and design choices. Four class hours. Students taking 200 may not take 152 for credit and vice versa.

180. Production Laboratory
Fall and Spring (1,1) Supervised by production staff. 
Participation in various aspects of William and Mary Theatre’s production program, including technical support, running crew, or orchestral pit assignments; 50 hour minimum per production. Maximum of 4 credits may be applied to the 120 credit graduation requirement. Instructor permission and course contract required.

200. Introduction to Theatre
(GER 6) Fall and Spring (2,2) Staff. Corequisite: THEA200L. Restricted to Freshmen and sophomores
Students learn the foundational principles of theatrical performance and production which will support their work in subsequent theatre courses. By analyzing scripts, conducting research, viewing live productions, participating in production crews, and undertaking creative projects, students will explore dramatic literature, directing, design, and technical production. Three class hours plus a minimum of 50 hours working on productions under THEA 200L. Students taking 200 may not take 152 for credit and vice versa.

200L. Theatre Production Lab
Fall and Spring (1-2,1) Supervised by production staff. Corequisite: THEA200.

Practical immersion in the collaborative process of theatre production through work on preparation crews, running crews, costume crews, and/or box office.  Students complete a minimum of 50 hours as a member of one or more crews for the mainstage theatre and dance productions. Lab hours are primarily in the evening and on weekends and are concentrated during the load in period, technical rehearsals, and performances of each show.

201. Beginning Acting
(GER 6) Fall and Spring (3,3) Bhasin, Johnson, Lerman, Ruffin, Sloan, Wiley.
An introduction to the arts and crafts of acting. Development of vocal, physical and improvisational skills and a basic approach to scene and character study through exercises and creative play for individuals and small groups. Open to freshmen.

203. Scene Painting
(GER 6) Fall (3) Allar.
Study of scene-painting techniques and an introduction to basic equipment, supplies, color-mixing, color theory and methods of application. Students prepare exercises and function as scene painters for William and Mary Theatre productions. Four additional workshop hours required per week in addition to class sessions.

205. Stagecraft
Fall and Spring (3,3) Dudley.
Study and practice in technical problems, working drawings, construction, rigging, and handling of scenery, properties, and backstage organization. Students act as scenic technicians for William and Mary Theatre productions. Lecture and workshop six hours.

206. Makeup
(GER 6) Spring (2) Wesp.

Basic principles of makeup for theatre, television and other performance arts; a varied series of projects to develop individual skills and an awareness of how the actor enhances his "living mask" to create imaginative characterizations. Production involvement required.

211. Introduction to Stage Combat
(GER 6) Fall or Spring (3) Ruffin.

Actors are frequently called on to create the illusion of violence. This course examines the fundamental techniques of unarmed and bladed stage combat in which the actor learns to fall, roll, punch, slap, kick, employ basic sword methods and understand the basic tools of stage combat choreography. Students also learn good stage partnering skills. 

213. Introduction to Stage Lighting
(GER 6) Spring (3) Holliday.
Methods and materials of stage lighting, with emphasis on the study of the functions and qualities of light, instruments, control equipment and procedure. Students act as technicians for William and Mary Theatre productions.

220.  Millinery.
(GER 6) Spring (2) Wesp
An introduction to the principles, materials, and techniques basic to the creation of hats and headwear appropriate for stage and street wear. Students will examine research and design, construction, and decoration through a series of projects. Lecture and studio 2 hours.

260.  Introduction to Musical Theatre.
(GER 6) Spring (2) Staff
This is an introductory course in musical theatre history and performance for students entertaining their first experience with acting and singing, or, for those who wish to expand on their previous high school training.  The course deals with the exploration and study of musical theatre performers, literature and history through video and recordings, and preparation of musical theatre repertoire for the audition process. Some previous singing or acting experience is suggested.

300. Fundamentals of Design for the Theatrical Arts
Fall and Spring (3,3) Allar. Prerequisite: THEA152 or 200. Corequisite: THEA300L.
An introduction to the elements and principles of design and to the methods and materials of visual expression in the theatre. Some production involvement should be anticipated.

302. Intermediate Acting
Fall or Spring (3,3) Wiley, Owens. Prerequisites: THEA201, THEA152 or 200.
Concentration on the development of performance skills and the use of the dramatic imagination through character studies and preparation of scenes for classroom presentation. Students are urged to allow one semester between acting classes in order to apply theories and training in productions sponsored by the department.

306. Advanced Stagecraft
Spring (3) Dudley. Prerequisite: THEA205.
Study and practice of advanced technical practices through lecture, discussion, research and individual projects. Emphasis is placed on construction, analysis, graphics, material selection, theatre sound systems, scene shop topography and maintenance, technical direction.

307. Costume Patterning and Construction
Fall (3) Wesp.
An introduction to the principles and skills basic to patterning and construction of costume garments and accessories for both period and modern production. Students prepare exercises and function as technicians for the William and Mary Theatre productions. Two class hours, five laboratory hours.

308. History of Fashion and Clothing
(GER 5) Fall (3) Wesp.
History of period costume and clothing from Biblical and Egyptian through contemporary fashion; lecture, research and field trips.

309. Costume Design for the Theatre
Spring (3) Wesp. Prerequisites: THEA300 or consent of instructor.
Principles of designing costumes for theatre are presented through lecture, demonstration and discussion. A series of design projects develops skills in research, sketching and rendering. Two class hours, two laboratory hours.

310. Scene Design
Spring (3) Allar. Prerequisites: THEA300 or consent of instructor.
Planning the visual appearance of the stage; a series of exercises in the analysisof plays, historical research, artistic conceptualization and graphic presentation. Emphasis is placed on sketching, drafting, perspective rendering, and model building. Six studio hours.

312. Sound Design for the Theatre
Fall (3) Dudley. Prerequisites: THEA300 or consent of instructor.
An introduction to the tools, techniques, and processes of sound and music for the theatre with a series of exercises and discussions on the structure of audio systems, digital audio editing and playback, play analysis, and the creative enhancement of the dramatic environment hours.

314. Stage Lighting Design
Fall (3) Holliday. Prerequisite:  THEA300 and THEA213 or consent of Instructor.
Theory and technique of stage lighting design, with emphasis on artistic choices made through script analysis and understanding of the qualities and functions of lighting. Includes lighting projects reflecting a number of production styles. Students serve as technicians for William and Mary Theatre productions.

317. Playwriting
(GER 6) Fall or Spring (3) Ruffin.  Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.
Students write three one-act plays. Worthy scripts may receive Premiere Theatre production.

319. Stage and Production Management
Spring (3) Dudley.
Discussion, demonstrations, and  projects introduce the organizational, technical and interpersonal skills needed by a theatrical stage manager.

320. Performing Arts Administration
Spring (3) Palmer. Prerequisite: THEA152 or 200 or consent of instructor.
An examination of the principles and methods of managing performing arts organizations, including image and audience building, finance, and operations.

328/328W. Survey of Theatre History, 500 B.C. to 1750
(GER 5) Fall and Spring (3,3) Green. Prerequisites: THEA152 or 200 strongly recommended.
An examination of representative plays and staging practices, focusing on the Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Neoclassical, Restoration and early 18th-century periods, and including selected non-western theatrical developments such as Noh theatre and Kathakali.

329/329W. Survey of Theatre History, 1750 to the Present
(GER 5) Fall and Spring (3,3) Wolf. Prerequisites: THEA152 or 200 strongly recommended.
An examination of representative plays and staging practices, focusing on the late 18th century, the Romantic, Modern and Postmodern periods, and including selected non-western theatrical developments such as Peking Opera, and Malaysian and African forms.

331/331W. Feminist Theory and Contemporary Theatre
(GER 7) Fall (3) Wolf.
Readings in contemporary feminist theory (psychoanalytic, materialist, Brechtian, and others) as these pertain to the body onstage, character construction, playwriting, and audience reception. Course also investigates feminist performance art, scripts, and revisionings of the dramatic canon. (Cross listed with WMST331)

332. Sex & Race in Plays & Films: Dramatizing Diversity.
(GER 4C and 6) Spring (3) Tanglao-Aguas
The course investigates the socio-cultural, historical, and ideological milieu of plays and films dramatizing cultural pluralism alongside an examination of selected theories on diversity. This dual approach prepares students to critically analyze and assess the position and value of cultural pluralism in constructing national identity and society.

333. South and Southeast Asian Folklore Performance
(GER 4B and 6) Fall (3) Tanglao-Aguas
Interdisciplinary journey into the sociocultural history, aesthetics, and performance of ceremony, dance, folklore, oral literature, performance and ritual in South and Southeast Asia.  The primary narrative of performance exercises and projects emanates from the RAMAYANA, Hinduism's most sacred epic. (Cross listed with DANC 333)

334. History and Performance of Classical Asian Theatres
(GER 4B and 6) Spring, (3) Tanglao-Aguas, Palmer
This is a team taught exploration of the history, theory, and performance of selected theatre genres, dance dramas, and performance traditions indigenous to Asia, with a focused foundation on the theatres of India, Japan, and China.  Study commences on the socio-cultural and historical origins of Classical Asian Theatres as they evolve through modern nationhood, colonization, and globalization.  Students have the opportunity to experience hands on the fundamentals of performing in selected Asian theatre genres as nearly half of class time is devoted to performance immersion.

335. Voice Training and the Actor
Fall (2) Wiley.
The development and control of the speaking voice, including muscular neural control of breathing and speaking, the effect of voice quality on responses of the auditor, and individual work on articulation, pronunciation and accents.

336. African American Theatre History I
(GER 4A) Fall or Spring (3). Green
This course will examine African-American dramatic literature and performance from its origins in indigenous African theatre through significant periods that conclude with the Civil Rights Movement. 

337. African American Theatre History II
(GER 4A) Fall or Spring (3) Green
This course will examine African-American dramatic literature and performance beginning with the Black Arts Movement through significant periods that conclude with contemporary manifestations. 

340.  Asian Pacific American History in Theatre & Film.
Fall or Spring (3) Tanglao-Aguas.
This course studies the history of Asians in America in order to recreate or ameliorate it into a work of theatre and/or film.  The course thus considers the act of creating original works of theatre and film as historical documents, the creation of which evolves from an artistic process steeped in historiography. Through reading plays and  viewing films dramatizing Asian narratives, students evaluate personal manifestations of this history. 

350. Introduction to Physical Theatre.
Spring (3) Gavaler, Wiley. Prerequisite:
Previous theatre and dance performance course work and permission of the instructors
Provides students with an opportunity to develop sensitivity, intelligence, and strength through practice in Contact Improvisation and exposure to other physical theatre techniques. Students will learn to use compositional tools, develop physically-inspired characters, and interact with environmental elements through performer-created projects. (Cross listed with DANC 350)

355.  Theatre Photography
(GER 6)  Spring (3) Holliday
Theory, history, and techniques of photography as applied to the needs of theatrical production.  Emphasis will be placed on close-ups and medium shots in available light, and full stage compositions under theatrical lighting.  Students must supply their own digital cameras, which must be able to function in manual mode.

360.  Musical Theatre Performance.
Fall (2) Staff.  Prerequisites:  Instructor Permission
Course work concentrates on performance aspects of standard and more obscure musical theatre repertoire, culminating in a public performance such as the annual William and Mary Theatre Homecoming Gala and/or a musical review or musical entertainment at the end of the semester. This allows students to approach their work with the objective of going outside of the comfort of the classroom and into the public eye, with continued emphasis on acting/singing assimilation.  A solid background in singing and acting is encouraged. May be repeated for credit, as repertoire is different each semester.

380. Practicum in Theatre
Fall and Spring (1,1) Owens, Wolf. Prerequisites: 206 for makeup assignments, 300 for assistant design assignments, 201 for acting assignments, 203 for scene painting assignments, 205 for technical production assignments, 307 for costume patterning and construction, 213 for lighting assignments, 320 for theatre administration assignments, 328 or 329 for dramaturgy assignments.
Substantive participation in a major production sponsored by the department and supervised by faculty. The objective is to apply theoretical knowledge to practical in-depth experience. The course may be repeated twice for credit, but work must be in different production areas each time. Permission of the supervising faculty member is required.

381. Intermediate Practicum in Theatre
Fall and Spring (1-2,1-2) Owens, Wolf. Prerequisites: THEA380 in the same production area.
More intensive work in an area of production where a THEA380 course has been completed. The course may be repeated twice for credit, but work must be in different production areas each time. Permission of the supervising faculty member is required.

401. Advanced Acting
Spring (3) Owens, Wiley. Prerequisite: THEA302.
Through research and the preparation of scenes, students will develop techniques for acting in period and nonrealistic plays. Students are urged to allow one semester between acting classes in order to apply theories and training in productions sponsored by the department. An audition might be required for enrollment. Details available in the departmental office.

407. Direction
Fall and Spring (3,3) Owens. Prerequisites: THEA 152 or 200, 201, 328 or 329, and permission of instructor
Study and practice in the principles of play analysis, play selection, casting, rehearsal techniques and performance. Special emphasis is placed upon the direction of a one-act play for a Studio Theatre production.

410/410W. Theatre and Society in 20th-Century America
Fall or Spring (3) Staff. Prerequisites: THEA152 or 200 or consent of instructor.
A lecture-discussion course on the significant theatrical formations of the century, including African American, feminist and commercial musical comedy theatres, with an emphasis on the changing relations among performances and social-political contexts.

411. Independent Studies in Theatre
Fall and Spring (1-3,1-3) Owens, Wolf.
Independent study on a special problem for the advanced student, arranged on an individual basis with credit according to work done. Course may be repeated for credit.

415. Shakespeare's Renaissance Theatre
Fall or Spring (3) Wolf.
This course is concerned with the drama produced in England by Shakespeare and his major contemporaries.  Study will seek to foster an historical and theoretical understanding of developments in the theatre of the period and a critical approach to texts.

417. Advanced Playwriting
Fall or Spring (3) Staff. Prerequisite: THEA317 and consent of instructor.
Advanced study of form and content in drama, accomplished by readings of dramatic theories and plays as well as by writing original playscripts.

460. Topics in Theatre Production and Performance
Fall or Spring (1-3) Staff.
Readings, writings, discussions and practice in an area of theatrical production or performance. Area of study will vary each time the course is offered. Course may be repeated for credit.

461. Topics in Theatre History, Theory and Criticism
Fall or Spring (3,3) Staff. Prerequisites: THEA328 and 329 or consent of instructor.
Readings, writings and discussion on a focused period of theatre history or on an aspect of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Area of study will vary each time the course is offered. Course may be repeated for credit.

479. Performance Seminar
Fall and Spring (3) Staff. Prerequisites: THEA152 or 200 and THEA201 and 302 OR THEA152 or 200 and THEA201 and 407 OR consent of instructor.
A more advanced course for the student who is primarily interested in musical theatre performance.  Fall semester classes con-centrate on a performance for the William and Mary Theatre Homecoming Gala, and a public workshop production of a chamber-sized contemporary musical theatre piece with full orchestra each Spring semester.  Students have the opportunity to build fully developd characters through a full length performance piece and continue assimilating song as the extension of dialogue.  May be repeated for credit, as repertoire is different each semester.

480. Advanced Practicum in Theatre
Fall and Spring (2,2) Owens, Wolf.
Students will undertake a major responsibility such as designing scenery, lighting, or costumes, stage managing, serving as assistant director or acting in a substantive role in a production sponsored by the department and supervised by the faculty. See the departmental office for details. Course may be repeated for credit.

481. Dramatic and Theatrical Theory
Fall or Spring (3) Staff. Prerequisites: Two courses from THEA 201, 317, 328, and 329, or consent of instructor.
A survey of the major theories of theatre and drama from Aristotle to the present, with an emphasis on the relationship between theory and theatrical performance.

495-496. Honors in Theatre
Fall and Spring (3,3) Staff.
Eligible theatre majors a) submit an application for admission to the program in their junior year, b) write an Honors thesis by April 15 of their senior year detailing their scholarly investigation of a selected subject or presenting their ideas on a creative project and c) take a comprehensive oral examination. Consult the chair for eligibility, admission and continuance requirements.

498. Theatre Internship
Fall and Spring (3,3) Staff.
Qualified students with appropriate course work, usually after their junior year, may receive credit for a structured learning experience in a professional-quality theatre which provides an opportunity to apply and to expand knowledge under expert supervision. This practicum must be approved in advance by the theatre faculty; monitored and evaluated by a faculty member. Guidelines available in the departmental office. Course may be repeated for credit.