Courses

TAPS 10100 Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

This course introduces students to a range of theatrical concepts and techniques, including script analysis and its application to staging, design and acting. Throughout, we investigate how theater – as a collaborative art form – tells stories. Students will act, direct, and design. In doing so, they will gain an understanding of a variety of processes by which scripts are realized in the theater, with an emphasis on the text’s role in production rather than as literature.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10200 Acting Fundamentals

This course introduces fundamental concepts of performance in the theater with emphasis on the development of creative faculties and techniques of observation, as well as vocal and physical interpretation. Concepts are introduced through directed reading, improvisation, and scene study.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10300 Text and Performance

This course offers an introduction to a number of significant dramatic works and seminal figures in the theorization of theater and performance. But the course's aspirations go much further: we will be concentrating upon the intersection of interpretation and enactment, asking how these pieces appear on stage and why. This will not be merely descriptive work, but crucially it will be interpretive and physical work. Students will prepare and present applied interpretations-that is, interpretations that enable conceptual insights to take artistic form. Throughout, we will be searching for that elusive combination of philological rigor, theoretical sophistication, and creative inspiration-probing the theoretical stakes of creativity and testing the creative implications of analytic insights.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10600 Staging Desire

This course explores the interplays between romance, attractions, and distractions through in-class discussions of theoretical works and the possibilities of practical creative application. The paradox of instant gratification and prolonged desire will be considered as well as the values of shock, suspense, and subtlety. Texts will include classic and contemporary drama, vampire cult fiction, fairy tales, films, and theoretic source material. Working 4-dimensionally, we will examine how theorized stagings can evoke and undermine sentimentality. This course will constantly question how analysis itself can be a performative practice and how performance can serve as a critical endeavor.The course will culminate in a series of original scenes to be shown at the end of the quarter. Experience in dramatic analysis or performance not required.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10800 Contemporary Dance Practices

This studio-based course with a seminar component offers an overview of the formal practices and contemporary trends that shape dance as an art form. The class is designed for students who seek to gain a working knowledge of dance and deepen their physical skills. A range of contemporary dance forms and practices will be covered. Topics may include modern dance, hip hop, partnering techniques, social dance forms, improvisation, somatic practices, dance composition, and more. Lectures, viewings, and discussion will support experiential practice components. No previous experience with dance or performance is required. This course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10900 Moving and Thinking / Thinking and Moving

Though we often imagine a divide between the physical practice of dance training and the intellectual practice of dance history and theorization, in reality they overlap: movement training is embodied research and a form of intellectual labor, while dance theorization and scholarship is deeply connected to the physicality of thought. This course offers an introduction to dance with an integrated approach to thinking and doing. Students will explore a range of embodied research methodologies that draw from improvisational forms, codified techniques, and social and cultural dance practices. No prior dance experience is required for this hybrid seminar/ studio course.

staff
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 20120 21st Century American Drama

(ENGL 27583)

This hybrid seminar focuses on American contemporary playwrights who have made a significant and commercial impact with regard to dramatic form in the past 20 years. Playwrights will include, Tracy Letts, Annie Baker, Lynn Nottage, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Ayad Akhtar, and Amy Herzog. Textual analysis is consistently oriented towards staging, design, and cultural relevancies. Work for the course will include research papers, presentations, and scene work.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20223 Italian Oral Traditions from the Middle Ages to the Poetry Slam

Italian culture has been continuously enriched by oral artistic practices that transcend the written page through the bodies and voices of performers. The content of this course will analyze various oral traditions from the Italian context, ranging from courtly lyric poetry of the Middle Ages to the vibrant contemporary performance poetry scene. Additionally, the course will examine the interplay between oral traditions and marginalized communities, with a particular focus on the exploration of female voices—from Renaissance mystical performances to feminist oral history practices in the 1970s—while also considering the polyvocal influence of immigration and the use of regional dialects. The course will integrate artistic content with theoretical material on the topic of voice (Agamben, Bologna, Cavarero, Frasca), as well as insights from media studies, feminist and queer studies, critical race studies, and performance theory. By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to deconstruct the traditional dichotomy between written text
and oral practices by recognizing the mutual exchange between the two and incorporate Italian
oral traditions into the traditional literary canon.

Reading knowledge of Italian required. Class will be conducted in English with a separate
discussion section available for students seeking credit for the Italian major/minor. Readings will
be in Italian and in English.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20705 Dramaturgy: Theory & Practice

This course is a deep investigation into the possibility of dramaturgy as intrepid and curious storytelling and the role of the dramaturg in building worlds with playwrights, inhabiting worlds with productions, and cultivating worlds with audiences and institutions. We will think across discipline about the methodologies that make dramaturgy a heuristic knowledge practice. We will think critically about existing genealogies, best practices, and innovations in the theatre industry. Most importantly, we will engage in our own civic-minded dramaturgical practice and how engaged, thoughtful storytelling might have impacts beyond the walls of the classroom and the theatre.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
History & Theory
Dramaturgy

TAPS 22680 Queering the American Family Drama

(ENGL 22680, GNSE 20116, SIGN 26080)

This course will examine what happens to the American Family Drama on stage when the 'family' is queer. Working in dialogue with a current production at Court Theatre, we will move beyond describing surface representations into an exploration of how queering the family implicates narrative, plot, character, formal conventions, aesthetics and production conditions (e.g. casting, venues, audiences, marketing and critical reception). Texts will include theatrical plays and musicals, recorded and live productions, and queer performance theory. This course will be a combined seminar and studio, inviting students to investigate through readings, discussion, staging experiments, and a choice of either a final paper or artistic project.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Creating & Devising
History & Theory

TAPS 22900 Introduction to Theater and Performance Studies

This course is designed to introduce students to foundational concepts and critical skills relevant to the study of theater and performance. In addition to wide-ranging readings and discussions, students will attend a variety of performances and screenings representing a cross-section of genres, interpretive styles, and institutional settings. Although the course will be directed by Prof. Trent, it will be divided into discrete units, each led by a different instructor from the TAPS teaching staff. Thus, students will gain exposure to a variety of teaching styles, areas of expertise, and approaches to the field. The course is open to all undergraduate students as an elective; it also serves as a required course for all TAPS majors and minors.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 23000 Introduction to Directing

(CHST 23000)

This course employs a practice in the fundamental theory of play direction and the role of the director in collaboration with the development of textual analysis. By examining five diversely different texts using three different approaches to play analysis (Aristotle, Stanislavski, Ball) students begin developing a method of directing for the stage in support of the written text. In alternating weeks, students implement textual analysis in building an understanding of directorial concept, theme, imagery and staging through rehearsal and in-class presentations of three-minute excerpts from the play analysis the previous week. The culmination is a final five-minute scene combining the tools of direction with a method of analysis devised over the entire course.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Directing

TAPS 23920 The Playwright

This course explores the writing process of the playwright as well as familiarizes students with some preeminent modern and contemporary American playwrights. Students will investigate play structure, forms, formatting and theatrical elements. In this course students will read a range of plays, complete weekly writing exercises, work together as a collective of writers and ultimately craft the beginning of an original full-length play. Expect to study the theatrical text as well as diving into the process of writing.

staff
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Writing

TAPS 24080 New Musical Development: Writing Team

(MUSI 24080)

This class explores and replicates the professional theatrical process of new musical development, beginning with the concept for a show and ending with its premiere performance as an invited staged reading. Students will serve as book writers, lyricists, composers (Writing Team), and/or directors, music directors, actors, singers, and dramaturgs (Artistic Team) as they work together to craft and polish a new and viable work of musical theater. This class studies the art and theory behind theatrical storytelling, songwriting, directing, and originating new roles as actors, and students will work on their feet each week to bring their unique perspectives and skills to the creation of a new musical script, score, and performance. Creators with any amount of material towards a new musical (a full-length draft, a portion of a script and score, OR an outline) are encouraged to submit their work to selmegreen@uchicago.edu and lbdanzig@uchicago.edu beginning in Spring Quarter 2024, before this course is offered in Fall 2024. Students interested primarily in writing and/or composing should enroll in TAPS 24080 New Musical Development: Writing Team, while students primarily interested in acting, directing, music directing, and dramaturgy should enroll in TAPS 24081 New Musical Development: Artistic Team. Questions? Curiosities? Please contact Scott Elmegreen (selmegreen@uchicago.edu) and Leslie Buxbaum (lbdanzig@uchicago.edu). Consent required.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Musical Theater
Writing

TAPS 24081 New Musical Development: Artistic Team

(MUSI 24081)

This class explores and replicates the professional theatrical process of new musical development, beginning with the concept for a show and ending with its premiere performance as an invited staged reading. Students will serve as book writers, lyricists, composers (Writing Team), and/or directors, music directors, actors, singers, and dramaturgs (Artistic Team) as they work together to craft and polish a new and viable work of musical theater. This class studies the art and theory behind theatrical storytelling, songwriting, directing, and originating new roles as actors, and students will work on their feet each week to bring their unique perspectives and skills to the creation of a new musical script, score, and performance. Creators with any amount of material towards a new musical (a full-length draft, a portion of a script and score, OR an outline) are encouraged to submit their work to selmegreen@uchicago.edu and lbdanzig@uchicago.edu beginning in Spring Quarter 2024, before this course is offered in Fall 2024. Students interested primarily in writing and/or composing should enroll in TAPS 24080 New Musical Development: Writing Team, while students primarily interested in acting, directing, music directing, and dramaturgy should enroll in TAPS 24081 New Musical Development: Artistic Team. Questions? Curiosities? Please contact Scott Elmegreen (selmegreen@uchicago.edu) and Leslie Buxbaum (lbdanzig@uchicago.edu). Consent required.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Acting
Directing
Musical Theater

TAPS 25450 Writing the Feature Film

(MAAD 25450)

This course is designed to help the emerging writer focus their creativity into a viable feature film project and screenplay. This includes structure, format, exposition, characterization, dialogue, voice-over, and other aspects of visual storytelling for the screen. Weekly meetings include a brief lecture period, screenings of scenes from selected films, extended discussion, assorted readings and writing assignments. Because this is primarily a writing class, students should expect to deliver four to five pages of written material—including story development materials or screenplay pages—each week.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Media Arts
Writing

TAPS 26050 Dance for Musical Theater

This course introduces students to the dance styles and performance aesthetics that are foundational to American musical theater. Moving between seminar discussion and studio practice, the course will integrate historical, theoretical, and embodied approaches to traditional and contemporary jazz dance, as well as the vernacular and social dance forms that led to the birth of musical theater. Students will have the opportunity to learn iconic choreography sequences and no previous dance experience is necessary. Readings, viewings, and written assignments will contextualize embodied work.

staff
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
Musical Theater

TAPS 26212 Dancing South Asia

This course introduces students to a range of dance and performance practices from the region of South Asia and its related diaspora. Throughout, we will explore critical examinations of South Asian dance and performing arts to consider history, identity, politics, and creativity. This course combines both theoretical study and movement practice and will investigate a range of research approaches and movement styles. No prior dance or performance experience is required.

Ahalya Satkunaratnam
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 27410 Scenography: Static and Kinetic Forms

(ARTV 20208; MAAD 27410)

This course is an exploration of various forms and processes of designing sets and projections for theatrical performance. We pay particular attention to a cohesive reading of a text, contextual and historical exploration, and visual and thematic research, as well as the documentation needed to complete a show including storyboards, models, drafting, and paint elevations. Conversations with guest artists will illuminate personal and cultural aesthetics of an individual artist and assigned readings will expose students to major trends in modern stage design.

staff
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Design & Production
Media Arts

TAPS 27520 Costuming the Shape of Heroes and Villains

(ARTV 20209)

Costume Design is an essential element in conveying a character’s story. This course will explore design elements from archetypal characters, while interrogating concepts of movement, space, and structure. Explorations in the Bauhaus, film, and dance will illuminate the relationships between opposites in storytelling. Students will develop a design vocabulary, build skills in rendering and sketching, and prepare a final costume design highlighting heroes and villains.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Design & Production

TAPS 28250 Audience, Algorithms, and Ingenuity: Unexpected Encounters in Media Arts and Live Performance

(MAAD 28250)

This course explores live theatrical and digital performance, centering on surprise as a key element of performance. We will examine performance instigators and media activists who use experimental tactics to stage, document, and amplify their work. Through studying examples, exploring theoretical underpinnings, and creating art in this mode, we will investigate how performance can surprise, provoke, and delight—without relying on traditional resources such as space, time, money, or institutional support. What makes these forms resonate? What are their cultural and social reverberations?

Devon de Mayo, Jon Satrom
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Creating & Devising
History & Theory
Media Arts

TAPS 29800 BA Colloquium

This two-quarter sequence is open only to fourth-year students who are majoring and/or minoring in theater and performance studies.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 29900 Reading and Research

This is a reading and research course for independent study.

2024-2025 Autumn

TAPS 22290/32290 Introduction to Performance Installation

(ARTV 20207/30207)

We are living in an age of unprecedented movements and migrations of populations, some voluntary, many under extreme duress. The course will focus on the lives of those who have in one form or another lived through this great displacement. On the basis of material developed through our examinations and experimentations, we will create a performance installation piece. The “archive” for the piece will be drawn from a variety of sources: plays, essays, popular and social media, student-conducted interviews. Further material will be generated through acting exercises and our own work with video and visual arts.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 24410/34410 Transmedia Puzzle Design & Performance

(MAAD 24410)

This course will introduce students to the burgeoning field of immersive puzzle design. Students will develop, implement, and playtest puzzles that are suited for a range of experiences: from the tabletop to the immersive, from online puzzle hunts to broad-scoped alternate reality games (ARG). Students in this course will work directly with master puzzler Sandor Weisz, the commissioner of The Mystery League.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 28476/35910 Racine

(FREN 25910/35910)

Racine’s tragedies are often considered the culminating achievement of French classicism. Most famous for his powerful re-imaginings of Greek myth (Phèdre, Andromaque), his tragic universe nevertheless ranged considerably wider, from ancient Jewish queens to a contemporary Ottoman harem. We will consider the roots (from Euripides to Corneille) of his theatrical practice as well as its immense influence on future writers (from Voltaire to Proust, Beckett and Genet)

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 26275/36275 Dance as History

(HIST 29406)

This course explores the relationship between dance and history. Rather than investigating the history of dance, we will focus on how incorporating dance can alter the practice of historical research and representation (including public history), and on how history has informed classical and contemporary concert dance since the late 19th century. Through our weekly studio practice we also hope to develop new ways of representing and embodying history through dance. The course will examine the traditional, historical language of storytelling in certain disciplines of dance, and will seek to create a refreshed, relevant language of gesture and intention in the studio that might effectively convey narrative. Our focus will be European and American classical, modern, and contemporary concert dance since the 19th century, but students are welcome to explore other genres, cultural contexts, and moments in their research and in discussion.

Assignments will include readings as well as viewing existing choreographic works on video; discussion of these texts and videos; engaging in conversation with contemporary choreographers, writing analyses of dances informed by the readings; attending relevant performances in Chicago, and participating each week in a studio-based class session in which we explore, through movement, the themes under consideration that week. You do not need to have any dance experience to take this course, but you must be willing to move.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 26518/36518 Staging Ring of the Nibelung in the 21st Century

This team-taught course explores the challenges of staging Richard Wagner’s sprawling 19th-century tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung in the 21st century. The course will offer an introduction to The Ring, including its complicated place in history (including its reception and production history), and how it has been thought about in recent musicology and critical theory. But first and foremost, we will be exploring how the piece is being staged today. To that end, we will explore four productions of the tetralogy that are currently being prepared at leading opera houses around the world – in Munich, London, Berlin, and Oslo – speaking, via Zoom, with artistic directors and the production teams about their ideas and ambitions. What are the interpretive challenges and opportunities in staging this mammoth work? How do these productions seek to engage the tetralogy’s exceedingly complicated aesthetic ambitions, political baggage, and production history? And how do specific geographical, cultural, and historical conditions affect the artistic project of each production? Our discussions will encompass a range of fields, approaches, and topics. Among the themes we plan to examine are the aspiration to aesthetic totalization, the politics of community, the relationship between canonicity and critique, the notion of distress or emergency (the German term is Not), and some astonishingly lurid fantasies of family life—mostly of family dissolution. Moreover, we will approach the question of the relevance of The Ring and of opera (including Wagner’s ambitions to create “the artwork of the future”) in our time. Insofar as Friedrich Nietzsche and Theodor Adorno stand at the origins of critical Wagner studies, their work will inform ours. But we will also consider more recent work, including writings by Carolyn Abbate, Alain Badiou, Nicholas Ridout, and Slavoj Zizek. Suitable for advanced undergraduates and beginning MA & PhD students. A knowledge of German and/or music history is welcome but not required. An active interest in – and a willingness to think critically and creatively about – the practices of interpretation on stage is essential.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 28360/38360 Screendance: Movement and New Media

(MAAD 23860, CMST 28360)

This course will explore the evolving relationship between moving bodies and video technologies. From early filmmakers using dancers as test subjects, to movie musicals and contemporary dance for the camera festivals, mediatization of the body continues to challenge the ephemerality of live dance performance. This course focuses on the growing field of screendance, videodance, or dance-on-camera, working to define this hybrid genre and to understand the collaborative roles of choreographer, director, dancer, cameraman, and video editor.

This course is both a practical and scholarly approach to the genre of screendance, each component essential to a full understanding and mastery of the other. Course work will be divided between the studio and the classroom. For the studio component, students will learn basic video editing and filming techniques. For the classroom component, students will be asked to watch screendance and read a cross-section of criticism. Assignments will be both technological and choreographic (making screendance) and scholarly (written reflections and a seminar paper).

staff
2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 46900 Performance Theory

(GNSE 46905, CMLT 46905)

This course offers a critical introduction to theories of performance and performativity across a transnational scope. We will read theories of performance that explore the relationship between text, body and audience alongside the history of performative theory and its afterlives in queer and affect theory. Drawing on comparative literary method, this course presents texts both within and beyond the Euro-American canon, across languages, and across disciplines to consider how empire and post-coloniality, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality shape performances and the publics that they address. We will think about the relationship between performance and politics and how performance as both an aesthetic genre and theoretical concept shapes the relationship between text, language, and embodied experience and explore the role of the spectator and their participatory function in the making of performances.

2024-2025 Autumn
Category
Performance Theory - graduate

TAPS 10100 Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

This course introduces students to a range of theatrical concepts and techniques, including script analysis and its application to staging, design and acting. Throughout, we investigate how theater – as a collaborative art form – tells stories. Students will act, direct, and design. In doing so, they will gain an understanding of a variety of processes by which scripts are realized in the theater, with an emphasis on the text’s role in production rather than as literature.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 10200 Acting Fundamentals

This course introduces fundamental concepts of performance in the theater with emphasis on the development of creative faculties and techniques of observation, as well as vocal and physical interpretation. Concepts are introduced through directed reading, improvisation, and scene study.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 10300 Text and Performance

This course offers an introduction to a number of significant dramatic works and seminal figures in the theorization of theater and performance. But the course's aspirations go much further: we will be concentrating upon the intersection of interpretation and enactment, asking how these pieces appear on stage and why. This will not be merely descriptive work, but crucially it will be interpretive and physical work. Students will prepare and present applied interpretations-that is, interpretations that enable conceptual insights to take artistic form. Throughout, we will be searching for that elusive combination of philological rigor, theoretical sophistication, and creative inspiration-probing the theoretical stakes of creativity and testing the creative implications of analytic insights.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 10700 Introduction to Stage Design

Approaching theatrical design as a visual art, we will achieve a basic understanding of the theory, methodology and artistic expression fundamental to each area of design for the stage—scenic, costume, lighting and sound. We will learn how each discipline approaches and executes visual (aural in the case of sound) communication involved in the design process. Students will learn the professional design process, from contracting through production. Projects for this course will be completed using a combination of mediums and materials. If students are away from campus, there will be discussions of what materials may suit each student best based on available resources. Creativity in execution of visual communication will be of great importance. Students will learn to show collaborators ideas instead of talking about them.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 10800 Contemporary Dance Practices

This studio-based course with a seminar component offers an overview of the formal practices and contemporary trends that shape dance as an art form. The class is designed for students who seek to gain a working knowledge of dance and deepen their physical skills. A range of contemporary dance forms and practices will be covered. Topics may include modern dance, hip hop, partnering techniques, social dance forms, improvisation, somatic practices, dance composition, and more. Lectures, viewings, and discussion will support experiential practice components. No previous experience with dance or performance is required. This course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

staff
2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 10900 Moving and Thinking / Thinking and Moving

Though we often imagine a divide between the physical practice of dance training and the intellectual practice of dance history and theorization, in reality they overlap: movement training is embodied research and a form of intellectual labor, while dance theorization and scholarship is deeply connected to the physicality of thought. This course offers an introduction to dance with an integrated approach to thinking and doing. Students will explore a range of embodied research methodologies that draw from improvisational forms, codified techniques, and social and cultural dance practices. No prior dance experience is required for this hybrid seminar/ studio course.

staff
2024-2025 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 21860 Songwriting for Musical Theater

(MUSI 24321)

This course is a practical introduction to the art and craft of songwriting for musical theater. Students will analyze and practice song form, storytelling through music, and the writing of lyrics and melody for character and tone. In addition to presenting and workshopping new song material weekly, students will learn about orchestration, arrangement, and the structure of the theatrical score by discussing standout examples of the genre. As individuals or in teams of two, students will develop a catalog of character- and story-driven songs to be performed in cabaret at the end of the quarter. A basic ability to read music is expected; experience in songwriting is not required.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Musical Theater

TAPS 22505 Community Engagement and Transformative Education: The Practice of Teaching Artistry

This course will explore the role of the teaching artist with a focus on school and community-based arts education, arts integration, teaching practice and curriculum design. Students will research the field of teaching artistry, explore models for arts education, and develop and implement plans for teaching a specific art form in a community setting. The course will carefully consider cultural competence, collaborative learning, and approaches to teaching practice.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 22950 Introduction to Production

This course is designed to introduce students to foundational concepts and critical skills relevant to the production process in theater. Students will track a play’s journey from text to stage, working to understand each phase of the production process as well as the various players who create this collaborative art form, including but not limited to designers and technicians. Additionally, students will attend a variety of performances, tour Chicago-area theaters, meet with guest theater artists and technicians and construct their own production guide. Students will gain exposure to a variety of areas of expertise, theater spaces and approaches to the field of theater and performance production. The course is open to all undergraduate students.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Design & Production

TAPS 23600 Improv and Sketch

This course adapts curriculum originally designed for the various schools of modern improvisation (including the iO, the Annoyance and The Second City). Listening skills, the ability to work well with others as a team, and building scene work organically are highlighted. You will leave this class a better communicator, with interpersonal tools that support other facets of your life.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Acting

TAPS 25550 Writing the TV Pilot

The creation of a TV Pilot is a unique, exciting, and demanding task for a writer. In addition to the responsibility of telling a compelling story, writers are also charged with setting up a “world” and establishing characters and plotlines that will sustain the show over multiple episodes and seasons. In this class, we will delve into the processes required to succeed in this challenging endeavor. This includes creation of pitch materials, plot and character development, outlining, creation of a show bible, and ultimately, writing the pilot episode of an original TV series.

The classroom will function as part development workshop and part informal TV writer’s room. Through weekly reading and writing assignments we will dissect successful entries into the TV space and tap into our artistic inspirations to evolve our show concepts. From there, we would collaborate as a class by actively brainstorming and workshopping our scripts and series. By the end of the quarter, each student will complete a draft of an original pilot script, as well as a short “Series Bible” detailing the broader scope of the show.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Writing
Media Arts

TAPS 26215 Dance Improvisation in Theory & Practice

This course has a strong component of movement practice and is open to students of any experience level who are willing to move with creativity and generosity. The course takes a broad look at dance improvisation, exploring in equal parts key theoretical readings, historic and contemporary performance examples, and movement practices in the classroom. On its surface, improvisation is often understood to be based on total freedom or openness, where any movement choice can be made. Here, the notion of freedom in improvisation is reconsidered through the sociopolitical realities of how dancers’ bodies move through society, and across the studio or stage.

staff
2024-2025 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 28150 Lighting Design & Technology

(MAAD 22150)

This course places equal emphasis on the theory and practice of modern stage lighting. Applying real world observations and research with practical applications students will learn the mechanical properties of lighting equipment; how to create, read, and execute a lighting plot; the functions of lighting in a theatrical context; color and design theory; and how to read a text as a lighting designer. Diverse perspectives in designing with light include rigorous practicum requirements in group projects and exposure to various designers and philosophies.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Design & Production
Media Arts

TAPS 28466 Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

(ARTV 20700, ARTV 30700, CMST 25954, CMST 35954, ENGL 25970, ENGL 32314, MAAD 20700)

Games are one of the most prominent and influential media of our time. This experimental course explores the emerging genre of "alternate reality" or "transmedia" gaming. Throughout the quarter, we will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. These games build on the narrative strategies of novels, the performative role-playing of theater, the branching techniques of electronic literature, the procedural qualities of video games, and the team dynamics of sports. Beyond the subject matter, students will design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups. Students need not have a background in media or technology, but a wide-ranging imagination, interest in new media culture, or arts practice will make for a more exciting quarter.
PQ: Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing through online form: https://forms.gle/QvRCKN6MjBtcteWy5; see course description. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: mb31@uchicago.edu

Heidi Coleman, Patrick Jagoda
2024-2025 Winter
Category
Creating & Devising
History & Theory

TAPS 29800 BA Colloquium

This two-quarter sequence is open only to fourth-year students who are majoring and/or minoring in theater and performance studies.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 21500/31500 Advanced Acting

This advanced acting course builds upon fundamental acting training and develops advanced skills for the performer. The focus will be on acting methods that are useful for multiple types of material; best practices in monologue, scene study, and ensemble work; and multiple approaches toward rehearsal processes. In preparation for weekly in-class performance work, students will be required to collaborate with scene partners outside of class and to dedicate themselves to a disciplined practice of self-study. For enrollment in this course, please submit a Statement of Intent at this link: https://forms.gle/KduDPpafN58XcRnw8. Questions? Email vwalden@uchicago.edu.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Acting

TAPS 23910/33910 Advanced Playwriting Workshop

The goal of this playwriting workshop is for each student to end the quarter with a first draft of a full-length play. In addition to generating new material on a weekly basis, students will be expected to attend two Chicago-based productions for in-class discussion and criticism.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Writing

TAPS 25050/35050 Adaptation Laboratory: Staging Berlin at Court Theatre

(CDIN 25050)

From 2000-2018, the graphic novelist Jason Lutes published Berlin, a sprawling, formally inventive, & idiosyncratic account of life in the German capital city during the years just prior to National Socialism. Court Theatre, the Tony award winning professional theater on the UChicago campus, has commissioned the playwright Mickle Maher to prepare an adaptation of Lutes’ novel for Court’s 2024-25 season; David Levin is the collaborating dramaturg. This interdisciplinary team-taught seminar invites students into the process of adaptation, exploring a range of practical, conceptual & artistic challenges. The course will take place in two locations: at Court Theatre (where we will attend rehearsals for the world premiere production) and in a theater lab on campus, where we will consider a range of critical and creative materials – e.g., Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home or Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 film “Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis” – to establish a dialogue between Lutes’ novel, its progenitors, and the work in Court’s rehearsal room. An additional & significant component of our work will involve creative exercises. Students will prepare adaptations of their own – first, of Lutes’ novel, then of works of their own choosing. Artists from Court’s production will join us for workshop sessions. The seminar aims to serve as a creative and critical forum, exploring the challenges of adaptation while generating diverse forms of practice.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Dramaturgy

TAPS 26170/36170 Dance Pro Show

This course gives students the opportunity to learn repertory and new works by professional guest choreographers and faculty, culminating in a weekend of performances at Logan Center for the Arts. Within an immersive quarter-long production schedule, students will be exposed to a wide array of movement vocabularies, choreographic methods and performance aesthetics, while also gaining practical skills within the many facets of professional production work. Readings, viewings, and weekly journals will supplement studio and production work, connecting each student’s experience to broader conversations within dance and performance studies. With a range of performance and production opportunities, this course will accommodate and challenge both trained dancers and movement-curious beginners.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement
Creating & Devising

TAPS 28320/38320 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting

(MAAD 23820)

Audio storytelling insinuates itself into the day-to-day unlike other narrative forms. People listen to podcasts while they do the dishes, drive to work, or walk the dog. In this hands-on course, we will learn to produce a podcast from idea to final sound mix, and explore the unique opportunities that the podcast form affords the storyteller. Students will complete several short audio exercises, and one larger podcast project. The class will be held remotely, with an emphasis on remote recording techniques and what it means to document this moment using tools of non-fiction, fiction, and oral history.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 28421/38421 Theater for Social Change

Augusto Boal argues that theatre is “rehearsal for the revolution.” Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed provides key strategies for collaboratively crafting dramatic narrative. These strategies challenge the conventional Aristotelian structure that privileges a single protagonist and subordinates other stories. Instead, Boal structures a poetics in which the “spect-actor” contributes their voice. Students will engage in devising and embodiment exercises in Image Theatre, Newspaper Theatre, Forum Theatre, and more, by interpreting texts (e.g., religious texts, constitutional documents, or political manifestos), interrogating current events, exploring public narratives, and valuing diverse learning styles. Students will contextualize destinations for the course material according to the aesthetic and academic questions that they bring into the classroom. To consider ethical concerns surrounding participatory theatre, we will examine arts groups past and present that employ the techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed. Readings include Boal, Freire, Jan Cohen-Cruz, Michael Rohd, bell hooks, and Knight and Schwarzman.

2024-2025 Winter
Category
History & Theory
Creating & Devising

TAPS 28481/38481 Machiavelli: Politics and Theater

(ITAL 25550/35550)

Arguably the most debated political theorist of all time due to The Prince, Machiavelli genuinely aspired to be remembered for his creative prowess. He explored various literary genres, such as short stories, dialogues, satirical poetry, letter writing, and, notably, theater, where he demonstrated mastery with The Mandrake, an exemplary Renaissance comedy. This course aims to reintegrate these two aspects of Machiavelli: the serious politician and the facetious performer, a Janus-faced figure who serves as a precursor of both Hobbes and Montaigne. We will revive the image of this “Renaissance man,” and, through him, shed light on his era and fellow humanists by restoring their intellectual unity of prescription and laughter. Indeed, we will discover that Machiavelli encourages us not to take things, including him and ourselves, too seriously!

2024-2025 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 10100 Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

This course introduces students to a range of theatrical concepts and techniques, including script analysis and its application to staging, design and acting. Throughout, we investigate how theater – as a collaborative art form – tells stories. Students will act, direct, and design. In doing so, they will gain an understanding of a variety of processes by which scripts are realized in the theater, with an emphasis on the text’s role in production rather than as literature.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
College Core

TAPS 10200 Acting Fundamentals

This course introduces fundamental concepts of performance in the theater with emphasis on the development of creative faculties and techniques of observation, as well as vocal and physical interpretation. Concepts are introduced through directed reading, improvisation, and scene study.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
College Core

TAPS 10300 Text and Performance

This course offers an introduction to a number of significant dramatic works and seminal figures in the theorization of theater and performance. But the course's aspirations go much further: we will be concentrating upon the intersection of interpretation and enactment, asking how these pieces appear on stage and why. This will not be merely descriptive work, but crucially it will be interpretive and physical work. Students will prepare and present applied interpretations-that is, interpretations that enable conceptual insights to take artistic form. Throughout, we will be searching for that elusive combination of philological rigor, theoretical sophistication, and creative inspiration-probing the theoretical stakes of creativity and testing the creative implications of analytic insights.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
College Core

TAPS 10800 Contemporary Dance Practices

This studio-based course with a seminar component offers an overview of the formal practices and contemporary trends that shape dance as an art form. The class is designed for students who seek to gain a working knowledge of dance and deepen their physical skills. A range of contemporary dance forms and practices will be covered. Topics may include modern dance, hip hop, partnering techniques, social dance forms, improvisation, somatic practices, dance composition, and more. Lectures, viewings, and discussion will support experiential practice components. No previous experience with dance or performance is required. This course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

staff
2024-2025 Spring
Category
College Core

TAPS 10900 Moving and Thinking / Thinking and Moving

Though we often imagine a divide between the physical practice of dance training and the intellectual practice of dance history and theorization, in reality they overlap: movement training is embodied research and a form of intellectual labor, while dance theorization and scholarship is deeply connected to the physicality of thought. This course offers an introduction to dance with an integrated approach to thinking and doing. Students will explore a range of embodied research methodologies that draw from improvisational forms, codified techniques, and social and cultural dance practices. No prior dance experience is required for this hybrid seminar/ studio course.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
College Core

TAPS 20245 Recasting the Past: East Asian Classics on Modern Stages

Performance exists in repetition. Theater is a space where we continue to bring the past to the present, making new moments while maintaining old memories. In this class, we will explore the relationship between performance and repetition by looking at how classical performance in East Asia continue/discontinue on modern stages. From Royal Shakespeare Company’s translation and adaptation of Yuan drama to avant-garde Japanese theatre’ artists recycling of classical performance training techniques, from museum performances that breathe life into the collected theatrical objects to underground variety theater that revives Edo-kabuki––all the materials in the class center on the ways in which modern East Asia negotiates with the disruption of traditions as well as social and personal dislocations that modernity has brought about. By closely looking at a variety of cases, we will consider: How does performance provide us alternative lens to probe into the changing cultural values, historical backgrounds, and social identities in East Asia? What are some ways that we can rethink the premodern/modern divide in East Asian Studies? How can the studies of East Asian performance, both classical and modern, enrich our understandings of the interplay between theater, history, and memory?

2024-2025 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20730 What makes a Classic Theater: from Core Mission to Concept

Instinctively we know what a classic is and does in our culture. From Coca Cola to Air Jordans, a classic is a material artifact that resonates across time, class, race, creed and nationality. A classic has staying power, whether it evolves, remains fresh, or re-invents itself in new contexts. In drama, a classic is a more fraught concept. The tradition of a classic canon has been rightly and thoroughly critiqued as racist, misogynist, and exclusionary. In spite of this, the idea of a classic still abides and holds sway in the cultural imaginary. Taught by Associate Artistic Director Gabrielle Randle-Bent, this course takes as its point of departure that Court Theatre is “The Center for Classic Theatre.” We begin with the question: What are the practical, critical, and dramaturgical implications for an institution committing to the production of classic work? We will read literary and dramatic criticism to better understand the idea of classic text, we will study the structure of modern regional theatre to interrogate the economic necessity for the production of classic work on contemporary stages, and finally we will read canonical, a-canonical, and new works of theatre to begin to articulate a dramaturgy of Classic Theatre on our own terms.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 21700 An Actor Observes

This course addresses techniques and modes of observation and their application to scene study. Observation study is used to strengthen acting choices, build the physical world of the play, and create original, vital characterizations. It also serves to deepen awareness of group dynamics; integrate symbolic, psychological, and physical meaning in a character's behavior; and guide the process of breaking down a scene. Students will perform observation exercises and apply their discoveries to scene work.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Acting

TAPS 22100 Solo Performance

This is a “maker’s” course that takes full advantage of working in a design lab to create a portfolio of short solo performance that could be stand-alone pieces, or further developed into longer works or possibly a TAPS BA thesis. Through the quarter we will examine varied approaches that include personal narrative, adaptation, object work, and projections while investigating the unique performer-to-audience dynamic. Benefiting from a historical approach that originates in the performance art work of the 1970’s through contemporary approaches to stand-up, students will research and present on artists including Marina Abramović, Spalding Gray, Anna Deavere Smith, Taylor Mac, Hannah Gadsby, Tig Notaro, Lynn Needle, Heidi Schrek, César Cadabes, and Debra Ann Byrd. Students will generate new works through in-class and take-home assignments and this quarter will culminate in a final showing of selected work for an invited audience. Prior experience is not required.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 22570 Technological Selves and Stories

In traditional artistic mediums, the self is presented as a narrator, a figure on a canvas, a moving image on a screen or a character on stage. Using contemporary digital technology, new selves appear within emerging forms of storytelling. What selves are these? We will take a hands-on approach to answering this question, exploring the nexus between performance, embodiment and digital representation with an eye to storytelling and dramatic narrative. Students will conduct experiments in data-based digital art, multimedia performance (blending theater and film including live-feed techniques), and virtual reality technologies. Students will accordingly be asked to create original artworks using digital technology to tell stories ranging from the personal to the mythological and even more-than-human, exploring a range of perspectives, personas and cutting-edge storytelling techniques.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
History & Theory
Creating & Devising

TAPS 24500 Chicago Theater: Budgets and Buildings

(CHST 24500)

This course examines the current state of Chicago theatre, focusing on the correlative relationship between facilities, budgets, and missions. Over the quarter the class will travel off-campus to meet with Executive Directors and tour existing Chicago theatres including Court Theatre, Arts Incubator, The Den, Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre, and The House Theatre. Coursework will include evaluative response papers to visited sites, case study presentations, and team development and pitch of an art venture.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 25200 Neo-Futurists Performance Workshop

This course is a hands-on introduction to Neo-Futurism: a method of transforming your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences into creative, task-oriented, audience-participatory, non-illusory, unique theatrical events. Students are encouraged to find their own voice as fully rounded theater artists by writing, directing, and performing their own short performances using their own lives as source material. By pursuing the goal of absolute truth on stage, we focus on an alternative to narrative Realism by embracing such elements as deconstruction, found-text, collage, abstraction, sythesis, and chaos. Classes consist of original group exercises as well as presentations of weekly performance assignments.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising
Acting

TAPS 25212 Anton Chekhov: From 1890 to Here & Now

This is a highly participatory, exploratory class designed for students to study, write and perform dramatic texts. We will read the short stories and major plays of Anton Chekhov and identify signature elements of Chekhovian structure, style and themes. We will read plays that reinterpret, reimagine or recontextualize his work, including works by Thomas Bradshaw, Haruki Murakami, Tanya Saracho, Zach Galifianakis, Claude Miller and Regina Taylor. Working in small groups, we will devise our own short performances in response to Chekhov and how they relate to ourselves, other cultures, and other eras. We will use Chekhov's precise, compassionate yet unsentimental writing as a launchpad to explore theatre, short story and acting in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 26225 Dancing Chicago

With the forthcoming publication of Dancing on the Third Coast: Chicago Dance Histories as text (University of Illinois Press, eds. Susan Manning and Lizzie Leopold), this course would take students out of the classroom to experience, historicize, and critically engage with dance across the city. Students will ask how social and theatrical dancing has shaped the city, and how the city in turn has shaped dancing bodies-in nightclubs and in settlement houses, at world's fairs and in theaters, on film and in the street. With the new historical perspective and critical view, students will produce a dance event as a final project.

staff
2024-2025 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 26315 The Theater of Sports

This course explores how theater as a form interrogates the theatricality, character, story and community of sports. It will also investigate the theater of sporting events. We will read plays about sports, attend plays and sporting events, and definitely get on our feet and play. We will ask the questions: How can theater convincingly embody the world of sports? How do sports use theatricality to connect with their audience?

2024-2025 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 27430 Sound & Light in Motion

This course will explore ways in which the ephemeral elements of sound, light, and projected image can function in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Assigned readings and conversations with guest artists will expand students' relationships with cinema and performance. We will examine layered approaches to storytelling structures including applications in installations, shadow-play, live video mixing, and dance. Using a variety of tools we will apply concepts that cover the augmentation of the aural and visual dimension to create performative work. Final projects will culminate in an evening of work presented in a site-specific format.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Design & Production

TAPS 23980/33980 Writing the Short, Short Play: Investigations in Micro Drama

Never in the history of western theater has brevity gotten so much attention. Festivals around the world are devoted to plays five minutes in length or less; perhaps the most revered playwright of the 20th century, Samuel Beckett, guided his career towards the writing of smaller and smaller works; Chicago’s Neofuturists have profitably run their show of “thirty plays in sixty minutes” for over thirty years; Twitter accounts disseminate multiple two to three line scripts daily; and sketch comedy continues to evolve and thrive.

This course will give an overview of the development of the very short play over the last one hundred and twenty years, but will primarily focus on the writing and development of same, asking students to complete — through workshop prompts — 20 to 30 scripts by end of quarter. A particular effort will be made to bring “traditional” elements of standard-length plays — character, arc, anagnorisis, pathos, backstory, etc — to these miniatures, to test and expand their assumed limitations.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Writing

TAPS 26260/36260 Katherine Dunham: Politics in Motion

This course traces the creative, political, and scholarly legacies of Katherine Dunham (1909-2006), exploring the immeasurable impact of her career as a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, activist, and creator of the Dunham Technique. Students will merge embodied practice with in-class discussions of theoretical texts, questioning the role of Black dance traditions of the 20th century in helping shape transnational and Black diaspora studies. In keeping with the geographic scope of Dunham’s practice and research, we will engage Black dance and social movements of the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, and beyond. Central concepts of performance ethnography, Caribbean studies, and Black feminisms will anchor an investigation of dance as an intellectual process and as social action. We will contemplate the methods of artist-activists and artist-scholars in traversing disciplines and foregrounding new fields of thought. This course will balance training with a certified practitioner in Dunham Technique with field studies, archival research, and short choreographic experiments while taking advantage of concurrent city-wide events celebrating Dunham’s legacy. No previous dance experience is required, and students should be prepared to engage through the body as well as intellectually in each class.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 26280/36280 Site-Based Practice: Choregraphing the Smart Museum

(ARTH 17903, ARTV 20227/30027)

This course gives students the unique opportunity to create a collaborative, site-based work that culminates in a final performance at UChicago’s Smart Museum of Art. Using embodied research methods that respond to site through moving, sensing, and listening, we’ll explore the relationship between the ephemerality of movement and the materiality of bodies and place, and consider how the site-based contexts for dance shift how it is perceived, experienced, and valued. Our quarter-long creation process will begin with a tour of the Smart Museum, guided by curators and members of the Public Practice team, that will provide context to the museum’s exhibitions, programming, and its relationship to geography and community. Assigned readings, viewings, and conversations with guest artists will delve into the relationship between dance and the sites where it happens, including museums—from the material relationship between bodies, objects, and architecture to the digital flows of choreography online.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising
Dance & Movement

TAPS 28330/38330 Oral History & Podcasting

(MAAD 23830)

This class explores the potential of the podcast as a form of ethical artistic and social practice. Through the lens of oral history and its associated values—including prioritizing voices that are not often heard, reciprocity, complicating narratives, and the archive—we will explore ways to tell stories of people and communities in sound. Students will develop a grounding in oral history practices and ethics, as well as the skills to produce compelling oral narratives, including audio editing, recording scenes and ambient sound, and using music. During the quarter, students will have several opportunities to practice interviewing and will design their own oral history project. This class is appropriate for students with no audio experience, as well as students who have taken TAPS 28320 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting.

2024-2025 Spring
Category
Media Arts