Courses

TAPS 25800 POC (Playwrights of Color)

(CRES 25800)

This course explores contemporary works by American playwrights of color, with a focus on how to thoughtfully lead and/or participate in conversations around race and theatre both in- and outside of the rehearsal room. Students will read and discuss how playwrights such as Adrienne Kennedy (1960s), Suzan-Lori Parks (1990s-2000s), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Young Jean Lee (2018) employ imagery, archetypes, and stereotypes, and taught and true history to expand and morph not just the American canon but the American story to include rather than exclude people of color.

2021-2022
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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 10500 Staging Terror

This course creates the first stage in a site-specific devised work process by engaging with a topic and texts and using the ensemble itself to generate work that is then considered critically. As a theme for the quarter, we will explore the interplay between horror, terror, and pleasure through in-class discussions of theoretical works and the possibilities of practical creative application. The paradox of the attraction to repulsion will be considered as well as the values of shock, suspense, and subtlety. Texts will include classic and contemporary drama, cult fiction, ghost stories, games, films, and theoretic source material. As a part of this foundation, we will question the intricacies of staging through in-class discussions of theoretical works (Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud, Stanislavski, and Bogart) and the possibilities of practical creative application. Working 4-dimensionally in outdoor on-campus locations, we will examine how theorized stagings can evoke suspense. This course will constantly question how analysis itself can be a performative practice and how performance can serve as a critical endeavor.

2021-2022 Autumn
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.l endeavor.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
College Core

TAPS 15500 Beginning Screenwriting

This course introduces the basic elements of a literate screenplay, including format, exposition, characterization, dialog, voice-over, adaptation, and the vagaries of the three-act structure. Weekly meetings include a brief lecture period, screenings of scenes from selected films, extended discussion, and assorted readings of class assignments. Because this is primarily a writing class, students write a four- to five-page weekly assignment related to the script topic of the week.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Media Arts
Writing

TAPS 16606 Genre Fundamentals: Drama

(ENGL 10606)

This course explores the pleasures and challenges of experiencing performance through the page. Students will read plays and performances from across the dramatic tradition closely, taking into account not only form, character, plot, and genre, but also theatrical considerations like staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. We will also consider how various agents-playwrights, readers, directors, actors, and audiences-generate plays and give them meaning. The course culminates in a scene project assignment that allows students put their skills of interpretation and adaptation into practice. No experience with theater is expected. Fulfills the Genre Fundamentals requirement in English.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20110 20th Century American Drama

(ENGL 24503)

Beginning with O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey into Night' through the American avant-garde to the most recent production on Broadway, this course focuses on American contemporary playwrights who have made a significant impact with regard to dramatic form in context to specific decade as well as cumulatively through the twentieth century. Textual analysis is consistently oriented towards production possibilities, both historically and hypothetically. ATTENDANCE AT FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 21860 Songwriting for Musical Theater

(MUSI 24321/34321)

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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Musical Theater

TAPS 22680 Queering the American Family Drama

(SIGN 26080, ENGL 22680, GNSE 20116)

In this course, we’ll examine what happens to the American Family Drama on stage when the ‘family’ is queer. 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). Our texts will include theatrical plays, live and recorded productions, queer performance theory, and – where it’s useful to our exploration – select examples from film and television. 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. A background in theater is not required.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 23600 Sketch & Improv

This course adapts curriculum originally designed for the various schools of modern improvisation (including the iO, the Annoyance and The Second City) and brings it into today’s Zoom world. 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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Acting

TAPS 27100 Scene Painting

This course is designed to introduce students to the theatrical art of scenic painting for the stage and film. A scenic artist is the hand of the theatrical designer, translating the small scale of the designer's rendering into full size theatrical environments. In this course, students will explore the unique tools and techniques used by scenic artists to create scenery. The end result of this class will be a basic mastery of painting "faux" surfaces and an understanding of how a scenic artist transforms the designer's ideas into realized pieces of theatrical art.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Design & Production

TAPS 28405 Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies

(ENGL 16500)

An exploration of some of Shakespeare's major plays from the first half of his professional career, when the genres in which he primarily worked were comedies and histories. Plays to be studied include The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Richard III, Richard II, and Henry V. Together, we will read some of Shakespeare's queerest and most delightful comedies in conversation with darker troubling plays that revolve around sexual violence, racism, nationalism, and political theory, and we will see how such topics put generic boundaries to the test. Valuing those classics for their timeless craft but also for the situated cultural horizon that they evidence, we will explore what it means to take comedy and history seriously. Three short papers will be required.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 21510/31510 Backroom Shakespeare: Practical Tactics for Acting in a Madhouse

Shakespeare’s theatre was a madhouse. Losing sight of this was a bad mistake.

This class will give you strong practical skills for performing in the style of those playhouses: under-rehearsed, deeply un-precious, in constant dynamic relationship with your audience. Techniques will focus on personalizing the plays, delivering them with clarity and force to a modern audience - not on ‘doing it right’. Our time will be spent primarily on hands-on exercises and scenework. Materials will include the instructor’s books, My Life with the Shakespeare Cult & Blueprints for a Shakespeare Cult. Course concludes with the presentation of a play for an invited audience. Some on-stage experience recommended. No prior experience with Shakespeare necessary. Chips on shoulders about Shakespeare are welcome and helpful.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Acting

TAPS 23930/33930 Fundamentals of Playwriting

This workshop will explore the underlying mechanics that have made plays tick for the last 2,500-odd years, from Euripides to Shakespeare to Büchner to Caryl Churchill, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Annie Baker, etc. Students will be asked to shamelessly steal those playwrights' tricks and techniques (if they're found useful), and employ them in the creation of their own pieces. Designed for playwrights at any level (beginning or advanced), the workshop's primary goals will be to develop a personal sense of what "works" on stage within the context of what's worked in the past, and to generate a one-act play, start to finish.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Writing
Media Arts

TAPS 24410/34410 Transmedia Puzzle Design

(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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 35950 Beckett and Media

(ENGL 35950)

Though best known for a single play, Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett was a poet, novelist, short-story writer, playwright, translator, and critic with a voluminous output. This course introduces students to the variety and influence of one of the central figures in twentieth-century literature and theater by considering Beckett's better-known plays-both on the page and in recorded performances-alongside select novels, criticism, film, radio, and television pieces. Among the questions we will ask are: What can Beckett's experiments across media teach us about the presumed and actual limits of form? What happens when a medium becomes the means of its own undoing? What can we learn from Beckett's career about cardinal developments in twentieth-century drama, literature, film, and television?

 

2021-2022 Autumn

TAPS 26110/36110 Choreographic Methods

This studio course introduces students to a wide range of methods for creating choreography, while considering the complex relationship between bodies, form, aesthetics, cultural contexts, technology platforms, and performance objectives. Grounded by interdisciplinary inquiry and ethical collaboration practices, the course will provide students with a robust toolkit for experimentation and play within dance and movement-based work, including compositional structures, improvised scoring, and choreographic prompts that are inspired by students’ unique thematic interests. The course also invites students to consider how choreographic methods can be activated as a problem-solving tool across disciplines. Supplementary readings and viewings will highlight contemporary choreographic practices from around the globe, driving discussion and analysis while giving students a broad understanding of how choreography engages current social and political issues.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement

TAPS 26260/36260 Katherine Dunham: Politics in Motion

(CRES 26260)

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.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 28414/ARTV 34301 Writing for Performance

(ARTV 24301)

This course is an exploration of select texts for performance written by performance artists primarily but not entirely operating within the context of art. Via historical context and literary technique, students read, discuss, and analyze texts by various authors spanning the history of performance art: Hugo Ball, John Cage, Richard Foreman, Carolee Schneeman, Joseph Beuys, Karen Finley, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, John Leguizamo, and create and perform their own writing. Field trips and attendance at first class are required.

 

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Creating & Devising
History & Theory

TAPS 28470/FREN 35000 Moliére

(FREN 25000)

Molière crafted a new form of satirical comedy that revolutionized European theater, though it encountered strong opposition from powerful institutions. We will read the plays in the context of the literary and dramatic traditions that Molière reworked (farce, commedia dell'arte, Latin comedy, Spanish Golden Age theater, satiric poetry, the novel), while considering the relationship of laughter to social norms, as well as the performance practices and life of theater in Molière's day.

For undergrads: FREN 20500 or 20503 and one introductory-level literature course taught in French. 

2021-2022 Autumn
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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 Winter
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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement
College Core

TAPS 22360 Advanced Musical Theater Writing

(MUSI 24322/34322)

This course is an advanced, project-oriented writing workshop with an emphasis on dramatic structure, storytelling through music, and the exploration of character as practical matters. Each student will propose a new, full-length musical and will work towards the creation of a first draft over the course of the quarter. In addition to presenting and workshopping new scene or song material weekly, students will study, discuss, and draw inspiration from standout examples of the genre. Students will present excerpted readings from their musicals at the end of the course. Some experience in writing for musical theater is expected.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Musical Theater
Writing

TAPS 22500 Styles and Practice in Storytelling

“What is storytelling? It can be said that it is the oldest form of observing, synthesizing, and communicating feelings thoughts and information.”—Temujin the Storyteller. Every day we use stories to communicate. This course provides students with an overview of the art and practice of storytelling. Chicago is a storytelling town from the Moth to Second Story and from Story Slams to traditional storytelling; performance artists give voice to a wide range of expression. Throughout this learning experience, students will be encouraged to explore the world of storytelling and to nurture their creative voices. Students will create and adapt tales focusing on personal experience, folklore, history, and ethnography. We will learn through participation and observation. The creative experiences in this course will enable students to further their skills in: oral presentation, story construction, performance, artistic critique, and analysis. Students will develop and perform stories from at least three distinct areas of experience. The course provides a creative space for learning and exploration.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 23000 Introduction to Directing

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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Directing

TAPS 23910 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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Writing

TAPS 25850 Race, Performance, Performativity

(CRES 22250; ENGL 24250)

What does it mean to feel raced, and how does performance work with or against such feelings? Why and how does a performance of racial identity come to be perceived as “authentic?” What is at stake in performances that that cross real or imagined racial lines? This upper-level class delves into the topic of performativity as it intersects with race in the American context. Some historical background is studied, but we will mostly explore performativity’s intersection with race in contemporary America. Course assignments are a mix of the theoretical, dramatic, and performative. (In other words, some of our readings theorize performativity while others put theory into play.)

2021-2022 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 26410 The Drama of Doing Business: Plays About Economics in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Can theatre be a legitimate forum for people across the ideological spectrum to consider practices in business and commerce? Or do most plays serve as agitprop, exploiting inherent biases and prejudices against financial institutions, practices and structures?
In this class we will read a survey of plays, from 1910 to the present day. We will attempt to identify the central economic problem each play is attempting to address. We will consider how these problems were manifest at the time of the play's creation, and if they still exist today. We will consider each play's social utility then, and now. Students will be asked to read/watch plays, research eras and write reflection papers. The survey of works may include: The Return of the Prodigal, Waiting For Lefty, Good Soul of Szechuan, All My Sons, The Water Engine, In The Blood, Chinglish, Enron, Sweat and The Lehman Trilogy.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 27450 How Design Thinks

This course seeks to develop an iterative design process by visiting locations on the university campus as well as in the city of Chicago to inform and inspire world building in an array of performance modalities from theater to gaming. Student projects will involve observation, research, illustration, and scale modelling. Individual as well as collaborative projects are possible. Returnable model-making kits containing basic supplies will be provided by the instructor for the duration of the course.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Design & Production

TAPS 28405 Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies

(ENGL 16500)

An exploration of some of Shakespeare's major plays from the first half of his professional career when the genres in which he primarily worked were comedies and (English) histories. Plays to be studied include The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Richard III, Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. A shorter and a longer paper will be required. (Pre-1650, Drama)

2021-2022 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 28431 Theater about Theater

(SIGN 26020; ENGL 24412)

This course is a transhistorical study of changing ideas about representation, explored through the lens of early modern and twentieth-century plays that foreground theatrical form. Every play frames time and space and in the process singles out a portion of life for consideration. The plays we’ll consider this term call conspicuous attention to the frame itself, to the materials and capacities of theater. What happens when plays comment on their own activity? Why might they do so? Why has theatrical self-consciousness emerged more strongly in particular historical periods? What might such plays teach us about the nature of art, and about the nature of life? To what extent can we distinguish between art and life? We’ll explore these and other questions through plays by Marlowe, Kyd, Shakespeare, Pirandello, Beckett, Genet, Stoppard, Nwandu, and Young Jean Lee; and through theoretical work by Puchner, Hornby, Sofer, Fuchs, and others.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 49700 Performance Practice as Research

Performance Practice as Research (PPR) seeks to be a laboratory for doctoral students to develop performance work as a means of research -- to pursue inquiries within and through artistic practice.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 20700/30710 Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism

(ENGL 20710)

This course is an orientation and practicum in contemporary dramaturgy. After surveying Enlightenment treatises that occasioned Western dramaturgical practices, students will critically engage present-day writings that consider the objectives and ultimate raisons d’être for the production dramaturg. Students then undertake dramaturgical research, exploring different methodologies and creative mind-sets for four representative performance genres: period plays; new plays; operas or musicals; and installations or performance art. Special attention will be given to cultivating skills for providing constructive feedback and practicing dramaturgy as an artistic collaborator and fellow creator. The class culminates in the design and compilation of a sourcebook for actors, directors, and designers, followed by a dramaturgical presentation intended for a professional rehearsal room.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Dramaturgy

TAPS 21500/31500 Advanced Acting

This course develops acting skills for the current moment in addition to preparing for the future. The focus will be on acting analysis methods that are useful for live or remote performance; best practices in monologue, scene study, and/or audition work on camera; and multiple approaches toward creating engaging digital performance. This class will combine the study of acting theory with collaborative performance practice. Previous acting experience is encouraged.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Acting

TAPS 21730/31730 Movement for Actors

This course will explore how an actor uses movement as a tool to communicate character, psychological perspective and style. The foundation of our movement work will center on the skills of balance, coordination, strength, flexibility, breath control and focus. Building on the skills of the actor both in terms of naturalistic character work and stylized theatrical text. Students will put the work into practice utilizing scene work and abstract gesture sequences through studying the techniques of Michael Chekov, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Anne Bogart, Complicite and Frantic Assembly.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Acting
Dance & Movement

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

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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement

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.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Media Arts

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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 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
2021-2022 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
College Core

TAPS 20230 Theater Games to Gaming Theater

Uniting methodologies and readings from media and performance studies, this interdisciplinary course explores the historical and contemporary proximities between games and theater as interactive media. Each unit of this course interrogates the generic boundary of “games,” seeing games as the content of, source of, medium for, and engine behind compelling performances. Our course will make a study of “immersive” and game-like theatrical works that provoke meaningful questions about audience agency, interactivity, and the role of technology in our contemporary understanding of what it means to attend or take part in “play.” Students in this course can expect to read theatrical scripts, attend and participate in performances, and perform game exercises in class. Part of taking this class is “being game” – open to participating in the various forms of play we will explore together. Students will watch contemporary works of gaming theater and participate in a hands-on gaming theater workshop, in addition to attending live improv comedy and an escape room. In the midterm assignment students will compose a performance game of their own, designing and testing the piece over three weeks. The final assignment emphasizes the process of producing scholarly writing and asks students to apply performance and game studies approaches to texts from our class.

2021-2022 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.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Acting

TAPS 25505 Adaptation for the Screen

This course introduces students to the rewards and difficulties of adapting literary material to the big screen. In addition to reading short stories and viewing the films that were made from these stories, all students will be given the same short story to adapt into a 50-60 minute film. Progress on these scripts will be addressed through in-class readings, leading to final meetings with the instructor about your completed first drafts. Screenwriting experience is helpful, but not essential. Class size is limited to 10 students.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Writing

TAPS 25910 Short Form Digital Storytelling: Creating a Web Series

(MAAD 24910)

This course examines the short form storytelling of the digital web series. Through lectures, viewings, and discussions in weekly meetings, students will determine what makes a strong web series and apply the findings to writing and polishing the pilot episode of their own web series. Students will write weekly four-to-five-page assignments building toward the creation of a five-to-six-episode series.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Media Arts
Writing

TAPS 26302 Bodies at Work: Art & Civic Responsibility

(CRES 26302; GNSE 26303)

Contemporary artists are quickly adapting their practices to be more inclusive, diverse, accessible and physically safe. In particular, the rise of intimacy design and anti-racist work in theatre, film and television has opened up a dialogue about how artists do their work responsibly. Through practice and investigation, this class will dive into the responsibility of artists in contemporary artistic processes. We will explore both how the tools and capacities of artists can transform civic practice and, conversely, how artists are grappling with the civic issues of body safety, anti-racism and accessibility in arts practice. We will explore how centering the body can create respectful engagement in the arts. We will look at the work of Enrich Chicago, Nicole Brewer, Sonya Renee Taylor, Not in Our House and Intimacy Directors & Coordinators among others.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
History & Theory
Creating & Devising

TAPS 22310/32310 Performance Art Installations: Performing Diaspora

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.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising

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.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Writing

TAPS 24420/34420 Games and Performance: Live Action Role Playing Games

(MAAD 24420)

This experimental course builds on the emerging genres of “immersive performance,” “alternate reality,” and “Live Action Role Playing (LARP)” to investigate the dynamics of role-playing games through case studies, gameplay, and original student design. Our focus will include the 1913 Gettysburg reunion, parlor games including Parker Brother’s 1937 Jury Box, Society for Creative Anachronism in1966, Dungeons and Dragons (both its inception in 1974 and current resurgence), Brian Wiese's Hobbit War in 1977, Mind’s Eye Theater’s development of World of Darkness, and Ground Zero, which began the Nordic Larp movement in 1998. We will explore role of the game master, emergent narratives, improvised community formation as well as “bleed.” Previous course work in Games and Performance encouraged but not required.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 24550/34550 Evolution of Improvisation in Chicago

(MAAD 34550)

This course traces the history of improvisation for performance, beginning with the "High Priestess" Viola Spolin's work exploring the educational and social benefits of play at Hull House through Paul Sill's development of The Compass Players in Hyde Park to include current companies including Second City, The Neo Futurists, The Annoyance, and IO. The course will include attendance at performances, student presentations, and practice-based workshops.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 26220/36220 Dance, Identity, and Appropriation

(CRES 26230)

This survey course will look at the ways that dance—across genres, geographies, and histories—has negotiated, challenged, and complicated ideas of identity and authority. Grounded in histories including the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, where Swedish-American Christine Olson performed Turkish dance on the Midway, as well as modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis’ imitation of the Indianness she encountered on a cigarette ad, we will explore case studies including American minstrel traditions, hip hop dance, the Nutcracker and other classical ballets, dance tourism like Hula and West African forms, viral K-pop dance tutorials, and more. These case studies will be used to discover how dance, and the dancing body, performs and problematizes appropriation. Part seminar/part practicum, assignments will include short written papers and performance projects including dance reconstructions.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 26290/36290 Mapping Black Social Dance: Hip-Hop and House in the Community and Onstage

(CRES 26290; MUSI 23620)

This hybrid studio/seminar course offers an overview of the formal techniques, cultural contexts, and social trends that shape current Black social and vernacular dance practices. Modules will be built around Black social culture by looking at key histories and theories around Black dance, music and other cultural aesthetics from hip hop to house. As part of our exploration, we will cover themes such as: the Great Migration, the range of Black social dance forms from blues, jazz, disco, and dancehall that have influenced the evolution of hip hop and house on global scale; and the spectrum of social spaces from clubs to lounges and public events that have been critical to preserving Black cultural heritage and creating safe spaces for belonging and flourishing. Selected readings and viewings will supplement movement practice to give historical, cultural, and political context. 

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

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.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 28421/38421 Theater for Social Change

(CRES 28421)

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.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising
History & Theory