Courses

TAPS core waitlist

The wait list for TAPS core courses (101-109) opens after resolution is completed the quarter before. Access using your uchicago email address.

TAPS 29900 Reading and Research

This is a reading and research course for independent study.

2022-2023

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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
College Core

TAPS 15500 Beginning Screenwriting

(MAAD 25500, CRWR 27102)

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Writing
Media Arts

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Acting

TAPS 21805 Sondheim and After

(ENGL 10610)

Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) reinvented the American musical. This course explores his work as a lyricist and composer, and his influence on writers including Jonathan Larson, Jeanine Tesori, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Musical Theater

TAPS 21810 Introduction to Musical Theater Writing

This course is a practical introduction to writing for musical theater. Students will analyze and discuss character development and dramatic structure across musical theater scripts, scores, and songs, and they will apply these lessons to their own writing. Students will develop treatments and excerpts towards new works of musical theater, and as individuals or in teams they will write, workshop, and present ten-minute musicals at the end of the quarter. No prior experience in script writing or songwriting is required.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Musical Theater
Writing

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. Buxbaum Danzig, 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Directing

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Acting

TAPS 24050 New Play Development: Playwrights and Dramaturgs

This class explores the new play development process from first to second draft and will culminate in a staged reading at the end of the quarter. All the roles of a traditional production process will be a part of this class, with students serving as: playwrights, directors, actors, and dramaturgs. What happens once the playwright is ready to invite in collaborators to develop a script? How does each person bring their unique point of view to the play? How can this process serve both the play and the artists involved? The class is studying the art, theory and process of development as well as working on our feet to try our hands at what we are discovering. We will work to develop student plays in which a first draft is already written. Playwrights with a complete, first draft of a play are encouraged to submit their work for this course and will be selected the quarter before this course is offered. To apply, please send your script and note of introduction to ddemayo@uchicago.edu. Students interested in taking on any of the other designated roles of a production team (actors, directors, dramaturgs) should select either TAPS 20450 New Play Development: Playwrights and Dramaturgs OR TAPS 20451 New Play Development: Directors and Actors. Once enrolled, course instructors will assign tasks taking into consideration student interest. For further information on the course or how to enroll, please contact ddemayo@uchicago.edu.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Writing

TAPS 24051 New Play Development: Directors and Actors

This class explores the new play development process from first to second draft and will culminate in a staged reading at the end of the quarter. All the roles of a traditional production process will be a part of this class, with students serving as: playwrights, directors, actors, and dramaturgs. What happens once the playwright is ready to invite in collaborators to develop a script? How does each person bring their unique point of view to the play? How can this process serve both the play and the artists involved? The class is studying the art, theory and process of development as well as working on our feet to try our hands at what we are discovering. We will work to develop student plays in which a first draft is already written. Students interested in taking on these designated roles of a production team (actors, directors, dramaturgs) should select either TAPS 20450 New Play Development: Playwrights and Dramaturgs OR TAPS 20451 New Play Development: Directors and Actors. Once enrolled, course instructors will assign tasks taking into consideration student interest. For further information on the course or how to enroll, please contact ddemayo@uchicago.edu. Playwrights with a complete, 8 Theater and Performance Studies first draft of a play are encouraged to submit their work for the companion course TAPS 24050 and will be selected the quarter before this course is offered. To apply, please send your script and note of introduction to ddemayo@uchicago.edu.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Directing
Acting

TAPS 28470 Molière

(FNDL 25001, FREN 25000, FREN 35000)

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. Taught in French.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 20040/30040 Black Shakespeare

(ENGL 18860, CRES 18860)

This course explores the role played by the Shakespearean canon in the shaping of Western ideas about Blackness, in long-term processes of racial formation, and in global racial struggles from the early modern period to the present. Students will read Shakespearean plays portraying Black characters (Othello, Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra) in conversation with African-American, Caribbean, and Post-colonial rewritings of those plays by playwrights Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Bernard Jackson, Djanet Sears, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott, Lolita Chakrabarti, and film-makers Max Julien and Jordan Peele. This course is open to MAPH students and to PhD students upon request.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20320/30320 Housekeeping: Domestic Drama and Material Culture

(ENGL 20260, ENGL 40250)

The theatre represents a new and wildly successful commodity in the early modern English market. Yet it is often kept separate from other fashionable goods of the period by virtue of its intangible form. This course overturns the orthodoxy that an early modern play was a co-imaged event and the early modern theatre was an “empty space” by attending to the Renaissance theatre's frequent recourse to household stuff.

We will read plays designed for private performance, that use the fixtures of the household to build theatrical worlds. We will investigate dramatists who liken the playhouse to key venues of commodity culture, including the pawnshop, the Exchange (the precedent of the shopping mall), and the fairground. We will draw from Henslowe's Diary to recover the business of theatrical property-making and the allure of a company as disclosed by its holdings. All the while, we will question how the fiction of emptiness takes hold in theatre history, and how plays that depict a furnished world are relegated to second-class genres like domestic tragedy and city comedy.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
History & Theory

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Writing

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Media Arts

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.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement

TAPS 26230/36230 Dance and the Archive

In this class, dance and the archive are addressed through three relationships: documenting dance for the archive, researching dance in the archive, and dancing as an archive of past events. The course unveils major topics in dance history and practice, such as alternative ideas about historical narratives and categories, the ephemerality of live performance, and how bodies hold knowledge and lived experience, with an emphasis on how racial structures shape archives. In course assignments, students will conduct research using archival sources and build archives that document and consist of their own moving bodies.

2022-2023 Autumn
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 28480/38480, The Worlds of Harlequin: Commedia Dell'arte

(ITAL 39601, ITAL 29600)

This course is an introduction to the Italian art of theatrical improvisation or commedia dell'arte, a type of theater featuring masked characters and schematic plots. We will look at the influence of Boccaccio's Decameron on the formation of stock-characters, the introduction of women into the realm of theatrical professionalism, the art of costume and mask making, and the Italian knack for pantomime and gestural expression. Readings include such masterpieces in the tradition of comic theater as Machiavelli's The Mandrake and Goldoni's Harlequin Servant of Two Masters, as well as their renditions in film.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
College Core

TAPS 20222 Interracial Performance and the Politics of Appropriation

(MUSI 23722)

This course will engage with historical and recent examples of "Performing the Other," beginning with blackface minstrelsy and moving through representations of racialized Others on the operatic stage and the Hollywood screen. We will also consider cross-cultural performances that go "Beyond Appropriation.” What does it mean to take ownership of a culturally-specific art form in an increasingly global age where access to cultural resources is continually expanding? What are the ethics, politics, and problematics of cross-cultural engagement? Our goal will be to discuss the history of cultural appropriation in music and theater as well as to complicate contemporary applications of a term that has perhaps lost some of its nuance in the process of its adoption by mainstream media and pop culture, as well as within academia. This syllabus stages a dialogue between performance studies and (ethno)musicology, exploring music as a vehicle for the performance of racial and cultural identity.

 

2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20240 Performing the U.S. Supreme Court

(MUSI 23622)

How do American Supreme Court justices engage with performance? How do performing artists engage with the United States Supreme Court? This class explores the intersections between music, theater, dance, and “the highest court of the land.” We will discuss how the court has defined “performance” in various intellectual property and arts-related opinions. We will analyze recent justices’ own performances in the courtroom, at the Washington National Opera, and on the salsa dance floor. And we will watch, listen to, and interpret songs, operas, plays, and films that set the text of Supreme Court opinions. By the end of the quarter, students should understand how performance shapes the making and the memory of American law, and how law shapes the concept and the content of artistic performance.

Weekly readings and screenings will include excerpts from secondary sources, Supreme Court oral arguments and opinions, and musical and theatrical performances. To gain experience both reading law and presenting in public, students will perform a short spoken, danced, and/or musical setting of a Supreme Court opinion (this can be an existing artistic setting or one of students’ own devising), and will write a five-page paper analyzing how their chosen artistic setting inflects the judicial rhetoric of the opinion.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Musical Theater

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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Creating & Devising
Acting

TAPS 22500 Styles and Practice in Storytelling

(CHST 22500)

“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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 23700 Playwriting: Creating Natural Dialogue for the Stage

This course employs collaboration among the students to help each individual writer create natural dialogue for the stage. Students will utilize improvisation to write a contemporary scene focusing on the natural rhythms and nuances of modern communication. Through these improvisations, the students create a framework for their narrative with a special focus on developing unique voices for each character. Students read scenes from contemporary plays which emphasize spontaneous and realistic dialogue. Students have weekly assignments that further explore the characters they are writing. Each class includes an active roundtable discussion of the weekly assignments as well as collaborative exercises that further explore the voices of their characters. In addition to the weekly assignments, students write two complete scenes that will receive readings by their classmates. Note(s): Attendance at first class meeting is mandatory.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Writing

TAPS 24252 Black Quietude

(ENGL 24252)

This course considers modes of quietude as they intersect experiences of blackness. What can be conveyed or contained in moments of stillness or quiet? Is black quietude a moment of universalism that transcends the determinations of race? Or do black subjects carry or project the experience of racialization into their spaces of quiet? Do we define quiet for the black subject on the same terms as for other racial categories?

2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement

TAPS 26516 Opera Across Media

(GNSE 25020; MUSI 25020; MAAD 13020)

Over the course of the last 120 years, opera and cinema have been sounded and seen together again and again. Where opera is commonly associated with extravagant performance and production, cinema is popularly associated with realism. Yet their encounter not only proves these assumptions wrong but produces some extraordinary third kinds--media hybrids. It also produces some extraordinary love affairs. Thomas Edison wanted a film of his to be “a grand opera,” and Federico Fellini and Woody Allen wanted opera to saturate their films. Thinking about these mutual attractions, “Opera across Media” explores different operatic and cinematic repertories as well as other media forms. Among films to be studied are Pabst’s Threepenny Opera (1931), Visconti’s Senso (1954), Powell and Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Zeffirelli’s La traviata (1981), DeMille’s Carmen (1915), Losey’s Don Giovanni (1979), Bergman’s The Magic Flute (1975), and Fellini’s E la nave va (1983). No prior background in music performance, theory, or notation is needed. Students may write papers based on their own skills and interests relevant to the course. Required work includes attendance at all screenings and classes; weekly postings on Canvas about readings and viewings; attendances at a Met HD broadcast and a Lyric Opera live opera; a short “think piece” midway through the course; and a final term paper of 8-10 pages.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 28435 Brecht and Beyond

(ENGL 24400)

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory is also considerable. We will explore the range and variety of Brecht's work, from the Threepenny hit to the agitprop film Kühle Wampe) to classic parable plays, as well as Brecht heirs in German theatre and film (RW Fassbinder & Peter Weiss) theatre and film in Britain (Peter Brook & John McGrath), African theatre and film influenced by Brecht, and the NYC post-Occupy adaptation of Brecht’s Days of the Commune. Note: This is not a basic introductory course. Students must have completed HUM Core and one or more of the following: International Cinema or equivalent and/or TAPS and/or working German. Please ask about other courses you have taken that may count as PQs.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 28466 Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

(CMST 25954, MAAD 20700, ENGL 25970, BPRO 28700, ENGL 32314, ARTV 20700, ARTV 30700, CMST 35954)

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. Theater and Performance Studies - Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda, Heidi Coleman

Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth-year undergraduates or MA/MFA students. Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing through the online form at: 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
2022-2023 Winter
Category
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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Major/Minor Requirement

TAPS 32312 Virtual Theaters

This course probes the nature and limits of theater by exploring a range of theatrical texts whose relation to performance is either partially or fully virtual (philosophical dialogues, closet dramas, novel chapters in dramatic form, twitter theater, digital theater, algorithmic theater, transmedia games, remote theater.) One unit attends to experiments in remote theater since the COVID-19 pandemic.

2022-2023 Winter

TAPS 25215/35215 Between Power and Powerlessness: Theater in East and Central Europe

(REES 26040/36040)

Reading one play per week, this course introduces students to the study of theater and performance in East and Central Europe. There will also be short readings providing historical and cultural context. Authors may include: Lesya Ukrainka, Nikolai Gogol, Stanisław Wyspiański, Anton Chekhov, Karel Čapek, Nikolai Erdman, Witold Gombrowicz, Václav Havel, Liudmila Petrushevskaya, Natalka Vorozhbyt. Theoretical vocabulary from performance studies and specific themes (Soviet mass spectacle, the avant-garde, acting methods, theater of the absurd, the Velvet Revolution, actionism, the Belarus Free Theater) will be introduced. This is a project-oriented course. Students will be guided in undertaking relevant creative/research work.

Ania Aizman
2022-2023 Winter
Category
History & Theory

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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 28360/38360 Screendance: Movement and New Media

(CMST 28360, MAAD 23860)

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).

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 40899 Opera without Borders

(CDIN 40899)

“Opera without Borders” explores how markers of race, indigeneity, and other identities blur historical time and disrupt geopolitical space on the operatic stage. How does opera operate in the new arenas of cosmopolitan citizenship during our present historical moment, when the unitary monoliths of nations, citizens, and identities are no longer firmly in place and means of travel and communication are quickly transforming? How and why have patterns of exploration, trade, and migration, forced and voluntary, colonial and decolonial, generated new operatic genres, new means of operatic production, and new kinds of opera producers (librettists, composers, directors, choreographers, dramaturgs, etc.)?

Among our cases are the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Orphan of Zhao (2012); the Paris Opera’s hiphop staging of Rameau’s Les indes galantes (2019); Schikaneder and Mozart’s Magic Flute (1791) reimagined as Impempe Yomlingo (2007-2011) by the township artists of Capetown; and circulations of Cantonese opera in Chinatowns from Vancouver and San Francisco to New York and Honolulu.

Weekly screenings required. Advanced undergraduates may request permission to enroll.

2022-2023 Winter

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.

 

ARTV 10100 10200 or 10300

2022-2023 Winter
Category
Writing

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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Spring
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.

2022-2023 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.

Staff
2022-2023 Spring
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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20550 (Re)Orienting Performance Studies: East Asia as Method

(EALC 20550)

This course will introduce students to theories and practices of performance that center East Asian forms and experiences. We will engage with East Asian performance not as essentialized and static cultural displays, but as sites for disciplinary intervention and innovation that can motivate more capacious theories of performance. The course will feature a number of guest scholars and practitioners who will introduce forms such as noh, kabuki, Kun opera, pansori, butoh, and K-pop through guided discussions and workshops. No background required; all readings in English.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 20755 Making "I'll Take You There: The Life of Mavis Staples" at Court Theatre

(RLST 28755, HIST 20300, CHST 20755, MUSI 20755)

Court Theatre has acquired the rights to Greg Kot’s 2014 biography of Chicago-born music legend Mavis Staples, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the Music that Shaped the Civil Rights Era. Kot is the former music critic for the Chicago Tribune, editorial director of the music platform the Coda Collection, and co-host of Sound Opinions. Playwright Tyla Abercrumbie is leading the work of adapting the life of Mavis Staples for Court's stage. A cast member on Showtime's The Chi, Abercrumbie has been hailed by critics as "the next August Wilson." Using the methods of history, dramaturgy, biography and musicology, students in this course will work with Court’s artistic team to map the story’s rich historical landscape, excavate the essential characters and identify the key events—social, political and musical—that a playwright might explore. Students will pursue individual research projects grounded in the epic journey of the Staples family and its powerful mobilizing role in the Civil Rights movement. Mavis Staples continues to blend gospel, blues, rock and protest music in her work; her collaborators include Bob Dylan, Prince, and Chuck D. Students will trace the Staples family’s story via multiple archives to build a portfolio of sound recordings, oral history interviews, photographs, newspapers, film and video recordings that will help bring the production to life. Kot and Abercrumbie will be regular guests in class.

Students enrolled in this course will be invited on an immersive research expedition in the southern US in Summer 2023, traveling to Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Washington, D.C., in order to trace the steps of the Staple Singers as they made music—and Civil Rights—history.

Nora Titone, with Greg Kot and Tyla Abercrumbie
2022-2023 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 22300 Performance Art Installation: The Dreamer and the Dream

(32300)

In this course we will explore the relations between dreaming and waking life using a broad interdisciplinary approach. Our point of departure will be psychological, cultural, and religious understandings of dreams. On the basis of the readings and the skills and backgrounds of participants, the class will develop a "performance installation" around the liminal spaces of dream and wakefulness. Readings will include literary texts by Apuleius, Calderon, Shakespeare, ;Schnitzler, and Neil Gaiman, and theoretical texts by Freud, Jung, Klein, and Winnicott

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Creating & Devising

TAPS 22550 Performing Nature

What is it like to be a bat? A tree? A slime mold? Art that attempts to represent non-human experience helps to orient environmentalism around radical and highly personal moments of inter-species empathy. Portraying non-human perspectives, we escape the abstraction of environmental data, and instead approach ecological entanglement on the level of individual imagination. Giving voice and human embodiment to nature is a theme in much 19th, 20th and 21st century creative writing (fiction/nonfiction) and performance work (theater, dance, puppetry). Accordingly, this class offers a broad survey of non-human representation in these arts with special attention to first-person narratives and embodiment of flora and fauna. The course draws on philosophers of mind (i.e. Shaviro's 'Discognition') and nature-science writing, plus contemporary performance projects and digital works by art/technology companies who deploy virtual reality and electronic media to explore the points of view of natural beings and systems. Reading about anthropomorphization and the problem of the subject in nature writing from Erasmus Darwin to the present will allow students to adopt a critical as well as appreciative eye toward this field of study and expression. Creative writing assignments will ask students to write (and perform) monologues from nonhuman perspectives.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
History & Theory

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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Acting
Writing

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.

2022-2023 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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Writing
Media Arts

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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

TAPS 28455 Transmedia Theater, Live Experience Design, and Networked Performance: A Maker's Lab

The recent pandemic has challenged live performance to consider alternatives in the creation of online spaces and the "pivot to digital," has frequently resulted in innovative approaches of adaptation of texts originally designed for the stage, yet as a result, remain rooted in a "broadcast" modality. Live Experience Design benefits from the exploration of pre-COVID forms including netprov, ARGs, online LARPs, interactive theater, and NFT games as well as popular social media forms including Instagram and SnapChat filters. This course invites directors, designers, and writers to innovate under the influence of networked media with an emerging genre at the nexus between theater, film, and video games to create short-form interactive original work through Zoom, Twitch, Twine, and Discord. Through a series of workshop assignments, lectures, and cross-disciplinary guest artist demonstrations, this immersive course will consider how can we use and build upon existing technologies to make impactful theater in a networked setting that not only creates a story that elicits an emotional but narrative that is depended on audience interaction. Projects will draw from game mechanics and work across multiple platforms and will require no prior experience with coding or video production.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Media Arts

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.

2022-2023 Spring
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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Acting
Dance & Movement

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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Writing

TAPS 26240/36240 Black Experimentation in Dance

(CRES 26240)

In this course, experimentation is explored as a choreographic approach to dancing and making dances. Grounded in process, practice, inquiry, and improvisation, experimentation has a long history in Black expressive culture. This class pairs readings at the intersection of Black performance theory, feminist and queer of color theory, and Black dance studies with examples of dance performances and artists interrogating topics such as the problem of aesthetic categorization, navigating racial visibility/invisibility onstage, and the politics of Black dancing bodies. The class focuses on concert dance in the United States, but may cover examples from social dance, popular entertainment, performance art, and global contexts.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Dance & Movement
History & Theory

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

(ARTV 30027, TAPS 36280, ARTV 20027, ARCH 26280, CHST 26280)

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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
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.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
Media Arts

TAPS 44219 Remembrances of Things Past: Japanese Classics in Modern Literature

(EALC 44219)

In this course we will read premodern Japanese literature and performance alongside modern works of page, stage, and film by Higuchi Ichiyo, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, Enchi Fumiko, Mishima Yukio, Oba Minako, and others, which engage with these classical texts either thematically or formally. We will pay special attention to internal and external dynamics of recollection, evocation, alienation and inheritance, to shifting perceptions of orality in literature, and to explorations of alternative realities and possibilities in the remembrance (and misremembrance) of classical literature and performance.  Readings will be available in English, but those with knowledge of modern Japanese will be strongly encouraged to read in Japanese where possible. Prior knowledge of Classical Japanese is not required. Advanced undergraduates interested in joining must receive prior approval by emailing instructor.

2022-2023 Spring
Category
History & Theory

TAPS 58910 Aesthetics and Politics

This PhD seminar will build on the work covered in Marxism and Modern Culture to examine in more detail and where possible in the original German the arguments about the intersections and frictions between aesthetics and politics in high, middle, and mass cultural forms of literature, performance, film and other media, in the work of the above theorists.

2022-2023 Spring

TAPS 49750 SLIPAR (September Lab in Performance as Research)

SLIPAR is an intensive laboratory for creativity and critique, comprising studio time, training sessions, consultations with a variety of professional mentors, seminar meetings, and faculty-led critique. It will culminate in a public presentation at the start of autumn quarter.

SLIPAR is required for all TAPS PhD students under the current (beta) requirements, and is typically taken before the beginning of year 3. TAPS 49700 Performance Practice as Research (PPAR) is a prerequisite for SLIPAR. PhD students in other departments who have taken PPAR and are interested in participating in SLIPAR should reach out to Leslie Buxbaum Danzig lbdanzig@uchicago.edu.

2022-2023 Summer