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Theatre 2011-2012

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Profile

Chairperson:  David E. Patrick
Graduate Committee Chairperson and Coordinator: egla Hassan
Office:  Browne Hall 101
Telephone: (309) 298-1543
E-mail: theatre@wiu.edu
Website:  wiu.edu/theatre/
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty
Professors

  • Raymond Gabica, M.F.A., Michigan State
  • egla Hassan, M.F.A., Western Illinois University
  • Bill Kincaid, M.F.A., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Tim Kupka, M.F.A., University of Iowa
  • David E. Patrick, M.F.A., Ohio State University
  • Jeannie M. Woods, Ph.D., City University of New York

Associate Professors

  • Carolyn Blackinton, M.F.A., Florida State University
  • D. C. Wright, M.F.A., Boston University

Associate Graduate Faculty
Associate Professor

  • Jason Conner, M.F.A., Western Illinois University

Instructor

  • Sharon Nott, M.A., Western Illinois University

  Program Description

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers a program of graduate study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in the following areas of concentration: acting, directing, costume design, lighting design, and scenic design. The M.F.A. is a 62 hour program that takes three years to complete. A professionally oriented, terminal degree, it is designed to be a transition between collegiate training and the professional theatre and related careers. The program offers rigorous study through an individualized curriculum approach aimed at developing the student’s creative and intellectual growth. The program integrates the theoretical with the practical by combining technical preparation and intellectual endeavor with intensive application in designing, directing, and performing in theatre productions in the academic year and for the Regional Touring Theatre Company.

  Admission Requirements

Students applying for admission to the graduate program are expected to: a) meet the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, and b) either audition for or be interviewed by a committee of faculty members from the Department of Theatre and Dance. Undergraduate courses may be prescribed for individuals who are considered to have insufficient background in theatre. The Department of Theatre and Dance does not require the Graduate Record Examination.

  Degree Requirements

If the student requires no remedial coursework in theatre, a minimum of 62 semester hours is required for the MFA. Specific programs of study will be designed for each individual, based on previous experience and expertise. All students must successfully complete selected required courses in their area of emphasis. Depending upon that expertise and knowledge, the student may be required to take additional coursework or demonstrated competencies may substitute for some courses.

Upon acceptance into the MFA program, students are assigned an advisor (the area head of Acting, Directing, or specific Design area). The student will undergo a Graduate Review at the end of each semester in residence and must demonstrate sustained progress in order to be retained in the program.

Select one of the following areas of emphasis: 62 s.h.

A. Acting

THEA 472G Auditions (2)
THEA 481G Rehearsal Techniques (3)
THEA 537 Professional Semester (9)
THEA 545 Movement Lab: Warm Up (1)
THEA 546 Physical Characterization (2)
THEA 547 Advanced Movement I (2)
THEA 548 Advanced Movement II (1)
THEA 565 Advanced Voice Techniques I (2)
THEA 566 Advanced Voice Techniques II (1)
THEA 567 Advanced Voice Techniques III (1)
THEA 568 Advanced Voice Techniques IV (2)
THEA 576 Problems in Acting: Contemporary Texts (2)
THEA 577 Problems in Acting: Period Texts (2)
THEA 578 Problems in Acting: Comedy Texts (2)
THEA 579 Professional Summer Semester (9)
THEA 580 Theories of Acting and Directing (3)
THEA 587 Problems in Acting/Directing: The Score (3)
THEA 590 Analysis (3)
THEA 601 MFA Comprehensive Examination (0)
THEA 602 MFA Acting Project (4)
Departmental Electives (8)

B. Design

THEA 451G Décor (4)
THEA 534 Graduate Technical Theatre Practicum and THEA 550 Design for the Theatre (combination of 36)
THEA 540 Visual Concepts for the Stage (3)
THEA 579 Professional Summer Semester (12)
THEA 590 Analysis (3)
THEA 601 MFA Comprehensive Examination (0)
THEA 602 MFA Project (4)

C. Directing

THEA 451G Décor (4)
THEA 481G Rehearsal Techniques (3)
THEA 482G Independent Projects in Directing (3)
THEA 537 Professional Semester (9)
THEA 540 Visual Concepts for the Stage (3)
THEA 545 Movement Lab: Warm Up (1)
THEA 565 Advanced Voice Techniques I (2)
THEA 567 Advanced Voice Techniques III (1)
THEA 576 Problems in Acting: Contemporary Texts (2)
Or
THEA 577 Problems in Acting: Period Texts (2)
Or
THEA 578 Problems in Acting: Comedy Texts (2)
THEA 579 Professional Summer Semester (9)
THEA 580 Theories of Acting and Directing (3)
THEA 582 Pre-Candidacy Directing Practicum (6)
THEA 585 Directing Seminar (3)
THEA 587 Problems in Acting/Directing: The Score (3)
THEA 590 Analysis (3)
THEA 600 Research and Projects in Theatre (3)
THEA 601 MFA Comprehensive Examination (0)
THEA 602 MFA Project (4)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 62 s.h.

Application for Candidacy

All students are in pre-candidacy status until the end of their second semester. After at least 18 semester hours of graduate work at the University have been completed and before the completion of 30 semester hours, the student must file a Graduate Degree Plan with the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Theatre and Dance. The student has to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, have removed all academic deficiencies and passed all graduate reviews up to that point. In determining the student’s qualifications for candidacy, the graduate faculty consider the student’s graduate and undergraduate record and other criteria stipulated by the department. After weighing all relevant factors, the graduate faculty may: (a) approve the Graduate Degree Plan, (b) defer action until certain specified requirements are met, or (c) refuse the applicant’s request. If approved, the Coordinator will forward the Degree Plan to the School of Graduate Studies. Approval of the degree plan signifies admission to degree candidacy.

Students who are not admitted to candidacy at the end of the second semester may be kept on pre-candidacy status for another semester or asked to leave the program. Once admitted to candidacy, all students will continue to undergo Graduate Reviews at the end of each semester and must demonstrate sustained progress in order to be retained in the program.

MFA Examination

All students in theatre must pass a written examination prior to receiving the MFA. Procedures for taking the exam are contained in the Department of Theatre and Dance Graduate Handbook.

MFA Project

Each graduate student in theatre must present a final project in the area of specialty. After the student has been admitted to candidacy and the project proposal is approved, the student’s advisor will then form an MFA project committee consisting of three full-time theatre faculty members. Examples of final projects include the performance of a major role, directing, or designing a fully-staged University Theatre production. The project committee will review and evaluate the final project and a final oral defense of the project. Specific requirements for the MFA Projects are outlined in the Department of Theatre and Dance Graduate Handbook.

 

  Course Descriptions 

409G Playwriting I. (2) Designed to instruct in the basic principles of the art of playwriting: objectives, development of obstacles and incidents, characterizations, and climax.

419G Playwriting II. (2) A continuation of Theatre 409G; students who have achieved a basic level of proficiency in the art of playwriting are encouraged to further develop their skills. Prerequisite: THEA 409G or permission of the instructor.

451G Decor. (4) Survey of architectural elements, furnishings, decorative motifs useful to theatre designers: Prehistoric through Modern including Far Eastern styles.

456G Scene Painting. (2) Introduction to painting for the stage with an emphasis on materials, texturing techniques, and three-dimensional effects. Lab fee required.

470G Stage Combat: Unarmed. (4) Students will learn safe, effective techniques for performing unarmed stage fights, falls, and rolls. Emphasis on acting the fight, safety, and realism.

472G Auditions. (2) Designed to prepare the advanced acting student in the techniques, opportunities, and procedures of auditioning, interviewing, and constructing résumés for advanced training or career placement. Prerequisite: Permission of the adviser.

473G Acting for the Camera. (3, repeatable to 9)

Designed to incorporate skills learned in basic acting classes, emphasizing situations (in studio and on location) encountered by actors working in front of the camera. Prerequisite: Permission of the adviser.

474G Stage Combat: Armed. (4, repeatable to 12) Designed to teach safe, effective techniques for various weapons. Weapons could include broadsword, sword and shield, quarterstaff, rapier and dagger. Emphasis on acting the story and safety. Prerequisite: Permission of adviser.

476G Advanced Techniques of Musical Theatre. (3) Continuation of THEA 471G. Further development of singing and acting abilities, enabling the student to fuse these talents and perform with greater success in the genre of musical theatre. Prerequisites: At least two acting classes and voice instruction.

477G Dialects. (3) Training in the dialects most frequently required in performance. Both American regional and foreign accents will be studied. Various techniques of acquiring skill will be introduced so that the individual may develop a personal working method. Prerequisite: THEA 570.

481G Rehearsal Techniques. (3) The examination and practical application of techniques for the development of creative rehearsal environments, effective actor/director communication, and strategies for exploring the moment to moment dynamics of a scene.

482G Independent Projects in Directing. (3) Supervised projects in directing for advanced students. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

492G Musical Theatre Auditions and Professional Preparation. (3) Designed to prepare students to be successful at professional musical theatre auditions and to provide them with practical skills and information related to show business (i.e.: agents, managers, union, negotiating, contracts, headshots, resumes, casting directors, etc.). Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

496G Experiments and Topics in Theatre. (1–3, repeatable to 6) Investigation and exploration of special projects or experiments which will immerse students in a specific topic, technique, or concept.

497G Musical Theatre History. (3) History of musical theatre, primarily focusing on American Musical Theatre, from its defining influences and roots to the present. Topics to be covered include significant productions, composers, lyricists, librettists, choreographers, directors, designers, and actors. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

534 Graduate Technical Theatre Practicum. (2–4, repeatable to 9) Individual design and/or technical production activities at an advanced level under faculty supervision.

537 Professional Semester. (1–9 hours, repeatable to 18) Designed to give graduate students the opportunity and the learning experience to practice their craft in a professional situation. Students may enroll in this course only with the approval of the theatre faculty.

540 Visual Concepts for the Stage. (3) An investigation of communication techniques used between directors and designers for production concepts which influence the process of lighting, set, and costume design.

545 Movement Lab: Warm Up. (1) This process-oriented course involves developing the actor's physical awareness, flexibility, ease, and use of self through the Alexander Technique and a daily routine of physical exercises. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

546 Physical Characterization. (2) This process-oriented course involves exploring a physical approach to acting through a study of the basic elements of movement (space, time, energy, etc.) an understanding of the mind/body connection, the essence theory of movement, and mask characterization. Prerequisite: THEA 545 or permission of the instructor

547 Advanced Movement I. (2) This process oriented course is designed to provide students with experience in creating characters through movement and/or mask techniques, addressing the specific needs of the given character, text, and time period (i.e., those behavioral characteristics common to a character in a play). Prerequisite: THEA 546 or permission of the instructor.

548 Advanced Movement II. (1) This process oriented course is designed to help students develop their comedic abilities with a particular emphasis on the physical aspects of comedy. Students will explore comedy stylings from the past (i.e., Chaplin, Keaton, Commedia dell Arte) and create their own comic characters. Prerequisite: THEA 547 or permission of the instructor.

550 Design for the Theatre. (3–9, repeatable to 36) A study of scenic, costume and lighting design; their theory and application. Survey material, studio and lab work in design, rendering, style and concept, history, construction and execution will be covered. Emphasis on the development of individualized skills.

565 Advanced Voice Techniques I. (2) Training and experience in techniques used for an effective voice in performance. Exploration of the anatomical aspects of voice to gain kinesthetic control and awareness with the body. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

566 Advanced Voice Techniques II. (1) This is a laboratory course designed to develop vocal skills needed by the actor in developing performances in the stage and electronic medias. The course will focus on expressiveness with the aim of developing interesting and varying vocal characterizations. Prerequisite: THEA 565.

567 Advanced Voice Techniques III. (1) A laboratory course designed to enhance the actor’s vocal skills through the exploration of various vocal placements and articulation of sounds that are necessitated by standard stage speech. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in acting or directing, or permission of the instructor.

568 Advanced Voice Techniques IV. (2) This laboratory course will identify the stylistic demands of Heightened Text plays and to develop within the actor the analytical knowledge and vocal skills necessary to meet those stylistic challenges. Prerequisite: THEA 567.

576 Problems in Acting: Contemporary Texts. (2) Designed to explore the specific problems the actor encounters with modern and contemporary scripts. Extensive work with improvisations, scenes, and monologues from American and British playwrights. Prerequisite: THEA 587 or permission of the instructor.

577 Problems in Acting: Period Texts. (2) Designed to explore the special problems the actor encounters with scripts from various historical periods. Extensive scene study with emphasis on Shakespeare and other verse texts. Prerequisite: THEA 587 or permission of the instructor.

578 Problems in Acting: Comedy Texts. (2) Designed to explore the special problems the actor encounters with modern and historical comedic scripts. Extensive work in improvisation, structured scenarios, and scene study. Prerequisite: THEA 587 or permission of the instructor.

579 Professional Summer Semester. (1–12, repeatable to 12) Practical work in all aspects of production during intensive rehearsal and performance in a summer stock theatre experience. Faculty approval required.

580 Theories of Acting and Directing. (3) The investigation of prominent acting and directing theories and their practitioners; to determine their place in theatrical history and their application of contemporary productions.

582 Pre-Candidacy Directing Practicum. (3, repeatable to 6) Designed to diagnose and solve problems encountered by the first year director, with emphasis on establishing and clarifying a personal directing method. Students will work closely with an adviser in the pre-production work and rehearsals for a production that will be mounted in the studio.

585 Directing Seminar. (3) Investigation of topics and issues relating to the various elements of directing such as techniques in composition, developing tempo‑rhythms, approaches to casting, and directorial ethics. Prerequisite: Acceptance in the directing program.

587 Problems in Acting/Directing: The Score. (3) The technique and practice of scoring play scripts for actors and directors. Format will include theory, vocabulary and practical application.

590 Analysis. (3) The course investigates the nature and structure of dramatic forms, and the characteristics of major styles. Interpretation will include literary, performance, and production aspects of the scripts.

600 Research and Projects in Theatre. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Independent research. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chairperson.

601 MFA Comprehensive Examination. (0) The student will complete a written exam consisting of selected essay questions, covering the plays listed on the MFA Examination Reading List. The exam will be offered once each term, including summer. The student must attempt the exam by the second semester of the first year of enrollment in the program and the exam may be repeated until a grade of S is achieved. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: THEA 590 and permission of the Theatre Graduate Committee Chair or Department Chair.  

602 MFA Project. (4, repeatable to 8 if the student is working in two approved areas of concentration.) The completion of an approved Master of Fine Arts project in one of the following areas of concentration: acting, directing, scene design, costume design, or lighting design. Enrollment in course permitted only during the academic term when the project is realized. Prerequisite: Written permission of the academic adviser.