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Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

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  • Course description
    Courses and dramatic productions are offered to provide the student with rigorous, demanding professional training and a cultural background with which to attain the highest standards in theatre.

    All classes without stated prerequisite or an indicated level of difficulty are recommended to any student, regardless of class standing.

    The Theatre major: Theatre 125, 245, 246, 247, 248, and 490; one course to be selected from Theatre 278, 345, 366; four courses to be selected from Theatre 233, 234, 371, 372, 377, 379; two credits in Theatre 231, 232; to provide a minimum of 35 credits.

    The Theatre minor
    : Theatre 125, Theatre 245 or 246; three courses to be selected from Theatre 233, 234, 371, 372, 377, 379; one credit in Theatre 231 or 232.

    107 Introduction to the Theatre

    How does a production of a play come into being? How does a script compare to a performance? Who are the people who create theatre, and what are their processes? How do the theatre space and the audience affect a production? The course will use the first semester of the Harper Joy season as laboratory for the study of the production process. The course will examine the elements of drama, their interaction, and their realization in theatrical production and will include attendance at and evaluation of theatre performances. Open to all students.

    125 Beginning Acting I

    Designed to help the student begin to realize his/her potential as an actor and to help him/her find a systematic way of approaching a role. Emphasis on concentration, imagination, movement, working in terms of objectives and responding to others. Students engage in acting exercises, scene work and assigned reading. Open only to first-year students and sophomores.

    126 Beginning Acting II

    A continuation of Theatre 125. Students build on the acting fundamentals they learned in Beginning Acting I. Includes additional scene work, acting exercises, and assigned reading. Prerequisite: Theatre 125.

    222 Computer Applications for the Theatre

    An introduction to computer applications as an aid to design, problem-solving, and management. Labs will examine the potential for computer use in the theatre (poster and advertising design, scanning and editing of artwork, rendering and drafting of scenery, research and record keeping). Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

    225, 226 Intermediate Acting

    First semester: an actor’s work on text, approaches to playing Shakespeare, acting in plays of the Restoration and 18th century. Second semester: acting in plays of the late 19th century, approaches to playing Chekhov, acting in contemporary nonrealistic plays, preparation of a formal audition. Theatre 225 is a prerequisite for 226. Prerequisite: Theatre 126.

    231, 232 Rehearsal and Performance

    Rehearsal and performance by selected students in major productions. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Course exempted from 18-credit enrollment limitation. Activity credit limitation applies. May be repeated for not more than two credits per semester. Graded credit/no credit.

    233 Theatre History from the Middle Ages to 1800

    The history of European theatre from the Middle Ages through 1800, examining as appropriate social, political, and religious attitudes, architecture, design and technical practice, business and administration, acting, audiences, and critical theory. Emphasizes the practical value of theatre history for the student attending or working in today’s theatre. Three periods per week. Students complete written or practical projects. Offered in alternate years.

    234 Nineteenth Century Theatre History

    The history of European and American theatre from 1800-1900. Examines, as appropriate, social/political/religious attitudes, architecture, design and technical practice, business and administration, acting, directing, audiences, and theory. Emphasizes the practical value of theatre history for the student attending or working in today’s theatre. Students complete written or practical projects. Offered in alternate years.

    242 Seminar in Contemporary Theatre

    An in-depth survey course of recent plays from around the world. Discussion based, the course will explore the nature of plays compared to the written word. Content changes every semester. The course content includes contemporary topics or issues with emphasis on productions in London and New York. May be repeated once for credit.

    245 Play Production

    An introduction to the elements of theatre technology. Emphasis is given to the production process, the organization of personnel, the equipment and architecture of the theatre, and the equipment and techniques used in the construction, rigging, and painting of scenery. Class lectures and discussions are complemented by production assignments. Corequisite: Theatre Lab 247. Open to all students.

    246 Play Production

    An introduction to the elements of theatre technology. Emphasis is given to the equipment, materials, and methods used in stage lighting, drafting, costuming, and sound. Class lectures and discussions are complemented by production assignments. Corequisite: Theatre Lab 248. Open to all students.

    247 Play Production Laboratory

    Laboratory exercises in theatre technology. Lab projects will allow practical applications of the class materials covered in Play Production 245. Open to all students. May be repeated for credit.

    248 Play Production Laboratory

    Laboratory exercises in theatre technology. Lab projects will allow practical applications of the class materials covered in Play Production 246. Open to all students. May be repeated for credit.

    259 Voice and Movement for the Actor

    Focuses on the kinesthetic and vocal development of the actor. Through physical and vocal exercises, experiential workshops, and the study of performance skills, the course is designed to increase the students’ access to their physical instruments and their ability to articulate themselves on stage. Students prepare scenes, poetry, and projects.

    269 Performance Ensemble

    This course focuses on the practical application of performance techniques from 255, honing skills toward creating actor-generated material. Through composition, improvisation, and character study, the class will develop a physical approach to the craft of acting, and work as an ensemble to create an original performance.

    277 Costume Construction Techniques

    An introduction to theatre costume construction through hands-on projects tailored to the student’s skill level. Emphasis is placed on the techniques necessary for creating costumes and includes hand sewing and machine sewing from commercial patterns with an introduction to costume design principles.

    278 Costume Design

    The process of designing costumes for the theatre taught through projects and class discussions. Includes an introduction to script analysis, period research, and rendering techniques for the costume designer.

    345 Lighting Design for the Theatre

    The process of lighting design for the theatre. Emphasis on script analysis and concept development, the formation of design ideas, the equipment, the technologies, the graphic standards of stage lighting, and the communication and defense of design concepts to the production team. Prerequisite: Theatre 246.

    365 Graphics for the Theatre: Scenic Drafting and Modeling

    The process of communicating theatrical design concepts and solutions using graphic techniques. Emphasis is given to drafting and model construction. Projects will reflect established theatre graphic standards and the criteria for portfolio presentations. Offered in alternating years with Theatre 367.

    366 Scenic Design for the Theatre

    Aesthetics and the process of scenic design for the theatre. Emphasis on script analysis and concept development as they relate to production needs, the formation of design ideas, the research of appropriate choices, and the communication and defense of design choices to the production team. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: Theatre 245 or consent of instructor.

    367 Graphics for the Theatre: Scenic Drawing and Painting

    The process of communicating theatrical design concepts and solutions using graphic techniques. Emphasis on drawing, rendering and scene painting. Projects will reflect established theatre graphic standards and the criteria for portfolio presentations.

    371 Dramatic Literature: Medieval through Eighteenth Century

    A course in the history and development of Western drama from the Middle Ages through the 18th century. Dramatists to be studied may include the Wakefield Master, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Lope de Vega, Molière, Racine, Congreve, Beaumarchais, and Sheridan. May be elected as English 371 or World Literature 371. Offered in alternate years.

    372 Literature of the Modern Theatre

    A study of the directions modern drama has taken from the 19th century to the present. Dramatists to be studied may include Büchner, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, Pirandello, O’Neill, Brecht, and Pinter. May be elected as English 372 or World Literature 372. Offered in alternate years.

    377 Ancient Theatre

    The origin and development of ancient theatre, especially of Greek tragedy, through a close reading of ancient plays in English translation. In addition to ancient plays, we will read modern critical responses to those plays. May be elected as Classics 377 or World Literature 377. Open to all students. Offered in alternate years.

    379 Theatre History: The Twentieth Century

    An exploration of influential developments in the idea and practice of theatre during the 20th century. Prerequisite: Theatre 233 or 234. Offered in alternate years.

    381, 382 Special Topics

    Designed to permit close study of particular areas of theatre not covered in the regular curriculum. Topics offered are announced each year.

    381A ST: The Solo Performer

    This course introduces the student to performance techniques of solo performers. Working with the performer/audience relationship as well as the dynamics of language, voice, movement, dance, sound, light, costume, and set, students will hone their aesthetic. Considering the performer’s place in times of war, the performer as social activist and the self-directed performer, students will create and perform their own work. We will gain a working knowledge and appreciation of the diversity inherent in artistic expression and develop techniques to assist us in giving and receiving critical feedback. This course is open to performing students of all backgrounds: actors, singers, dancers, performance artists, etc.

    382A ST: Stage Management

    This course provides an overview of the responsibilities and procedures of stage management. It will examine the different duties and challenges of the position and provide the basic skills the student must master to successfully stage manage a production.

    382B ST: Theory and Performance

    What theories have inspired contemporary avant-garde theater, installation and performance art, tanztheater, experimental video/film and new media? In this interdisciplinary course we will chart the evolution of performance theory from the writings of Bertolt Brecht to the present day. We will explore how artists have embraced and challenged these emerging forms, and examine seminal works from each genre in their historical, political, and social contexts. Designed to bring students from a variety of disciplines (art, art history, theater, dance, film and video, etc.) into a collaborative forum, coursework will include outside readings, in-class screenings, class discussions and short essays, as well as group and individual projects.

    465 The Director in the Theatre I

    Through reading, discussion, exercises, and scene work, explores the history, function, requisite skills, and ongoing preparation of the director in the theatre. Considers play selection and analysis; the director’s work with the playwright, designer, stage manager, and dramaturge; casting; rehearsal procedures, and the director’s work with the actor. Prerequisites: junior standing, consent of instructor, a basic acquaintance with dramatic literature and the work of the actor, designer and theatre technician.

    466 The Director in the Theatre II

    Exploration of specific challenges through reading, discussion, and extensive scene work. Exploration of the production process through directing a play. This might be in Lunchbox Theatre, the Student One-Act Play Contest, a high school or community theatre, or another venue approved by the instructor. A brief introduction to the work of the director as administrator. Prerequisite: Theatre 465.

    481, 482 Independent Study

    Readings or a project in theatre not covered in regular courses. The student must submit a detailed proposal to the instructor in the semester preceding the anticipated study. The student is responsible for any expenses incurred in completing the project. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, consent of instructor.

    485, 486 Advanced Acting

    A continuing exploration of acting as process. Focuses on developing skills necessary to become a professional actor. Emphasis on living truthfully under imaginary circumstances so that the actor, action, character, and text come to life. Beginning Meisner exercises, Williamson movement exercises, scene and monologue work involved. Prerequisite: Theatre 226.

    490 Senior Project

    Involves the development and execution of a project reflecting the student’s primary area of theatre study. The student works closely with a faculty project adviser during the process. The final project is evaluated by that adviser and two other faculty members. This course is limited to and required of all senior theatre majors. Prerequisites: previous course work in the area of study and theatre faculty approval. May be taken during the first or second semester of the senior year.

    498 Honors Thesis

    Preparation of undergraduate thesis. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in theatre. Prerequisite: admission to honors candidacy.

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