THEATRE (Div. I)
Chair, ROBERT BAKER-WHITE
Professors: BAKER-WHITE*, EPPEL. Assistant Professors: BEAN, JOTTAR, LIEBERMAN, SANGARE. Lecturers: BROTHERS, CATALANO. Visiting Lecturer: B. SHEPARD. William Dwight Whitney Professor of Arts and Theatre: BUCKY. Arthur Levitt, Jr. '52 Artist-in-Residence: KREITZER.
As a reflection of the theatre's historical relationship to literature and the arts, stage production is studied in the context of the literary and artistic movements which have informed theatrical endeavor. The major in Theatre emphasizes the collaborative nature of the discipline by drawing upon courses offered by faculty of the Language, Literature, Music, and Art Departments. Although students will be equipped to proceed to graduate and professional schools in theatre, the major is primarily directed toward those interested in studying the theatre as an artistic phenomenon and as an interpretive tool. Because a deep understanding of theatre requires training and experience with the synthesis on stage, the major includes curricular study of production and performance, as well as continued participation in departmental stage production.
Williamstheatre, the production arm of the Department of Theatre, operates under the supervision of the departmental faculty. Major departmental productions as well as laboratory and experimental productions of all kinds are mounted on the new stages of the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Participation in acting or technical work is open to all members of the Williams College community. Students majoring in Theatre will be asked to consult regularly with departmental advisors in devising the sequence of courses and production participation that will constitute their major.
The major in Theatre requires six specific courses, plus three electives as specified below. The specific courses are:
Theatre 103 Acting I
Theatre 102 Theatre Technologies
Theatre 201 Theatrical Design: Process and Collaboration
One course focusing on Critical Studies/Dramatic Literature taught from within the department and to be taken in first two years (prospective majors should consult with department chair for a list of appropriate courses)
Prospective theatre majors should attempt to complete the above four courses, in no particular order, by the end of sophomore year.
The remaining two specific courses are:
Theatre 301 Junior Seminar
Theatre 401/402 Independent Senior Practicum
Students must also take three electives from the department's other offerings, and at least one of these electives must be drawn from each of the two categories "Theatre Scholarship" and "Theatre Practice."
Theatre Practice: courses where students learn the basic artistic skills of theatre practice through creative endeavor. (Examples: Acting, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Directing.)
Theatre Scholarship: courses where students employ critical skills through research and reflection focused on the traditional canon or on selected more recently defined subject areas. (Examples: Approaching Performance Studies, Contemporary Play and Performance Analysis, Theatre History, Classical Drama, Modern Drama, Shakespeare, African American Drama, Performance and the Law).
Courses which mix modes of inquiry between the above categories may be counted in either; in any case, majors should consult with the department chair to assure an adequate distribution of electives.
The department strongly recommends that students elect additional collateral courses in dramatic literature taught by the English, Classics, and modern language departments, and courses in opera taught by the Music Department. Students with an interest in theatre design should particularly elect Art Studio courses in drawing.
Production requirement for the major: All majors in Theatre are required to participate in a minimum of eight department productions in addition to the laboratory requirement for Theatre 102. Participation in at least three of the eight must be in technical production, and one must be in stage management. Assignment to productions is normally made in consultation with the department chair.
Theatre majors are strongly urged to include dance and fencing in fulfilling their Physical Education requirements.
THE DEGREE WITH HONORS IN THEATRE
Candidates for Honors will apply for admission through the submission of a portfolio to the Department Chair by February of their junior year, as well as a description of their proposed project. The portfolio will be comprised of four parts:
1. The first part will include a list of the courses students have taken relevant to their work towards the major. This list will include courses offered by the Theatre Department, but may also include classes taken in other Departments. Students should also list and describe relevant independent studies and production credits.
2. The second part of the portfolio will include a selection of materials developed for these courses and productions listed in Part 1. The selection should include at least three papers or samples of other written work, and might also include design projects, director's notebooks, studio art projects, actor's journals or other forms of documentation of the candidate's work. For students who have taken a semester away, it is particularly important that they provide the Department with a detailed picture of their activities while studying off-campus. Course descriptions and syllabi should be submitted in addition to a list of courses taken and activities performed.
3. The third part of the portfolio is an annotated bibliography of dramatic texts which the student has read, drawn from a list supplied by the Department. Annotations should be based upon a particular angle of engagement with the text, that reflects the area or areas that the student has chosen to emphasize in their theatrical training. For instance, one might choose to write from the point of view of an actor, a designer, a director, a playwright, or a dramaturg.
4. The portfolio should conclude with a retrospective essay that reflects on the materials that are being submitted. Students should look for connections between the various aspects of their work, state any theoretical positions that they have come to embrace, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss their educational goals for their work with the Department during their Senior year.
The portfolio will be examined alongside the student's record and his or her project description; a determination will then be made as to admission into the Honors program. Students intending to apply for Honors should meet with the Department Chair by the end of the fall semester of their junior year. Once a student is admitted to the Honors program, the department Chair will assign an Honors Project Advisor, who will work with the student to specify a timeline and work program for the completion of the Honors Project. At a minimum, this will entail enrollment in Theatre 493 or 494, plus W32, plus one other course offered either within the department or elsewhere that the candidate and thesis advisor designate as contributing specifically to the overall goals of the honors work. This honors elective may not fulfill any other portion of the Theatre Major, or any other major the student may be pursuing. All honors candidates will present their completed projects to the Department Honors Committee for evaluation. Honors candidates are exempt from the senior project in theatre (THEA 401/402).
The Theatre Department attempts to work individually with majors and prospective majors who desire to study abroad. In general, with careful planning it is usually quite easy for students to complete the major in Theatre if they study abroad in the spring of their junior year. For those wishing to study abroad in the fall of junior year, a more complicated situation may arise, but one that can often be successfully managed through close consultation with the department chair. Students are encouraged to consult with the chair early in their Williams careers if they anticipate a combination of Theatre major and study abroad.
Of interest to advanced students:
THE NATIONAL THEATRE INSTITUTE
The Department of Theatre is affiliated with the National Theatre Institute, which offers additional theatre study through its resident semester program. The Institute is fully accredited by Connecticut College and is a member of the Twelve-College Exchange. Limited numbers of Williams students can therefore be selected to take a full semester of intensive theatre study at the NTI, located at the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Centre in Waterford, Connecticut. During the semester, students from participating colleges live and work as members of a theatre company gaining experience with professional theatre artists in a workshop environment. Early application is essential.