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Theatre (2002-2003)

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements

Department Chairperson: Gene Kozlowski
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Charles H. Bell
Department Office: Browne Hall 101
Department Telephone: 309/298-1543
WWW Address: www.wiu.edu/users/mithea/
Location of Program Offering: Macomb only

Graduate Faculty

  • Professors
    • Charles H. Bell, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
    • Egla Hassan, M.F.A., Western Illinois University
    • Gene Kozlowski, M.A., Western Illinois University
    • Tim Kupka, M.F.A., University of Iowa
    • David E. Patrick, M.F.A., Ohio State University
  • Associate Professor
    • Raymond Gabica, M.F.A., Michigan State
    • Drew Tombrello, M.F.A., University of Alabama

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Lecturer/Instructor
    • Sharon Nott, M.A., Western Illinois University


Program Description

The Department of Theatre offers work leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in the following areas of concentration: acting, directing, lighting design/theatre technology, scenic design, and costume design. A detailed description of the program may be obtained from the departmental office.

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. Undergraduate courses may be prescribed for individuals who are considered to have insufficient background in theatre. The Department of Theatre does not require the Graduate Record Examination.

The course of study in theatre embraces three broad objectives:

  1. To intensively train students desiring to improve knowledge, techniques, and skills in the areas of acting, directing, design, and theatre technology;
  2. To motivate the students to perfect their knowledge of the theatre and to guide the students in the development of artistic skills;
  3. With the audience as a teacher, to constantly instruct students in their effectiveness as theatre artists. The program is based on the process of applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations and is designed to be a transition between collegiate training and the professional theatre.

Degree Requirements

The MFA program requires a minimum of 62 semester hours. Candidates in acting and directing generally require three academic years to complete the program with equal emphasis on classwork and practical experience. Candidates in design can typically complete the program in two academic years but may take longer depending on the areas being emphasized. An on-campus summer stock experience is required for all students pursuing the MFA. All students will be involved in a touring experience.

Application for Candidacy

Each student in the Master of Fine Arts program is regarded as probationary during the first year of residency. At the conclusion of the first year of residency, the faculty will evaluate the student's performance and determine whether or not the student will be admitted to candidate's status. Until that determination is made, the student is not regarded as a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre.

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 Theatre Department Graduate Handbook.

MFA Project

Each graduate student in theatre must present a project in the area of specialty. The project must be approved by the Department of Theatre before the MFA can be awarded.

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. (3) Basic stage combat techniques in hand-to-hand staged fights. Combat conditioning exercises to improve strength and flexibility.

471G Techniques of Musical Theatre Performance. (3) Designed to explore the specific demands and techniques of musical theatre. The genre of the American musical will be examined historically and presentationally. Main focus will be on learning techniques, preparing audition material, developing a warm-up, and choreography of materials. Prerequisite: At least two acting classes.

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: THEA 272, Acting II.

473G Acting for the Camera. (3, repeatable to a maximum of 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: At least two acting classes.

474G Stage Combat: Armed. (4, repeatable to 8) 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: THEA 470 and/or permission of instructor.

476G Advanced Techniques of Musical Theatre. (3) Continuation of THEA 471. 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. Prerequisite: 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.

478G Stage Combat: Elizabethan Weaponry. (4) Students will learn safe, effective techniques for performing fights with Elizabethan weaponry including single rapier, rapier and dagger, and black powder firearms. Emphasis on acting the fight. Prerequisites: THEA 470 and/or permission of the instructor.

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.

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: THEA 101 or 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. (1–12 hours, repeatable to 24) 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 concept which influence the process of lighting, set, and costume design.

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.

570 Advanced Voice Techniques I. (3) 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: Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.

571 Advanced Voice Lab. (1, repeatable to 3) Individual problems of the actor are explored to develop specific vocal skills required by various genres and styles of dramatic literature. This course may be repeated with a change in subject matter according to these areas: 571A, Contemporary Scripts; 571B, Period Scripts; 571C, Comedy Scripts. Prerequisites: THEA 570 or permission of the instructor.

572 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. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.

573 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. Prerequisites: THEA 572 or permission of the instructor.

574 Advanced Movement Lab. (1, repeatable to 3) May be repeated with a change in subject matter to a total of three credit hours. This course is designed to provide students with experience in characterization through movement techniques based on the collective characterization of the text (i.e. those behavioral characteristics common to the characters in a play). The course may be repeated in the following areas: 574A, Contemporary; 574B, Period; 575C, Comedy. Prerequisites: THEA 572 or permission of the instructor.

576 Problems in Acting: Contemporary Text. (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. Prerequisites: 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. Prerequisites: 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. Prerequisites: 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 eight-week rehearsal and performance of Summer Music Theatre. Auditions 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. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

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. Prerequisites: 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. Prerequisites: Graduate standing.

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 Department Chairperson.

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.

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