Committee on Theater & Performance Studies

AUTUMN QUARTER 2020 CLASSES WILL BEGIN ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH -- per College quarantine requirements, the first week of classes will be fully remote.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Vicki Walden, Academic Administrator of the Committee on TAPS.

The following courses are offered as part of Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) during the academic year. All information subject to change.

If you would like to be added to the waitlist for TAPS Core courses for Autumn 2020, you may sign up on this form with your UChicago email address before 9:00am on September 15, 2020 when the form will close.

Autumn 2020

Three-week Intensives:

WEEKS 1-3 (9/29/20 - 10/16/20)
TAPS 10200. Acting Fundamentals
Section 01     Honey Crawford       MWF 9:10am-12:10pm  IN PERSON - location TBA, first week will be remote

Course meets the General Education Requirement in the Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts. Prior theater or acting training not required. 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. ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY. Three week intensive sections will take special precautions to maintain social distancing expectations while offering an immersive exploration of games, techniques, and methodologies of the stage.

WEEKS 4-6 (10/19/20 - 11/6/20)
TAPS 10200. Acting Fundamentals
Section 02     Honey Crawford       MWF 12:40pm-3:40pm  IN PERSON - location TBA

Course meets the General Education Requirement in the Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts. Prior theater or acting training not required. 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. ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY. Three week intensive sections will take special precautions to maintain social distancing expectations while offering an immersive exploration of games, techniques, and methodologies of the stage.

TAPS 10500. Text & Performance: Staging Terror
Section 01     Heidi Coleman       MWF 4:10pm-6:10pm  IN PERSON - location TBA

This course creates the first stage in a site-specific devised work process by engaging with a topic and texts and using the ensemble itself to generate work that is then considered critically. As a theme for the quarter, we will explore the interplay between horror, terror, and pleasure through in-class discussions of theoretical works and the possibilities of practical creative application. The paradox of the attraction to repulsion will be considered as well as the values of shock, suspense, and subtlety. Texts will include classic and contemporary drama, cult fiction, ghost stories, games, films, and theoretic source material. As a part of this foundation, we will question the intricacies of staging through in-class discussions of theoretical works (Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud, Stanislavski, and Bogart) and the possibilities of practical creative application. Working 4-dimensionally in outdoor on-campus locations, we will examine how theorized stagings can evoke suspense. This course will constantly question how analysis itself can be a performative practice and how performance can serve as a critical endeavor. In Autumn 2020, this course will meet as a three-week intensive, with much of our staging occurring as site-specific work, exploring the far reaches of campus.  Students should prepare to attend all class times in person, dressed for brisk weather, ready to move.  ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY. Course meets the General Education Requirement in the Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts.


10-week courses:

TAPS 10100. Drama: Embodiment & Transformation
Section 01     Pamela Pascoe      TR 1:00-12:40pm      REMOTE
Section 02     Pamela Pascoe      TR 11:20-12:40pm    REMOTE
Section 03     David New              TR  2:40-4:00pm      REMOTE
Section 04     Devon de Mayo      MW 1:50-3:10pm      REMOTE

This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Students examine the performance and the aesthetics of two dramatic works in contrasting styles but with unifying themes. The goal of the course is to develop in the students an appreciation and understanding of a variety of techniques and of the processes by which they are theatrically realized. Rather than focus on the dramatic text itself, this course concentrates on the piece in performance, including the impact of cultural context on interpretation. To achieve this, students are required to act, direct, and design during the course. ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.

Though running remotely, the course will mostly convene synchronously, so availability at the scheduled class time is required. Ideally, students will have a private, 10'x10' area available in their living space for physical work. It is understood that students will keep video enabled for performance work during remote class meeting times. Occasional meetings in-person, on campus will be considered based on the availability of safe spaces and following university protocols.

TAPS 10200. Acting Fundamentals
Section 03     Shade Murray       M 12:40-3:40pm    REMOTE

Course meets the General Education Requirement in the Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts. Prior theater or acting training not required. 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.  ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.

Though running remotely, the course will convene synchronously, so availability at the scheduled class time is required. Ideally, students will have a private, 10’x10’ area available in their living space for physical work. It is understood that students will keep video enabled during class meeting times. Occasional meetings in-person, on campus will be considered based on the availability of safe spaces and following university protocols.

TAPS 10300. Text and Performance
Section 01     Tina Post   TR 8:00-9:20am       REMOTE
Section 02     Tina Post   TR 9:40-11:00am     REMOTE

Course meets the General Education Requirement in the Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts. 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. ATTENDANCE AT THE FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.

Though running remotely, the course will convene synchronously, so availability at the scheduled class time is required. Ideally, students will have a private, 10’x10’ area available in their living space for physical work. It is understood that students will keep video enabled for performance work during class meeting times.

TAPS 10700. Introduction to Stage Design
Section 01   Kurtis Boetcher     TR 11:20-12:40pm     REMOTE
Section 02   Kurtis Boetcher     TR 1:00-2:20pm         REMOTE

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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY. Course meets the General Ed requirment in the Dramatical, Musical and Visual Arts.

Though running remotely, the course will convene synchronously, so availability at the scheduled class time is required. Occasional meetings in-person, on campus will be considered based on the availability of safe spaces and following university protocols.

TAPS 10800. Contemporary Dance Practices
Section 01     Julia Rhoads     TR 2:40-400pm     REMOTE

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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY. Course meets the General Ed requirment in the Dramatical, Musical and Visual Arts.

Though running remotely, the course will convene synchronously, so availability at the scheduled class time is required. Ideally, students will have a private, 10’x10’ area available in their living space for physical work. It is understood that students will keep video enabled for performance work during class meeting times. Occasional meetings in-person, on campus will be considered based on the availability of safe spaces and following university protocols.

TAPS 15500. Beginning Screenwriting
Section 01    Terrence Brown        W 12:40-3:30pm        REMOTE      

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. ATTENDANCE AT FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.

TAPS 20060. The World's a Stage: Performance in Politics, Culture and Everyday Life
Section 01     John Muse     TR  1:00-2:20pm     REMOTE

This course traces the history of the double-edged notion that the world might resemble a stage from its ancient roots to its current relevance in politics, social media, and gender expression, among other areas. We will explore these questions by reading performance texts and performance theory from classical to contemporary, by attending plays and watching films, and by visiting non-theatrical events in order to consider them as occasions for performance.

TAPS 20120. 21st Century American Drama
Section 01     Katy Walsh      TR 9:40-11:00am     IN PERSON - location TBA

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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

In addition to online seminar discussion, this course will meet in person during week three, six, and ninth of the quarter for staging work. Students must be able to rehearse with scene partners over Zoom and be present for stagings to complete the course requirements.

TAPS 21850. Storytelling in Musical Theater: The Art of the Libretto
Section 01    Scott Elmegreen     TR 2:40-4:00pm     REMOTE

This course introduces students to the art of book writing for musical theater both on stage and in the current, digital landscape of live performance. Students will examine dramatic structure across a variety of genres and musicals, and will apply its lessons to their own original outlines and scenes to be workshopped and performed online. They will learn about adaptation by finding the story, character, and song moments in source materials ranging from poems and movies to historical and current events, and they will study character development by examining iconic musical theater roles and generating character descriptions and arcs of their own. Students will also practice working with existing music by writing from found albums or bodies of songs, and each will use the online spaces and tools of the professional theater world to present the rough draft of an original ten-minute libretto as well as a treatment and excerpt of a new, full-length work of musical theater. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

TAPS 22700. Devising Fundamentals
Section 01     Leslie Danzig     TU 9:40am-12:40pm     REMOTE

Devised theater is created from a multitude of sources but, importantly, not a preexisting script. Rather the 'script' (whether or not it eventually takes written form) is developed in rehearsal. This studio course engages students in methods of generating and crafting devised material, including but not limited to physical action, moment work, and verbatim text. Additionally we will focus on the generative power of 'problems' as a motor of creation, which draws from core principles of clowning. Through solo and collaborative projects, students will explore how devised theater wrestles with conventionally discrete roles in theater-making (writer, director, performer, dramaturg, and designer). Other considerations will include strategies for making disparate material cohere and more broadly, what constitutes a story. Select readings and case studies of artists working in devised theater will supplement the practice-based focus of the course. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

This remote course will require synchronous participation on zoom and the creation of solo and/or group virtual performances. The course will provide significant opportunities for responding to present-day circumstances.

TAPS 23150. Theater-Making Lab
Section 01    Devon de Mayo     TH 9:40am-12:40pm       REMOTE

This course replaces Directing Study with an expanded quarterly lab for students working on theater and performance projects. Each quarter, the lab will be customized to serve directors, designers and dramaturgs who are working on current productions, preparing proposals for future productions, and/or in some way engaged in project development. The cohort will meet weekly to develop project ideas, build skills, experiment with methods of collaboration, receive and give feedback to each other, and receive individual mentorship from the course instructor. Instructor consent required. Interested students should complete the online application for the course (https://forms.gle/FWzL6FRjUNFmc6j77) and are encouraged to reach out the instructor with questions and ideas. Priority will be given to TAPS majors and minors. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

This course will examine theatrical models as they have adjusted to remote and social distanced circumstances. We will conduct mock remote rehearsals and production meetings, and discuss best practices for unconventional staging. Occasional meetings in-person, on campus will be considered based on the availability of safe spaces and following university protocols.

TAPS 23410. Camp and Theatre of the Ridiculous
Section 01     Shade Murray     W 9:10am-12:10pm     REMOTE

Looking at the writings of Charles Ludlum and his Ridiculous Manifesto, we will explore the role of camp, homage, collage and The Ridiculous. Students will stage existing works and be asked to create their own original scenes that use camp, collage and the ridiculous to explore current politics and ideas. It is recommended that students have space at home in which to do uninhibited, imaginative work in relative privacy. Students will be asked to work remotely in pairs and groups, which means they must be willing to negotiate time differences as necessary.

TAPS 23600. Improv and Sketch
Section 01     Susan Messing     M 9:10am-12:10pm    REMOTE

This course adapts curriculum originally designed for the various schools of modern improvisation (including the iO, the Annoyance and The Second City) and brings it into today's Zoom world. 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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

TAPS 23930. Fundamentals of Playwriting
Section 01     Mickle Maher     TU 4:20-7:20pm     REMOTE

This workshop will explore the underlying mechanics that have made plays tick for the last 2,500 odd years, from Euripedes to Shakespeare to Büchner to Caryl Churchill, Susan 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 piece. 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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

TAPS 24410. Transmedia Puzzle Design and Performance
Section 01     Sandor Weisz     W 6:30-9:30pm     REMOTE

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 Wiesz, the commissioner of The Mystery League. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

Online escape rooms have become a new art form during quarantine, and we will explore ways to build similar experiences from our homes. This class will start out entirely synchronous, and evolve over the course of the quarter to be partly-synchronous, split between lecture, play testing, and work time.

TAPS 25800. POC (Playwrights of Color)
Section 01     Jess McLeod     M 4:10-7:10pm     REMOTE

This course explores contemporary works by American playwrights of color, with a focus on how to thoughtfully lead and/or participate in conversations around race and theatre both in- and outside of the rehearsal room. Students will read and discuss how playwrights such as Adrienne Kennedy (1960s), Suzan-Lori Parks (1990s-2000s), Branden Jacob-Jenkins and Young Jean Lee (2018) employ imagery, archetypes and stereotypes, and taught and true history to expand and morph not just the American canon but the American story to include rather than exclude people of color. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY.

TAPS 28320. The Mind as Stage: Podcasting
Section 01     Sarah Geis     W 4:10-7:10pm    REMOTE

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. Attendance at first class session is MANDATORY

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. Students will be expected to attend sessions via Zoom, as well as participate in an online forum. Students must have access to a computer that can run a free trial version of Reaper editing software (www.reaper.fm), as well as an audio recorder or smartphone that records sounds.

TAPS 28421. Theater for Social Change
Section 01     Tiffany Trent     TR 4:20-5:40pm     REMOTE

Augusto Boal argues that theatre is "rehearsal for the revolution." Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed provides key strategies for collaboratively crafting dramatic narrative. These strategies challenge the conventional Aristotelian structure that privileges a single protagonist and subordinates other stories. Instead, Boal structures a poetics in which the "spect-actor" contributes their voice. Students will engage in devising and embodiment exercises in Image Theatre, Newspaper Theatre, Forum Theatre, and more, by interpreting texts, (e.g., religious texts, constitutional documents, or political manifestos), interrogating current events, exploring public narratives, and valuing diverse learning styles. Students will contextualize destinations for the course material according to the aesthetic and academic questions that they bring into the classroom. To consider ethical concerns surrounding participatory theatre, we will examine arts groups past and present that employ the techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed. Readings include Boal, Freire, Jan Cohen-Cruz, Michael Rohd, bell hooks, and Knight and Schwarzman.

TAPS 28476. Racine
Section 01     Larry Norman     TR 11:20am-12:40pm     REMOTE

Racine's tragedies are often considered the culminating achievement of French classicism. Most famous for his powerful re-imaginings of Greek myth (Phèdre, Andromaque), his tragic universe nevertheless ranged considerably wider, from ancient Jewish queens to a contemporary Ottoman harem. We will consider the roots (from Euripides to Corneille) of his theatrical practice as well as its immense influence on future writers (from Voltaire to Proust, Beckett, and Genet).

TAPS 28479. Theater and Performance in Latin America
Section 01     Danielle Roper     TR 11:20am-112:40pm     REMOTE

What is performance? How has it been used in Latin America and the Caribbean? This course is an introduction to theatre and performance in Latin America and the Caribbean that will examine the intersection of performance and social life. While we will place particular emphasis on performance art, we will examine some theatrical works. We ask: how have embodied practice, theatre and visual art been used to negotiate ideologies of race, gender and sexuality? What is the role of performance in relation to systems of power? How has it negotiated dictatorship, military rule, and social memory? Ultimately, the aim of this course is to give students an overview of Latin American performance including blackface performance, indigenous performance, as well as performance and activism. Undergraduates must be in their third or fourth year. Taught in English.

TAPS 29800. Theater and Performance Studies BA Colloquium
Section 01     Leslie Danzig   F 12:40-3:10pm          REMOTE

This two-quarter sequence is open only to fourth-year students who are majoring and/or minoring in theater and performance studies. Instructor Consent Required.

Winter 2021

TAPS    10100    Drama: Embodiment and Transformation
TAPS    10200    Acting Fundamentals
TAPS    10300    Text and Performance
TAPS    10800    Contemporary Dance Practices
TAPS    29800    BA Colloquium
TAPS    26100    Dance Composition
TAPS    20220    The Promise of Nightlife: Queer Desires & the Marketing of the Erotic
TAPS    20600    Adapting the Unadaptable
TAPS    20700    Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism
TAPS    21600    Acting Workshop
TAPS    21860    Songwriting for Musical Theater
TAPS    23150    Theater-Making Lab
TAPS    23105    Directing: Rehearsal Fundamentals
TAPS    23905    New Play Workshop
TAPS    26100    Dance Composition
TAPS    26150    Dance Lab
TAPS    27080    Spectacle in Minature
TAPS    27100    Scenic Painting
TAPS    28100    Lighting Design for the Stage
TAPS    28330    Oral History and Podcasting
TAPS    28405    Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies
TAPS    28435    Brecht and Beyond
TAPS    29900    Introduction to Theater and Performance Studies

Spring 2021

TAPS    10100    Drama: Embodiment and Transformation
TAPS    10200    Acting Fundamentals
TAPS    10300    Text and Performance
TAPS    10800    Contemporary Dance Practices
TAPS    23150    Theater-Making Lab
TAPS    21730    Movement for Actors
TAPS    21700    An Actor Observes
TAPS    22300    Performance Art Installations: The Dreamer and the Dream
TAPS    23000    Introduction to Directing
TAPS    23800    Playwriting: Writing Utilizing Improvisation
TAPS    23980    Writing the Short, Short Play: Investigations in Micro-Drama
TAPS    24420    Games and Performance: Live Action Role Playing Games
TAPS    24550    Evolution of Improvisation in Chicago
TAPS    25505    Adaptation for the Screen
TAPS    25910    Short Form Digital Storytelling: Creating a Web Series
TAPS    27550    Costume Design and Technology for the Stage
TAPS    28000    Scenic Design
TAPS    20040    Black Shakespeare
TAPS    20208    Sound and Scandal: How Media Make Believe
TAPS    20360    Shrews! Unladylike Conduct On Stage And Page In Early Modern England
TAPS    26270    Histories of Chinese Dance

 

2019-2020

 


2018-2019


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2015-2016


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2012-2013


 

 

Video

TAPS Teaching Arists. Video credit: Sean Raju
TAPS Artists on Teaching. Video credit: Sean Raju
TAPS integrating Art and Teaching. Video credit: Sean Raju