Academic Course Catalogs

Drop Shadow

Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts, Graduate Theatre

Richard Seer, MFA, Chair, Acting
Maria Carrera, MA, Alexander Technique
Cynthia Caywood, PhD, Restoration Drama
Ray Chambers, BS, Acting
Gerhard Gessner, MA, Yoga
Jan Gist, MFA, Voice and Speech
Abraham Stoll, PhD, Renaissance Drama
Fred Miller Robinson, PhD, Modern Drama
Liz Shipman, MA, Movement
George Ye, MFA, Stage Combat

A joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego, the Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts program nationally recruits seven students each year to participate in an intensive two-year, year-round course of graduate study in classical theatre. Students participating in this 60-unit program fulfill the training portion of their study at the University of San Diego and their practical performance work at The Old Globe under the supervision of Globe staff.

This is a highly selective program, limited to seven new admissions per year. For additional information, go to www.globemfa.org.

Requirements for the Degree

Students are expected to complete the 60 units of graduate work for this degree in two consecutive years, according to the following schedule. All courses carry 3 units of credit.

First Year — Fall Semester (12 units)

THEA 501 Text and Context: Modern Drama
THEA 511 Movement I
THEA 521 Acting I
THEA 541 Voice and Speech I

First Year — Spring Semester (12 units)

THEA 502 Text and Context: Renaissance Drama
THEA 512 Movement II
THEA 522 Acting II
THEA 542 Voice and Speech II

Second Year — Summer (6 units)

THEA 506 Graduate Colloquium
THEA 531 Globe Production I

Second Year — Fall Semester (12 units)

THEA 503 Text and Context: Molière and Restoration Drama
THEA 513 Movement III
THEA 523 Acting III
THEA 543 Voice and Speech III

Second Year — Spring Semester (12 units)

THEA 595 Thesis Project
THEA 514 Movement IV
THEA 524 Acting IV
THEA 544 Voice and Speech IV

Second Year — Summer (6 units)

THEA 532 Globe Production II
THEA 533 Globe Production III

Courses will be taken either at The Old Globe or at USD under the supervision of the Director of the program with the advice and consent of the MFA oversight committee. Periodic evaluations, apart from the normal grading process, will help determine the advisability of students’ continuing in the program.
Courses and Seminars

THEA 501 TEXT AND CONTEXT: MODERN DRAMA (3)

A survey course in drama from Ibsen to the present. Provides students with a reading background in the period as a context for their winter and/or spring productions.

THEA 502 TEXT AND CONTEXT: RENAISSANCE DRAMA (3)

A study of the cultural background of the English Renaissance, with an emphasis upon the works of William Shakespeare. Readings in the drama of the period may be supplemented by social, political or artistic material.

THEA 503 Text and Context: Molière and Restoration Drama (3)

A study of the cultural background of Moliere, the Restoration and the 18th century. Readings in the drama of these eras may be supplemented by social, historical, political or artistic material.

THEA 506 GRADUATE COLLOQUIUM (3)

Workshop exploring the particular skills required to perform a chosen genre of dramatic literature. The theatrical genres and skills studied vary from year to year.

THEA 511 MOVEMENT I (3)

This course utilizes the concepts and theories of Laban, Bartenieff, Lessac and Michael Chekhov as the basis for vocal/physical explorations and a foundation of a movement-based technique for the actor. Also, yoga and private tutorials in the Alexander Technique continue throughout the program.

THEA 512 MOVEMENT II (3)

An introduction to stage combat, this course focuses on the skills needed to execute safe and dramatically effective stage violence. Classes address the unique focus necessary for the integration of combat skills into the actor’s process.

THEA 513 MOVEMENT III (3)

This course is designed to give actors the opportunity to apply movement concepts and principles directly to their acting process, strengthening the development of an integrated movement-based psycho-physical acting technique.

THEA 514 MOVEMENT IV (3)

An in-depth exploration of Michael Chekhov’s psycho-physical approach to acting. Classes focus on the main concepts of the technique - Chekhov’s basic psycho-physical exercises; work with qualities, sensations and feeling, character, actions & gesture, and atmosphere.

THEA 521 ACTING I (3)

An exploration of the Stanislavski technique and application of its analytical process to texts in the Modern Drama genre. In addition, extra-curricular performance assignments will be an integral part of this and all acting courses throughout the program.

THEA 522 ACTING II (3)

Applying techniques and exploration begun in Acting I, this course will concentrate on performance of Shakespeare and heightened language. Students will practice techniques widely used by professionals in the performance of verse and complex language. Individual emphasis will be placed on practicing alternative techniques that support growth and range of performance.

THEA 523 ACTING III (3)

Students will perform scenes from a range of periods such as French neo-classical, English restoration and 19th century. Individual emphasis will be placed on practicing alternative techniques that support growth and range of performance.

THEA 524 ACTING IV (3)

This course is designed to develop skills in preparation for professional theatre careers. Workshops in audition technique, monologue preparation, on-camera performance, and the business of acting are taught throughout the semester.

THEA 531 GLOBE PRODUCTION I (3)

Independent study practicum under the supervision of the Director of the program. Includes rehearsal and performance participation, as well as discussions and seminars with professional company members at The Old Globe Theatre. This course is pass/fail.

THEA 532 GLOBE PRODUCTION II (3)

Independent study practicum at The Old Globe under the supervision of the Director of the program. This course is Pass/Fail.

THEA 533 GLOBE PRODUCTION III (3)

Independent study practicum at The Old Globe under the supervision of the Director of the program. This course is Pass/Fail.

THEA 541 VOICE AND SPEECH I (3)

As preparation for professional theatre performance, this course develops awareness and health of the vocal instrument, and builds skill in breath support, rich vocal resonation, precise articulation, stage worthy vocal presence, the International Phonetic Alphabet, scansion, and the speaking of rhetoric.

THEA 542 VOICE AND SPEECH II (3)

Exercises are further developed into individually designed vocal warm-ups. The IPA is now used to identify and differentiate the speech styles of: “General American” “Standard American” and “Standard English.”

THEA 543 VOICE AND SPEECH III (3)

Focuses on The Four Components of Voice: Quality, Force, Time, and Pitch. Students practice and perform speeches from Shakespeare and contemporary plays, to speak with variety, specificity, expressiveness and intention.

THEA 544 VOICE AND SPEECH IV (3)

Stage Dialects and Accents - this course provides practice in the process of identifying, analyzing, and learning to speak English with the appearance of an authentic dialect or accent for performance. Studies include phonetic sound changes, pitch patterns, rhythms and speeds, tone placements, and cultural expectations of those societies.

THEA 595 TEXT AND CONTEXT: THESIS PROJECT (3)

Workshop dedicated to producing the program thesis, an original solo performance piece. Coursework includes research, writing, and rehearsal.

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