Discovery of Expressive Self
Using tools of the actor’s preparation, students will awaken their observational skills and creativity in order to better connect with themselves and world around them. Students will explore the body and voice as primary communicators of personal narrative and uncover their own habits, beliefs, and bias through written and experiential exercises, reading and witnessing stories and performances, and engaging in discussion and collaboration. A special focus will be spent on individual and partner scene work that aims to deeply consider the lives of others.
Pop & Protest
Despite frequent calls to simply "shut up and sing," popular artists have always been vital catalysts for change. This course investigates the roles and responsibilities for musicians within popular culture, giving particular attention to their engagement with social and political movements. How have groundbreaking songs and performances influenced and inspired their historical contexts? A larger goal relating to the first year experience lies in a dialogue regarding how modern American society "sees" each other. What defines our identity and how in turn do we identify others? How do discussions and disputes over race, class, and prejudice present a challenge for living an examined life? Do social constructs exist that influence our impressions and decisions? Through an examination of creative works we will explore and challenge the values of modern society as well as our own.
Cinema of the Mind
As that title implies, narratives can be expressed in many forms, and we will explore several of them: narrative poetry, literary non-fiction, film (feature and documentary), as well as printed stories that incorporate pictures or other graphic elements.
In this course, students will sharpen their insight into how narratives are constructed and how ubiquitous they are in our daily lives. They will also gain an appreciation of the challenges involved in finding and following an inspiration, along with the challenge of exploring and elaborating that inspiration until it takes on a life of its own in the world. To this end, students will create one highly polished short story (revision is mandatory) in addition to several shorter works. Short writing exercises as well as discussions led by student panels will further hone written and oral communication abilities. A love of writing and a desire to understand narrative from both the author's and critic’s perspective will be of great benefit in this course.
Making Something from Nothing
Thinking about the quality and character of materials and substances has deep implications for our selves and the way we choose to build the world around us. Often taken for granted, the choice of material is an essential component for creating content in a work of art. When artists employ unconventional materials, they are often exercising a critical position, sometimes rejecting or reframing the status quo, and always challenging viewers to do the same.