Union’s small but powerful production-oriented theater program is of the highest caliber. Conservatory-trained and professionally active faculty members strive to teach a world view of theater by presenting work from a wide spectrum of genres and cultures. From William Shakespeare to Sam Shepard, from Pinter to puppets, the program is designed to challenge the imagination, stimulate artistic curiosity and provide the basis for a rich and varied classroom experience.
Classes for theater majors and minors run the gamut from acting, design, public speaking, stage combat, stage lighting and stage makeup to advanced directing, improvisation, physical theater and theater criticism. The department produces several major theatrical productions and many student-directed shows each year. Graduates from our program have gone on to further study at some of the nation’s premier theater schools and secured production jobs in television and film.
All prospective students who are interested in theater are invited to drop by the Yulman Theater to see a show as a guest of the department and to visit a class any time.
ATH235. Physical Theatre. This course emphasizes the development of the actor's body as an expressive instrument. Focus is primarily on the actor's physical presence, actions as apposed to language, and the use of gestures. Students will be trained in techniques that focus on building strength, flexibility, and improvisation skills; targeting interactions between performers and visual elements to create scenic imagery; and will study a wide range of styles, including dance-theatre, movement theatre, masks, and video projections of live interactions with props and scenery. We review European, Japanese, and American styles of physical expression to broaden their theatrical vocabulary. The course will culminate in a collaborative creation produced and performed at the Yulman Theatre as part of the Winter Dance Concert.
ATH117. Lighting Design. This course seeks to introduce students to the world of stage lighting design and technology. Initial emphasis will be on electrical theory, photometrics and the wide variety of fixtures and control boards in use in the modern theatre. The class will then progress to basic lighting theory and analysis of lighting techniques. In the final weeks, the class will actively participate in the design, hang, focus, and programming of the lighting for a departmental production.
ATH140. American Musical Theatre and Dance. This course is an introduction to the American Musical from Vaudeville and Minstrel Shows to today's contemporary Broadway shows. Through lectures, video viewing and workshops, students will learn an historical background focusing on the work of lyricists, composers, choreographers, directors, and producers. This unique American entertainment art form reflects American diversity and culture, changing times, values and trends.
ATH125. Improvisation I. This class allows the individual and the group to explore through intuitive creative ways a physical, emotional, and spontaneous form of approaching theatre. This course prepares the performer for advanced training techniques by focusing attention on freeing the body to communicate. Emphasis will be placed on spatial awareness and control, physical characterization and developing performing skills in gestural relationships, kinesthetic response, tempo and character dynamics. Theatre games and a variety of improvisation methodologies will be used in the practice of performance discipline, risk taking, and collaboration on stage.