This course is designed as a practical approach to vocal and physical expression for the artist in the methods and techniques of modern performance. Through exercises and development of formal scenes, students learn and implement the basic acting vocabulary of performance primarily through the study of the modern American canon of theater, television and film.
MPRA 106 Movement for Performance I
This course explores the practical exercise in relaxation methods, performance techniques and physical flexibility that connects the actor’s kinesthetic sense to the expressive, connected and free use of the body as part of the story telling process. Various movement techniques are explored.
MPRA 160 Fundamentals of Character and Stagecraft
The student develops a freedom of expression, both physical and vocal, in the creation of interesting, unique characters. Beginning with observation, students enhance their abilities to use physical and vocal techniques as well as mimicry to portray believable characters. The course culminates in presentations that show a mastery of the fundamental art of character creation as well as basic principles of stagecraft. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106.
MPRA 200 American Musical Theater Survey
This course presents the history of musical theater in the United States from the early 18th century to the contemporary era, including cultural icons of American theater history. Through examples and analysis, the course seeks to develop the ability of students to listen to, experience and critique musical theater trends in a discerning manner. The design, fashion, musical structures, theater architecture and musical film genres of the era of study are integral to the lectures and research of the course. Prerequisite(s): ARTH 110.
MPRA 201 Survey of Theater and Drama I
This is the first of two courses surveying the development and history of Western theater. This course begins with Western theater’s roots and continues through the early 19th century, to ensure an understanding of the origins and evolution of performance and theatrical tradition. Prerequisite(s): ARTH 110.
MPRA 204 Survey of Theater and Drama II
This is the second of two courses surveying the development and history of Western theater. This course begins with the early 19th century and continues through the present, with special attention given to the rise of different forms of contemporary performance. It provides an understanding of the evolution of theatrical tradition and different modes of performance. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 201.
MPRA 206 Movement for Performance II
This course is a further intensive examination of movement patterning, the actor’s physical presence and choices made in character study. Actors continue to develop their movement creativity and understand pattern choices through exercises, movement explorations, mask work and physical monologue study. Various movement experts are explored with the Alexander Technique as the connective underpinning of this course of study. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106.
MPRA 210 Voice for Performance I
This course is designed to introduce a variety of voice training methods. Students explore alignment, breath and vocal production to examine their habits and then move to awareness, mobility, freedom and strong vocal support. Through the course of study the student is able to link the diverse vocal pedagogies to varying performance demands and venues for optimal vocal ease and clarity.
MPRA 211 Voice for Performance II
This continuation of Voice I explores textual analysis utilizing breath, support, pitch, rate and volume. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is introduced and several stage dialects are learned, including a non-regional American dialect. Students create a comprehensive warm-up specific to the needs of their roles and venues and are also able to lead group warm-ups. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 210.
MPRA 215 Playwriting
The course teaches the fundamentals of playwriting, including character development, plot construction, conflict and the writing of believable dialogue. Students study and analyze classic dramas in order to fully understand the various techniques and styles used for the stage. Student scripts are extensively workshopped and critiqued. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 180.
MPRA 226 Stagecraft Vocabularies of Live Performance
This course focuses on the onstage arrangement of actors and the intersection of design elements. Students learn the vocabularies—both verbal and physical—to properly move and place themselves onstage, to enhance the possibilities of the playwright, the work of the director and their own characterizations. Prerequisite(s): DSGN 101, MPRA 106.
MPRA 230 Professional Studies in Media Relations
By studying industry-standard techniques and professional practices in media criticism, news writing, marketing, casting, unions and contracts, students in this course explore a variety of writing and editing approaches necessary for clearly communicating ideas and opinions through scholarly criticism, effective news writing techniques and oral adjudication. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 201, MPRA 204.
MPRA 240 French Classical Theater
By reading and performing selections of plays from the classical French canon, students in this course become thoroughly familiar with the great playwrights of the French classical tradition: Jean Racine, Pierre Corneille, Marivaux and Molière. Special emphasis is placed on the all encompassing influence of classical culture on the playwrights studied, as well as the performative influences of the Italian commedia troupes. Every opportunity is taken to view plays from the classical canon in performance, and students perform their own scenes from selected plays as part of the school wide vernissage at the close of the quarter.
MPRA 250 Women in Dramatic Arts
This course examines the changing roles of women in the performing arts from the Restoration to the current time. Plays, as well as other supporting documents written by and about women, are read and discussed. The course examines the different ways women’s lives and issues are conveyed through performance. The lives of women artists and their work, specifically women who have been visionary leaders in the world of the performing arts, are the main focus of the course. Prerequisite(s): ARTH 110, ENGL 123.
MPRA 261 Improvisation
This course provides an overview of the origins and philosophy of improvisation since the mid-twentieth century, and how it has been a major influence since the 1960’s on live performance, film and TV and now as a primary format for digital performance media. Students learn the basics of improvisation and learn to be fearless and creative on stage using a modern approach to improvisational comedy and how to apply improvisational approach to character creation.
MPRA 300 Theory and Acting for the Classics
This course of theory and practice examines the work of Shakespeare for style and execution. Emphasis is placed on interpretation of roles, text and performance. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106, MPRA 210.
MPRA 310 Stage Combat I
Using the single-sword and unarmed combat, the actor develops safe and effective means of demonstrating a believable skill set for the stage audience. This specialized form of actor movement develops physical and spatial awareness, grounding, centering, economy of effort, extension of line, focus, timing, action/reaction, moment to moment and impulse reaction. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106.
MPRA 314 Acting for the Camera I
This course enables students to gain hands-on experience in camera acting techniques and methodology. The course includes cold reading, text work and character development. Emphasis is placed on practical performance for film and TV. Prerequisite(s): FILM 106 or MPRA 103 or MPRA 106.
MPRA 315 Advanced Playwriting
This course is designed for students who would like to further develop their playwriting skills. Students’ plays are analyzed and critiqued in a workshop setting that includes read-through, walk-through and other performance formats to develop professional-quality work. Students have the opportunity to create, develop and revise full-length scripts for performance. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 215.
MPRA 322 Casting for Film and Television
Students learn the process of casting a film, TV pilot, series and live performance. Through a series of auditions and callbacks, students learn how to direct actors, discern talent levels, break down scripts and create idea lists, in order to put together a cohesive cast for any given project. Students gain hands-on experience of the inner workings of network and independent casting offices, thus positioning them for internships in the television and film industry. Prerequisite(s): FILM 100, MPRA 103, MPRA 160.
MPRA 330 Singing for the Actor
This studio course is designed to prepare the actor for success in performance events that require singing. Students learn and practice the basic fundamentals of singing (i.e. breath management, phonation, resonance, articulation, registration and interpretation) as related to acting and preparation for singing auditions. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106, MPRA 210.
MPRA 340 Scene Study
Focusing on scripted scenes, students learn techniques of analysis, character development, dynamics of character relationships and rehearsal techniques. The course covers a wide range of genres and styles. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 106, MPRA 210.
MPRA 366 Advanced Character Development
The course is a focused study in the art of specific character development. Actors study world events, history and sociology and draw from the world of ideas to create characters. Students create two to three original characters that they can use in sketch comedy, stand-up comedy or in the creation of unique individual performance work for live theater, film, TV or media performance arts. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 160.
MPRA 375 Directing
Through the analysis of a classic play from the 19th or 20th century, students in this course learn about the craft of the modern stage director. All aspects of stage direction are studied: the history, the process of dramaturgical research and script analysis, the casting process, the development of a visual aesthetic and the fundamentals of staging a play. The course culminates in the staging of one scene and the presentation of a production notebook. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 300, MPRA 340.
MPRA 377 Production Lab I
Through a series of rehearsals and performances, students gain hands-on performance practice experience in main stage productions. Students research character and learn play analysis, maintain a rehearsal journal and evaluate the process following the play's closing. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 160, permission of the department chair.
MPRA 399 Off-campus Performing Arts Seminar
This course is an off-campus immersion experience that takes students to various cities within or outside of the United States. Students learn about the performing arts and/or film industry through attendance at live events, meeting the artists that create those events, and attending seminars at leading arts organizations. Students gain an understanding of the evolution of the arts in the locale by putting the arts into the context of the city's history. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 204.
MPRA 400 Audition Techniques and Materials
Through the study of cold readings, interview techniques, as well as prepared audition materials, students in this course select, develop and rehearse materials as related to casting opportunities for career opportunities in live performance. Students also prepare industry-standard résumé materials for presentation and learn about unions and various professional organizational structures related to live performance careers. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 300, MPRA 340.
MPRA 401 Special Topics in Performing Arts
The topic of this course varies from quarter to quarter. Each seminar focuses on various issues in the field of performing arts and allows students to pursue projects related to the subject of the course. Prerequisite(s): Vary according to topic.
MPRA 404 Voice-over and Dialects
This is an advanced course in performance and professional practice. Students study and apply the techniques of voice-over performance in radio, film, commercials, animation, game design, television and other media. Students acquire the techniques of the application of dialect in character work proceeding from the fundamental study of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Students record their voice-over work for use on their website or industry demo. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 211.
MPRA 410 Issues of Contemporary Acting Genres
This course introduces students to various types of acting styles, including theater of the absurd, environmental theater and poetic realism. Focus is placed on the work of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jerzy Grotowski, Eugene O’Neill, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson and Tony Kushner. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 201.
MPRA 414 Acting for the Camera II
In this course, students refine their on-camera techniques. The course examines the demands of the professional actor in film and television. It offers the student tools to break down a scene quickly and create a believable character for different genres. It also focuses on the technical demands required by an actor, such as adjusting performance for different shots, eyelines, marks, etc. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 314.
MPRA 415 Stage Combat II
This course refines stage violence techniques with the study of the rapier and dagger. Students develop safe and effective means of demonstrating command of this weapon for an audience. This specialized movement training enhances spatial awareness, centering, economy of effort, extension of line, focus and moment-to-moment playing of the actor. Students perform scenes as actors with approved fight choreography that demonstrates their ability as actors, as well as basic mastery of skills and possible certification by the Society of American Fight Directors. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 310.
MPRA 416 Auditioning for Film and Television
Through hands-on practice auditioning each week with current film and television material, students gain professional insight and working knowledge of how to audition for series television, pilots, soap operas, independent and feature films. Students learn etiquette of casting processes and are ready to walk into casting offices professional and prepared. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 314.
MPRA 421 Advanced Acting for the Classics
This advanced course continues the development of the actor through his/her exploration of the classical repertoire, focusing on the development of character in two, three and multi-character scenes from the classical theatrical canon. The course builds on the techniques learned in prerequisite courses in scansion and dialect and prepares students for professional performance work. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 300.
MPRA 435 Diverse Voices- Multi-Cultural American Theater
This course emphasizes the multi-cultural dramatic American theater of the 20th and 21st centuries. Students study dramatic theater from the African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic canon. An emphasis is placed on the performance techniques utilized by the various authors studied as well as their literary styles. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 204.
MPRA 460 Actor/Writer Laboratory
Performing arts students collaborate with students in dramatic writing in the development and creation of materials for stage and digital media performances. Emphasis is placed on solo and ensemble work, comedic material and the reflection of contemporary issues through the voices of the creators. The course culminates in a public performance. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 366.
MPRA 465 Advanced Improvisation
This course is a continuation of improvisation studies that provides undergraduate students the opportunity to move to advanced work in improvisation, investigating alternative improvisational techniques as they apply to media and advanced stage practices. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 261.
MPRA 478 Production Lab II
This course continues the process of learning how to analyze scripts and characters and building a role. Students rehearse, prepare and perform roles in departmental productions under close supervision of directing professor. This course includes recording the experience in a journal and a research project accompanied by an evaluative paper summarizing the experience. This course explores the role of research in preparing a character and the techniques required to sustain a role over multiple performances. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 377.
MPRA 495 Performing Arts Senior Project
The learning experience culminates in a performance experience. Students select from a menu of options for a senior project, all of which include performance components that bring together all aspects of the training in the final project. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the professor and the department chair.
Focusing on contemporary material from stage and screen, actors work on monologues and scenes with partners and receive critical feedback. They also focus on materials needed for professional audition situations.
MPRA 703 Contemporary Drama I
This course surveys trends and styles in contemporary drama, from the 1960's through early 1990's. Major artists and ensembles, and the influences of technology, process, politics and identity are considered, on stage as well as in film and television. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 702.
MPRA 706 Performance Studies: Anti-realism and Digital Media
Focusing on cutting-edge and avante-garde material from stage and screen, actors work on scenes with partners and receive critical feedback. They are introduced to a variety of acting styles suitable to the contemporary performance field and then apply those styles to scene work. The course also focuses on auditioning in professional environments. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 702.
MPRA 707 Principles of Performance
Through exposure to the major influences in performance theory, as well as classroom exercises, both prescribed and improvisational, this course covers the principles of performance. Students acquire the ability to be clear, truthful and spontaneous in the rehearsal and performance environment.
MPRA 708 Voice Dialect Technique
Beginning with vocal freedom, then moving into vocal exploration and readiness, advanced performing arts students work towards mastery of their vocal instrument. Students learn the International Phonetic Alphabet exploring the world's sounds and applying their knowledge to a Detail Model of speech for use on stage and screen. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 707.
MPRA 711 Contemporary Drama II
This course surveys trends and styles in contemporary drama, from the mid 1990's through present. Major artists and ensembles, and the influences of technology, process, politics, and identity are considered, on stage as well as in film, television and digital media. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 703.
MPRA 714 Voice for Media
This course builds on the student’s knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet by applying it to the exploration of dialects and accents. Advanced vocal techniques are continually utilized to broaden the foundation laid in the prerequisite course. This is all then practically employed in the digital and recorded media forums, enabling the student to also gather material for self-promotion venues. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 708.
MPRA 717 Performing Classics I
This course examines the techniques involved in the metrical analysis of verse in speech and their application to performance. Through the study of sonnets, play scripts and other related materials from a variety of periods, including Greek, Elizabethan and Jacobean, students experience the complexities of verse-speaking. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 702.
MPRA 718 Performing Classics II
This course examines the techniques involved in the metrical analysis of verse in speech and their application to performance. Through the study of scripts and related materials from a variety of early later periods beginning in the 17th-century and continuing through the early 20th-century work of Oscar Wilde, students gain mastery of the complexities of classical texts.
MPRA 728 Script Analysis
This course, which is offered for each emphasis of the media and performing arts graduate program, provides students with a thorough understanding of script analysis and creative and research writing. Students engage in a continuing process of interpretation and conceptual and critical analysis. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 704 or MPRA 707.
MPRA 739 Performing Arts Off-campus Industry Seminar
This course offers an off-campus total immersion experience that takes students to a destination city within or outside the United States that has a flourishing performing arts scene and related industries. Students experience the performing arts and related film or television industry through attendance at live events, meeting the artists that create those events and seminars at leading arts organizations. Students also gain an understanding of the evolution of the arts in the destination city by putting the arts into the context of the city's history.
MPRA 758 Graduate Stage Combat
A variety of stage combat techniques are employed to allow the graduate student actor the means to develop safe, effective and believable skills for the stage audience. In addition to providing the actor with believable acting skills, this specialized form of training further develops physical and spatial awareness, grounding, centering, economy of effort, extension of line, focus, timing, action/reaction work and moment-to-moment impulse reactive playing.
MPRA 765 Improvisation Techniques
This course provides an advanced overview of the origins and philosophy of improvisation since the mid-twentieth century. Students develop improvisation techniques through coaching, warm-up exercises, creative performance games and short-form scene-work, team-building, trust, speed, status, active listening and agreement.
MPRA 770 Professional Development
Through in-class work on audition materials, research and hands-on professional audition opportunities, students gain practical knowledge about securing work as a performer and experience professional audition situations for all forms of performance genres. The course includes professional auditions for casting directors, producers and agents. Prerequisite(s): DWRI 738, DWRI 740 or MPRA 702.
MPRA 775 Camera Acting Technique
Through in-class work on audition materials, research and hands-on professional audition opportunities, students gain practical knowledge about securing work as a performer and experience professional audition situations for all forms of performance genres. This course includes professional auditions for casting directors, producers and agents. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 702.
MPRA 776 Camera Acting Styles
This course prepares students for auditions in the professional world through feedback, critique and materials. Students learn how to capitalize on their unique character strengths and integrate those strengths into every role. They also learn how to approach new material and genres with confidence. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 775.
MPRA 777 Graduate Production Lab
Through classroom meetings, rehearsals and performances, students focus on performance practice through participation in main stage productions. Students research character and utilize play analysis to develop roles and achieve professional standards. Students maintain a rehearsal journal and evaluate the process following the play's closing. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 707, permission of the department chair.
MPRA 778 Applied Character Development in Production
Graduate students experience the process of creating a role using acting methodologies, and applying those methodologies to the rehearsal process. They maintain a journal and investigate their characters through the process of rigorous script and character analysis and a process journal. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 777.
MPRA 780 Special Topics in Performing Arts
The topic of this course varies from quarter to quarter and focuses on diverse issues in the field of media and performing arts. The course gives graduate students the opportunity to pursue projects of interest related to these particular issues. Faculty, course content and prerequisites vary each time the course is offered. The course may include lectures, discussions, individual projects and critiques, depending on the nature of the topic.
MPRA 781 Performance Workshop
This course explores and develops performance on an advanced level. It is designed for flexibility enabling students to take advantage of special teaching resources, the specific expertise of visiting guest artists or particular student interests. Prerequisite(s): MPRA 702.
MPRA 790 Performing Arts M.F.A. Thesis
Students have the opportunity to develop their thesis project in a classroom setting, with formalized goals and outcomes and the guidance of a professor. Deadlines are set. Assistance and group input are part of the process of writing the final thesis paper. Prerequisite(s): Completion of the review for candidacy.