University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles

Courses of Instruction

Theatre (THTR)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

101 Introduction to Acting (4, FaSp) Study of genres, terminology, and disciplines of acting; fundamental techniques necessary for performance; scene study from contemporary plays.

105 Asian American Theatre (4, Fa) Enroll in AMST 105.

110 Dramatic Analysis (2, Fa) Actors work on the text: analysis in rehearsal of scripts drawn from contemporary realism for dramatic characterization. Corequisite: THTR 115, THTR 120a, THTR 140a.

115 Movement I (2, Fa) Basic training for the actor's body for expression and communication. Awareness and control through mind-body techniques. Corequisite: THTR 110, THTR 120a, THTR 140a.

120ab Acting I (2-2, Sp) Basic principles and techniques of acting through theatre games and improvisation. Introduction to contemporary texts, basic characterization and cold reading techniques. Open to B.F.A. majors only. Corequisite: a: THTR 110, THTR 115, THTR 140a; b: THTR 140b.

121abx Fundamentals of Acting (2-2, FaSp) a: The elements of the actor's imaginative skills. b: Continuation of THTR 121a. Not available for credit to theatre majors.

122 Improvisation and Theatre Games (2, max 4, FaSp) Individual and group exercise to free the actor physically and emotionally and to stimulate creativity, imagination, and self-expression.

124abx Character Acting (2-2, FaSp) a: Concentration of imaginative processes which develop the individual characteristics of a dramatic role. b: Continuation of THTR 124a. Not available for credit to theatre majors.

125 Text Studies for Production (4, Fa) Focuses on the questions, artistic choices, methodologies, and approaches of an actor/director/designer in the preparation of a production score prior to rehearsal.

130 Introduction to Theatrical Production (2, max 4, FaSp) Introduction to the non-performance areas of theatrical production (administrative, design, and technical fields) through hands-on participation in USC productions.

140ab Voice I (2-2, Fa) Physiological mechanism of voice: breath control, phonation, resonance, articulation of language for the stage; expressive use of stress, intonation and rhythm. Corequisite: a: THTR 110, THTR 115, THTR 120a; b: THTR 120b.

181ab Modern Dance (2-2, FaSpSm) a: Techniques of modern dance; elements of dance composition. b: Advanced techniques of modern dance; elements of choreography and production.

182ab Advanced Modern Dance (2-2, FaSpSm) a: A continuing study of modern dance skills toward an advanced level of competency. b: Advanced technique and composition.

183abcd Ballet (2-2-2-2, FaSpSm) a: Beginning techniques of classical ballet consisting of basic barre and center work; basic body and arm positions, port de bras, allegro and elementary adagio. b: Intermediate techniques of classical ballet with intermediate barre, adagio, allegro combinations and pirouettes; development of a working knowledge of ballet terminology. c: Advanced techniques of classical ballet; emphasis on clarity and precision with execution of movement. Study of beats, tours, advanced adagio and allegro, grand combinations, pointe-work. d: Elementary to intermediate level ballet technique en pointes for women and men; conditioning and barre exercises; variations from classical and modern ballets.

184abc Jazz Dance (2-2-2, FaSpSm) a: Beginning techniques and practice of jazz dance. b: Continuing study in the techniques of jazz dance. c: Advanced techniques of jazz dance: advanced warm up, rhythmic and isolation exercises, turns and advanced jazz sequences or combinations.

188ab International Style Ballroom Dance (2-2, FaSpSm) Representative ballroom dances: waltz, slow foxtrot, tango, and quickstep. a: Beginning. b: Intermediate. Graded CR/NC.

189ab Tap Dance (2-2, FaSpSm) a: Basic tap rhythms developed into elementary dances with progression of time steps and other combinations of sound. b: Continuing study of tap dancing including more complicated rhythmic patterns and combinations; polishing technique; combinations to varied music and introduction to advanced steps and combinations. Prerequisite: THTR 189a or departmental approval.

195 Theatre on Film (4, FaSp) Introduction to the theatre and its relationship to society through major plays in film versions. Separate screenings to be arranged.

201 Introduction to the Theatre (4, Sp) Gateway to the majors and minors in theatre. Introduction to and exploration of the creative elements of theatre art: playwriting, acting, directing, and design of scenery, lighting, and costume. Research on a selected area. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 100.)

215ab Movement II (a: 2, Fa; b: 2, Sp) a: Training of the actor's body with focus on development of precision and strength. Prerequisite: THTR 115; corequisite: THTR 220a, THTR 240a. b: Training of the actor's body with focus on mask work for the development of precision, strength and expressiveness. Prerequisite: THTR 215a; corequisite: THTR 220b, THTR 240b.

216 Movement for Actors (2, FaSp) Training and practice in the coordination of the physical apparatus of the actor utilizing various movement techniques through improvisation.

220ab Intermediate Acting I (2-2, FaSp) Continuing development of imagination leading to an increased range of dramatic expression through the formalized text of William Shakespeare. Prerequisite: THTR 120b.

222 Stage Make-up (2, FaSp) Principles of stage make-up materials and skills allowing the actors to enhance their features and techniques for moderate and extreme aging, injuries, and character roles.

230 Communicating Theatrical Design Concepts (3, FaSp) The visualization and communication of design ideas through free-hand and mechanical drawing, including orthographics, isometrics, perspective, shades and shadows, plans, sections and elevations.

231ab Costume Construction (3-3, FaSp) Historical survey, theory and practice in construction of costume, emphasis on period and style. Recommended preparation: THTR 125, THTR 201.

232 Stage Lighting (3, FaSp) Theory and practice of theatrical lighting design including electricity, radiant energy, refraction, reflection, absorption, chromatic variation, and electronic controls. Prerequisite: THTR 131.

240ab Voice II (2-2, FaSp) Development of the voice using material which explores the techniques of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Prerequisite: THTR 140b; corequisite: a: THTR 215a, THTR 220a; b: THTR 215b, THTR 220b.

252ab Intermediate Acting I (2-2, FaSp) a: Polishing the actor's skills through analysis and class performance of scenes from plays. b: Continuation of THTR 252a.

272 Activities for Professional Preparation: Dance (1) Fundamental movements and composition in modern and aerobic dance; study of popular social dance forms; teaching and evaluation methodologies; course and class planning.

280 Dance as an Art Form (4, FaSpSm) Gateway to the minor in dance. Concepts of art exemplified in dance; origins and evolution of classic and contemporary dance forms; elements of art criticism applied to dance productions. Required attendance at dance concerts and art exhibits.

282 Activities for Professional Preparation: Dance (1) Fundamental movements and composition in modern and aerobic dance; study of popular social dance forms; teaching and evaluation methodologies; course and class planning.

285 Elements of Dance Production (4) Theoretical aspects of creativity, choreography, accompaniment, dance notation, and production; application in individual and group composition. Lecture, 2 hours; performance laboratory, 6 hours.

295 Theatre in America (2, max 8, FaSp) Current state of American theatre, through a study of acting, playwriting, criticism, stage design, lighting, and dramatic styles.

300 Introduction to Modern Drama (4, Fa) An investigation of the ideas, forms, genres, and thematic concerns of modern drama. Equal emphasis is placed on the plays and their historical contexts. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 200.)

301 Greek and Roman Theatre (4, Fa) Examines the function of theatre, production and acting conventions, and the drama of classical Greece and Rome. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 213.) Recommended preparation: THTR 125, THTR 201.

302 Shakespeare in His World (4, Sp) The plays and theatre of Shakespeare, the influences on his work and his contemporary world. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 214.) Recommended preparation: THTR 201, THTR 310, THTR 311.

303 The Performing Arts (4, FaSp) An interdisciplinary inquiry into the aesthetics of the performing arts. Examines a dramatic classic and its adaptations into musical theatre, opera, ballet and film.

305ab Directing (4-4, FaSp) Examination of basic directorial principles. Pre-production analysis and rehearsal procedures; relationship of the director to actor; integration of technical aspects of production. Prerequisite: THTR 305a before b.

310 Theory and Practice of World Theatre I (4, Fa) A multicultural and transnational examination of the history, theory and practice of theatre from its origins to the age of Shakespeare and Zeami. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 210.) Recommended preparation: THTR 201.

311 Theory and Practice of World Theatre II (4, Sp) A multicultural and transnational examination of the history, theory and practice of theatre from the Renaissance to the 19th Century. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 211.) Recommended preparation: THTR 201, THTR 310.

313 Comedy of Manners (4, Fa) Study of the development of Comedy of Manners, with primary focus on Restoration Comedy of Manners. Recommended preparation: THTR 201, THTR 310, THTR 311.

314 Advanced Topics in Modern Drama (4, Sp) 20th century realism and the avant-garde. Recommended preparation: THTR 201, THTR 310, THTR 311.

315ab Physical Theatre I (2-2, FaSp) Actor training anchored by rigorous physical movements. Activities include comedy, clowning, juggling, and mask work. Open to B.F.A. Acting majors only.

316 Advanced Movement for Actors (2, FaSp) Advanced physical training for the B.A. actor utilizing various movement techniques through improvisation. For B.A., Theatre (Acting) students only. Prerequisite: THTR 216.

320ab Intermediate Acting II (2-2, FaSp) Further development of range and breadth of performance skills with emphasis on texts of heightened language and style. Open to B.F.A. acting majors only. Prerequisite: THTR 220b; corequisite: a: THTR 315a, THTR 340a; b: THTR 315b, THTR 340b.

330 Scene Design I (4, Fa) Historical styles, methods, and dramatic analysis for scene design as applied in contemporary practice. Recommended preparation: THTR 130ab.

331 Costume Design I (4, Sp) Historical styles, methods, and dramatic analysis in costume design as applied in contemporary practice. Execution of costume designs for assigned works. Recommended preparation: THTR 231.

332 Lighting Design I (4, Fa) Historical styles, methods, and dramatic analysis in lighting design as applied in contemporary practice. Prerequisite: THTR 232 or departmental approval.

333 Stage Management I (3, Fa) Basic skills, including assembly of prompt book, blocking notation, and organizational and communication procedures applied in theatre production.

335 Scenic Construction (3, FaSp) Technology, organization, and operation of the theatrical scene shop centered around the proper and safe use of tools, the choosing of materials, and methods of construction. (Duplicates credit in former THTR 131.)

340ab Intermediate Voice (2-2, FaSp) Extended development of vocal freedom and range, acquisition of articulate speech. Enhancement of vocal power and resonance, techniques for performing with a dialect. Open to B.F.A. Acting majors only. Concurrent enrollment: THTR 315ab, THTR 320ab.

341x Voice for the Non-Theatre Major (2, Fa) Designed for the non-theatre major focusing on the range, color, texture, and projection of the human voice in a variety of situations. Not available for credit to theatre majors.

342ab Basic Voice (2-2, FaSp) a: Examination of the individual voice centering on resonance, tone, flexibility, and support through dramatic selections for transmitting meaning and emotion of character. b: Continuation of THTR 342a.

343 Musical Theatre Audition (3, FaSpSm) Designed to give students confidence and integrity for auditions in musical theatre. Choosing appropriate material and preparation for the audition and performance. Audition required.

352ab Intermediate Acting II (2-2, FaSp) a: Building and sustaining character in drama. b: Continuation of world drama. Class performance and critique. Prerequisite: THTR 252b.

355 Directing for the Actor (2, Sp) Fundamentals and theories. Understanding the relationship of the actor and director.

365 Playwriting I (4, FaSp) Essential elements of playwriting through weekly assignments, students' initiative, occasional productions of scenes, and extensive classroom analysis.

366 Playwriting II (4, FaSp) Continuation of the work begun in THTR 365. Prerequisite: THTR 365 or departmental approval.

380 Historical Approaches to Dance (4) Roles of dance in pre-technological societies; development of classic and romantic ballet from medieval, baroque, and renaissance periods to contemporary forms.

385 Choreography and Performance (4) Aesthetic concepts in dance and related arts; integration of concepts in choreography, performance, and production; philosophical bases of dance criticism; critical analysis of performances. Lecture, 3 hours; performance laboratory, 3 hours.

388 Senior Seminar in Dance (4) Synthesis of principles, philosophy, and history of dance, culminating in senior individual project.

390 Special Problems (1-4, FaSp) Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.

393m Cultural Identities in Performance (4, Fa) Examination of the potentials of live performance as a means of social redress. The medium's sociocultural function in reflecting, creating and critiquing the performing artist's emergent identities.

395m Drama as Human Relations (4) A focus on American ethnic and multicultural diversity from the perspectives of gender, race, and myth as revealed in plays, film, and other performance media.

396 God, Drama and Entertainment (4, FaSp) An exploration of money, power, sex and love in relation to secular and spiritual values represented by contemporary theatre media.

397 Theatre Practicum (1-4, max 12, FaSpSm) Substantive participation in productions sponsored by the school and supervised by the faculty.

404 Acting Theory (4, FaSp) Examination of the theoretical foundations of acting as an art form through the reading of primary historical texts.

407ab Drawing and Rendering for the Theatre (2-2, FaSp) Drawing and rendering techniques appropriate for theatre designers. a: Drawing and drawing theory. b: Drawing and rendering. (Duplicates credit in former FA 407ab.)

408ab Dialects (2-2, FaSpSm) a: The study of standard American stage dialect using the international phonetic alphabet. b: The study of accents and regional dialects. Prerequisite for b: THTR 408a or departmental approval.

415ab Physical Theatre II (2-2, FaSp) Advanced Physical Acting focusing on principles of verbal/non-verbal improvisation and communication. Elements of textual analysis, including development of character mask and of the ensemble. Open to B.F.A. Acting majors only. Prerequisite: THTR 315b.

420ab Advanced Acting (2-2, FaSp) Contemporary material from plays and screenplays with an emphasis on individual challenges and problems. Open to B.F.A. acting majors only. Prerequisite: THTR 320b; corequisite: a: THTR 415a, THTR 440a; b: THTR 415b, THTR 440b.

430 Stage Management II (3, Sp) Application of stage management procedures required in the professional theatre. Prerequisite: THTR 333.

432ab Scene Design II (3-3, FaSp) Continuation of THTR 330. Evolution of scene design through analysis of script, environmental factors, and styles. Prerequisite: THTR 330 or departmental approval.

433ab Costume Design II (3-3, FaSp) Evolution of costume design through analysis of script, environmental factors, and styles. Prerequisite: THTR 331.

434ab Lighting Design II (3-3, FaSp) Continuation of THTR 332. Evolution of lighting design through analysis of script, environmental factors, and styles. Prerequisite: THTR 332.

435 Advanced Theatrical Drafting (3) Drafting style and complex graphic communication. Emphasis on creating professional plates, developing an individual style and graphic problem solving. Prerequisite: THTR 230 or departmental approval.

436 Sound for Theatre (3, Fa) Introduction to electronic sound and sound reinforcement, including basic equipment, recording, editing, and show operation.

437 Scene Painting (3, Sp) Techniques, materials, and equipment of the scenic artist, including both historic and modern methods. Recommended preparation: paint and drawing experience.

438 Technical Theatre (3, Sp) Theory and practice of technical theatre. Emphasis is on technical problem solving and graphic solutions to technical theatre. Prerequisite: THTR 230.

439 Stage Properties (3, Sp) Organization, management, and construction of properties for the theatre.

440ab Advanced Voice (2-2, FaSp) Continuation of exercises related to the individual student for the stage. Open to B.F.A. students only. Prerequisite: THTR 340ab.

441 Advanced Sound Design (3, Sp) Advanced exploration of theatrical sound design theory and related technology; creative uses of music, sound effects, and audio equipment in modern theatres. Prerequisite: THTR 436 or departmental approval.

444 Applied Voice: Speech and Text (3, Fa) Intensive study of speech and voice regarding text, context, environment, dynamics, range, and accent. Recommended preparation: THTR 342ab.

450 Festival Repertory Theatre Workshop (4, Sm) Participation in all phases of a repertory company presenting plays for the public. Admission to the course by audition and interview only.

452ab Advanced Acting (4-4, FaSp) Intensive investigation and performance of audition techniques. Scene study skills developed, including cold readings, first readings, rehearsal procedure, performance process, camera/taping. Prerequisite: THTR 352b.

458 Visiting Artist Workshop (2, max 4, FaSp) A workshop course taught by the visiting artist holding the George Burns chair. Course topics will be determined by the instructor.

465 Playwriting III (4) Analysis of a full-length play or its equivalent with continued production opportunity. Prerequisite: THTR 366 or departmental approval.

466 Playwriting IV (4) Continuation of the work begun in THTR 465. Prerequisite: THTR 465 or departmental approval.

471 Senior Showcase (2) Designed to provide the graduating students with an opportunity to select, prepare and perform for agents, directors and producers in film, television and theatre. Audition required. Open to Theatre majors only.

475 Acting on Camera: The Collaborative Process (4, max 8) Acting students will learn to develop on-camera acting skills and to collaborate with student directors and cinematographers from the School of Cinema-Television. Recommended preparation: 300-level acting course.

476m African American Theatre (4, Fa) Focuses on issues of race and social class of African Americans in the United States as it examines stage works written by and/or about African Americans.

477 Theatre and Therapy (4, Fa) Explores theatre as a healing art form. Techniques include games, improv, playback theatre, Boal's and Moreno's drama therapy, and Jungian dream theatre to name a few. Work with incarcerated youth, gay/lesbian/bi teens, elderly, disabled and other populations.

478ab Theatre for Youth (2-2) a: Theory and practice of youth theatre, including development and rehearsal of mainstage productions. Emphasis on multicultural and bilingual pieces. Enroll by audition or interview only. b: Continuation of a, bringing developed pieces into production for regional K-12.

479 Solo Performance (4, Fa) A writing-performance workshop in which students write, develop, and rehearse original, autobiographical and character monologues and perform them at the end of the semester.

480 Performance for Camera (2, max 4, Sp) Structured to address the dynamics of acting in relation to film/television. Refining the students' understanding of the similarities/differences between acting on stage/film. Audition required.

482 Choreography for Television (4) Creative choreography of theatrical dance for television. Emphasis on rhythmic analysis, versatility, composition, notation techniques, and stylizing.

483 Dance Performance (2, max 8, Sm) Preparation, rehearsal, and performance of experimental choreography in main stage repertory.

484 Acting in Television Commercials (2, FaSm) An on-camera, workshop-style introduction to techniques, perspectives and theories unique to performing in television commercials. Recommended preparation: a 300-level acting or voice class.

487 Promotion for the Performing Arts (4, Fa) Introduction and overview of all aspects of marketing the arts including both non-profit and commercial organizations.

488 Theatre in the Community (4, Fa) Research and actively develop the theory of theatre as a moving political, social, economic and spiritual force of change within the local community.

489 Theatre Internship (2-6, max 12, FaSpSm) Practical experience in the entertainment industry.

490x Directed Research (2-8, max 8, FaSpSm) Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit. Prerequisite: departmental approval.

491 Theatre Organization and Administration (4, Fa) Budgets, contracts, box-office procedures, public relations; personnel and executive policies of the school, community, and professional theatre.

492 Producing Theatre (4, Sp) Analysis of all procedures involved in producing theatre (commercial or non-profit) including legal and business guidelines and contracts. Prerequisite: THTR 491 or departmental approval.

493ab Periods and Styles (2-2, FaSp) A survey of the influence of historical and cultural events on the evaluation of theatrical styles. a: Classical to Jacobean. b: Restoration to 20th century.

494 Raising Money for the Arts (4, Sp) Overview of fundraising techniques for non-profit theatre including grantsmanship, board development, direct mail soliciting, and money raising activities and events.

495 Experimental Theatre Workshop I (4, max 8, FaSp) Guidance and direction in the production of new and experimental plays for a public audience.

496 Experimental Theatre Workshop II (4, max 8, FaSp) Continuation of THTR 495ab. Enrollment by audition only.

497 Advanced Theatre Practicum (2, max 4, FaSp) Intensive participation in a production sponsored by the school and supervised by the faculty, to increase and develop artistic growth. Prerequisite: THTR 397.

498 Production Analysis and Performance (4) Investigation and analysis of the work of a major dramatist and his milieu; production of one of his plays.

499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, FaSp) Studies in selected areas of theatre art. Intensive practice in role and script interpretation and its psychological relationship to the audience.

501 Poetry and Prose into Drama (4, Fa) Plays for the stage shall be written using public-domain poetry and prose as inspiration and source material, complemented with exploring poetry, prose, and varied dramas as context for the student writer. Students should be well-versed in literature, and have written in one or more genres. Recommended preparation: reading poetry and novels.

513 Seminar in History of the Theatre (4) Bibliography, historical evolution, patterns, and techniques of the theatre from primitive to modern times.

515abcd Advanced Movement (2-2-2-2, FaSp) Advanced exercises in movement for the use of the body in relation to the stage.

520abcd Advanced Acting (4-4-4-4, FaSp) Advanced training in acting skills; emphasis upon individual needs.

525 Seminar in Contemporary Theatre (4, SpSm) Analysis of trends, problems, and the work of major figures in the contemporary theatre.

526 Seminar in Dramatic Literature (4) Study and analysis of world drama best representing changes in philosophies, aesthetics, and tastes of audiences.

528 Seminar in Dramatic Analysis (4, Fa) Drama as a living art; reading, analysis, and discussion of plays which best illustrate principles of effective playwriting.

530 Seminar in Dramatic Criticism (4) Dramatic criticism from the classical Greek period to the modern.

533 Seminar in the American Theatre (4, 2 years, SpSm) History and literature of the American theatre from its beginning to the present day.

535 Seminar in Aesthetics of the Theatre (4) Aesthetic theories which apply to the art of the theatre; emphasis upon acting and play direction.

540abcd Advanced Voice Diction (2-2-2-2, FaSp) Individual work in improving the actor's vocal range.

550ab Seminar in Scene Design (3-3, FaSp) Theory and practice of scene design; an intensive investigation into the relationship of a script to the visual statement.

552ab Seminar in Costume Design (3-3, FaSp) Theory and practice of costume design; intensive investigation into the relationship of a script to the visual statement.

553ab Seminar in Lighting Design (3-3, FaSp) Theory and practice of lighting design; intensive investigation into the relationship of a script to the visual statement.

555 Directing Fundamentals (2) To provide the basic foundations for the conceptualization and execution of works for the stage. Prerequisite: registration is restricted to M.F.A. candidates in theatre or by departmental approval.

556ab Directing (2-2) A seminar/workshop in developing and testing directorial skills: text, design, acting, producing, and communication with an audience. Prerequisite: a: THTR 555; b: THTR 556a; registration is restricted to M.F.A. candidates in theatre or by departmental approval.

558ab Design for Directors (2-2) Basic elements of scenic, costume, props, lighting, sound, and make-up design, as they apply to the art of directing. Prerequisite: a: THTR 555; b: THTR 558a; registration is restricted to M.F.A. candidates in theatre or by departmental approval.

567ab Studies in Playwriting (4-4) a: Extensive examination of playwriting, dramaturgical development process, and readings of work toward the completion of professionally promising plays. b: Continued extensive examination of playwriting, dramaturgy, development, and readings of work toward the completion of professionally promising plays. Prerequisite: must be enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts playwriting or directing program.

575 Creative Production Projects (4) Advanced creative projects for production with emphasis on theatre as a synthesis of the performing arts.

590 Directed Research (1-12, FaSpSm) Research leading to the master's degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.

591 Seminar in Producing Theatre (4) A seminar in the theories and processes of producing theatre (commercial and non-profit). Prerequisite: registration is restricted to M.F.A. candidates in theatre or by departmental approval.

593 M.F.A. Project (2, max 4, FaSpSm) Credit awarded upon completion of project. Graded CR/NC.

595ab Graduate Playwrights' Workshop (4-4) a: Development of thesis plays utilizing faculty dramaturgical support and involvement of student actors/directors. Includes readings with/without audiences. Simulates professional development process. b: Continued development of thesis plays in a simulated professional development workshop process utilizing dramaturgy and involvement of student actors/directors. Culminates in staged readings. Prerequisite: must be enrolled in Master of Fine Arts playwriting or directing program.

597 Theatre Practicum (1-4, max 12, FaSpSm) Preparation, rehearsal, and performance of dramatic works in main stage repertory.

599 Special Topics (2-4, max 8) Studies in selected areas of theatre art.