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Prep School - Theater
At Columbia Preparatory, every student is given an opportunity to explore the world of theater. All classes are held in our state-of-the-art proscenium theater. Both in class and in productions, students develop strong interpersonal skills, deepen their perception of the world, and find their own unique voice. Students are involved in every aspect of production - acting, designing, directing, technical theater, dramaturgy, stage management and publicity. We celebrate the creative process of making theater, giving special attention to collaborative problem solving. Building a strong community is at the heart of every theatrical process.
7th AND 8th GRADES
As part of the Seventh and Eighth grade arts rotation, selected students can participate in a theater class that meets once a cycle. Students play theater games, conduct scene study, and write monologues. Improvisational comedy exercises sharpen listening and collaboration skills, as well as improving self-confidence on stage.
9TH GRADE THEATER
In either the fall or spring of freshmen year, every Ninth grader takes one semester of theater as an introduction to the theater department. Through studying acting and directing, students learn how to interpret and stage a simple scene. Students also analyze the basic elements of comedy and learn how to identify concepts such as dramatic irony. At the end of the semester, each class performs scenes from a farce. There is a focus on collaboration and communication, as many projects are done with partners.
A BREAKDOWN OF THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS
One play open to grades 7 - 12
One play open to grades 9 - 12
One musical open to grades 7 - 8
One musical open to grades 7 - 12
ELECTIVE COURSES FOR GRADES 9 - 12
In this project-based studio, everyone is an actor and everyone gets to direct. Students will forge a common vocabulary for how to talk about acting by experimenting in scene work and exercises. Scene analysis and blocking techniques are studied in detail. Essential theater skills such as communication, collaboration and leadership will be emphasized. Be ready to memorize multiple scenes and have the drive to seek out your own projects to direct. This is a class for students who just can’t get enough of acting and want to try their
hand at what directors do as well. Open to Tenth through Twelfth graders.
THEATER HISTORY: THE NATURE OF REVENGE
Is murder ever justified? What is the motivating force behind revenge? What happens when a wrongful death goes unpunished? How do concepts of honor, loyalty and revenge differ across cultural and theatrical borders? We will consider these questions by exploring the influential theatrical traditions of Ancient Greece, Elizabethan England, and Tokugawa Japan through the lens of revenge tragedy. We will read Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Chushingura (or The Revenge of the 47 Samurai) – some of the richest texts in theatrical history. We will also compare how modern films have interpreted these plays and attend at least one professional theater production. This course satisfies the arts history requirement and is open to Tenth - Twelfth graders.
What do costume designers do? How do they organize all the costumes for a show? Where do all the costumes come from? Have any of these questions crossed your mind? If so, this costume design class might be for you. In this hands-on class, students will learn how to hand sew and operate a sewing machine. Students will also create original costumes by adding fabric, sequins, patches, or paint to already existing garments. Students involved in this class will be required to participate on the costume crew of the current play. Open to
9th – 12th graders.
Age yourself 60 years! Change the shape of your nose! Give yourself an ugly bruise! After students learn how to apply basic stage makeup, they will study the shape of their faces to better change and manipulate their appearances. Students will learn how to apply shadows and lines for old age, wax to create scars and bruises, as well as paint to create a fantasy look. Every class period, students will apply makeup to their own faces. The final project will involve reading a play and designing make-up looks for several characters. Open to 9th – 12th graders.
Want to see your ideas come to life on stage? Students who have taken Technical Theater, Costume Design, or Acting/Directing classes may sign up for this intensive workshop. Students will participate in the conceptual design process leading up to the spring’s production. Each student in the workshop is assigned a “job” that directly impacts the completion and success of the production. Students are part of a unique collaborative process that results in a finished work of art. The spring play has not yet been chosen. Stay tuned! Open to 10th – 12th graders. Students may only enroll in this class after receiving permission from one of the instructors. This course counts as a studio credit.
INTRO TO TECHNICAL THEATRE
Discover the world of backstage magic in a class that explores the “hows” and “whys” most audience members never get to learn. From concept to reality, Tech Theatre is the process of bringing to life the dreamland each play’s characters explore. Learn to use your hands to craft everything from puppets to secret doors in a workshop where the impossible is the threshold of learning. Open to 9th -12th graders.
ADVANCED TECHNICAL THEATRE
Take your skill set to the next level with advanced studies in technical theatre. In class we will complete a series of projects based on the disciplines of theatre design: scenery, lighting, sound, painting, drafting, puppetry, model-making, etc. Learn to turn your creative ideas into practical solutions, and prepare a portfolio of finished works for presentation. Open to 9th -12th graders.
MOVEMENT FOR THE ACTOR
This class is for students who wish to understand and engage in the physical process of performance creation. Through self and group awareness explorations, we will examine how breath, alignment, and connection affect the physical choices made by performers as they learn to inhabit a character. Classes will incorporate basic dance technique as well as improvisations and compositions based on movement and text. Exercises are designed to activate imagination and produce thoughtful, clear movement choices as students learn how to develop specific character and performance qualities.
Open to 9th – 12th graders. A student enrolled in this course must attend every meeting. There will be no exemptions for sports team participation or outside activities. No previous dance experience needed.
Modern Dance encourages self-expression and freedom of movement. Students will be led through a technical warm-up designed to open the mind and strengthen the body. Movement sequences and improvisations will explore independent thinking and spontaneous reaction to time, space, and energy. This style of dance inspires imagination, intelligence, and awareness. Students will find themselves breaking through patterns of thinking and moving, encouraging individuality, self-confidence, and growth. Open to Ninth – Twelfth graders. A student enrolled in this course must attend every meeting. There will be no exemptions for sports team participation or outside activities.
INTRODUCTION TO DANCE
Introduction to Dance provides students with basic ballet, modern, jazz, and musical theater vocabulary, emphasizing proper technique. The course will also address choreography, dance terminology, and the basics of partnering. Every few weeks, a new movement sequence will introduce a different style, genre, or era of dance. Beginners welcome! Open to 9th – 12th graders. A student enrolled in this course must attend every meeting. There will be no exemptions for sports team participation or outside activities.
SENIOR PLAY PROJECT
Rising seniors who would like to participate in a senior play as actors or directors should sign up for this elective. Those interested in directing must have completed the Directing elective prior to fall 2012. Directors must also submit a proposal to Ms. Cusick outlining their ideas for what play to do before leaving for the summer. All rehearsals for the production will take place during class time. Performances are scheduled to take place in January, the week before exams. Students interested in stage managing or doing tech for the production may also sign up. Open to 12th graders only.