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Acting Courses

theatre department - college of arts and sciences

THTR 1101 Acting I: Fundamentals of Performance (Fall/Spring: 3)
Pre-requisites: Instructor’s permission
Patricia Riggin; Luke Jorgensen; John Houchin
Acting I trains students to acquire the essential skills of an actor: vocal and physical exercises to free the body and voice; improvisation and ensemble exercises to encourage creativity, to free one's imagination, and to release emotional spontaneity; and monologue and/or scene work to learn about the crafting and performance process of the actor.

Requirements: three papers (warm-up paper, reading response, and character/scene analysis), individual warm-up development, autobiographical story project, final scene, strict attendance policy, and three texts—The Monologue Workshop, The Right to Speak, and The Actor in You.


THTR 2201 Acting II: Voice/Body/Text (Spring: 3)
Prerequisites: THTR 1101
Patricia Riggin / Sun Ho Kim
Acting II focuses on tools and techniques essential for the actor. Using improvisation and character development at its core, the class will challenge actors to encounter both monologues and scene work in a new and different way. Actors will use improvisation and physical work from the commedia to build a more elastic sense of their bodies and voices while analyzing text to find clues for building character. Selections include comic scenes, modern realism and Shakespeare. The course culminates in a final performance. This course is only open to theatre majors.


THTR 2213 Voice for the Stage (Spring: 3)
Prerequisite: THTR 1101
Patricia Riggin
Voice for the Stage develops the student’s vocal instrument and vocal/physical awareness through exercises designed to release tension in the body, free the breath, and expand the use of resonators and articulators. The voice work will progress from the rediscovery of sound in the body, to the opening of the vocal channel (jaw, tongue, soft palate), to the exploration of resonance and vocal freedom. Speech and dialect work are also a component of this course as the students explore monologues, classical theatre and scenes that require dialects. Kristen Linklater’s voice work is the basis of this course taught by one of her designated teachers. The goal of the course is for the actor to achieve a greater range of expressiveness, vocal agility and a stronger, healthier voice.

Requirements: weekly rehearsals, advanced warm-up, journal writing, classical monologue, dialect scene, and two texts—The Actor Speaks: Voice and Performance by Patsy Rodenburg and Freeding the Natural Voice by Kristen Linklater.


THTR 2202 Acting Techniques I (Fall: 3)
Prerequisite: THTR 1101, THTR 2201 is recommended
Patricia Riggin
Acting Techniques I explores the basic principles of acting through the methods developed by Sanford Meisner. Through his improvisational techniques, the actor’s abilities to work moment by moment and to truthfully live in those moments are developed. A series of exercises takes the student from simple improvisations to advanced ones that challenge the imagination and emotional skill of the actor. During the semester, students apply the expertise acquired through these exercises to two scenes.

Requirements: weekly rehearsal out of class, weekly rehearsal reports, two scenes, two papers (reading response and scene analysis), strict attendance policy, and text—Stanford Meisner on Acting.


THTR 3300 Acting Techniques II (Spring: 3)
Prerequisites: THTR 1101, THTR 2201, and THTR 2202 or THTR 3301
Patricia Riggin
This advanced acting course focuses on the complex concerns facing contemporary actors. Students will work on scenes, monologues, and cold reading techniques that will utilize high level acting skills encountered in various professional theatrical arenas. The characteristics and marketing tools of successful actors will be explored as will various acting techniques encountered in the field. By the end of the semester, student actors will have developed a serious of effective audition pieces, have mastered scenes that explore their personal artistic challenges, and have developed a marketing plan for working in theatre.

As part of this course, there will be visits by actors, photographers, casting directors, etc. and also field trips to shows, auditions, and studios. You will need to have flexibility in your schedule, and I, of course, will search for the most opportune times for these events to occur. Open to junior and senior theatre majors.


THTR 3301 Acting III: Spontaneity and Imagination (Spring: 3)
Prerequisites: THTR 1101 and THTR 2201, permission of the instructor
Patricia Riggin
This advanced acting course examines specific problems in scene study and script analysis. Understanding the text and translating that understanding through performance is the basis of the several scenes that are performed as works in progress.