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Course Information

Instructor Info:Djola Branner
Office Extension x5511
William MacAdams
Office Extension x6202
TA Info:Hannah Hodson
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
01:30 PM - 04:00 PM Music and Dance Building SMALL
01:30 PM - 04:00 PM Music and Dance Building SMALL

This course explores the creation of interdisciplinary theatre through the lens of the jazz aesthetic. We will combine music, movement and non-linear narrative to create short dramatic pieces, and deconstruct the works of such theatre artists as Laurie Carlos, Sharon Bridgforth and Daniel Alexander Jones (all versed in this approach to creating drama). The course seeks to develop a language for collaboration and experimentation between actors, dancers, and musicians, and to mine new directorial tools which mirror the characteristics of classic American jazz - particularly rhythm, syncopation, call-and-response, polyphony and improvisation. Prerequisite: Completion of at least one college level course in acting, directing, design, playwriting, devised theatre, dance or music is required to register for this course.

Evaluation Criteria:

This work is collaborative, and the most important aspect of this course is participation.  ATTENDANCE, THEREFORE, IS PARAMOUNT: two absences will not affect your evaluation; three will be reflected in your (mid-term, and) final evaluations; and four, with rare exception, will result in no evaluation.

 LATE ARRIVALS (once the doors have been closed) WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.

 All written assignments must be typed and double-spaced (on 8 ½ X 11 paper, with one inch margins on the right, left, top, and bottom, using a 12-point font).


This work is personal and requires a huge amount of trust.  Our expectation is: that everyone will participate in creating a safe learning environment; that everyone will offer and receive constructive criticism in good faith; and that everyone will listen not only when feedback is given to them, but when it is offered to anyone in the room.

This work is experiential, and requires a great deal of discipline as well as risk-taking, both inside and outside the studio.  You will be expected (moreover, required) to complete much of the work outside of class.

Additional Info:

Course Assignments:

  • One (40-45 minute) collaborative student discussion/presentation, inspired by the work of one theatre artist who devises performances using the jazz aesthetic.   
  • One (5-7 page) critical responsepaper which examines: 
    • One creative work
    • One artist’s methodology
    • One aspect of the jazz aesthetic which you find inspiring, or challenging or...
  • Performing in the final showcase (dates and times, TBD)
  • Six (1-2 page) in-class responses.
  • One (1 page) self-evaluation of your work at the end of the course

Please note that, in addition to the formal assignments described above, we will be working on our feet, in our bodies, and on the page every day.  You are expected to be present, ready to work, and open to possibility.