Theatre Arts I
Theatre Arts I is a two year class that explores the history, diversity, and fundamental skills of the theatrical world. There is no pre-requisite for the class; each year is designed to make beginners feel as comfortable as possible while exploring life onstage, yet there are always additional challenges for those with stage experience or for veterans from the previous year. Students who take this class as an elective for both of their years at SBJHS will still learn something completely new each year! Year in and year out, seventh grade students regularly report that this class is the one where they made the most new friends. THIS IS NOT THE MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION CLASS. While it is possible to take both, this class is focused on building knowledge and skills, and most performances will be "private"; that is, performed in front of our class only, not in public at the Marjorie Luke Theatre.
Interwoven throughout both years is the historical context for theatre and its evolution over time. Beginning with the ancients, students trace the development of theatre in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and then through the significant transformations brought about by the Renaissance and Shakespeare. Asian theatre is explored, and then the splintering that comes in the twentieth century with Realism, Non-Realism, and the birth of the Broadway musical.
Over the course of two years, we explore the various forms theatrical performance takes, from religious ritual to Greek comedies and tragedies, from the introduction of opera and commedia dell'arte to the evolution of dance, variance among Kabuki, Noh, and Doll theatre, and the contrast of Shakespeare with the modern musical.
Throughout both years, students discover and revisit the three basic skill sets of a performing artist: body, voice, and mind.
1. Body: students study the elemental principles of pantomime, stretching, and dancing.
2. Voice: students are trained in identifying and utilizing the parts of the vocal projection system, with special attention given to diaphragm support (projection,) use of mouth/teeth (enunciation,) and voice box (vocal variety.) Time permitting, we explore accents and dialects, as well.
3. Mind: students develop their quick-thinking skills through a palette of improvisation games that stress creativity, positivity, and storytelling while reinforcing skills in body and voice.