THE 141 The Art of Theater
An examination of the process by which theater is created in contemporary America.
As a theater major at Connecticut College, you are immersed in the entire process of staging a performance – acting, directing, design, technical theater, playwriting, dramaturgy and dramatic literature. We have three theater spaces on campus, and there's likely to be an extraordinary performance in at least one of them at any given moment. The liberal arts offer limitless ways for you to explore connections with other disciplines that will enrich your theater studies. You develop a strong working relationship with your professors. They direct and critique your performances, and are available for ongoing consultation and discussion. Your options for acting and directing are many and varied.
You can participate in our main stage productions as well as in independent productions sponsored by the department or by student groups. Works recently staged include "Dead Man's Cell Phone;" "Four Dead in Ohio: Antigone at Kent State;" "Three Sisters;" "I <3 Juliet: A Hip Hop Musical," an original ensemble piece created by The Q Brothers in collaboration with students; and "On The Town," a collaboration with the departments of music and dance. As a senior, you may choose to work with a faculty mentor on a one-semester capstone project or a two-semester honors study in writing, performing, directing or design. The project represents the culmination of your college study of theater and may serve as a starting point for future work.
You have many opportunities to intern at regional or New York theaters, study abroad and collaborate with guest artists in acting, directing, design and technical theater. Students have completed summer internships at the nearby Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as well as the Pearl Theatre, the Signature Theatre and the Culture Project, all in New York City. In your junior year, you can study at theater institutes in the U.S. or abroad. Recently, students have gone to Moscow, Italy and Ireland.
Virginia (Ginny) Anderson joined the theater faculty in 2013 after four years at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she directed for the main stage and taught a variety of theater history courses including theater history survey courses, Women’s Theater, African American Theater History, Children’s Theater, Theater in the United States, LGBT Theater, and The AIDS Epidemic in Theater and Film.
David Jaffe returns to Connecticut College as an associate professor and chair of theater. A 1977 alumnus, he was a faculty member in the theater department from 1989-1997. His courses include American Drama; Acting II; Directing One: Coaching the Actor; and the Advanced Scene Study rotation of Styles, Shakespeare, and The Realists: Chekhov, Ibsen, and O'Neill.
Steve Luber earned his Ph.D. in theater at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His dissertation was titled "Last Gasp: The End of Multimedia Performance." Steve teaches acting and a course on multimedia performance and directs for the mainstage.
Sabrina Notarfrancisco, a native of Berlin, Germany, has always had an affinity for both fabrics and theater. This combination of interests resulted in the natural career choice of costume designer. Sabrina has an M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Connecticut and has worked at a variety of professional and educational theatrical venues.
Kenneth Prestininzi is a playwright, director, dramaturg, teacher and producer. Prior to coming to Connecticut College, he was the Chair (acting) and Associate Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and a Pembroke Fellow at Brown University.
Theater, American studies
A: When I first came to Conn, I thought I would only be involved in theater as an extra-curricular activity. However, I quickly fell in love with our Theater Department’s commitment to all aspects of theater. My freshman year, I was able to take two acting classes, act in one main stage show and work as a crew member on three more. My professors are inspiring and approachable, and they constantly challenge me to do my best work.
A: I absolutely adored Professor David Jaffe's course, "Directing II: Building a Concept." In this upper-level class, we were given the freedom to conceive and develop an original 20-minute piece of theater, which was ultimately performed in Tansill Theater. This course allowed me to focus on my personal goals as a theater artist and create something I was truly passionate about.
A: I've been working with Professor Ken Prestininzi on my solo performance, "Are You My Mother, Amelia?" for more than a year now. What started as a class project turned into something I’m now hoping to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
A: I studied in Dublin at the Gaiety School of Acting: The National Theater School of Ireland. This program allowed me to take a break from my liberal arts studies and focus solely on training as an actor in a conservatory setting. My experience abroad reinforced my passion for acting and I returned to Conn a more focused and dedicated theater student.