American Flag Model Box

This project challenges the student to deconstruct the American flag to explore thematic connections using line, form, color, texture, space, and composition.  This project is introduced after a lengthy discussion of symbolism and how powerful symbols are within society.  This project is a week-long project that has been adapted from Paul Shortt.  It has been successfully used with beginning level design students in both the undergraduate and graduate level.  In the undergraduate course, it is a project assigned in the first third of the semester.  In the graduate level course it has been assigned at either the beginning of the semester as a “warm-up” design exercise or at the end of the semester between bigger projects to reinforce the basics of design elements and symbolism.

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Design and Technology for Performance Syllabus

Course Title: Design and Technology for Performance Syllabus

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to principles and practical application of techniques for designing theatre, music and other types of live performance. This course includes practical aspects of designing and producing live performance. Topics include lighting, sets and space, clothing and costume design, sound; may include specialized techniques such as masks, props, makeup.

Course Objectives:

  • Analyze a script as it pertains to performance design.
  • Visually represent and present designs.
  • Collaborate with classmates on creative solutions to design challenges.
  • Apply design as a method of inquiry into complex historical and social issues.
  • Design the scenic, costuming, lighting, and sound for a workshop production.
  • Execute the scenic, costuming, lighting, and sound designs for a workshop production.
  • Analyze aesthetic choices in design for their effective communication to an audience.
  • Analyze the cultural, social, and political meanings in aesthetic choices.
  • Demonstrate industry-standard safety practices throughout the semester.

Submitted by:

Rayna Middleton Dexter, Texas A&M University

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History of Period Styles and Décor Syllabus

Course Description

Survey of architectural elements, furnishings, and decorative motifs useful to theatre designers: prehistoric through modern including Far Eastern styles. This course is a visual survey of the major “periods” of architecture, furnishings, decorative motifs, and ornamentation, coupled with a history of costume survey. The purpose of this class is to assist theatre artists in developing an understanding of visual history. This will establish for them a common historic framework from which to build their visual knowledge base and provide for them a means to accurately articulate their visual ideas, needs, and inspirations using correct historic references and terminologies.

Course Goals

Students will gain a broad visual overview of each period of style to serve as a basis on which to begin research when undertaking a new production, regardless of the fact the production is meant to be “historically accurate” or conceptual. Read More

Cornell Box Project

An end of the semester final project that allows the student to select one of the 7 plays/musicals discussed in class and create an assemblage/sculpture on the major themes/motifs of the selected play. The assemblage/sculpture is not titled, allowing for the class to see if they can identify the play by looking at the composition of the object. The student is discouraged from creating a defacto scenic design, rather, the purpose is to create a sculptural composition of the play they specifically selected within the “box” they have chosen/designed, as a way to think “outside the box” as it relates to design (pun intended). All objects chosen wants to have some significance. The student is also told to write a one page artist statement that is read at the end of the critique.

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