BA in Theatre Arts
2023-2024 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT
We are pleased to announce that the 2023-24 season will feature a series of projects that center on questions about bodily autonomy. Pride & Prejudice and Fucking A, both presented by the BA performance program will be in conversation with the BA Studio Series production of Roe, which offers insight into the complex women behind the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In Medea, presented by our third-year BFA actors, and Anne Boleyn, the annual BFA main stage production that features graduating seniors, we follow the titular characters as they are condemned for defying the patriarchal norms of their times.
These productions invite our students and audiences to consider how the issue of bodily autonomy manifests across time and space, impacting people of many racial, gender, and class identities and backgrounds.
A fun, fast-paced adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen, Kate Hamill’s Pride & Prejudice explores the constraints of marriage on women’s autonomy and includes multiple characters playing multiple roles, which draws attention to the constructs of gender and sexuality.
The outspoken Lizzy Bennet is determined to never marry, despite mounting pressure from society. But can she resist love, especially when that vaguely handsome, mildly amusing, and impossibly aggravating Mr. Darcy keeps popping up at every turn? And how does a world so focused on women's marriageability impact younger girls like Lydia Bennett, who is so desperate to please her mother? Can the Bennet sisters maintain their own autonomy and reconcile love with the institution of marriage?
Fucking A by Suzan-Lori Parks is a reimagining of The Scarlet Letter that explores constraints on bodily autonomy through the lens of carceral society and the limited options for survival under a brutal, patriarchal authoritarian regime. In Fucking A, Hester Smith is a revered and reviled local Abortionist, branded with the letter A. She is also a noble mother, who hatches a plan to buy her son’s freedom from incarceration - no matter the cost. In this violent and wild-eyed blend of story and song, which harkens to Brechtian and Jacobean dramatic structures, Hester’s branded letter A becomes a provocative emblem of vengeance and sacrifice.
After nearly 50 years of standing precedent, Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion, was overturned by the Supreme Court in their 2022 Dobbs decision. Roe by Lisa Loomer is a nuanced and incisive play that cuts through the rhetoric and headlines surrounding Roe v. Wade to reveal the divergent personal journeys of lawyer Sarah Weddington and plaintiff Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe") in the years following the Roe decision. In turns shocking, humorous, and poignant, Roe reflects the polarization in America today while illuminating the human faces on each side of the cause. Roe asks each of us to take a deeper look at the story and weigh the issues for ourselves.
One of the most powerful and enduring of Greek tragedies, Euripedes’ Medea centers on the myth of Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who enlisted the help of the powerful Medea to win the dragon-guarded treasure of the Golden Fleece. Despite having married Jason and mothered his two sons, Jason betrays and abandons Medea by deciding to marry Glauce, the daughter of King Creon. Forced by circumstance, tradition, matrimonial patrimony, and her fierce quest to protect her children, Madea makes the ultimate sacrifice to regain control over her life and start anew. A powerful retelling of this classic tale, Medea investigates the question of personal agency, gender roles, body politics through one woman’s journey in the midst of challenging circumstances. Medea invites us to interrogate our modern concepts of intent, impact, equity and the power of our choices.
Anne Boleyn dramatizes the life and legacy of Henry VIII's notorious second wife, who helped change the course of the nation’s history. In Howard Brenton's epic play, we are transported to the 16th century, where the brilliant-but-reckless young Anne, confident in her sexuality and in her love for Henry, leads the charge for England’s Protestant Reformation. While her marriage to the King provides her with opportunities to further the Protestant cause, the bitter battle between political and religious factions makes her vulnerable to conspiracy charges. Meanwhile, in 1603, King James I discovers Anne’s belongings, which inspires him to explore his own gender and sexuality, while being haunted by her ghost and the religious conflict she helped introduce. This production challenges how Anne Boleyn has been traditionally viewed as either the pawn of an ambitious family or a predator manipulating her way to power, and shows how daring to disrupt the status-quo made her lose her head.
About the BA Theatre Arts Program
Through programs in design & technology, performance, and history/literature, the BA in Theatre Arts explores the process of theatrical creation. Each program invites students to develop and articulate creative choices, and think critically about their consequences through a variety of techniques. These include close textual analysis, historical contextualization, physical approaches to performance, and collaborative creation. With its many ties to the performing arts community of the Twin Cities, the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance also offers the opportunity to couple classroom learning with practical experience.
The BA in Theatre Arts Offers the Following 5 Tracks:
Explores theater as a space of historical and contemporary meaning-making. Students learn to think critically and creatively about theatrical representation through classes that include performance creation, design/technology, and history/literature. Techniques of theatrical encounter include textual analysis, historical inquiry, physical approaches to performance, and collaborative creation.
The following tracks are higher credit degree programs that enable more specific focus:
The Performance Creation Program inside the BA in Theatre Arts is designed to stimulate the intellectual and creative ideas of students interested in using performance as a space in which to actively theorize with both mind and body. The program seeks to foster unique artistic visions, courageous risk-taking, a sense of communal responsibility, and a passion for theatre's past, present, and future. The program offers five curricular paths: acting, directing, music theatre, object theatre, and playwriting. Led by a faculty of working professional artists, the program is committed to giving students opportunities to learn through active practice and learning by doing.
Woven into the heart of the Twin Cities theatre hub, the University of Minnesota’s BA in Design & Technology trains students to become creative cultural citizens prepared for far-reaching opportunities. Students experience a holistic design and technology education through hands-on training in both the classroom and production.
Focus in theater history and literature invites students to ethically engage in questions on what is passed down to us, how theatrical stories get told, and what it means for bodies to move through public spaces. Courses include theater history, dramatic literature, text and performance, Blacks in American theater, and topics courses.
Students take courses within and outside of Theatre Arts & Dance that focus on the intersection of social justice and performance. Courses include performance and social change, dance and citizenship, a semester-long internship through HECUA's Art for Social Change program, and theatre activities in education.