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Senior Project Guidelines

Guidelines for Senior Projects Theatre 491 & 492

Overview

The senior project is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learned during their years as theatre majors as well as to have a focused experience in their field. The project is completed over the course of two quarters. The first quarter (Theatre 491) is the research and project preparation phase, and the second quarter (Theatre 492) is the production phase.

Getting Started

Before beginning the research phase in Theatre 491, the student must arrange for one of the permanent theatre faculty (Rees, Eicher, Becerra) to serve as faculty advisor. Together, the student and advisor will concur on a suitable project.

Selecting a Project

Each student should select a project, in consultation with a faculty advisor, that represents the focus of his/her work as a theatre major. For instance, if a student has not taken a class in directing, selecting a directing project is unacceptable. Ideally, a student will have had both classes and experiences in the area he/she selects. Someone interested in designing lights will have completed several classes in design and sought experience in this area (working as a master electrician or assistant designer on a main stage show, designing a student project or children’s show, etc.)

Sample Project Options

The following are examples of project possibilities. There are many other examples and this is not intended to be a complete list. Please see individual guidelines (below) for each area to assist in the selection process.

Directing

Direct a one-act play

Direct a series of scenes centered around a theme

(Performances are to be between 20 and 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions)

Acting

Perform a one-person show

Perform a selection of scenes and/or monologues centered around a theme

Perform a one-act play

(Performances are to be between 20 and 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions)

Design (scenery, lighting, costumes, sound or props of a significant nature)

Design for the children’s show

Design a main season show (only students with extensive experience will be approved for this project)

Playwriting

 Write a one-act play to be presented in a staged reading

(Readings are to be between 20 and 25 minutes. The full faculty must approve any exceptions)

Scholarly Research

Write a research paper in the area of Theatre History or Dramatic Literature/Criticism

Dramaturgy

Complete dramaturgical research for a hypothetical production, or, in certain cases, serve as the dramaturg for a faculty-directed CSUB production.

Stage Management

Stage manage a main season show

Other Areas

A student is welcome to propose a project in an area other than those listed above (Theatre in Education, Theatre for Youth, Theatre for Young Audiences, a project integrating other arts fields, etc.)

Getting the Project Approved: The Proposal

Each student must write a proposal outlining the project he/she wishes to undertake. The faculty advisor will distribute the proposal to resident theatre faculty for approval. The full resident faculty must approve each project proposal before work is continued. This typed, proofread proposal should include the following:

• a clear description of the project

• why this project appeals to you and why you feel it is worthwhile

• what challenges the project presents and why you feel ready to face them

• when this project would be performed/completed

For performance projects also include:

• technical components requirements (sets, lights, props/furniture, sound, costumes, crew)

• the number of other people to be involved

• the length (it should be between 20 and 25 minutes)

The faculty will give final approval to each project. Once the project is approval, the student and faculty advisor complete an individual study form; this is to enroll the student in Theatre 491. A student can only enroll in Theatre 491 and 492 by completing this form (enrolling by computer through myCSUB is not possible for senior project courses.)

Budget

Performance projects needing funding will be given a small budget that students must work within. Students are not allowed to spend their own money on senior projects. The department will also pay any required royalties and arrange for the copying of posters and programs that students provide for their projects. Students must keep projects simple and work within budget demands. For instance, acting and directing projects must not require complicated technical or design support. Working within a prescribed budget is part of the project experience.

The Process

The two-quarter structure of the senior project is specifically designed to emphasize the process of developing a piece of theatre, whether that project involves performing, designing, writing, directing or researching. The process is as important as the final result. Those artists who are self-disciplined and able to work independently, who are well prepared and who apply energy to every stage of a project are the artists who will have the most success in their chosen profession. Therefore, each student will be evaluated on how well he/she completes each stage of the project as well as on the quality of the final product. A student who works day and night for two weeks before a show opens but has not rehearsed for the first seven weeks of the quarter will not have fulfilled the expectations of the senior project, regardless of the brilliance of his/her performance.

During the research phase, students will arrange to meet regularly with their faculty advisor and they will work together to set deadlines for each phase of research and production. The student is to take the lead in developing a schedule and to assume responsibility for meeting deadlines. The faculty advisor will keep a record of deadlines consistently and adequately met by the student throughout both quarters of the project. A student’s overall grade will suffer due to missed deadlines and/or inadequate preparation.

A requirement for all students completing their senior projects is participation in senior interviews. Interviews are held in the fall quarter. Regardless of which quarter the project is taking place, all seniors working on their projects sign up for an interview in the fall.

At the start of the production phase, there will be a meeting for all involved seniors, their advisors, the department chair and the technical director to coordinate the presentation of projects, poster/program and printing concerns, and budgeting.

Students completing a senior project in a given year must also participate in senior interviews that year (usually in the fall quarter). Please see an explanation of the interview in the “Theatre Department Student Handbook.”

Mid-Quarter Review

To ensure students stay on track during the production phase, each project will undergo a review by the faculty (the faculty advisor and at least one other faculty member). Students will be informed of the review date at the beginning of their production quarter. The faculty may decide to postpone or cancel outright any project not demonstrating adequate and suitable progress during the review.

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Senior Project Directing Requirements

The student director, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, will select a suitable directing project which may include a one-act play, a cutting from a longer play, or a selection of scenes centered around a primary theme. Actual playing time should be 20-25 minutes.

Directing Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student director must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the presentation of the piece, the student director must compile the following information which will be presented in a binder at the end of the preparation quarter:

Concept statement

Request letter and rights-granted letter for the proposed piece as envisioned by student director

A bibliography of the playwright(s) other significant works

Applicable biographical information as it pertains to the selected piece(s)

Critical commentary for the selected piece(s) as well as production reviews and commentary

Research of relevant topics necessary to understand the play (period or place in which the play is set, issues the characters face, events or ideas mentioned in the play, etc.)

An analysis of the play being staged (or the play that the scene(s) are coming from). Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery, etc.

A prompt script for the play, with clearly marked beats

A ground plan for the piece

Technical requirements (use of lighting, costumes, set and sound elements). Please remember that technical support is limited. As the director you must decide how best to utilize what is available to you.

A rehearsal plan

Additional readings, assignments or activities as directed by your faculty advisor

Directing Production Phase (Theatre 492)

For the second quarter of rehearsal and presentation:

Prepare a rehearsal schedule

Schedule regular meetings with faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track. Your faculty advisor will request to attend selected rehearsals.

Hold open auditions to cast the project

Run rehearsals

Be prepared to present the piece mid-way through the quarter (specific date to be announced at the beginning of the quarter); the piece will be presented to the theatre faculty. If sufficient preparation isn't demonstrated, the student director will not be allowed to present the project at the end of the quarter.

Work with faculty designer/technical director regarding the requirements of the presentation; cooperate with other seniors who will be presenting on the same evening

Acquire all props and set pieces

Prepare a program

Stage project on scheduled presentation date for the general public.

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Senior Project Acting Requirements

The student actor, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, will select appropriate material that is no more than 25 minutes in playing time. Options include performing a one-person show, two person one-act, or selected scenes from one or more playwrights, linked by a relevant theme and so on.

Acting Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student actor must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the presentation of the piece the student actor must compile the following information which will be presented in a binder at the end of the preparation quarter.

Concept statement (as applicable)

Request letter and rights granted letter for the proposed piece as envisioned by student actor

A bibliography of the playwright(s) other significant works as well as production reviews, etc.

Applicable biographical information as it pertains to the selected piece(s)

A thorough character analysis for all characters to be portrayed

A rehearsal script for the material, with beats, actions and objectives marked

A ground plan for the piece A description of necessary technical requirements (use of lighting, costumes, set and sound elements). Please remember that technical support is limited. As the actor you must decide how best to utilize what is available to you.

An analysis of the play being staged (or the play that the scene(s) are coming from). Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

Additional readings, assignments or activities as directed by faculty advisor.

Acting Production Phase (Theatre 492)

For the second quarter of rehearsal and presentation:

Prepare a rehearsal schedule and hold rehearsals

Schedule regular meetings with faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track. The faculty advisor will request to attend selected rehearsals.

Be prepared to present piece mid-way through the quarter for the theatre faculty (specific date to be announced at the beginning of the quarter); if sufficient preparation isn't demonstrated, the student actor will not be allowed to present the project at the end of the quarter.

Prepare a program

Stage project on scheduled presentation date for the general public.

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Senior Project Design Requirements

The student designer, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, will select a suitable design project which may include designing costumes, lighting, scenery, sound or props for the children’s production, another senior’s acting or directing project, or possibly for a main stage production. Student designers will work closely with faculty advisor to determine an appropriate design project.

Design Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student designer must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the realization of the chosen design, the student designer must compile the following information which will be presented in a binder at the end of the preparation quarter.

An analysis of the play being staged. Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

A brief overview of the production history of the piece

If applicable, the director’s or producer’s concept statement

A clear and concise written statement of the designer’s concept

A written description of specific techniques the designer intends to employ to make the final project reflect the ideas in the concept statement

Appropriate pre-production graphic presentations, schedules and paperwork as described below

Research materials including artwork or photographs

Additional readings, assignments or activities as directed by your faculty advisor. See below breakdown for each discipline.

Scene Design

Thumbnail sketches

Preliminary ground plan sketches

Lighting Design

Color rendering of at least two moments from the production

Gel samples

Costume Design

Color renderings of each major costume (at least 11 inches high)

Properties Design

Thumbnail sketches of all built props

Prop list

Design Production Phase (Theatre 492)

For the second quarter of rehearsal and presentation:

• Prepare a work schedule

• Schedule regular meetings with faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track.

• Complete project on scheduled due date

Scene Design

Ground plan

Section

Drop point perspective

Color rendering

Working plates

Shift schedule

Lighting Design

Light plot

Hanging plot

Instrument schedule

Dimmer schedule

Magic sheet

Color list

Costume Design

Swatches of fabric to be used

Costume Plot

Quick change schedule (if applicable)

At least one hand drawn or draped pattern

Properties Design

Working drawings of all built props

Shift schedule (broken down by scenes)

Budget itemization.

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Senior Project Playwriting Requirements

The student playwright, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, will write an original play and present the play in staged reading form for an audience. The project’s scope will be determined by the playwright and faculty advisor, and may be a long one-act or a number of short plays organized around a unifying theme or concept. The playwright will organize a reading of his/her work that will be no longer than 25 minutes, regardless of the final play’s length.

Playwriting Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student playwright must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the playwriting project, the student playwright must compile the following to be presented in a binder at the end of the quarter:

An analysis of a play with similar theme, structure or style, or a comparison of several plays. Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language and dialogue, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

Research as designated by faculty advisor

Preparatory writing exercises (including an outline of the entire project, character sketches, and initial drafts of some scenes)

Complete outside readings as assigned by faculty advisor

Playwriting Production Phase (Theatre 492)

The production phase of the playwriting production will include:

Developmental readings of the script with actors

Final polishing and revision of the script

Regular meetings with faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track. Faculty advisor will request to attend selected rehearsals.

Rehearsal of the script in collaboration with director and actors

Staged reading performance of script, no more than 25 minutes in length

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Senior Project Scholarly Research Requirements

The scholarly research project consists of the development of an original thesis and research plan, in-depth scholarly research and the writing, revision and presentation of a final academic paper of at least 20 pages. The topic of the paper, developed in consultation with the faculty advisor, may be in the area of theatre history or dramatic literature/criticism, depending on the student’s primary academic interest and strengths.

Research Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student researcher must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases.

Preliminary research and analysis, as designated by the faculty advisor, should be presented for grading at the completion of Theatre 491. The student researcher is expected to compile the following information:

Original thesis statement

Compiled research and bibliography

Outline and preliminary organization of research material

A survey of research that has been done on the topic

Rough draft of introduction and thesis statement

An analysis of a play being studied (or a play by the playwright or within the period or style being studied). Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters, given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

Additional readings, assignments or activities as directed by your faculty advisor

Research Production Phase (Theatre 492)

The production phase of the research project will include:

Writing research paper

Revision of research paper

Regularly schedule meetings with faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track.

A ten to fifteen minute oral summary of research findings presented to theatre faculty and Theatre Company students on scheduled presentation date.

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Senior Project Dramaturgy Requirements

Students can undertake dramaturgical research for a hypothetical production, or, in certain cases, for a faculty-directed CSUB production. The dramaturgical work will include detailed work on the proposed play as well as extensive research. The project will culminate in the creation of a well-organized, informative and comprehensive research binder of potential use to producers of the chosen play and supported with materials suitable for a program and pre-show lobby display.

Research Phase (Theatre 491)

The student dramaturg must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the realization of the project, the student dramaturg must compile the following information that will be presented in a binder at the end of the preparation quarter.

Detailed script analysis. Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

Dramaturg’s Research Notebook

Vocabulary

References made in script to events, phrases/jargon of the time

Location/Geography

Architecture/Furniture/Visuals used in script

Key events from the time period

Politics/Religion that relate to script

Economics

Social/Ethnic issues

Images

Themes

Bibliography

Other items that may relate to the script

Reviews of past productions (collect reviews, highlight useful information)

Biography of playwright, with sources

List of works of playwright

Prepare presentation for a first rehearsal (including important background information, visuals, video clips) as directed by advisor

Additional readings with written response, assignments or activities as directed by your faculty advisor

Production Phase (Theatre 492)

 The production phase of the dramaturgy project will include:

• Scheduling regular meetings with your faculty advisor to ensure the project stays on track

• If working on realized production, attending rehearsals (table readings and additional rehearsals as directed) and meetings with director

• Making a presentation at an early rehearsal

* Developing program notes

* Developing a lobby display

* Preparing study guides for CSUB 101 and/or other groups

• Presenting a pre-show lecture

• Completing other assignments as directed (such as researching music suitable for the production)

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Senior Project Stage Management Requirements

The student stage manager first must obtain approval from a faculty director and faculty designer to stage manage a main season show.

Stage Management Preparation Phase (Theatre 491)

The student stage manager must schedule regular meetings with his/her faculty advisor (the faculty designer/technical director) to ensure the project stays on track. The student and faculty advisor will agree upon deadlines for completion of various research phases. All research and analysis should be presented for final grading at the completion of Theatre 491.

In preparation for the realization of the chosen design, the student stage manager must compile the following information which will be presented in a binder at the end of the preparation quarter.

An analysis of the play being staged. Include an explication of the theme, a breakdown of the play’s structure, and a discussion of the main characters. Also identify other elements relevant to your project such as given circumstances, use of language, moods, tempos, tone, imagery etc.

A brief overview of the production history of the piece

If applicable, the director’s concept statement

A scene breakdown, character plot, cue synopsis as appropriate (scenery, lights, costumes, props, sound, effects)

Additional readings, assignments or activities as directed by your faculty advisor.

Production Phase (Theatre 492)

The production phase of the stage management project will include:

Creating a well organized prompt book

Attending all rehearsals and performances and completing stage managing duties

Attending production meetings

Facilitating communication between all production staff

Scheduling regular meetings with your faculty advisor to ensure that the project stays on track.