Loyola University Chicago

Theatre

Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Project Models

This list of project models below is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead is intended to give some idea of the diverse types of projects and formats that a Second Stage Laboratory Project can take. It is meant to spark creativity around a topic or idea that students are interested in exploring. As the theatre faculty and student participants develop this new Second Stage Laboratory process, this list will be updated.

Models

Research Trip

Individually or in a small group: apply for an undergraduate research grant for a research webinar or online course. Complete and present a 1-afternoon lecture on that topic or lead a 1-day Sunday 6-hour Zoom Workshop on it. Create a website to document and reflect on the research. 

Accessibility Research

Apply for funds to attend a virtual conference, buy and learn technology, gather data, and attend or intern for a company with progressive accessibility practices. Explore how others incorporate accessibility into the run of a show  (open captioning, touch tours, audio description, sensory-friendly performances, ASL interpretation, braille, large format & audio playbills, etc.). Upon the completion of the research, lead peers in an informational workshop about accessibility practices and a “how to” training in one accessibility area. A deeper application of this work would be to do an independent study and assist the DFPA in tackling an added accessibility possibility on one of our productions, or to develop a DFPA accessibility guide for our casts/staffs as an educational tool. 

“Storycorps” Interview/ Living Ancestry Research

Based on Family photo albums or questioning “Where are you from?” intersection between Ancestry and Contemporary culture. For example: Austin told a story of a friend who’s grandmother worked in a factory in the early 20th century and wore men’s clothing for the industry/workforce. Found objects revealed old goggles and the investigation of wearability of items and gender etc.

 

Puppetry/Object Theatre/Toy Theatre/Shadow Puppetry

Format 1: Storytelling Design

  • Based on the Storytelling Design Elective – 3-5 students from the puppetry class will continue work started in the class. Starting from puppets and stories developed in the Storytelling Design class, students will revisit that work incorporating feedback they received from the class and mentorship throughout a workshop process.  
  • Based on Storytelling Design – Storytellers who wish to use the format of Toy Theatre/ Puppet and Object Theatre who wish to gain access to a technique and craft through mentorship might also use this format.
  • Pieces can be devised, revised, extended and improved in the direction provided by a mentor.
  • Puppets will be remade or revised to become more sophisticated in actions and esthetics.
  • This piece should be in two phases, weekly shop work time to remake/improve puppets and set pieces; followed by a rehearsal/workshop period to develop story and build performative skills. Conclude with two presentation performances.
  • The group will meet for one more evening to assemble a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

 

Mask Workshop or Mask and Movement Workshop 

Workshop Format 1: A 2 Day Workshop with Gallery Format Display

  • 2-day workshop on How-to-Make a particular Mask (Leather, sculpted, Neoprene, Wire, Thermoplastic etc.  To include FaceCasting techniques. Designs with Execution of Technique to Exhibit Process of Technique (with a chosen text to show usage in Performance.)

Workshop Format 2: A series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, around 3hrs.

  • Movement/Mask Mentor could provide masks for those that didn’t take the Makeup, Mask & Wig Design Elective to teach neutral Mask techniques.
  • Potential to cover choral mask work, creation of a character, silent and spoken work. Hire a regional professional expert in Mask/Movement.
  • An invited audience could come in to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.

 

Design Gallery Workshop 

  • Using a Text to Celebrate Design (See Haiku Project from TD1)
  • Using ONE text or writer, students Design a White Model, Storyboard, Sound Design, Costume Design, Mask Design to Exhibit a Chosen Text or Playwright. One example from PQ2007 was the Text “The Birds.” All Students responded to Text in a contained allotment of time – 3Day Friday – Sunday Brainstorming Workshop
  • Exhibit the Pieces in an interactive gallery setting.
  • Conclude with a website version of the gallery that includes process materials and reflection.

 

Playwrighting

  • Further develop a play started in playwrighting class towards a series of 2 readings.
  • Hold a talkback after each reading.
  • Incorporate feedback after each reading in a new draft.
  • Conclude by creating a mini-website to host a 10 page sample, a description of the play and reflections on the process. 

Chicago Style Improv

  • A student eager to explore improvisation may poll their peers to see how many would commit to an Improv master class series on Sundays, if they have a critical mass of students then they could propose the following:
    • Hire an improv instructor from 2nd City or I.O.
    • Host a series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, approximately 3 hours.
    • Host an invited audience to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.
  • As a reflection component the lead student will create a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.  

Viewpoints

  • A student eager to explore Viewpoints polls their peers to see how many would commit to a Viewpoints master class series on Sundays, if they have a critical mass of students then they could propose the following:
    • Hire a Viewpoints specialist
    • Host a series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, approximately 3 hours.
    • Host an invited audience to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.
  • As a reflection component the lead student will create a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

Mime

  • A student eager to develop mime skills polls their peers to see how many would commit to a Mime master class series on Sundays, if they have a critical mass of students then they could propose the following:
    • Hire am Mime instructor from the region
    • Host a series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, around 3 hours.
    • Host an invited audience could come in to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.
  • As a reflection component the lead student will create a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

Comedia Del Arte physical comedy

  • A student eager to develop Comedia skills polls their peers to see how many would commit to a Comedia master class series on Sundays, if they have a critical mass of students then they could propose the following:
    • Hire a Comedia instructor
    • Host a series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, approximately 3 hours.
    • Host an invited audience could come in to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.
  • As a reflection component the lead student will create a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

Tap Dancing

  • A student eager to develop Tap skills for musical theatre polls their peers to see how many would commit to a Tap master class series on Sundays. Students must have complete at least Jazz 2 as a prerequisite and be willing to go out and purchase their own tap shoes.  If they have a critical mass of students then they could propose the following:
    • Hire a Tap instructor
    • Rent a floating tap floor and coordinate installation in the Underground or other suitable location.
    • Host a series of 4 Sunday afternoon workshops, approximately 3 hours.
    • Host an invited audience could come in to interact with towards the end of the workshop if that is part of the instructor’s practice.
  • As a reflection component the lead student will create a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

Contact Improvisation

Movement based workshop evolving improvised movements/dance form based on the communication between two moving bodies that are in physical contact and their joint relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion – gravity, momentum, and inertia. The body, to open to these sensations, learns to release excess muscular tension and abandon a certain quality of consciousness to experience the natural flow of movement. Practice includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting, and giving weight to a partner. Contact Improvisation is dance based but has also found it way as a training tool for youth programs, the disabled, elderly and actor training to aid in releasing the physical and emotional honesty of the actor. 

  • Open to any students who are interested in exploring more physical based training
  • Hire a professional CI instructor
  • Host a Series of 4 afternoon workshops – 3 hours
  • Host an invited audience to view a final sharing and participate in a mini workshop
  • Reflection component – a video project as well. 

Choose a social justice topic, a theatrical form, and an existing story.  Topics, forms, and stories, should be singular and simple. Assemble a group of performer-devisers via a one evening session of devising exercises to find a group that works well together and has a strong buy in explore this topic, form, and story.  Spend evenings for two weeks devising a piece that adapts this story to give insight to or simply humanize the social justice topic via the tools of the chosen Theatrical Form. A faculty mentor will come to rehearsal every third night to supply outside eye feedback on the work being developed. Then the group will continue to build and revise material incorporating faculty feedback.  The piece will culminate in 2 workshop showings to an audience with a talkback after. The group will meet for one more evening to assemble a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project.

 

Examples of Social Justice topics:

gun violence, sustainability, income inequality, refugee rights, police profiling, health care costs

 

Examples of Theatrical Forms:

chamber theatre, epic theatre, kabuki, expressionism, surrealism, shadow puppetry, toy theatre, melodrama, mime, meta theatre, political immediacy, verbatim theatre, physical/movement theatre, racial, historical exploitation

 

Examples of Extant Stories:

Aesop's fables, Greek myths, bible stories, fairytales, or folklore (Jewish, Japanese, Latinx, Armenian, etc.), John Henry the Steel Driving, Man, Paul Bunyan, Molly Pitcher

 

The student(s) proposing the project pose a question and a methodology for examining that question in a 2-week theatre workshop. Through signups and one evening of interviews/workshop a group of students is assembled whom share interest in exploring the question at hand and bring to the room the theatrical skills needed for the exploration.  The lead student(s) meets with a faculty mentor before the process to solidify the methodology and make day by day plan for how to use the time. Over evening workshops for two weeks the group explores the question. The piece will culminate in 2 workshop showings to an audience with a talkback after. The group will meet for one more evening to assemble a simple website that synthesizing the discoveries made during the project. 

Examples Questions: 

Social Justice

  • How has ________ (a social justice topic) been tackled by 20th and 21st century playwrights
  • Methodology: A staged reading of scenes from various playwrights confronting the same issue. 

Identity and Representation in Directing 

  • In the current social and political climate can a director from one identity background (sexuality, gender, race) tell the story of a community other than their own?  (this, broadly, is Pierce’s project).
  • The method will be staging scenes both from the student director's own identity group and scenes from outside their personal background.  Discussion from both performers and audience will examine the question.

Comedy as Advocacy 

  • Would humor be a more impactful way of raising public consciousness about climate change than dower warnings? (Grace’s Piece).
  • Methodology: create improv style comedic sketches around climate change issues.  Present to an audience and discuss the impact. A survey later to see what information stuck with the audience, stats in the program for information delivered via the sketches.

Accessibility

  • Can we add new Accessibility features to our standard theatrical practices to include a broader audience without detracting from the experience of our current audience?
  • Methodology: experiment with open vs closed captioning during the run of a Mainstage show

Playwright In-Depth

  • How does a prolific playwright’s work change over a long career?
  • Methodology: staging or reading scenes from the same playwright over the course of their career examine how their work changed over time. Ex. August Wilson, Paula Vogel

 

Over a 2 week workshop write, and stage scenes inspired by DFPA student work from other disciplines. At several mid-process moments receive and incorporate feedback from both faculty mentors and the creator of the original artwork. Conclude the project with a showing and a mini website to document your new creation and reflect on the process. 

Examples: 

Designer- Composer

Composition students collaborate with a design student in lighting and/or projections to add a visual element to a live musical performance. Design students would be encouraged to explore innovative technology, including but not limited to motion triggers, projections mapping and live performance running techniques. Composition students would be given an opportunity to perform their pieces.

Director-Composer

Directors would collaborate with Composition students to create a staged scene underscored with original composition. Directors could use the time to also explore a type of performance that they may be exploring in a Movement or Fight Choreography class. 

Designer-Choreographer

Design students would collaborate with student choreographers from the prior year's dance class to develop a fully designed dance performance, like a student designed piece in the Dance Concert. 

Designer-Composer-Choreographer

Using an existing composition from a Composition student, students in Choreography, Design and Composition students would combine the elements of live musical performance, movement and at least one design element. 

Performance-Installation

Exploring the space through performance and object. Perhaps it's a spoken word project that focuses on the themes of sustainability. The action of the project revolves around an interactive installation of found recycled objects. Or could be inspired by paintings, sculptures, ceramics from Fine Arts.

 

This could be part of semester long independent study project.  If a student were to receive credit for this project, we could potentially have a yearlong series with students leading presentations on several topics of interest.  During the semester students will be guided through a research project which will conclude with a public sharing of discoveries. 

Examples:

August Wilson’s “The Ground on Which I Stand” 

A student that is interested in exploring the legacy of August Wilson, starting from his speech 1997 TCG speech “The Ground on Which I Stand” and explore how American Theatre has addressed issues of race in theatre. What forward movement has been made and where do we as theatre artists need to go?   

The Changing Face of Leadership in American Theatre

This past year we have had many Artistic Director Positions filled by people of color and women. How will this impact theatre audiences? How will this change the scope of storytelling?

Begin a series for young audiences for our Rogers Park and Edgewater public schools. Offer two shows per year. Performance can happen during the day Tuesday-Thursday for one week. If possible we can connect this with our Creative Dramatics students who can lead pre-show workshops in the schools in preparation of student attendance, or creative dramatics students can handle creating a study guide for the classroom teachers to use to prep the students.   

  • Devised productions 
  • Devised from works of literature 
  • Folk tales 
  • Existing published pieces