Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies Theses and Dissertations

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 288
  • Item
    (2024) Kowalski, Jerran; Kachman, Misha; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis provides a record of the lighting, video, and audio elements created for the lobby installation of the NextNOW Festival’s tenth year anniversary, produced by the University of Maryland – College Park as part of their Arts for All initiative.This thesis contains documentation from the artistic design process, installation, and production of this performance. These documents were the basis on which the design was formed. Included are research boards, notes from artistic meetings, drafting plates, published postings, and a final reflection on the production design, installation, and execution.
  • Item
    (2024) Lazar, Rashonda; Kachman, Misha; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The following thesis examines my design process and discoveries while investigating one way live performance and immersive storytelling can act as a form of augmented reality, and explores whether incorporating traditional forms of augmented reality is one way to enhance a performance and builds on the narrative agency audiences experience in immersive theater. The production opened on April 8th, 2024, in the Herman Maril Gallery at the Parren J. Mitchell Art and Sociology Building at the University of Maryland.
  • Item
    (2024) Steinberg, Rebecca Anne; Keefe, Maura; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    I sit in this chair how I always do, snug to the left side. I feel the warm hum of my laptop resting on my thighs. I feel the external rotation of my hips that allows my legs to casually cross with my feet cradled by the ottoman. I feel the spiral of my spine supporting a slightly forward head that looks down at the computer screen as I simultaneously sense the weight of chronic pain pooling heavy in my tired bones. I come to write words on this page through a commitment to embodiment as a state of profound possibility. As dance scholar Susan Foster suggests in her essay Choreographing History, “I am a body writing, I am a bodily writing.” I write through, with, and from embodiment. I define embodiment as a state where one has a heightened consciousness of their sensorium through acknowledged sensation. This state of awareness through sensation grounds the “self” in the body. Through this lens, embodiment is a mobilization that has the power to redefine how queerness is enacted and perceived through the medium of live performance. My dance thesis work, Tonight, we, may win, wields the social commentary of this position of audience privilege as farce. In this work, the dancers engage in what I’ve named “performing performativity.” Performing performativity makes transparent the exchange of currency between audience member and performer. Performing performativity functions in Tonight, we, may win as both a lens through which to view the performance and a performative state the dancers enact. The performers and the choreographer together have the power to enact possibility through this viable exchange. The potential of this enacted possibility is extensive, complex, nuanced, and political. It is an exchange that requires a book of its own to justly unpack. Although this is not the space for that unpacking, this is a space where I utilize my thesis choreography as a primary example where the power of possibility through embodiment is examined thoroughly through various theoretical lenses and multiple works of performance art. The epicenter of this physical and theoretical research revolves around the development and execution my thesis choreography, Tonight, we, may win, performed February 16-18, 2024 at University of Maryland, College Park. The enacted examples of a body first politic are constructed in this research through the vehicle of my choreographic work. I enact a body first politic in my work and I use the following chapters to bring in the choreographic voices of both my own work and dance makers and performers who succeed in challenging the impositions of the cisheteropartriarchy through queer embodiment. In the first chapter I provide an introduction the theoretical and chorographic groundwork of this world through the lens of queer embodied subjecthood. In Chapter 2, I use a solo work I created in 2022, titled Soft Caution, to activate choreography as feminist knowledge production through movement analysis and feminist theory. In the third chapter, I evoke failure as both a queer action and choreographic tool and argue for queerness as a technology in live performance. I bring in the choreographic works of Age & Beauty: Part 3 by Miguel Gutierrez and Black Hole by Shamel Pitts as examples of live performances that make queerness as a technology visibly tangible. In Chapter 4, I closely analyze the lyrics of “I Don’t Care Much” from the musical Cabaret through black feminism, performance studies, queer studies, and beyond to dissect the thin façade of queer apathy in its application to performance, queerness, communal grief, and more. In the final chapter, I excavate both the process and the product of my thesis choreography Tonight, we, may win. Through movement analysis and rehearsal reflections I endeavor to add depth and dimension to the ephemeral world created and left on stage during my thesis concert. This research privileges embodiment, communal care, and queerness through the vehicle of live performance to argue for the enactment of inclusive and equitable futures on the stage and beyond.
  • Item
    (2024) Ford, Mary Kate; Portier, Kendra; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis examines Material Body 01 + Pulse, a live performance merging dance and technology through the lenses of queer phenomenology, cyborg embodiment, tensegrity, and quantum entanglement. By destabilizing and reimagining conventional notions of boundaries, materials, machines, symbols, and ecological systems the choreography invites audiences to engage with diverse embodiments and perceptions. The integration of elements that blur boundaries between human and machine foreground the cyborg as a site of transformation and active engagement in systemic surroundings. The choreographic manipulation of tension embodies the dynamic equilibrium of tensegrity, generating interconnectedness. Through analysis of the choreographic process, this thesis highlights how Material Body 01 + Pulse intersects contemporary dance with emergent technologies and theoretical frameworks, offering new perspectives on embodiment, identity, and spatiality in the digital era.
  • Item
    (2024) Mosier, Gavin Edward; Chandrashaker, Amith; Keefe, Maura; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis describes the scenic design process for the University of Maryland’s production of Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. Men on Boats was directed by KenYatta Rogers and Elena Velasco. This production was produced by the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies within the College of Arts and Humanities at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the Ina & Jack Kay Theatre. The following materials in this thesis were used as tools to convey the scenic design to the directors, fellow design collaborators, production team members, production shops, crew members, and actors: research images, sketches, photographs of ¼” scale color neutral and color models, drafting packet, paint elevations, a properties list, a properties book. Also included in this thesis are production photographs and written reflections of the entire process - from page to stage.
  • Item
    (2024) Garcia, Luis M; Mezzocchi, Jared; Chandrashaker, Amith; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The following thesis explores the artistic ideas, concepts, design process, and execution of Luis Manuel Garcia’s lighting and media design for the University of Maryland - College Park’s production of A Bicycle Country. The production opened Friday, November 10th, 2023 in the Kogod Theatre at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. A Bicycle Country was written by Nilo Cruz, with direction by Fatima Quander, scenic design by Sofía Olivar, costume design by Becca Janney, and sound design by Justin Schmitz.
  • Item
    (2024) Henrriquez, Christian Douglas; Chandrashaker, Amith; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis outlines the lighting design process for The Prom, performed at the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies in September 2023. It outlines the process from initial thoughts, collaborating with the creative team, budgeting, creating technical paperwork, cueing, and technical rehearsals, culminating with the opening night. The paper contains documents and images detailing the process with an evaluation and reflection.
  • Item
    The Purpose of a Labor Theatre: Industrial Democracy and the Union Theatre of Detroit, 1946-1949
    (2024) Lapinski, Margaret; Hildy, Franklin J.; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In 1946, the Union Theatre of Detroit was established as a project to broadcast “labor’s” aims and achievements. Sponsored by the Educational and Recreational Departments of the UAW, the Union Theatre quickly became part of the UAW’s educational programming to help educate and politicize workers on social issues like racial discrimination. This thesis seeks to investigate the ways in which the Union Theatre labored on behalf of an industrial democratic political program that emphasized deploying both economic and political action to achieve the goals of “labor.” In addition to providing a brief history of the Union Theatre, I use methods from performance studies and theatre studies to analyze archival material and decipher the ways in which plays functioned as both recreational activities and educational opportunities for union members to rehearse the tactics and strategies of labor organizing. I argue that, post-WWII, theatre and theatricality (loosely defined as the conventions of theatre) were deployed as an organizing tool to agitate and educate union members during a period of theatre history that is characterized in theatre historiography as “politically apathetic.” In this thesis, I ask “What was the social link between the Union Theatre and institutions like the UAW?” and seek to uncover how cultural work labors in broader social and political movements like the American labor movement.
  • Item
    Men on Boats: A Lighting Design
    (2024) Laverty, Christina Kouni; Chandrashaker, Amith; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis provides written and visual documentation of the lighting design process for Jaclyn Backhaus’ play Men on Boats, produced by the University of Maryland, College Park’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. The production opened on March 1, 2024, and had six performances. This paper details dramaturgical analysis, research, the design process, technical documents, performance photographs, and reflections.
  • Item
    Mi Vida, in Rhythm: Resistance and Integration of an Afro- Honduran Immigrant in The United States Through Tap Dance
    (2024) Lanza Ruiz, Gerson Noé; Portier, Kendra; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This article focuses on Mi Vida, in Rhythm, which premiered on October 12, 2023, at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This performance is an autobiographical account of my experience immigrating from Honduras to the United States. At the heart of this production lies the art of storytelling, brough to life through the combination of live music, dance and spoken word. The performance draws heavily from the experiences of Afro-descendant peoples in Central America and the United States. It is steeped in the cultural traditions of the Garifuna, an afro-indigenous people of Honduras, incorporating their language, dance forms of resistance, and everyday choreography. The performance aims to capture the evolution of communication tactics, identity, and coping mechanisms of Afro Latinoe/xs as we navigate the challenges of realizing the American dream.What follows are brief personal accounts that serve as guide to essential artistic discoveries that sparked my curiosity. These curiosities eventually mold my artistry in percussive dance, particularly tap dance. With that, I formally analyze specific segments in Mi Vida, in Rhythm, that serve as reservoir of knowledge for movement and sound exploration. Ultimately my scholarly research dwells in three different topics; First the term Blackness as descriptive of one's ethnicity, race, or both, and the movement practices unique to their demographic and diasporic thread. Second, the understanding of historic privileging of Eurocentric perspectives within higher education. Third, the necessity to highlight Afro-Latinoe/ experiences and dance forms within dance curriculum. The article concludes by highlighting my contributions as an artist, instructor, and creative collaborator steeped in the artistry of bodily percussion practices and the intersectionality of Black cultural terrain and immigration paranoia.
  • Item
    (2024) Padilla Garcia, Javier Ignacio; Fang, Adriane; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The research unfolds through a multidisciplinary lens, weaving together theoretical analysis, artistic creation, pedagogical exploration and performative interventions. Through “el bodegon de la bruja”, an interdisciplinary immersive dance theater performance, this thesis aims to explore alternative ways of understanding, learning, and expressing that are rooted in decolonial principles. The performance engages with diverse mediums and techniques to construct immersive environments that prompt participants to critically reflect on colonial histories and power structures. Through a series of performative acts and pedagogical interventions, the thesis seeks to demonstrate how immersive performance can serve as a conduit for decolonial praxis. The outcomes contribute to an evolving discourse on the potential of artistic and educational practices to actively dismantle colonial legacies. This work not only envisions alternative narratives but actively engages participants in co-creating knowledge, fostering a sense of empowerment, agency, and a deeper understanding of decolonialized perspectives.
  • Item
    (2024) Falcon, Britney; Crawford, Samuel; Keefe, Maura; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    st(ill) sounds: waves of sound, health, and the choreographic process, explores the intersections of sound, healthcare, choreography, and dance performance. The research draws upon psychology, physical and cognitive science, visual art, technology, linguistics, and cripistemologies. Central to the research is the concept of the body as a conduit for the construction of sonic material and states of being. Through critical listening, investigations of the visual, aural, and sensorial, are ways to frame embodied consciousness, identity forming, and cultural exchange. Guided by inquiries into modes of listening and desired modes of being heard, the research unravels the interconnectedness of sound’s affect. The work of Pauline Oliveros, Nina Sun Eidsheim, Nancy Stark Smith, Stanley Keleman, and Cymatic Technology ground this research. The choreographic process is discussed through diverse frameworks and practices which include the exploration of fluid dynamics, wave phenomena, bodily landscapes, vibratory practices, and the co-emergent properties of echo as a feminist force. The research culminates in the creation of a transformative sonic experience through its contributions to performance, process, and relationality, underscored by access.
  • Item
    (2024) Jn.Baptiste, Shartoya Rochelle; Kachman, Misha; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis seeks to describe the scenic design process for The Fall MFA Dance Thesis Concert (FMFA) choreographed by Javier Padilla and Gerson Lanza at the University of Maryland - College Park, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies through research, documentation, photographs, and other design materials. Some of the following materials included in this thesis were used as tools to convey the scenic design to the choreographers and the production team: research images, sketches, photographs of the 1⁄4" scale white and colour models, a complete drafting packet, paint elevations, a properties list, and book. Photographs from the production and a written reflection on the design process are also included.
  • Item
    Decadence, Decay and Divine Retribution: Reframing Don Giovanni Through Costume Design
    (2024) Janney, Rebecca Anne; Huang, Helen; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This document describes the process of concepting, designing, and realizing the costume design for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte’s opera, Don Giovanni. This iteration of the opera centered the principal women Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, and Zerlina in their quest for retribution against Don Giovanni for his sexual abuse of them. The production uses the 1780s as a period touchstone but manipulated modern asymmetry and Baroque color to create the dramatic world of the show. This thesis contains a record of the entire design process from early concept to completed production. This includes research, renderings, fitting photos, production photos, and paperwork. The show was produced by the Maryland Opera Studio between April 14th to April 23rd, 2023. This production was conducted by Craig Kier, directed by Corinne Hayes, scenic designed by Brandon Roak, lighting designed by Heather Reynolds, and costume designed by Becca Janney.
  • Item
    Popular Theatre in Iran: Critical Perspectives on The Historiography of Lalehzari Theatre
    (2024) Haeri, Q-mars Mazandarani; Hildy, Franklin J.; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    By the mid-1950s a class of performers occupied the theatres, concert halls, and nightclubs of the Lalehzar entertainment district in Tehran. Many of these performers had abandoned their lives in small villages in faraway provinces. Many had come from poor neighborhoods in Tehran to pursue their dreams for theatre, dance, and music. Their diverse and varied performances known as “Lalehzari” (adjectival form) made deep and affective connections to the audience in the Lalehzar district. For the first time, a great population of Tehran’s spectators, who were often characterized as “uncultured” by various scholars, had finally found a body of performances that they could relate to, those that could speak to their struggles and sorrows, and that responded to political and social issues within their society.This dissertation considers the “Lalehzari” performances of the 1950s and 1960, the ways in which these performances originated in the 1940s, the ways in which they subverted the status quo, and the ways in which they have been described, theorized, and historicized in Iranian historical studies of theatre. Major theatre histories have been written with a Marxist lens by writers who had a relationship with the Tudeh communist party. As a result, such histories tend to emphasize, admire, and affirm so-called “committed theatre” and dismiss, denounce, and stigmatize Lalehzari popular theatre. Hence, there is a major gap in the available literature that represents Iranian modern cultural history as one-sided and political. This is not to deny that culture is always political but at a time when knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures in the US is limited to political discourse alone, an academic endeavor of the cultural history of Iran is crucial for understanding this multifaceted society. This dissertation addresses fundamental questions about how notions like immigration and class challenge the ways in which we think about culture and how cultural history may be written without erasures. To reconstruct the history of Lalehzari theatre, I am organizing my dissertation into these chapters: Lalehzar’s unique geographic location in Tehran and the history of its theatre houses (chapter 1), the improvisatory popular performers of the 1940s and how they gained access to Lalehzar (chapter 2), the stigmatization of Lalehzar (chapter 3), Racial depiction in performances in the district (chapter 4). Each of these chapters has a historical part that explains the cause and effect of events, the continuation and changes of performance styles, and the operation of theatre houses. Each chapter also offers a close reading and analysis of a few artists whose lives and performances reflect the class tensions between the Lalehzar district and the outside theatre scene. I am looking at the ways in which history unfolded and also how it affects us today, therefore, the dissertation addresses the preservation quest for Lalehzar theatres (chapter 5) and how lasting narratives about Lalehzar shaped the Iranian culture today (conclusion).
  • Item
    (2024) Roak, Brandon; Kachman, Misha; Conway, Daniel; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The purpose of this thesis is to provide a record for the scenic design process for The Prom, a musical by Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin, and Bob Martin, produced at the University of Maryland – College Park by the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. This thesis contains documentation for the scenic design and production process for this performance. These documents serve as the foundation of this scenic design. Each element was used to communicate design ideas and technical specifications to the director, other designers, and craftspeople involved in this production. Included are research images, photographs of ¼” scale models, drafting plates, paint elevations, a properties list and a properties book detailing furniture and hand props, along with a final reflection of the scenic design and production process.
  • Item
    (2024) Von Ruden, Cody Conrad; Huang, Helen Q; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In this document is a description of the process of conceiving and implementing the costume designs for Maryland Opera Studio’s production of Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán. A fantastical operatic journey inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Márquez. The production was set on a steamboat sailing down the Amazon River at the turn of the century. Contained within this thesis are the original concept designs and final product, including research, renderings, fitting photos, production photos, and supplemental paperwork. This show was produced by Maryland Opera Studio April 13 – 21, 2024. The opera was directed by Corinne Hayes, Scenic Design by August Henney, Lighting Design by Scott J. Monnin, Media Design by Jerran Kowalski, Wigs and Makeup by Priscilla Bruce, and Costume Design by Cody Von Ruden
  • Item
    (2023) Williams, Mark; Mezzocchi, Jared M; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Creative System Integration is the process of assembling systems of technology for design that supports the creative needs of a performance. In these writings, I document and reflect on the steps my collaborators and I took in two productions, “DanceXDance” and “The Late Wedding”. I examine the processes and performance objectives of these two shows with attention to how technology and the medium of media was utilized, and the advantages or limitations it presented. I explore how new technology can be leveraged to create new collaborative workspaces, new methodologies, subvert expectations about media, and improve creative agency, all while meeting the unique narrative and mediaturgical needs of each production.
  • Item
    The White Arm in the Smoke: The Meaning of Theatrical Violence on the Victorian Stage
    (2023) Kaleba, Casey Dean; Hildy, Franklin J; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This PhD dissertation examines Victorian theatrical combat on the London stage to place it in both historical and cultural context. By first establishing a possible dance-based origin for stage combat, the paper explores the overlapping modes of practice in different forms of popular and elite entertainments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they influenced the development of historically inspired movement. Using archival documents, literary analysis of stage fights, physical culture and gender studies, the study aims to contribute original research to the field of stage combat history and propose new theoretic lenses with which to examine historical practice. The paper discusses the relationship between dueling as cultural habit and representations in dramatic literature, as well as the influence of changing patterns in physical culture. Finally, this dissertation examines the role of spectacle theatre and acting theory in the development of new Modernist ideas of representing sword fights on stage.
  • Item
    (2023) Villanueva, Carlo Antonio Ortega; Keefe, Maura; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Last Dance, Lost Dance is a 30-minute interdisciplinary performance piece that explores the concept of indeterminacy in performance. Indeterminacy—the phenomenon of a performer making decisions during performance—is a reifying analytical perspective from which dance improvisation can be seen, applied, and understood. Instinctively directed and choreographed by Carlo Antonio Ortega Villanueva, Last Dance, Lost Dance resists the fixity of choreographic form in pursuit of relational, responsive collaborations in performance strategy and (interdisciplinarily) with theater design. To do so, Last Dance, Lost Dance reschedules choreography to include the moment of performance, through the use of improvisational strategies; and reconfigures choreography to include the design and movement of mise en scène. As a result, Last Dance, Lost Dance commands the full apparatus of the theater despite its imposed rubrics for form, beauty, and aesthetic; and its choreography emerges in real time, authored live by its performers. These experimental modes of choreography ask and dance the question: “What is the relationship between form and possibility?” This document, “Last Dance, Lost Dance: Strategizing Indeterminacy Toward Live and Emergent Choreographies,” supports and contextualizes Last Dance, Lost Dance with discussions of dance and the archive, Asian American postmodern performance, and photographic and narrative documentation of the creative research, development, and critical reflections of Last Dance, Lost Dance; it is accompanied by an archival video of the performance.