Arts Curriculum

Think creatively, Communicate effectively, Contribute uniquely.

The Arts provide the tools that fuse the connection between intellect and emotion. Having a sense of self or an awareness of self is vital to a complete and successful education. The Arts at The Williams School seek to engage students in an individualized creative process. Within the academic curriculum of the Arts, students are assisted in developing the self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperative collaboration, and self-motivation necessary in everyday life. Students of various abilities and levels are given opportunities to translate ideas into action, to listen and to observe, to develop critical thinking and innovative problem solving skills, to learn to access information that will enrich their lives. This repertory of skills and experiences will enable students to identify life challenges and to achieve personal goals.

Upper school theatre courses are open to grades 9–12 and are full credit courses. Acting courses are offered as Acting IA and Acting IB (Grades 9 & 10) and Acting IIA and Acting IIB (Grades 11-12). Acting IB and IIB curriculum will be offered during the school year 2014-15. Both Acting I and II can be taken twice.

Acting IA (Grades 9-10)

This course will feature the basic acting techniques of Sanford Meisner and the vocal and body energy work of Arthur Lessac. Students will apply these two organic approaches to monologue and short scene work from the contemporary theatre. The course of study also includes mask work, sign language as an art form, improvisation, the development of the Commedia dell’Arte stock character – Zanni, and the production of a full-length play. The curriculum is concluded with the creation of an original theatre piece for ENVIRO, our biannual site specific performance inspired by design, architecture, setting, nature, and function. ENVIRO is based on the work of award winning director/ choreographer Stephen Koplowitz. (Offered in 2014-2015.)

Acting IB  (Grades 9-10)

This course continues the study and application of the Sanford Meisner and Arthur Lessac techniques to monologues and short scene work. Stage makeup design and application, tabletop and found object puppetry, improvisation, the development of the Commedia dell’Arte stock characters Pantalone and Il Capitano, and the direction of and performance in a series of ten-minute or short plays complete the curriculum. (Offered in 2015-2016.)

Acting IIA  (Grades 11-12)

This course continues the study and application of the Sanford Meisner and the Arthur Lessac techniques to contemporary monologue and scene work and to selected plays of Anton Chekhov. The curriculum continues with rapier and dagger technique, phone book characters (names randomly selected from the phone book to be developed into fully realized characters used in an improvisation,) and, as their final performance, an original theatre piece created and produced by the students. The year is concluded with the creation of a second, short (3-5 minutes) theatre piece for ENVIRO, our biannual site specific performance inspired by design, architecture, setting, nature, and function. ENVIRO is based on the work of award winning director/choreographer Stephen Koplowitz. (Offered in 2014-2015.)

Acting IIB
 (Grades 11-12) This course continues the study and application of the Sanford Meisner and the Arthur Lessac techniques to contemporary monologues and scene work. The curriculum continues with rapier and dagger technique, tabletop and found object puppetry, the development of the Commedia dell'Arte stock characters The Lovers and Il Capitano, an original theatre piece based on a historical or social event, and finally, the creation of short plays inspired by fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythology. (Offered in 2015-2016.)

Acting: Periods ands Styles
 (Advanced, Grade 12)

Acting: Periods and Styles (Advanced) concentrates on the periods and styles of the theatre. Specific assignments include: chorus work from Greek tragedies and comedies; movement and character study of the Commedia dellíArte; monologue and scene work from the Elizabethan, Neoclassic, and Restoration periods, Existential and Absurdist plays, and the contemporary theatre. The class also studies and practices rapier and dagger technique.

Production
 (Grades 9-12)  

This course concentrates on the technical aspects of theatre: lighting, sound, set construction, and prop-making. Full-year course, 1/2 credit.

The arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term 'education.' We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts."

National Standards for Arts Education