Jan 27, 2021
The Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre is offered in conjunction with the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Students must be admitted to the graduate program at MUW prior to enrolling in courses leading to the MFA degree.
The MFA in Physical Theatre combines the study of movement/dance, Italian language, vocal study, and music with the study of circus arts, the techniques of the commedia dell’arte, and contemporary mime/masks. The program will provide students with a high level of technical training for the actor, as well as a study of the aesthetic, historical, and social contexts of the commedia dell’arte. The degree emphasizes the “actor as creator” and creative autonomy to prepare students for solo performance. As a terminal degree program, students also may opt for a career in teaching.
The MFA program takes place across a 26-month period divided into modules that range from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. The total instruction is over 1800 hours. The MFA requires 60 semester hours of coursework, including a performance project and a thesis. Students in the program must follow the modules as outlined in their Bulletin of record from their entering year.
Foundations | Arezzo | Fall Semester
The semester commences with a ten day period of orientation and integration that includes an intensive in Italian Language (for students whose mother tongue is not Italian). Module one is conceived as a foundational unit that prepares the student to work in their new environment, to develop the habits necessary for serious training and to introduce the actor to the fundamentals of physical performance. The semester in Arezzo is followed immediately by a one week intensive workshop at Flic Scuola di Circo in Torino. This workshop is designed to introduce students to the specific training demanded for circus. It provides them with a sequenced group of exercises that students maintain throughout Module 2 so they are prepared for Module 3 in Torino.
Explorations of Style | Arezzo | Spring Semester
Module two is an extension of the skills developed in the foundational module with an emphasis on the development and exploration of style. Commedia dell’Arte, both as a training for the actor-creator, and as a dramaturgical and aesthetic genre provides a reference for study. Students will focus on the mastery of the historic masks, movement, attitudes and hierarchical relationships through improvisation and rigorous work on various lazzi and canovacci. Performances take place within the Accademia and in the Arezzo Province at the end of this semester.
Circus Arts | FLIC Scuola di Circo, Torino | Summer
Module three provides a unique opportunity to work in one of the most respected schools in Europe. Located in Torino, Italy, FLIC Scuola di Circo will provide students with introductory circus skills and expose students to an exciting performance practice that will stimulate an aesthetic crossover between circus and theatre.
Creating a style | Arezzo | Fall
Module four reveals different genres of physical theatre from the Clown to Melodrama, from the Bouffon to Composed Theatre. The semester highlights clown presentations in Arezzo and Castelfiorentino and performance in Arezzo of a devised work inspired by musical forms of composition.
The Concrete Imagination | Arezzo | Spring
In module five the emphasis shifts toward the actor as creator. While new skills and stylistic forms will continue to be explored, students will be moving toward creative autonomy. The first half of the module will commence with an ensemble-devising project under faculty supervision that leads to a fully structured performance. The second half of the semester is dedicated to students’ devising and presenting their own work for public performance and is followed by an intensive workshop with Continuo Theatre from the Czech Republic that prepares students for Module Seven.
Module Six: Contemporary Mask
Famille Floez Berlin | Summer
Module six offers students an in-depth study of a stylistic form of theatre that has a tremendous power to communicate through simplicity universal themes of the human condition, as well as an opportunity to develop performance through ensemble improvisation. In addition, students will be exposed to a multiplicity of performance forms and research resources in Berlin.
Module Seven: Performance Autonomy
Continuo Theatre | Malovice: Czech Republic
Module seven is the culmination of two years of training and creative evolution. At this point in the program students will be on their way to defining their personal style, both as individuals and ensemble collaborators. Under the direction of Pavel Stourac and in collaboration with the permanent members of Continuo Theatre, students will devise and perform a full-length original work in Plum Yard Theatre, Malovice, followed by a short tour in the Czech Republic (including Prague) and Slovakia.
Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre | Total Course Hours: 1932 | Total Semester Hours: 60
Following the performance projects in the Czech Republic, students will submit a final thesis that will represent the culmination of their research and creative work. Further information concerning the parameters of the thesis are forthcoming. Please refer to the academic schedule for the thesis completion timeline.