Senior Comprehensives

The capstone of the Oxy Theater experience

The Occidental College Bulletin states that the "two central and related objectives" of the Senior Comprehensive are: 

"To provide an opportunity for senior students to synthesize the essential concepts, content, and methods of their academic field, and during the course of their review, to establish central relationships among the materials covered in separate courses," and "to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their competence in their field by applying their knowledge to central relational problems, questions, or topics."

The Theater Department Mission Statement is:

Students in the Department of Theater explore the art of theater through theory, performance and production.  Each student experiences the essentially collaborative nature of theater through participation in theater productions.  Our curriculum enables students to develop a rich understanding of both the enactment of the written word and the essence of theatrical expression.  In addition to preparing our students for further study and related careers in theater or film, we encourage each student to explore ideas of self and community and to express these discoveries through one or more aspects of theater.

In order to achieve this mission, the Theater Department has established a series of Goals and Outcomes, culminating in the Senior Comprehensive Project.

  1. A theater major will become aware of her/his artistic voice and creativity through individual and collaborative projects.
    1. Outcome: She/he will be able to create theatrical work.
    2. Outcome: She/he will collaborate with others effectively.
  1. A theater major will be able to write clearly and analytically about theoretical and practical aspects of theater.
    1. Outcome: She/he will be able to identify and select research materials.
    2. Outcome: She/he will be able to present her/his conclusions based on insightful analysis, supported by strong research in a coherent, compelling essay.
  1. A theater major will have the ability to read and understand a theatrical script as an actor, designer, technician and/or director, discerning the relationship between meaning and structure, and be able to place a script in its cultural, historical and/or aesthetic context.
    1. Outcome: She/he will be able to create a role through the use of vocal, physical and emotional character work.
    2. Outcome: She/he will be able to illustrate solutions to the physical and visual requirements of the text.
  1. A theater major will participate in multiple aspects of the production process.
    1. Outcome: She/he will be able to demonstrate competence in more than one area of technical theater, including operation of relevant tools and/or stage equipment and application of basic techniques.
  1. Each theater major will develop proficiency in at least one area of theater that will be the basis for his/her senior project.
    1. Outcome: She/he will complete a significant creative or research project in one aspect of Theater.  These may include such areas as: Acting, Directing, Design, Technology, Management, Playwriting, Choreography, Children’s Theater or a research project on related subjects.
    2. Outcome: She/he will explain and defend her/his process in a paper to accompany the project.

In a sense, Comps are an expression of your self, filtered through theater classes, conferences, theater productions, papers and four years of living.  Comps are meant to be an expression of your intellectual and creative growth during your years at Oxy.  This is a time to emphasize your achievements, although you are not expected to show everything you have learned in this one project.

You are strongly encouraged to enroll in THEA490 Senior Seminar in the semester you carry out your senior project.  You are not required to do so.  The four units for this course may count toward your major. The Instructor of THEA490 will assign a separate letter grade in consultation with your mentor. Your committee, made up of your mentor and two other theater faculty members, will evaluate your project and paper and assign Pass, Pass with Distinction, or Fail as appropriate. 

For more information about past senior projects or the comps process, contact Susan Gratch, Chair of the Theater Department.