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Faculty

Jodi Baker

JODI BAKER

performing arts, theatre
207-801-5736 |  jbaker@coa.edu

Jodi joined the COA faculty in the fall of 2012 and teaches courses in Performing Arts. She came to COA after spending a number of years in Western Massachusetts teaching, consulting and developing new projects with local theatres and communities. Originally from Utah, Jodi earned an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory and began her career as a professional actor with the Denver Center Theatre Company. She has studied in England and the U.S. with members of The National Theatre of Great Britain and The Royal Shakespeare Company and performed in a wide variety of contexts in New York, Los Angeles, Asia and Europe.


Jodi has strong interests in documentary theatre, street theatre and stranger studies. In recent years, she has produced unconventional plays in unconventional locations and developed new approaches for teaching performance skills to non-traditional students. Most recently, she researched and trained with Rena Mirecka, a founding member of Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre and she currently has collaborative relationships with Double Edge Theatre, The Missoula Oblongata and the novelist Kio Stark.


She is excited to work with COA students, faculty and staff toward creating a unique and truly interdisciplinary theatre curriculum.


BA Theatre, California State University, Fresno, CA 1989

MFA Acting, National Theatre Conservatory, Denver, CO 1992

Courses Taught

AD2023Actor Training I

This course is geared toward students with or without performance experience. Together we will establish a common language to define the most important tools for an actor. Through a series of games and exercises, students develop new skills and practice making bolder, clearer choices within improvised, devised or established scenes. The goals are to create confidence in any sort of performance situation and to find ways of applying acting skills to other academic and outside experiences. Evaluation is based on participation in class activities and discussion, successful completion of all performance projects, including productive rehearsal time and an organized portfolio of written responses. There will be at least one field trip. Default grading option for this course is CR/NC.

Level: Introductory/intermediate.  Prerequisite: none.  Course limit: 12.  Lab fee: $50.  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD3020American Dreaming: Theatre and Activism in the US

This course focuses on dramatic literature connected to particular political and social issues in the US. Students read plays and study a variety of theatre artists that have used theatre as a viable force for change over the last century. Together we will explore the mechanics and dynamics of particular performances as well as the context in which they were conceived. We will investigate significant periods in American history such as the New Deal, the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Civil Rights Movement, the AIDS crisis, 9/11 and beyond, exploring  their impact on this form. Artists will include Hallie Flanagan and The Federal Theatre Project, Susan Glaspell, Clifford Odetts, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, The Living Theatre, The Open Theatre, The Wooster Group, Anna Deavere-Smith, Tony Kushner, Young Jean Lee, The TEAM, Radiohole and more. Students are required to attend a weekly series of scheduled screenings/performances outside of class time.  There will be at least one field trip. Evaluation is based on full participation in class discussion, successful completion of all short projects and assignments and a major final project/paper.  

Level: Intermediate.  Pre-requisite: Successful completion of the writing requirement and at least one literature course.   Course limit: 12.  Lab fee: $50.  Meets the following course requirements: AD

AD2019Dramatic Mechanics: The Dynamics of Difference and Power

The psychology of power dynamics is the fundamental core of dramatic literature. This course will focus on plays that deal with particular issues of class, gender, race etc. and how modern playwrights have used the medium to explore relationships inherently based in power struggle. It's also about understanding the unique architecture of texts written for performance and finding meaning within specific historical and societal contexts. Playwrights will include Howard Barker, Amiri Baraka, David Mamet, Sarah Kane and others. Students will develop ideas for staging possibilities, learn the basic language and concepts of dramaturgy and explore the unique ways theatre artists can investigate the nature of power dynamics. We will go on at least one field trip. Evaluation is based on participation in class activities and discussion, a series of short playwriting assignments and a final presentation and paper.

Level: Introductory/Intermediate.  Prerequisites: none.  Course limit: 12.  Lab fee: $55  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD1023Elements of Theatre

What is theatre, how does it work and why does it matter? This course explores these questions through practical hands-on experience in each of the major elements of theatrical production. It also introduces students to the range of disciplines covered in the Theatre curriculum and encourages students to investigate ways to effectively use theatre and theatre making skills to express themselves in other disciplines. The course provides a brief overview of the origins of theatre, some basic logistics and vocabulary and a practical understanding of the uniquely collaborative relationships involved in this process. Students actively investigate the most traditional elements of production: acting, playwriting, direction and design and are expected to research, observe, analyze, and produce their own creative work independently and collaboratively. Evaluations are based on participation in class discussion and activities, the effective completion of a series of small creative projects and a final project/paper based on their findings throughout the course.

Level: Introductory. Prerequisites: None. Class limit: 12.  Lab fee: $20. Meets the following degree requirements: AD

AD484Movement Training Basics

An introduction to a wide variety of physical skills useful for anyone interested in investigating their own physical potential for self-expression. Techniques used will be derived from classical ballet, clowning, mime, sports, acrobatics and improvisation. The work will promote a greater sense of physical awareness and imaginative possibility and will focus on mental and physical stamina, flexibility and agility. Together we will challenge our own preconceptions about body image and body language and work creatively and collaboratively to clarify abstract concepts through physical action. Evaluation is based on class participation and engagement with introduced topics and concepts. Students with any or no movement experience are welcome.  

Level: Introductory. Prerequisites: none.  Course limit: 15.  Lab fee: $20  *ADS*

AD1025Movement Training Basics

An introduction to a wide variety of physical skills useful for anyone interested in investigating their own physical potential for self-expression. Techniques used will be derived from classical ballet, clowning, mime, sports, acrobatics and improvisation. The work will promote a greater sense of physical awareness and imaginative possibility and will focus on mental and physical stamina, flexibility and agility. Together we will challenge our own preconceptions about body image and body language and work creatively and collaboratively to clarify abstract concepts through physical action. Evaluation is based on class participation and engagement with introduced topics and concepts. Students with any or no movement experience are welcome.  Default grading option is Credit/No Credit.

Level: Introductory. Prerequisites: none.  Course limit: 15.  Lab fee: $20.  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD4018Movement Training Basics II

Building on skills introduced in Movement Training Basics, students will continue investigating their physical potential and deepening their understanding of the movement theory and languages covered. Techniques will be derived from classical ballet, martial arts, acrobatics, improvisation, circus skills and more. The work will promote a greater sense of physical awareness and imaginative possibility. Advanced students will build strength, mental and physical stamina and flexibility. Students will translate the work into  a variety of practical applications and performance pieces based on a series of exercises and prompts. Evaluation is based on class participation and engagement with introduced topics and concepts. Default grading option is Credit/No Credit.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Previous completion of the basics course and/or significant movement training or dance experience is required.  Course limit: 15.  Lab fee: $20  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD4020Object and Performance

Objects have long been significant elements in ritual, dance, theatre and performance art; they might be props, body extensions, idols and avatars. Taught in a workshop format, this course will explore a variety of techniques from traditional theatre arts, as well as sculptural ideas that can be integrated into performance. Goals will be to gain a deeper understanding of the power of objects in a performative context; to experiment with a variety of building techniques; to practice, create and refine personal and found objects as art; to explore an object's potential to spark narrative, illustrate relationship dynamics and fuel theatrical action. We'll also study the use of objects in connection with certain forms of performance training and creative collaboration strategies.  The course will provide an historic context of objects in performance and will utilize improvisational exercises, personal writing, movement and bodywork. Class topics may include: relationship, scale, sound, duration, repetition, archetype and viewer participation/performance. Evaluation will be based on attendance, participation in all group projects, in-class assignments and discussions, demonstrated understanding and mastery of basic skills through the creation of projects, timely completion of all assignments and readings and effective participation in class critiques. 

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Movement Training (I or II) or 3D studio, or permission of either instructor.  Class limit: 12.  Lb fee: $50.  Meets the following degree requirements:  ADS

AD3022Play Production Workshop

This course provides practical experience in the processes required to build a theatrical production. Students research, rehearse and produce a performance for the public in collaboration with a faculty director. The number of students enrolled in the course will vary depending upon the demands of the play. Students with any or no experience in theatre are welcome. In most cases, all assignments (cast and crew) will be made the previous term, through auditions and interviews. Those interested in non-actor aspects of production (set design, light and sound design, stage management etc.) are especially encouraged. The course meets 4 days a week and those enrolled must be available for a certain amount of additional collaborative work outside class time (additional rehearsals, construction and tech, and final performance dates). A production schedule will be available by week one. Evaluation is based on commitment to the particular demands of the project as well as a final reflective paper based on the experience. Default grading option is Credit/No Credit.
 
Level: Intermediate.  Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor.  Course limit: 15.  Lab fee:  $50.  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD2021The Science of Comedy

This course explores the nature and history of modern comedy and investigates the tools and techniques of great comic performers. We'll cover the evolution of comedy aesthetics from vaudeville and silent film to contemporary stand up and television and we'll explore what, if any sort of 'funny' is timeless. The course uses film, video, live performance and readings. Students gain practical experience through  work on classic routines, physical comedy skills and sketch development as well as experimenting with the peculiar mathematics of comic timing. Together, we will try to pinpoint what actually makes something funny and as importantly, why people crave laughter so much in the first place. There will be at least one field trip. Evaluation is based on participation in activities and discussion as well as a portfolio of short topic responses and a final presentation/paper.

Level: Introductory/Intermediate.  Prerequisites: none. Course limit: 12.  Lab fee: $55.  Meets the following degree requirements: AD