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Monday, October 24, 2016

Performance Technique and Study

NOTE:  The class described below was held briefly and then suspended.  Unfortunately, actors who study with me privately and are working professionally are not able to devote the time necessary for the class, and less experienced actors often have not learned the discipline required for rehearsals and attendance.  I devised this intensive class because it became clear to me that scene study alone does not provide adequate training in understanding how to develop and perform a character through the arc of a drama.  Anytime an institution would ask me to teach this class, I'd be interested in teaching it.

Based on my viewing of various actors' theatre performances in New York during September and October, 2016, both on Broadway and off-Broadway, as well as those collected at the Performing Arts Library in Lincoln Center, I've decided to offer a performance technique study class.  This class will be more extensive and intensive than a traditional scene study class.

The three-hour class will be held Saturdays from 10:30 am - 1:30 pm at the Complex (6472 Santa Monica Blvd., in the Villa Studio).  The class will be limited to a maximum of ten actors (additional classes will be offered, if necessary), and will be conducted as follows:

The actor will choose a character from a play (one, two or three acts*) and will work on scenes from that play that will include the entire line of action of the character from the beginning to the end of the play.

The first character preparation will be from contemporary plays only (e.g., J. Shanley, L. Hansbury, D. Margulies, S. Karam, S. Shepard, L. Wilson, N. LaBute) omitting A. Miller, T. Williams or E. O'Neill.

As I've always taught in this practice, after the actor has become familiar with basic elements of technique derived from Stanislavski as developed by the members of the Group Theatre (action/objective, specific circumstances, previous circumstances, relationship to inner and outer objects, fourth wall, etc.) on the work of those playwrights, O'Neill, Williams and Miller will be studied, then the realistic plays of Strindberg, Chekhov and Ibsen, and finally, classic verse such as Shakespeare, Moliere, Lope de Vega.

Included will be Uta Hagen's ten object exercises, an exercise introduced by Kim Stanley (the "need" exercise), and an introductory exercise introduced by Ludwig Donath (the silent action exercise) which is a prelude to Hagen's "talking to oneself" exercise.  These exercises will be rehearsed in preparation for class work just as scene work from the plays will be well rehearsed.  In New York I participated in and observed, in review, most of the exercises of the Group Theatre teachers as currently taught, and I think that these exercises are the most directly supportive of the actor's challenge in performance.

I will explain the purpose of this approach, which I've never offered, at the first session on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at the Complex, in the Hammond Studio at 10:30 am.  There is no charge for this first session that will include time for Q&A.  Agents and acting teachers are invited to attend.

(*Certain screenplays may be acceptable.)

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