Acting Theories 2
Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO
Name of lecturer(s)
Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will:
-gain a familiarity with fundamental acting principles common to different approaches to the craft
-gain a recognition of the different schools for acting training
-learn and use a vocabulary related to various acting techniques
-exercise different techniques from various schools of acting, techniques for creating character, analyzing scene principles, increasing spontaneity, responding to the other and the space of the story, promoting playfully creative work
Mode of study
In class exercises, inter-active work on scenes with partners, consultations on scenes with instructor outside class.
Prerequisites and co-requisites
Acting Theories II continues to examine the diversity of valid approaches to actor training and the principles underlying these approaches. Starting with a quick review of the legacies from Western teachers Stanislavski and Meyerhold, who laid groundwork for many future approaches to the art, Acting Theories II surveys additional contemporary approaches, many of which incorporate elements from Eastern/Asian schools of acting into the actor's work, or use approaches quite different from mainstream schools of acting. Students gain an awareness of the richness of the actor's craft and the variety of tools used by the actor or by the director working with actor. The course also contains a strong component of improvisation techniques used in actor training and used for story development.
Acting Theories 2 continues the survey of approaches to the art of acting, Stanislavski’s work is extended with exercises on physical score, and neo-Stanislavski teacher Robert Cohen is considered for how the psychology underlying Stanislavski's system has changed. Michael Chekhov's work on psychological gesture is explored. Anne Bogart's use of Viewpoints for Actor Training is explored through class exercises. A substantial unit on improvisation is included, focusing on story improvisation that makes use of the Hero's Journey as a base.
Session 1: Introduction/Stanislavski review
Session 2-3: Robert Cohen
Session 4-5: Michael Chekhov
Session 6-7: Viewpoints
Session 8: Story improvisation
Session 9-10: Hero's Journey improvisation
Session 11: Clown techniques
Session 12: Review, Additional exercises
Session 13: Final Test
Recommended or required reading
Texts: Handouts on the teachers covered are distributed in class. The final test is on these handouts and in-class exercises. Additionally, students need to perform Chekhov's archetypal gesture series solo and participate in group improvisation of hero's journey as part of the final exam.
Readings are assigned (will be available digitally) from Allison Hodge's book Twentieth Century Actor Training.
Available on: https://www.academia.edu/22941156/HODGE_Alison_-_Twentieth_Century_Actor_Training
HODGE, Alison Hodge. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010. (available as PDF online at:
In particular these articles:
WATSON, Ian. Training with Eugenio Barba: acting principles, the pre-expressive and personal temperature. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
CHAMBERLAIN, Franc. Michael Chekhov on the technique of acting: was Don Quixote true to life. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
MARSHALL, Lorna, WILLIAMS, David. Brook Peter: transparency and the invisible network. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
MURRAY, Simon. Jacques Lecoq, Monika Pagneux and Philippe Gaulier: training for play, lightness and disobedience. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
CLIMENHAGA, Royd. Anne Bogart and siti company: creating the moment. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
BABBAGE, Frances. Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed. In: HODGE, Alison. Actor Training. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.
Plus additional materials distributed in class from the work of Stephen Book, and Keith Johnstone
Additional Recommended Texts:
BOOK, Stephen. Book on Acting: Improvisation Technique for the Professional Actor in Film, Theater and Television. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 2002.
JOHNSTONE, Keith. Impro for Storytellers. London: Routledge, 1999.
Assessment methods and criteria
Minimum attendance + 70%. Students are expected to actively participate in class exercises and read the articles in the online Allison Hodge book related to the acting theorist who is the focus of that week's lesson. Two short tests on material covered in class will be given over the course of the semester.
The course grade will be calculated as follows:
Participation in class exercises - 40%
Written responses to the readings - 30%
In-class objective tests on material covered - 30%
Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
Schedule for summer semester 2021/2022:
Room No. 2