Working with Actors 1

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311WAC1 ZK 3 2T English winter

Subject guarantor


Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

To become aware of the principles underlying the art of acting.

To practice using acting principles in scene analysis and portrayal of character in a situation

To become aware of various tools for working with actors.

To become aware of actors' recourses and various training techniques.

To gain confidence working with actors using effective tools.

Mode of study

Lecture, in-class exercises, independent readings and scene analysis

Prerequisites and co-requisites

Some prior experience working with actors is recommended but not required

Course contents

Working with Actors I aims to give the students an awareness of the principles underlying the art of acting and practice using them. The students will learn these basic principles through exercises practicing certain principles in isolation and in scene work which combines the principles of acting into the creation of a character in a dramatic situation. The first semester involves the students in the class as primarily actors, engaging fully in exercises for narrative acting, such as the pursuit of a goal, contact of another, employment of a variety of tactics toward achieving a dramatic objective through another. The directing students are paired with actors (either professional actors or acting students) in exercises and scene work.

The work in class is done with a view toward Working with Actors II, the second semester course which is designed to give the students practice directing actors or acting students in exercises and scenes, similar to the way scenes were worked in the first semester.

Preliminary Outline:

Session 1 (Oct. 3): Basic Principles of Acting: Goal, Obstacle, Tactics, Expectations. The Other.

Exercises for contacting the Other.

Homework: Read chapters 1-7 in A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder

Session 2 (Oct. 10): Beginning to Act. Contentless Scenes. Playing the Situation.

Homework: Read the chapter “Good Acting Choices” by Robert Cohen, from Acting One.

Session 3 (Oct. 17): Contentless scenes extended. Applying Improvisation Technique to scenework.

Homework: Create scenario for improvisation for backstory.

Session 4 (Oct. 24): Scene Analysis: breaking a scene into acting beats. Exercise from The Dining Room

Homework: Assigned scene to be broken down into beats: Scene to be announced.

Homework: Read Weston’s chapter on Scene analysis for directors, create scenario

Session 5 (Oct. 31): Preparing to act; scenes distributed; breaking a scene into beats with scene partner.

Homework: Read Weston’s chapter on Result Direction; Memorize scene for next class

Session 6 (Nov.7): Scenework. Apply improvisation technique to memorized scenes

Homework: Create scenario for improvised backstory; character analysis

Session 7 (Nov. 14): Directing the character rather than the actor. Mark Travis Technique

Homework: Read Mark Travis’ chapter on Rehearsal

Session 8 (Nov. 21): Scenework. New scenes assigned. In-class scene breakdown. Travis technique applied. Improvisation technique applied. Meisner technique introduced.

Homework: Read Meisner “The Knock on the Door” chapter from Meisner On Acting

Session 9 (Nov. 28): Scene work continued. Travis technique applied, Improvisation technique applied.

Meisner technique applied.

Session 10 (Dec. 5): Directing intimate scenes; trust exercises; scene from Fort Bliss

Homework: Selected chapter from Acting for the Camera by Tony Barr

Session 11 (Dec. 12): Review. “Francis Ford Coppola on Rehearsing”

Session 12 (Dec. 19): In-class exam on acting principles, scene breakdown into beats, rehearsal techniques

Recommended or required reading

Robert Cohen. ACTING ONE, McGraw Hill. 2007

Judith Weston. DIRECTING ACTORS, Michael Weise Productions. 1996

Lenore DeKoven. CHANGING DIRECTION, Elsevier Company: 2006

Melissa Bruder and collective. A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR THE ACTOR, Vintage books, 1986

Mark Travis. DIRECTING FEATURE FILM. Michael Weise productions, 1997

Assessment methods and criteria

Participation in class exercises, attendance.

For credit, student must have 70 % attendance.

An in-class or take-home exam is taken on acting principles, scene breakdown and rehearsal techniques


No notes.

Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:

room 207
Room No. 2

(Lažanský palác)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Thu 18:10–20:35 Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO Room No. 2
Lažanský palác

Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans