Working with Actors 1
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Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO
Name of lecturer(s)
Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO
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
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.
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
Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:
Room No. 2
Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:
The schedule has not yet been prepared