A laboratory course in which students come to each class meeting with the material they have committed to memory and are prepared to rehearse with the class leader. During this lab/rehearsal, the class leader will use the Socratic method, directorial technique and customized acting exercises to guide students to deeper insights into the dramatic material.
Prerequisites of the target audience. This course is designed for artists who plan to enter or advance the profession of acting in Theatre, Film and Television.
This course is designed to develop a student’s skills at reading, analyzing and assessing a monologue and/or scene and making choices about character, action, intent, conflict and dramatic arc based on scrutiny of the material.
Via practical application (rehearsal), targeted exercises, and the Socratic method, students will be guided through the process of reading and assessing the structure of a monologue and/or scene. We will examine the language, rhythm and vocabulary used by the playwright and make choices that will develop character and action. Students will learn to make and commit to a series of dramatic choices and then test their choices through rehearsal and analysis.
By the end of the course, a student should be able to read and analyze a monologue and/or scene for rhythm, character, environment and action, break them down into “beats”, make dramatic choices based on their analysis, and play those choices with passion and conviction.
Expected independent learning hours. No less than two independent hours is expected of each student in the form of class preparation.
The films of Scorcese, Spielberg, Cassavetes, Campion, Eisenstein, Wertmuller, Kurosawa, Lean, Bunuel and many others
The plays of Tennessee Williams, Lope de Vega, Dominique Morisseau, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Eugene O’Neill, William Shakespeare, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Caryl Churchill.
Texts, Materials, and Supplies
Students can access online resources to find material to be used in class. Instructor has a collection of material available. Students are encouraged to put their attention on contemporary narratives that deal with challenging subject matter pertaining to the human condition.
Grading is Pass/Fail
Students who’s attendance is greater than 75% and who actively participate in every class they attend will receive a passing grade.
Students with inadequate attendance/participation will be graded on a case by case basis.
Students are expected to rehearse in class every week and participate in class discussion every meeting.
Assignments & Homework
Students are expected to rehearse in the days between class meetings in order to make progress based on the lessons learned during each class meeting. At home memorization of class material is expected.
Participation, and Classroom Climate
100% attendance is the ideal that every student ought to strive for. 75% is the minimum acceptable attendance rate.
Discussion and participation are a major emphasis in this course. This means that it is the student’s responsibility to come to class ready and willing to take part in group knowledge building though scrutiny and analysis of each others work.
Because many modern plays, films and television shows feature rough language, such language will not be avoided in class. We all must be prepared to speak using the vocabulary of the writers and characters we are studying.
Students are required to power down all communication devices before entering the classroom.
The scene study classroom is, in effect, a rehearsal stage. Therefore there will be no applause at the completion of scene work.
During monologue work, the instructor will often solicit the students who are observing to discuss their observations, and make an analysis of the work based on what they witnessed. At all times, and in keeping with the theatrical custom of eschewing critiques of colleagues, all comments will be directed to the instructor who will closely moderate the discussion.
This class is a safe place for open discussion of ideas and the frank appraisal of human behaviors. If, at anytime, a student feels uncomfortable or is encountering an episode of “triggering” they are invited to speak directly to the instructor and voice their concerns without hesitation or fear of judgement.
Introduction. Discussion of key concepts. Students will each present a brief monologue of their choice and discuss what they want to achieve in the class.
Key Concept: “Acting is the passionate conveyance of an idea.”
Students are asked to rehears the lyrics of their favorite song as a dramatic monlogue. Song lyrics will be used to introduce the class to methods of analyzing a monologue. The include:
• Breaking the material into beats.
• Identifying key words.
• Gauging vocabulary and syntax as it relates to character
• Analyzing rhythm and structure.
• Understanding the purpose of the monologue in the overall arc of the story.
No material is ever deemed “off limits” or “inappropriate”. Students are encouraged to choose material that peaks their interest, no matter the age, race or gender of the character.
Key concept: “Every word is there for a reason.”
Students are guided through a read thru and investigation of the dramatic material they have chosen. They are coached on identifying the “beats” within a monologue. and how to use these beats for analysis.
Key Concept: “Always read the entire script.”
Students rehearse their monologues in class. They will test the choices made in the previous class and on their own time. Their choices are sometimes challenged and scrutinized by the Instructor. Choices that survive this rehearsal are maintained and new choices are expected for the next class.
Key Concept: “ A choice is useless without your commitment.”
Students rehearse their monologue a second time, testing new choices and either defending and strengthening them or tossing them away and searching for something newer. They are challenged to answer a battery of questions about their monologue, their action and their character. The questions are:
• Who are you?
• Where are you?
• Who are you with?
• What are you doing?
• How are you doing it?
• Where have you come from?
• Where are you going?
• What will you find when you get there?
Based on the work. Students will either continue with their current monologue or move on to a new one.
Key Concept: “The work depends on mastery of the material.”
Students with new scenes are expected to arrive have already broken down the scene and identified the first 7 or 8 beats. They will have their first rehearsal and their scene work will be analyzed and discussed. Students who have not been assigned new scenes will have their final rehearsal this week.
Key Concept: “If you know the beats, the intent, character and the conflict, the lines will be there”
Students with new monologues will present their analysis and breakdown. Students rehearsing for the second time will be challenged to incorporate the environment in which their characters exist into their dramatic choice making.
Key Concept: “Acting is the reaction to stimuli both real and imagined”
Final rehearsals. Students will do a final rehearsal of their current monologue. Each scene will be followed by general analysis and final critique by the instructor.
Key Concept: “Your talent is in your choice.”