The workshops are taught to develop the actor’s imagination, flexibility, focus, concentration, responsiveness, emotional intelligence and vitality. The workshops only work in so far as the student is committed to the process; you must be willing to do the work. We often start the workshops with breathing and meditation exercises to help students to focus on the day ahead of them. The workshops are offered to those with an interest in acting, amateur theater, those who may wish to go on to drama school and people who want to explore their creativity.
The workshops have been given annually in Montreal, Canada, Burlington, VT, and in the UK since 1999. They are not intended as a substitute for the full conservatory experience, but are offered to those with an interest in acting, amateur theater, those who may wish to go to drama school and those who want to explore the acting process and their creativity. The workshop is invaluable for film makers who want to learn more about the acting process and how to direct actors. Commitment to the process is all that is required of the student. Typically, enrollment is restricted to those 17 years of age and over.
“Soul: that which is in us, that is most human.”
The Scene Study class focusses on techniques developed by the legendary Uta Hagen at the HB Studios in New York. They include exercises concerning important actors’ questions, such as: Who Am I?; What Are My Circumstances?; What Are My Relationships?; What Do I Want?; What’s In My Way?; and What Do I Do To Get What I Want? Each of these questions is explored through a series of exercises (2-3 minutes each) designed to give a deeper reality to your character. The exercises are prepared outside of class and performed and critiqued during the class. The focus of the workshop is the actors’ objectives (“I want”) and obstacles to that objective (“what prevents me from getting what I want? Who is for me and against me?”). Students keep a notebook about their character; they will add to the notebook as they think about their character, and read and re-read the play, and rehearse with their partner. Scenes will be given out early in the workshop, and you are expected to memorize your scene and to work with your partner outside of class. We will rehearse your scene during class, and it will be directed by the instructor. Students are encouraged to carefully observe other students during the rehearsal and direction process. The scenes will be put up in the final class.
Experience: Welcome, but not necessary.
“Acting is not an imitation of life, but a greater truth.”
Sanford Meisner was an American actor/teacher who began his career with the Group Theatre in the 1930s. He eventually formed the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, considered to be one of the finest acting schools in the world. Meisner created a technique that develops the actor’s instincts, sharpens their sensitivities, and enriches the actor’s most important tool, their imagination. The technique begins with “the repetition exercise,” a deceptively simple improvisatory exercise based on listening and responding to your partner “in the moment.” In each class, different elements: circumstances, character and location, and the performance of various “activities,” (such as handling objects) are added to the basic structure of the exercise. Meisner work is an excellent technique for increasing an actor’s spontaneity, essential to actors working in any medium — film, theater, and television. You do not need to be an actor to take this workshop, but you must be willing to be “present” in every sense of the word.
Experience: not necessary