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Year One Curriculum

The first year program is open to all with a desire, passion, and commitment to the work. Year one of the program consists of comprehensive classroom work concentrating on accessing emotions and impulses, use of self, active listening, exploration of the imagination and serving the text. You will study Acting Technique, Voice, Movement, Meisner Technique, Shakespeare, Beat Analysis for the Actor, Viewpoints, and Design Lab. The curriculum also includes Theory Into Practice and ongoing Performance Labs.

You will begin your first year of study by exploring emotions and impulses, and be introduced to the fundamental concepts of objective, obstacle and tactic. Intensive instrument work in Voice and Movement supports the foundation of acting technique. Students progress with text work and theatrical mask exploration. First Session (September-January) classes include Performance Labs in Movement, Shakespeare, Acting, and Viewpoints work under the supervision of the core faculty. Second Session (February-May) classes culminate in a formal audition before The Actors Conservatory faculty. Your admission to the second year of the program is based on evaluations by your first year instructors and the Managing Artistic Director.

Core Classes

 

TA110 Acting Technique 1 / Credits earned: 4
The class will focus on accessing emotions and impulses, use of self, active listening, waking up the imagination and the exploration of given circumstances. The goal of the class is to discover authentic behavior that serves the text and to experience objective, obstacle and tactic and live truthfully in imaginary circumstances while experiencing reciprocity with your acting partner.

  • Instructor: Andrea White & Michael Mendelson

 

TA210 Acting Technique 2 / Credits earned: 4
Students will build on the foundations of Acting 1, Beat Analysis, Viewpoints and Meisner Technique to craft fully realized characters within the given circumstances of scenes from classic and contemporary plays.

  • Instructor: William Earl Ray

 

TA112 Shakespeare 1 / Credits earned: 3
This class helps demystify Shakespeare by exploring both the technical approach through text analysis and the emotional content through our understanding of the human condition. It is essential that students begin from the impulse/need inherent in the words. The focus is to understand not only at an intellectual level, but also to feel the language coming through them.

  • Instructor: Miriam Schwartz & Michael Mendelson

 

TA212 Shakespeare 2 / Credits earned: 3
This class helps demystify Shakespeare by exploring both the technical approach through text analysis and the emotional content through our understanding of the human condition and psycho-physical exercises. It is essential that students begin from the impulse/need inherent in the words. The focus is to understand not only at an intellectual level, but also to feel the language coming through them.

  • Instructor: Michael Mendelson

 

Method and Skills

 

TA111/TA211 Theory Into Practice 1 & 2 / Credits earned: 2/2
Students will study and apply rehearsal techniques to solo, partner, and ensemble work based on class and lab assignments. Students will develop skills necessary to think critically and develop intimacy and safety guidelines during independent study and rehearsals.

  • Instructor: Andrea White & Beth Harper

 

TA120 Meisner Technique 1 / Credits earned: 3
Through a series of progressive repetition exercises, as outlined by Sanford Meisner, students will fine-tune their ability to be authentically connected and responsive to another actor.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder

 

TA220 Meisner Technique 2 / Credits earned: 3
This class builds upon the skills learned in Meisner Technique 1. Students will engage in advanced exercises creating a stronger foundation. Through these exercises students will create more specificity in beat, obstacle, and intention work. Then layering these skills into text and scene work.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder

 

TA121 Viewpoints / Credits earned: 3
Through practice, exploration and feedback students will become versed in the Viewpoints vocabulary regarding Time and Space, developed specifically for the theatre by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau. Students will explore the Viewpoints to: develop tools for improvising movement on stage, devise original theatre, and expand the actors’ approach to a variety of theatrical styles.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder

 

TA122 Beat Analysis for the Actor 1, Realism / Credits earned: 2
Focusing on moment-to-moment life/beats (objective/obstacle/ tactic), students will learn to analyze texts to understand how to play any given moment. This class will use scenes from contemporary playwrights, as well as texts used in Acting Technique 1.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht


TA222 Beat Analysis for the Actor 2, Classical / Credits earned: 2

Building on their understanding of objective/obstacle/tactic explored in Beat Analysis 1, students will analyze and be able to articulate all the elements influencing the world of the classical play, including language, social, political and historical elements.

  • Instructor: Michael Griggs

 

TA141 Design Lab / Credits earned: 3
To empower our artists to learn the skills necessary to produce their own work and appreciate the work of designers on the artistic team, Design Lab emphasizes the skills necessary to create lights, sound, costumes and props to support the storytelling of the work you produce. The class puts this theory into practice with 3 performance labs generated by the students in the first semester.

  • Instructor: Paul Stein

 

TA221 Theatre Management / Credits earned: 3
Students will explore how ‘It takes a Village” to put on a show. Students will walk in the shoes of a Stage Manager, assistant stage manager and learn what it takes to make an AEA (professional actors’ union) production fly. Other areas to be explored include Assistant Directing, House Managing, Dramaturgy, and Properties Mastering.

  • Instructor: Paul Stein

 

Instrument

 

TA130 Voice 1 / Credits earned: 3
The main goal of the course is to help students free their “natural voice” to perform on stage with vocal freedom, articulation, safety, and control. Emphasis will be placed on the vocal theory and the basic mechanics of vocal production technique.

  • Instructor: Michael O’Connell

 

TA230 Voice 2 / Credits earned: 3
Continuation of Voice 1, with a specific focus on heightened narrative.

  • Instructor: Michael O’Connell

 

TA131 Movement 1 / Credits earned: 3
The focus of this class is physical awareness and being fully in your body. In this first movement course, actors work on unlocking the physically expressive body using techniques by master practitioners (e.g., Lecoq, Laban, Chekhov, Grotowski, Boal) and related improvisations focused specifically on neutrality, alignment, spatial awareness, articulation, and energy.

  • Instructor: Theresa Robbins Dudeck

 

TA231 Movement 2 / Credits earned: 3
Building on the strong sense of Artistic Self found in Movement I, in Movement II, processes from the first movement course are integrated with space, image, gesture, rhythm, sound, text, and characters (including Masks) to develop/devise individual and group compositional projects. The playful, physical body serves as the primary source of creation.

  • Instructor: Theresa Robbins Dudeck

 

Practicum

 

TA242 Theatre Management Practicum / Credits earned:  3
This course provides students the opportunity to put into practice the skills learned in Theatre Management in the areas of fundamentals of stage managing, house managing, dramaturgy, properties and costume design, box office, concessions, audience services, production budget development, and theatre community relationships.

  • Instructors: Paul Stein

 

Performance Labs (Semester 1)                                       
This is a series of labs integrated into Acting 1 & Shakespeare, Viewpoints, and Movement classes. In these labs, students will perform, and design devised, scripted, and creative performance works created by the ensemble that is based on skills and techniques being explored in the above classes.

  • Mentors: Chris Mikolavich, Technical Director/Production Manager and the Acting 1 & Shakespeare, Movement, and Viewpoints faculty

 

Performance Lab: Audition (Semester 2)
This Lab is the culmination and realization of the design lab training and acting training wherein they apply the tools and methods learned throughout the year to their audition “event” for acceptance into the second year of training.

  • Mentors: Chris Mikolavich, Design Lab instructor w/ assist from the Movement, Shakespeare and Acting faculty

 

Breath & Energy (integrated throughout Year 1)
This course uses amplified breathwork, body/sensory techniques and ensemble contact exercises from a variety of sources, including Wilhelm Reich (breath work and body armoring), Alexander Lowen (bioenergetic work), and Virginia Satir (psychological stances, resource sculpting work). Students will familiarize themselves with the habitual tension and energy fixations. They will gain a deeper experience of their core selves, learn to be more present and focused and have greater energy and aliveness at their disposal as performers.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht