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Year One Curriculum

Year one of the program consists of comprehensive classroom work concentrating on accessing impulses, use of self, active listening, exploration of the imagination and serving the text. You will study acting technique, voice, movement, clown, improvisation, Shakespeare, styles, Theory into Practice, text analysis, technical theatre labs and theatre practicum, and Meisner Technique. The curriculum also includes an ongoing, intensive Performance lab.

You will begin your first year of study by exploring impulses and be introduced to the fundamental concepts of objective, obstacle and tactic. Intensive instrument work in voice and movement supports this foundation of acting technique. Students progress with text work and explorations of theatrical style. First Session (September-December) and Second Session (January-May) class work culminates in fully staged performances of movement, voice and style work under the supervision of the core faculty. The first year program is open to all with a desire, passion and commitment to the work.Your admission to the second year of the program is based on evaluations by your first year instructors and the Conservatory’s Artistic Director, in addition to a formal audition before the Portland Actors Conservatory faculty, alumni, and members of the professional theatre community.

Core Classes

 

TA110 Acting Technique 1                                        Clock hours: 64         Credits earned: 4
The class will focus on accessing 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: Zeina Salame

 

TA210 Acting Technique 2                                        Clock hours: 64         Credits earned: 4
Students will build on the foundations of Acting 1, Text Analysis and Meisner Technique to craft fully realized characters within the given circumstances of monologues and scenes from American classic and contemporary plays.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder

 

TA112/TA212 Shakespeare 1 / Shakespeare 2        Clock hours:  64/64   Credits earned: 4/4
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

 

TA213 Styles (Semester 2)                                          Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Exploring key acting styles from the late-19th century to early realism in the mid-20th century through discussions and hands on practice with scene work. Students will gain an in-depth familiarity with social/historical periods and the acting techniques related to the individual playing styles and the particular demands of each playwright. Students will learn and apply acting techniques of today while honoring the intrinsic demands of each style.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht

Method and Skills

 

TA120 Meisner Technique                                        Clock hours:  64     Credits earned: 4
Through a series of progressive repetition exercises, as outlined by Sanford Meisner, students will fine tune their ability to be in truly connected with another actor.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder

 

TA123 Improvisation                                                  Clock hours:  64     Credits earned: 4
Improvisation aims to develop and expand students’ imagination, range of expression, and to release them from self-consciousness by altering their attitude towards failure. Through a series of impro games, techniques, and theories exploring status, impulse, splitting-the-attention, give/take, clowning, masks, narrative structure, and character development, students will enhance skills used onstage and off (e.g., presence, flexibility, courage, compassion, team building, rapid idea generation, and problem solving).

  • Instructor: Theresa Dudeck

 

TA122 Text Analysis 1: Realism                              Clock hours: 32         Credits earned: 2
Focusing on the works of classic American Playwrights, as well as scripts used in Acting Technique 1, students will learn to read scripts in order to understand how the play works-its mechanics and values-and apply that knowledge to their engagement with plays from the actor’s point of view.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht


TA222 Text Analysis 2: Classical (Semester 2)        Clock hours: 32    Credits earned:  2

Using their understanding of dramatic structure explored in Text Analysis 1, students will analyze and be able to articulate all the elements, including language, social, political and historical, influencing the world of the classical play.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht

Instrument

 

TA130 Voice 1
Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3

Being on your voice and in your body is the focus of this class. Based on the methodology of Robert Neff Williams (Juilliard), students work on breath support, flexibility, strength, resonance and vocal variety along with articulation and learning IPA. Alexander Technique will be introduced to help undo excess tension, create ease of breath and the ability to be present and in the moment.

  • Instructor: Jacklyn Maddux

 

TA131 Movement 1
Clock hours:  48    Credits earned: 3

Utilizing the methods of Lecoq and Laban, students will identify, relax and free parts of the body which habitually hold tension, expanding an individual’s movement, expressiveness and physical vocabulary.

  • Instructor: Linda Hayden

 

TA230 Voice 2
Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3

Continuation of Voice 1: with a specific focus on heightened narrative. 

  • Instructor: Jacklyn Maddux

 

TA231 Movement 2
Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3

Building on the strong sense of Artistic Self found in Movement I, Movement II allows the student to bring her/himself fully to exploration and development of character through mask and clown.  Movement II focuses intensely on providing a safe, non-judgmental space where students can take huge risks through experimental means in order to continue identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their physical and psychological instrument while learning new skills in storytelling.

  • Instructor: Linda Hayden

Practicum

 

*Performance Labs                                       
This is a series of labs integrated into Acting 1, Meisner, Improv and Voice/Movement classes. In the labs, students will complete devised, scripted, and creative performance work.

  • Instructors: Zeina Salame, Chris Harder, Theresa Dudeck, Jacklyn Maddux and Linda Hayden


TA243 Performance Lab: Audition
Clock hours: 35      Credits earned:  1
This Lab is the culmination and realization of the students’ technical theatre training wherein they apply the tools and methods learned throughout the year to their audition “event” for the second year of training.

  • Core Instructor: Chris Mikolavich w/ assist from the Voice, Movement, Styles, Shakespeare and Acting faculty

 

*Breath & Energy*
Integrated throughout Year 1 & 2
​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 have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with and affect habitual tension and energy fixations, have a deeper experience of their core selves, learn to be more present and focused as actors and have greater energy and aliveness at their disposal as performers. Particular attention will also be paid to the experience of being present with and available to our fellow actors, and to the telling of stories from our authentic experience.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht