In this class we will use Declan Donnellan’s The Actor and the Target as a resource to build on techniques learned in previous classes.
The quarter will focus on skill development and refinement through a series of in-class exercises. This work will include a mid-term monologue and final scene performances to allow each student an opportunity to experiment with the techniques outlined in the class.
We will also delve into several contemporary plays (works from the last 5 years) that look at current social issues (e.g. race, class, gender, ability). Everyone will read the five required plays. Each student will co-lead a discussion for at least one of these plays one week after the play is assigned. You will also select an additional play from the list of suggested plays and give a detailed presentation to the rest of the class (I hope to have no more than 3 people per play chosen). That means that students will leave this class with a familiarity of at least 8 contemporary plays.
This class hopes to increase students' awareness of how theater is used to work through issues faced in our culture. We will look at these plays through an objective lens and reflect on the issues each addresses: considering aspects of the plays that feed into, or break from, established stereotypes. Our exploration will include scene work, class discussions, written reflections, and scene analysis.
In addition to the experiential class work, we will attend/see three outside performances: Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Rosmersholm, and The Stick Wife. You will be guided through a process of learning how to interpret what you see within these performances and in so doing learn a working vocabulary of the craft of acting and performance. You will use this vocabulary in discussions and written assignments including one response paper for a production of your choice.