Theater 010 B Introduction to Acting CRN: 91521 Fall 2011 Monday/Wednesday 11:45 – 1:00 Craftsbury Room Professor: Melissa S.

Lourie Phone: 545-2046 or 802-233-5255 E-mail:

Course Description: Acting is an ephemeral and sometimes mysterious art. It cannot be taught by reading or by lectures. Therefore, this is an experience-based class. We will learn by doing. The work we will do is designed to develop the skills that are essential for an actor in any performance discipline (stage, film, television). The first third of the session will be devoted to games and exercises designed to help us relax and develop flexible and expressive voices and bodies. We will work to release imagination and spontaneity, form a working ensemble and identify key acting problems (specificity, believability, concentration, intention, listening and responding). Students will prepare and perform a short neutral scene during this time. During the second third of the course, we will continue our exploration of what constitutes a scene. Key elements of scene work; where, who and what (given circumstance), will be explored as well as the concepts of objective, action and obstacle. Students will develop and perform a monologue during this time. In the last third of the session, students will be assigned a classic or contemporary American scene to develop in detail. These scenes will be worked on both inside and outside of class. They will ultimately be performed as a final exam. Learning to act is to participate in a process, rather than to strive to produce a particular result. It is expected that each student will participate in class exercises, evaluations and discussions and will arrive on time and ready to work. Requirements: Class attendance. Because of the hands-on nature of this work, it is essential that you maintain excellent attendance. Missed work cannot be made up. Each class builds upon the one before and the material has to be experienced to be useful. Therefore, you are allowed only one unexcused absence. Any absences after that will cause your grade to be lowered by one-third of a grade. If you must be absent, please notify me beforehand. There are many times when you will be working with a partner, and your partner's success as well as your own, will depend upon your presence in class. Lateness is also a problem and will be reflected in your grade.

Class participation. I expect full participation in class. You must be willing to throw yourself into all exercises and activities. An active, open and investigative approach will benefit both you and the rest of the class. Attire. You must wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing to class. We will be moving vigorously and doing exercises on the floor, so dress as you would if you were attending a physical exercise class. Sweats, workout clothes, tee-shirts, and the like are recommended. Skirts, dresses and high heels are not appropriate. Journals. I will expect you to keep a journal during the course. You will be given assignments in which you are asked to record observations on a specific topic or reading. You will also keep notes related to the work you are doing on your scenes and monologue. You must bring your journal to each class. Journals should be kept in notebooks where pages can be removed and put back. Performance Attendance: You are required to attend the UVM Theater Department Shows, Stop Kiss (Sept. 29–Oct. 1 & Oct. 6-8) and The Good Woman of Setzuan (Nov. 3-5 & 10-12). You may sign up to usher and see the shows for free or you may buy a ticket at the box office in the Royall Tyler Theater lobby. Two Papers are required. The first will be a short review of one of the productions listed above. Guidelines for this review will be distributed. The second paper will be notes and reflections on your preparation and rehearsal process for the final scene. Both papers must be typed and in proper form. Late papers will be marked down a letter grade for each day past the due date. Performance Projects. Students will be paired and given a short neutral dialogue to which they will apply their own set of characters, circumstances, objectives and actions. These scenes will be performed on Sept 28. The second performance project will be a monologue, selected from the dramatic literature by the student and approved by the instructor. Monologues will be rehearsed in and out of class and performed on Oct 26. Students will be cast in a two-person scene to be rehearsed throughout the last third of the semester both in class and outside of class. This scene will be performed as our Final Exam on Friday, December 16 at 7:30 a.m. Grading: Class Participation Written work Neutral Scene Monologue Final Scene 35% 15% 15% 15% 20%


There will be no formal text book for this class. Chapter readings from various books will be handed out and commented on by students in their journals.

Suggested Reading: There are many excellent books on the subject of Acting. If you would like to do further reading on the subject, I highly recommend the following titles:

Acting: The First Six Lessons, Richard Boleslavsky Backwards and Forwards, David Ball Impro, Keith Johnston To The Actor, Michael Chekhov Improvisation For The Theater, Viola Spolin The Craftsmen of Dionysus, Jerome Rockwood Acting Power, Robert Cohen Respect for Acting, Uta Hagen Actors on Acting, Cole & Chinoy

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