The Studio I class began the year building up their focus, concentration, and imagination. Then they selected new monologues and started to investigate different ways of using their bodies and voices to convey character and tell a story. They have explored a variety of class exercises including visualization, movement work, creative writing, and text analysis. They have also worked with partners to critique each other’s work and offer constructive feedback. They will synthesize all these skills in their upcoming monologue performances.
Our actors have been using Michael Shurtleff’s Audition as a guide (a common college text often referred to as the Bible for working actors) to delve more deeply into character creation and scene/monologue analysis. They have practiced using the Audition Guideposts in class study scenes and are now applying them to longer undirected scene performances. They have explored techniques and theories of such acting practitioners as Viola Spolin, Constantin Stanislavski, and Lee Strasberg. In conjunction with our Theory & Criticism class readings, the seniors have experimented with the Shakespearean acting style by learning how to handle the language and physicalize their text.
Intro to Theatre
The juniors began the year with a bit of absurdism (The Bald Soprano) before moving on to the Ancient Greeks and Antigone. We began exploring Shakespeare by examining his theatrical environment and how his texts may have evolved. We read and discussed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the students had the opportunity to create Shakespearean cue scripts and stage a scene from the play. Now we’re delving in to the dark and bloody tragedy, Macbeth.
Theory & Criticism
The seniors are working through the history of great dramatic literature. They began the year with Ancient Greece and Oedipus Rex. Then they examined some samples of medieval mystery and morality plays before moving on to English Renaissance. They recently finished Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and are now in the midst of what is possibly the world’s most famous play, Hamlet. Creative explorations of our texts include word clouds, image work, character resumes, and writing in role. The students also chose a Shakespeare play to read and analyze on their own as the first step in a larger creative project.
The juniors and seniors are combined for Craft & Skills, which gives students the choice between two guest artists and allows all our actors to work more closely together. For the first round, some students studied audition preparation with Mary Evans Lott and Kathy Lafon to select and polish monologues and songs for future auditions. This class culminated in a mock audition in front of the guest artists and other theatre practitioners from the community. The other students worked with professional storyteller Barbara Spillman Lawson to create an original piece of children’s theatre. The actors came up with the concept, wrote the script, found the props & costumes, and performed for 40 little audience members at Covenant Developmental Preschool in Staunton. They also designed promotional posters and activity packs for the school. The preschoolers were very engaged and their teachers say the kids are still re-enacting the story during their play time. The full video of “Who Stole the Cookie” is available on the SVGS Theatre Facebook page. Now the classes have split as the juniors work with professional stage makeup artist Joe Hurt and the seniors develop their physical acting with Zach Laliberte.