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the role of the actor

If you were cast in an ACTING role in this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in class rehearsals as well as growing as an actor/performer/communicator during the rehearsal and performance process.


If cast, you are ALSO responsible for INDEPENDENTLY learning about the role of an actor as outlined below. 


Please be sure you document your learning/process in your Process Journal (and reflect on your process/journey).

PART I:  RESEARCH & Planning

(WEEKS 6-7)

Task (Formative Grade):  Create your own CHARACTER CLUES spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script).  KP will provide you with a document (Google Classroom) for this task, which asks you to find all the STATED (not implied) information about your character from the SCRIPT, including...

1.) what the playwright says about your character,

2.) what your character says about her/himself, and

3.) what other characters say about your character.  

Task: Highlight all YOUR character's lines in your script.  Highlight any props your character touches in a different color.  (Remember, you are responsible to be sure you have your rehearsal props, whether the Props Team has provided them for you yet or not.)

Task:  You will receive a Rehearsal Calendar from the director.  However, you must learn how to manage your OWN time as well.  For this task, create a Deadline Calendar for all YOUR lines in the script.  On your deadline calendar, break down your scenes, and list which pages you want to have memorized by which days.  This will help you to learn your lines/blocking in "chunks", rather than all at once.  (KP prefers that you DON'T completely memorize lines until their corresponding scenes have been rehearsed in class, however, you should be VERY familiar with your character/scenes BEFORE rehearsal.

Task (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively):  AFTER you've had time to analyze your character, you will look for colors, images, and textures that help to illustrate your interpretation of your character.  With these items, you will create a CHARACTER COLLAGE for your character.  This will be completed THROUGHOUT the rehearsal process and will be displayed as gallery art when the show opens.  (KP will provide more specific information in class.  Some semesters this is only required for lead actors, since other actors are creating design boards on their Design Teams.  Some semesters it will be required by all actors.)

As you know, most actors are ALSO serving on a Design Team when they are not on stage. Actors to whom this applies will be responsible for their team's design work as well as for their own acting role.


Note:  Included in the Design Process for the Costume Team is fittings.  You will be responsible for scheduling fittings with the costume team, which will typically be outside of class time.    The Make-up & Hair Team may also need to meet with you outside of class to practice your hair and make-up.  Please be sure you're in communication with these teams for when they may need you.  (Consider Wednesday "late starts" as possible times to meet with other teams.)

PART II:  LEARNing/applying

(weeks 8-16)

  • You must complete at least one reading/video, (or video series) per week and respond in your PROCESS JOURNAL.

  • You don't need to complete in order. You can pick/choose what is most interesting and/or useful to you each week.

  • You MUST watch/read each learning activity with a star (*).  You might want to START with those.

*Read: How to Read a Play

Journal Title:  Approaches to Script & Character

New to the class: 

1.) Read ALL approaches then describe/discuss at least 2 approaches to script/character that YOU want to use when analyzing YOUR script/character, and why you chose those 2 approaches.

2.)   List 2 additional approaches that you found intriguing and why.

Returning AA class member:  

1.) Read about ALL approaches, then choose one to use in our show.  Journal about the use of that approach with your script. ("DO" approach work for YOUR character.)

*Video:  Scoring a Scene - A Review of Script work from Acting class

Journal Title:  Scoring a Scene (Wants, Verbs, Blocking)

New to the class:

1.) Take notes on what actors/directors do when they "score" a scene. 

(Note: You will NOT have to score your entire script, but this video is a good refresher of the skills and terms you learned in Acting about script analysis.)

Returning AA class member:  

1.)  Choose a significant scene from your script (at least 2-3 pages with a clear beginning & end).  Score that scene, using the techniques learned in the video.  Upload a picture of your scored scene in Google Classroom under the correct week & journal title.


Video:  Playing the Action - NY Acting Coach, Suzanne Shepherd (7:20)

Journal Title:  Playing the Action

New to the class: 

1.) Acting is about WHAT?  

2.) Write down what you learned from this acting coaching lesson that you think could help YOU with playing YOUR action.

Returning AA class member:

1.) Why isn't it always helpful to "paraphrase the words" when describing what you're doing on stage?  What might you do instead?

2.) Write down at least one thing you can DO to help you play YOUR action.

*Video: What Every Actor Should Know (5:20)

Journal Title:  History of Acting

New to the class: 

1. Take organized notes on the big ideas/individuals/eras of the history of acting. (Note: Every time words are boxed in on the screen, it's an important era/individual.) Pause as needed, so your notes are accurate and reflective. Be sure to jot down each era/individual described in the video and bullet points on what characterized each or what made each influential.

Returning AA class member:

1.  Describe how Stanislavski's work influenced modern approaches to acting, and 

2. Who should actors defer to (according to Stanislavski), and why?

2. Actors should study both how people talk AND...?

Read:  Acting Techniques / 5 Acting Techniques Every Actor Should Know

Journal Title:  Famous Acting Techniques

New to the class: 

Take organized notes on the most famous acting techniques and the founders of those techniques.  (Be sure to jot down the acting coaches' names AND bullet points underneath each with notes about the characteristics of their techniques.  Include the following coaches in this order: Konstantin Stanislavsky, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen.)

Returning AA class member: 

Which coach/methods/techniques do you feel you MOST connect with and WHY?  How can/could that technique be applied to YOUR role in this semester's show?

Video "Series":

Video:  Don Cheadle Explains Where the Real Work Happens for an Actor (4:02)

Video:  Alan Tudyk Reveals the Key to Authentic Acting (2:37)

Video:  Neil Patrick Shares the Best Advice He's Ever Received (3:01)

Video: Willem Dafoe to Young Actors: Strip the Baggage, Embrace the Unknown (2:35)

Video: Matt Damon Talks About What it Takes to Succeed as an Actor (3:25)

Journal Title:  Being an Actor (Advice)

New to the class: 

1. What truths/advice did you learn/appreciate from these videos? (list in bullet form with actor's name after)

Returning AA class member: 

1. What advice shared in each of these videos do you feel would be helpful to YOUR future and why?

Video:  The Four Muscles of Acting | Harry Mastrogeorge (4:22)

Journal Title:  Muscles & Cancer of Acting

New to the class: 

1. As an actor, what are the 4 muscles of acting that you will need to work on?

2. What are the 2 cancers of acting that can limit you?

3. "Acting naturally under unnatural conditions":  Write this phrase in your journal and highlight it.  (Another way to say this is "Living truthfully in imaginary circumstances".  If you prefer that phrase, you can write that one instead.)

Returning AA class member: 

1. Harry Mastrogeorge claims that acting is "a state of mind" rather than a process/technique. Why?

2. Why does Mastrogeorge say that the "natural law is always on your side"?  What does he mean by this?

Video:  What Stops An Actor From Getting Into Character? by Mark W. Travis (13:43)

Journal Title:  Getting into Character

New to the class: 

1. What is the goal of all storytellers?

2. Describe the "big shift" that happened in acting around the turn of the century (as described by Travis).

3. What is one of the biggest obstacles for actors to "get into character"?  Describe.

4. Travis stated that directors shouldn't direct the actor.  Instead they should direct whom?  Why?

Returning AA class member: 

1. After watching the FULL video, write a list of 7-10 questions from specific scenes in our show that would be helpful to hear your director ask.  (List question you've chosen, and page number that inspired that question.)

*Video:  Movement Direction: Creating Character (7:58)

Journal Title:  Movement Acting

New to the class &

Returning AA class member:

1. What is the goal of movement directing/coaching?

2. Watch the whole video, and briefly describe each movement technique described/used, and which could be really helpful to use/try for YOUR character.

Video:  Viola Davis on Acting (7:25)

Journal Title:  Viola Davis on Acting

New to the class: 

1.  Describe Viola Davis' PROCESS  and the steps in that process.  Why is this process useful in a collaborative process?

2. Who does Viola describe as her biggest influences, and why are they so influential to her?

Returning AA class member:

1. What aspects of Viola's process do you hope to influence YOUR process, and why?

2. In what specific ways can YOU be influential to others while on set, and how could you commit to doing so?

Video "Series":

Video:  Bryan Cranston on Auditions, Acting, Jealousy, and Working in Entertainment (11:34)

Video:  Matt Damon Talks About What it Takes to Succeed as an Actor (3:25)

Video:  Kate Winslet shares her acting secrets

Video:  Jake Gyllenhaal Reveals How He Uses Backstory to Prep for Roles (2:55) *warning: some language - watch up to 2:25)*

Journal Title:  Actors' Acting Secrets

New to the class &

Returning AA class member:

  1. (Cranston) What did Cranston's advice about auditioning teach you?  Jealousy?

  2. (Damon) What are Damon's beliefs about success are revealed in this interview clip?  With which do you most connect?

  3. (Winslet) Write the advice that Winslet shared that surprised you and/or you found most helpful?  (List at least 3.)

  4. (Gyllenhaal) What research did Gyllenhaal do to help arrive at his backstory? How can changing your body change your mind in acting?

Video: Working in Theatre:  Swings, Standbys, Understudies (16:57)

Journal Title:  Understudies, Standbys, Swings

New to the Class:

  1. What is an understudy?

  2. What is a standby?

  3. What tends to "remember" when your mind does not?  What does this tell you about HOW to rehearse lines & blocking?

  4. What is a "track"?

  5. What is a "swing"?

  6. What do YOU see as the benefits and setbacks of filling in for others' roles or double-casting?

  7. Write down the actor's advice about skill-set/temperament needed for actors (found at 16:00).

Returning AA class member:

  1. What are some "big ideas" you learned about the discipline of an actor from watching this video that can help YOU better prepare for, and remain disciplined during, our show?


(WEEKS 8-16)

Task (WEEKLY Formative Grade):  You will be participating in rehearsals under the direction of KP.  Actor expectations for rehearsal include:

1.) arrive on time 

2.) help the SM set up the space (daily) prior to the start bell - whether you're on stage that day or not

3.) sign in with the SM daily

4.) have your script and pencil daily

5.) correctly mark your script with blocking during rehearsal (if absent, get missed blocking from the SM ASAP)

6.) participate fully both on and off stage during rehearsal (any non-stage time should be "given to the show")

7.) know each day what's being rehearsed, and be ready for it (this includes all props used by your character)

8.) memorize your lines and blocking by pre-established deadlines (create & use deadline calendar)


(WEEKS 15-18)

Note:  Prior to Dress/Tech Rehearsals, actors MUST have all costumes, costume pieces, and props.  Actors should also have rehearsed their quick-changes (if applicable) with a dresser, and know where all necessary items that they use before and during the show should be pre-set.


Video:  Behind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

Journal Entry:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR assigned role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Task (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show Checklist with ALL tasks to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and hang in a designated area backstage.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.)

EXPLORE MORE (optional):


(This list will be added to over time.  Let KP know if you find any helpful information that could be useful to future Advanced Acting students.)


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