- Design I
Instructor: Deb O / Dave Tennent
The goal of this course is to help you train the eyes to see what is really there and to use that knowledge in storytelling. What are we really looking at? We will take a deeper look at things we see every day and we will examine some new things. We will discuss the composition of those things and what happens if we change that composition. How does that make us feel? Is there a purposeful reflective judgment that can be made? How does developing our critical thinking skills help us become better theatre artists. And how to make thoughtful decisions on where to place that damn chair! The skills you will develop are: seeing, communication, collaboration, courage, as well as tapping into the inner visual artist in you!
- Directing I
Instructors: Fritz Ertl / Tomi Tsunoda
This course acts as a laboratory in which the students must use everything they’re learning at PHTS to stage whole, theatrical stories. Students work all year as a performance company, learning how to find their way through the creative process of making theatre. The Fundamentals vocabulary combines the tools and techniques of Aristotle, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Brecht, Grotowski, Brook, and Bogart, and focuses on understanding the role of the director in a theatrical collaboration. In the fall semester, students work in groups on compositions that focus on stage composition, active storytelling, and what it means to create a theatrical experience and to express a point of view. In the spring, the students are asked to apply these skills to the staging of a pre-existing text, working with scenes from a short play. They then end the year by each directing a scene from a published play of their own choosing. Throughout the year, the students all participate as directors, actors, and audience, and discuss each others’ work in order to develop a clearer and more objective relationship to their own.
- Impulse Breath
Instructor: Doug Paulson
This course is rooted in playfulness. By discovering and exploring the true joy in performance and interpretation, the actor deepens the connection to an impulse by freeing the instrument of tension, allowing for a released, connected breath, and full resonant sound. The course aids in removing inhibitions, thus allowing for full commitment to, and honesty in, the moment of choice.
- Movement for Actors
Instructor: Dan Safer
One of the main goals of this course is to make you strong, flexible, physically aware and utterly fearless. Ideally, you’ll end up a total bad-ass super-hero. Somewhere between acrobatics, wrestling, and surfing, Contact Improvisation is a dance form based on the communication and safe collision between moving bodies in physical contact and their combined relationship to the realities of motion—gravity, momentum, and inertia. By releasing extra muscular tension and abandoning the notion of pre-planning, you experience a natural, spontaneous flow of movement, opening yourself up to, and diving into, whatever might happen. Skills includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting and giving weight to a partner. Alertness is developed in order to work in an energetic state of physical disorientation, honing and trusting your basic survival instincts. Its a game of balance, self-correcting what doesn’t work and reinforcing what does on the spot, discovering physical/emotional truths and shared moments that leave you aware, centered, incredibly present and sharply alive.
Instructor: Salty Brine
Salon is just what the name suggests: a gathering of stimulating people who come together with the purpose of sharing ideas, experiences, questions and art. Through a multitude of means, the class explores the possibilities and opportunities that come along with a life in the theater arts. A weekly grab-bag of guests provides inspiration and information, each in a unique and personal way. Guest faculty members lead writing workshops and play readings that give students the opportunity to begin a deep and hands-on exploration of theatrical texts. Additionally, the classroom exists as a playground for art-making/art-sharing. Students present art projects to their peers using various media, built from and expressing their individual New York City experiences.
- The Actor’s Instrument
Instructor: Elizabeth Hess
This class focuses on releasing the inner life of the actor through embodied experience. In the Fall semester this is accomplished through group and partnered meta-physical explorations. Behavioral, physiological and psychological states of being are explored to release the actor’s instincts, access experience and ignite imagination. In the Spring semester, students are assigned directing scenes which they also bring into acting class. The focus will be on active choices based on both truth and transformation that is accessed through the interface between the inner life of the actor, the life of the character and the world of the play.
- The Actor’s Practice
Instructor: Maggie Low
This two-semester course explores exercises steeped in Stanislavski’s principles, via Hagen, Meisner, Strasberg, Spolin et al to encourage students to grapple with what makes a truthful actor. The first semester is the introduction and practice of technique, to open actors to their own emotional and physical instrument. Students explore how the actor brings that truth to imaginary circumstances through “the reality of doing.” The second semester applies those tools to a scene and a monologue chosen from established material, maintaining the rigorous standard of truth-telling established in the first semester.
- The Living Text
Instructor: Andrew Farmer, Max Reuben
How do words on the page become a living, breathing theatrical experience? The goal of this course is to crack open the idea of text and to engage it actively, intimately and fearlessly. Taking the text into their own hands, students explore the elements of drama through exercises and assignments that challenge them to find a closer, more integrated and lively relationship to text and its ability to convey action, character and idea. By deepening and expanding their kinesthetic relationship to the written word, students empower themselves as generative artists and lay the groundwork for further and deeper exploration of text as actors, directors, designers and playwrights. At the end of this year-long course, each student will have created his/her own book of original writings, impulses and visions.
- Voice and Speech I
Instructors: Marika Becz / Mark Enright
Voice & Speech I is a two-semester course developed to awaken the young artist to the expressive range of the human voice, as well as to the intricacies of speaking American English. A thorough warm-up is employed to bring power, flexibility and subtlety to the actor’s voice and speech: physical, vocal and articulation exercises are explored. Among many topics of focus: the structure of the actor’s breath, the fostering of vocal resonance, increased awareness of articulation options, and the development of rhetorical skills. Students in this class are taught the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as it is applied to American speakers. Exercises and text work are explored with the goal of uniting body, breath, voice, and speech into an expressive whole.