Approaches to Acting: Past and Present

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The MFA in acting at the University of Iowa offers a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum that expands upon traditional concepts of training, while grounding the actor in solid technique. The acting program integrates the theories of Sanford Meisner, Jerzy Grotowski, Jacques Lecoq, and Kristin Linklater with extensive training in movement, voice, theatrical analysis, and digital media to produce an unusually responsive, emotionally available artist that can meet the creative and technical demands of the twenty-first century.

Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Directing –

We seek curious and courageous individuals who are socially conscious and disciplined, with a passion for pushing the boundaries of theatre and digital media. We admit students to our acting program every three years. This allows us to more fully focus our attention on the needs of each class. Students admitted to the MFA program in acting should have an undergraduate degree in theatre, or equivalent training and experience. Our next class of actors will be admitted in the fall of The application deadline is January 15, Iowa is home to one of the premiere playwriting programs in the United States, producing more than 18 new works each year.

Actors work constantly with the playwrights of the future on new material that challenges social, cultural, and political norms — originating characters and contexts never before seen on stage. The graduate acting faculty is made up of theatre professionals who have trained with some of the most prestigious names and organizations in theatre, including Meisner, Kristin Linklater, Stephen Wangh, Norman Taylor and Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre.

The first year is a probationary period for all MFA students in acting. This decision is based on demonstrated talent, potential, discipline, professionalism, and satisfactory progress in academic and artistic learning situations.

Students who are accepted into the second year normally proceed to satisfactory completion of the degree. Nonetheless, evaluation is an ongoing process and students must continue to present work of distinction in their production assignments and maintain a grade point average of 3. If a student's grade point average falls below 3.

Failure to do so may be grounds for dismissal. Evaluation of performance in productions is ongoing. You are required to speak personally with the faculty member you have been assigned to shortly after completion of the performance for feedback.

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Indicating: Showing what your character is feeling or doing without really feeling or doing, leading to a false and shallow performance. Inner Action: A physical action verb chosen by the actor in the pursuit of an objective.

Intention: Another word for an acting objective, or action, that an actor pursues while onstage. Meisner Technique: An acting program that uses among other things repetitive and in-the-moment exercises first devised by Sanford Meisner of the Group Theatre. Monologue: An uninterrupted speech by a character in a performance. The monologue may be to another character or the audience.

The theatre was conceived as a venue for naturalistic theatre, as opposed to the melodramatic style which was popular in Russia at the time.

Approaches to Acting: Past and Present (Continuum Collection)

Motivation: The Why? The reason a character pursues a particular objective or super objective. Objects: Physical items used by the actor to enhance and give more reality to a character. Also referred to as the intention or driving question. Pace : The speed at which you pick up your cue and deliver the next line of your dialogue. Pace can also be the speed that creates a style for the piece. Physical gesture: A specific movement or physical action of a character that expresses the psychology, feelings and desires incorporated into one gesture.

It is often used by the actor to awaken the essence of his character. Particularization: The process Uta Hagen taught, making each event, person and place down to the smallest physical object as exact as possible. These details are explored in great detail to discover how they are relevant to the character. Physicalization: To express with the body. Showing as opposed to telling. Externals of a character, such as how they eat, walk and talk. Psychological gesture: If we define gesture to mean a movement that has intention, we could say that the Psychological Gesture is a movement that expresses the psychology of the character.

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Props: All objects on a theatrical or film set, used by the actors. Hand Props: often small and hand-carried objects used by actors during performance, i. Practical Props: props that actually have to work during performance, i. Run: 1. A series of brief lines building to a speech or key moment. The number of performances a show does. Script Analysis: The close study of a play or screenplay. This incorporates all of the dialogue and stage directions to find the answers necessary to create a full and rich character and to craft a performance that serves the script.

The exploration of the script may include the questions of theme, story, character, and overall elements of the play and characters. Sensory: Connecting the character to the body and mind through the senses; to taste, hear, feel, see, think, perceive; to know through the physical inner self, as opposed to the instinctive. These physical sensations surround an emotional event, instead of the emotions themselves.

Sides: A portion of a script pages selected for an audition that highlights a specific character. Soliloquy: A speech given directly to the audience, ordinarily with no one else on stage. Speed-through : A rehearsal with actors going through the lines of the play as quickly as possible, picking up the cues. Stage Business: A stage activity used to accent, intensify, or heighten the manner in which one uses an object on stage.

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Stakes: The heightened consequences for each character of achieving or failing to achieve their objectives. Stanislavsky, Constantin : Russian theatre director, actor, and teacher most responsible for the manner and technique in which the craft of acting is taught. His teaching method was based on Stanislavsky; but, among other things, Strasberg intensely focused on actors exploring past memories to use real emotions to connect them to their character. Substitution: The recasting of people, objects, and events in the script that the character must react act to, with real people, objects and events that the actor has known or experienced in their own life.

Tasks: Pieces of work or functions that need to be done, the total of which comprises an overall activity. Tempo; pace; rhythm : The level of speed with which the scene or play is acted out. The general effect creates a specific mood or tone to the work. Thus the audience is essentially seeing a three-quarter view of the actor.

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An Actor Prepares. Trigger: An emotional or physical signal that signals or sparks a bonfire of emotion to break through to the surface. Upstage: The opposite of downstage; the back part of stage in a proscenium theatre; the farthest part from the audience.

So, You Want to be an Actor.

Upstaging: To go upstage of an actor with whom you are sharing a scene. This causes the other actor to be in the downstage, weakened position of having to face upstage to maintain the illusion of eye contact. Upping the stakes: Increasing and upping the importance on a scene or moment to heighten the dramatic tension of the character or scene.

World of the play: What happens. Where it happens. When it happens. The circumstances affected by the society, economics, culture and politics of the time. What we learn from the setting of the play. Cinematographer: The expert responsible for capturing, recording or photographing images for a film, through the selection of visual recording devices, camera angles, film stock, lenses, framing, and arrangement of lighting.

Double: A person doubling for a principal actor usually for stunts dangerous shots. Eye Line: Eye line is the direction an actor should look off-screen to match a reverse angle or a P. It is best to give the actor an actual thing or spot to look at rather than a blank spot on an empty wall or an empty space in mid air.