ARTS 647
Acting: The Stanislavsky Method

David Jaffe        


This course is designed to increase your command of the actor's instrument - specifically the vocal, physical, and imaginative tools necessary for the creative work of the actor.  We will explore the creative process practically and theoretically, through theater games, exercises, improvisation, and text work.  We will explore techniques designed to release creative impulses, to build character, and to give life to dramatic text.


•          Attendance and Presence
The nature of theater training, and this course in particular, requires punctuality and attendance at all classes.  You must be there and be there on time.  No absences will be excused, short of serious illness or extraordinary circumstances. Your energetic presence is a requirement in this course.  Your concentration, focus, and attention to the task at hand are essential to the work we do in class. 

•          Monologue and Scene Work
Each student will develop a three-minute monologue and, with a partner, a ten-minute scene.  The text for these exercises should be drawn from American or European Realism (e.g. Chekhov, Ibsen, Williams, Miller, O’Neill) or contemporary American playwrights (e.g. Tony Kushner, Marsha Norman, Teresa Rebeck, Nicky Silver).  The selections will be made in consultation with me, and will be worked on in class sessions prior to a final showing at the end of the semester.

•          Journal
You are required to keep and hand in a journal of the exercises we do in class and your responses to them.  Your attention to your own creative process is a crucial aspect of this course.  Your ability to challenge yourself with each exercise is central to your growth as an actor.  The journal is a tool for examining that process. 

•          Lecture and Demonstration Project
A 20-30 minute lecture and demonstration project will be required of all students.  These will be presented during the two weeks after fall break.  A list of actor-training innovators will be posted by the end of September.    Students will be assigned teams and each team will choose a subject.  Each team member will be responsible for researching and presenting an aspect of the topic, and the team will create

Grading Breakdown

@ 25% Monologue and Scene Presentation
@ 25% Lecture and Demonstration Project
@ 50% Class participation (as illuminated below) and journal 

The key areas for evaluation are:  how much effort you put into the work, how you work to expand your own potential, and how you challenge yourself with each task or opportunity.  Your attitude toward the work, preparation, punctuality, and contributions to the ensemble are also vital areas.  Above all, the quality of the work itself is considered.  Please feel free to consult with me at any time to see how you're doing.

Grading Criteria

Professionalism:  attendance and promptness; enthusiasm; organization; complete and polished presentations.
Ensemble:  willingness to work as a member of the group; demonstration of ability to inspire others; involvement and willingness to take risks; participation in class discussions.
Demonstration of growth:  as evidenced by work in studio, homework and/or presentations. 


A         Reserved for accomplishment that is distinctive and demonstrably outstanding.  It is not handed out automatically. 

B          Given for work above acceptable standards.  Student demonstrates originality and creativity.  Often demonstrates

C         Grade for average work that shows a reasonable amount of time and effort was given. 

D         Student shows limited understanding of subject.  Work falls below acceptable standard of class and shows little evidence
            of effort or creativity.  Attendance is very weak, but assignments are completed.