ARTS 648
Inside Out to Outside In: Approaches to Acting

Daniel Cantor

Required Texts
Constantin Stanisvalski, An Actor Prepares
Sanford Meisner, On Acting
Michael Chekhov, On the Technique of Acting
Keith Johnston, Impro
Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre
Bari Rolfe, Behind the Mask
Anna Deveare Smith, Fires in the Mirror

Additional Reading: Some supplementary reading, created both by the students and instructor. Excerpts from Freud, Jung, Watts, etc.

Course Objectives
The course aims to compare and contrast both the efficacy and philosophical underpinnings of a variety of the major Western approaches to acting and performance. Students will explore Stanislaviski, Shekhov, Meisner, Rolfe, Grotowski, and Anna Deavere Smith. While these explorations will be largely aesthetic, the class will be encouraged to connect each of the acting theories to broader theories concerning psychology, philosophy, sociology, even metaphysics. The goal of the course is for each student to gain insight into themselves as a person and as an actor, as well as into the evolution of modern acting theory and the ways in which those theories reflect our understanding of ourselves. The course also aims to help students with limited acting experience to get their feet wet and loosen their inhibitions when performing, and to challenge more experienced actors to push a new level.
Various small scene studies and monologues to be prepared outside of class, each assignment corresponding to a respective acting theory that the class will study; in-class exercises and games corresponding to each technique; Reading assignments for each theorist and some supplementary reading; Very occasional research will be assigned for students to find supplementary material from other fields (all students always encouraged to initiate bringing in supplementary work that they feel is relevant); A final performance or short paper.
Course Evaluation
1. Effort and preparation of assigned work
2. Class participation
3. Performance of outside work
4. Attendance
5. Growth and development
6. Final project
Course Outline
This is a weekly breakdown of class schedule and assignments. It is subject to some change.

Each week class will usually consist of the following:
1. A brief warm-up
2. Discussion of that week's reading assignment
3. IN class exercises which require no outside preparation, AND/OR workshop and presentation of assigned performance work requiring outside preparation

Listed below are reading assignments, and exercises, monologues and scenes, week by week.

January 23 Introductions, course procedures, objectives, philosophies, HAVE ALREADY READ - An Actor Prepares, Chapters 1-5; games and exercises
January 30 Emotion memory assignment, physical action assignment; Reading - An Actor Prepares 7-10; supplementary - Freud
February 6 Sensory etudes; An Actor Prepares 11-13
February 13 Meisner exercise; On Acting - first few chapters
February 20 Objective/action/given circumstances scenes (still working with Stanislavski and Meisner)
February 27 Psychological gesture exercises; On the Technique of Acting; supplementary - Jung
March 6 Chekhov scene work; On the Technique of Acting
March 27 Status exercises; Impro, select chapters
April 3 Physical acting exercises; Towards a Poor Theatre
April 10 Grotowski scenes; Towards a Poor Theatre
April 17 Exercises in Mask work; Behind the Mask
April 24 Documentary Theater exercises; Fires in the Mirror (introduction)
May 1 Anna Deavere Smith monologues
May 8 Final project due (choice: paper, journal, performance)