Fall 2006

ARTS 647
Acting: The Stanislavski Method

Jaffe,David B.

09/11/2006 - 12/16/2006
Monday 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Thea Studios/Dsgn 114 - East

PLEASE NOTE: Instructor teaching this course is now different than originally posted in GLSP catalog

Through exercises, games, monologues, and scene work, we will investigate the basic principles of naturalistic acting as set forth by acting theorist Constantin Stanislavski. Additionally, as the class explores Stanislavski's techniques, we will ask and address a basic set of questions: What does it take to give a good performance? Can one learn to act or is it a "god-given" talent? And most importantly, how does one transcend inhibition and self-consciousness and feel free while performing publicly?

The curriculum of the course closely follows Stanislavski's acting technique. This technique is rooted in emotional honesty and an unsentimental, understated performance style. It attempts to find ways to stimulate the actor's creative sub-conscious in order to elicit authentic acting choices on stage, that by their nature eschew artificiality. The class will also explore the work of Keith Johnstone, a renowned improvisation teacher who asserted that, "creativity is as effortless as perception." The block to that creativity, Johnstone suggested, is inhibition or a person's fear of revealing himself. With Johnstone complementing Stanislavski, a major goal of the class will be to find specific ways for performer/student to move away from self-consciousness and inhibition, and toward an unguarded creative freedom. The class then works to initiate the uninitiated into the world of acting, and bring an experienced actor to a new and freer level.

Sources of study will include: Stanislavski, An Actor Prepared; Keith Johnstone, Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre; and works by Stanford Meisner and Augusta Boal.

Class assignments will follow a progression, beginning with group work and in-class exercises, and leading to full-fledged scene study.

Enrollment limited to 14 students.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

David Jaffe (BA Connecticut College, MFA Yale University) is Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of Theater at Wesleyan. For eight years he served as Director of the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Jaffe taught advanced acting classes, audition technique, improvisation, ensemble process, and mentored the directing lab. As a professional actor he has worked in regional theater and in New York City in such venues as the Long Wharf Theater, American Shakespeare Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, the New York City Ballet, and was a member of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference acting company for three summers. Jaffe is also a professional observer at the Actors Studio in New York City. Click here for more information about David Jaffe.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 14

Texts to purchase for this course:

Register for Courses

Contact glsinquire@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459