Skip to main content
Create interactive lessons using any digital content including wikis with our free sister product
. Get it on the
Presentation and Performance
Theatre I: Intro to Theatre
Advanced Theatre - World Theatre
Advanced Theatre - Acting Styles
Fall Play 2012
Phoenix Theatre Box Office
KIS Spring Musical
Welcome to Theatre I: Intro to Theatre
Theatre I: Intro to Theatre 2012-2013 Syllabus
Teacher: Erica Cali
Classroom: HB 113
Materials Required for Class
Pen and pencil
Set of colored pencils/markers
2 Highlighters (different colors)
Folder or binder for handouts.
Ensemble building / Neutral Mask: WEEKS 1 - 3
Pantomime / Stock Characters & Commedia: WEEKS 4 - 6
Physical Theatre: WEEKS 7 - 9
Intro to Auditioning/Audition Techniques: WEEKS 10 - 12
Script analysis, Scenework & Final Exam: WEEKS 13 - end of the semester
-Be on time for class
-Be prepared, have all required materials ready, and Macbooks fully charged.
-Complete all assigned homework
-Listen carefully and follow instructions
-Respect: Yourself, others, the classroom, equipment, and teacher
-Wear comfortable clothing (i.e. sneakers, no short skirts) If your footwear is not conducive to the work in the classroom, you will be asked to remove your shoes.
-Be prepared to perform for an audience
Grading for this course will be based on the following:
Daily Participation Work 25%
Quizzes, Assignments and Homework 20%
Students will be given 1 to 10 points each day toward their Participation grade, based on the following criteria. (Excused absences will not be calculated into this grade.)
10-9 points : Student works exceptionally well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of
others. Student participates fully offering suggestions and ideas. Student listens very
carefully to others’ ideas with sensitivity and never seeks to dominate.
8 points: Student works very well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of others.
Student offers suggestions and ideas but also listens to others’ ideas with sensitivity and
never seeks to dominate.
7-6 points: Student sometimes works well as part of a group. Student sometimes offers suggestions
5-4 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Student rarely offers suggestions
and ideas/ dominates the discussion and does not listen to others.
4-3 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Or is unprepared for class (i.e.
without appropriate materials).
3 points: Student does not participate. Or is unprepared for class (i.e. without appropriate
2 -0 points: Student is actively disruptive to the learning process.
Turning in written work
Written work will be posted on the wiki or turned in as a hard copy at the beginning of the class on the stated due date. Written work will be submitted as a Pages document, with your full name, class and assignment name written in the subject line. All documents with be saved by the
student’s name (first and last initial) along with the assignment title (i.e. ‘John D. Vocal Performance)
Late work policy
No late work will be accepted. Your lowest score will be dropped at the end of the semester.
Students are required to attend KIS evening theatre performances (i.e. the high school play).
Homework assignments will be posted on the wiki and on PowerSchool. Please email me at any time with any questions about assignments.
UNIT ONE: Neutral Mask and Commedia Dell'Arte
In-class assignment: 1/21
With your group, please choose 14 of the following terms. Please do NOT use any of the same terms that another group is using. There are more than enough for each group to have their own 14 terms. You will be making an instructional video that will help the viewer understand the meaning of each of your 14 chosen terms. You may use a variety of advertising formats- you can make it an infomercial, a talk show, a commercial, a news report, a game show, or any other format that will help you 'teach' these terms to someone who doesn't know them. Have fun and be creative! You will have two classes with which to complete your video. You should not be doing any of this at home, and be careful not to make this an editing nightmare for yourself. Try to perform & record it in as few 'takes' as possible. The idea is to be able to complete this in class, not as a homework assignment.
THEATRE TERMS (Complete List):
Assistant Stage Manager - person who is hired to help the Stage Manager
Cast - the people who perform in a show
Choreographer - the person who creates dances and arranges movements
for a musical
Company - the cast and crew of a show and any other staff who work on the
Costumer - the person in charge of the costumes for a show
Crew - all the people who work together on a show except the cast
Director - the person who provides the vision of how a show should be
presented, who works with the actors on their roles, develops the blocking,
and is in charge of the rehearsals
Dramatist - a person who writes plays
Dressers - people who help the actors get into and out of their costumes
Ensemble - a group of actors, singers or dancers who perform together on
Front of House - a term used to describe all of the people in a theater who
deal with the audience including the people who sell tickets and the ushers,
and any other people who deal with the public (also see listing under
House Manager - the person in charge of the theater auditorium and
anything to do with the audience
Lighting Designer - the person who designs the lighting for a show and
works with the director to get desired effects
Musical Director - the person who works with the director, actors and
orchestra to get the desired musical effects for a show
Prop Mistress/Master - the person in charge of all the props and who
usually works with them during a show
Set Designer - the person who designs the sets for a show...in smaller
theaters this person also builds the sets
Sound Designer - the person who designs the sound direction for the show
Stage Manager - the person who runs the show from opening curtain to
closing curtain and is in charge of everything on the stage and in the back of
Technical Director - the person who supervises the construction of a set
and any rigging that needs to be done, such as hanging scenery
Wrangler - a person hired to take care of the younger members of a cast
Aisle - a walkway which goes through two areas of seats.
Backstage - the part of a theater which is not seen by the audience,
including the dressing rooms, wings and the green room
Black Box - a type of theater usually surrounded by black curtains where the
audience and actors are in the same room
Box Office - the place that sells tickets to a performance
Broadway - the largest and most famous theatrical district in New York City Callboard - the place backstage where the Stage Manager puts up important information for the cast and crew
Catwalk - a narrow walkway suspended from the ceiling of a theater from
which sometimes lights and scenery are hung
Control Booth - the place in a theater from which all the sound and lights
Downstage - the part of the stage which is closest to the audience
Dressing Rooms - rooms in a theater provided for the actors in which they
change costumes and apply make-up
Front of House - the part of the theater known as the auditorium where the
audience is seated, the lobby and the box office...(also see listing under
Green Room - a place for the performers to relax while waiting to go on
House - used to describe the audience or as a short way of saying "Front of
Offstage - the area of the stage which the audience cannot see
Off Broadway - theaters in New York City which are not located on or near
Orchestra Pit - an area at the front of house, usually sunken, where the
musicians and conductor work during a show
Proscenium - the arch that frames the front of a stage
Riser - a platform placed on the stage to create different levels
Set - the setting of the stage for each act and all the physical things that are
used to change the stage for the performance Stage Left - (these left/right directions are seen from the ACTORS point of view on the stage) this is when the actor standing in the center of the stage moves to his left
Stage Right - (these left/right directions are seen from the ACTORS point of
view on the stage) this is when the actor standing in the center of the stage
moves to his right
Summer Stock - a type of Repertory Theater which produces its shows
during the summer season
Trap - an opening in the floor of a stage where a performer or prop can
disappear (trap doors in the floor)
Upstage - 1) the area of the stage that is the farthest away from the audience
2) when one actor moves to the back of the stage and causes another actor
to turn away from the audience...This is called "Upstaging" 3) when an
actor draws attention to himself and away from the main action of a play
Wings - the areas of the stage that are to the sides of the acting area and are
out of view. These areas are usually masked by curtains.
Act - 1) the main sections of a musical or play 2) the thing which actors can
Aside - a quick remark made by a character in a play which is said to the
Audition - a time when an actor goes before a group of people who are
casting a play to show those people what he can do
Belt - in Musical Theater, a style of singing which uses a loud, full tone
Black Out - the quick shutting off of all the stage lights
Blocking - the instructions that actors use to know exactly where they are
supposed to be on stage at all times
Book - the script of a play...libretto of a musical
Break A Leg - something people tell actors to wish them "Good Luck" before
a performance or audition Call - the time that an actor must report to the theater for either a performance or rehearsal.
Callback - when an actor who has auditioned for a show is asked to come
back for a second tryout
Casting - when the director chooses actors to be characters in a play or
Cold Reading - when an actor is asked to read from a script he hasn't
Cue - signals that are given to both the actors, the crew, the musicians and
any others working on a show
Curtain - the screen usually of cloth which separates the stage from the
Curtain call - the bows at the end of a performance
Dialogue - the words which are spoken in a play
Dress Rehearsal - a rehearsal, usually just before a show opens, to practice
the show just how it will be on opening night, including costumes and
make-up. A rehearsal for both cast and crew
Drop - a piece of fabric which is hung on stage and usually used in the
scenery of a show
Exit - a stage direction telling an actor to leave the stage
Hand Props - those objects used to tell the story which are handled by
actors in a production
House Lights - the lights that are used to light up the auditorium where the
Libretto - the term that describes the book or script of a musical or opera
Marking Out - when the stage is marked with tape to show where furniture
and props should be placed during the performance
Matinee - an afternoon performance of a show
Monologue - a speech given by one actor
Notes - the meeting a director usually has after a rehearsal or performance
to tell the cast and crew how he felt about their performance and to make
any changes he may think are necessary
Off Book - when the director tells the cast (usually by a certain date) that
they must memorize their lines and can no longer use their scripts in
Personal Props - props that are carried by an actor in his costume during a
Playbill - 1)a program(booklet)that contains information about a
production 2)the posters used to advertise a production
Preset - when either a prop, costume or something else used in a
production is placed in or around the stage before the start of a
Prompt - as actors move from using the script to no script (see off book),the
prompter follows the play in a book and gives a portion of a line to an actor,
if needed, to help them remember the line
Props - all the items used in a play to tell the story not including the scenery
or costumes, the short forms of "Properties".
Rehearsal - the period of practice before the beginning of a show in which
the actors and director work on the development of the show
Reprise - in musical theater, when either a whole song or part of a song is
Run - the number of times a show is performed
Run-through - a rehearsal in which the actors perform the show from the
very beginning to the very end... "Run the show" is another way of saying
the same thing
Running-Time - the amount of time it takes to perform the play from
beginning to end not including any intermissions...as theater is live
performance, this can vary slightly for each performance
Scrim - a drop made of a special weaved material that is used for setting the
scene of a play
Sides - an audition script
Sound Effects - the noises which are produced to accompany a scene in a
show...these noises are mostly produced by a machine but can be produced
by actors off stage
Spike - same as "Marking Out"
Stage Directions - when a script contains information for the actors giving
them specific entrances and exits
Standby - a person who understudies a single role (or more) but is not part
of the chorus or ensemble of a musical or play
Strike - to take the set apart when a show ends
Subtext - the feelings behind the words a character speaks
Technical Rehearsal - usually the first time a play is rehearsed in the place
where it is going to be seen by the audience and in which the scenery, sound
and lighting are used... this rehearsal can be done with or without
costumes... "Tech" is the slang for this process
Swing - a performer in a musical who substitutes when chorus members are
unable to perform
Understudy - an actor who studies the lines and blocking of a role, and is
able to take over for the original cast member in a role
Wardrobe - the stock of costumes and accessories which are owned by a
LINKS TO VOCABULARY VIDEOS:
PEOPLE VOCAB: (John, Peter, Andrew)
Theatre Vocab: People in the Theatre
THINGS VOCAB: (Peter Park, Jiho)
Theatre Vocab: Things in the Theatre
PLACES VOCAB: (Cassie, Esul, Wesley)
Theatre Vocab: Places in the Theatre
Character Development Assignment 1:
Now that you've worked with some stock characters, let's begin to look at a characters that are a bit more 3-dimensional. Please
What is your:
• Full Name? Age?
e.g. only child, brothers, sisters, two parents, single parent home
e.g. married, divorced, single, boyfriend/girlfriend, still living at home
e.g. urban, rural, house, rental apartment
What does your bedroom look like?
e.g. we can learn a lot by how a person lives
Please describe a childhood memory.
Tell me a secret about yourself or one you heard about someone else.
What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?
UNIT TWO: Physical Theatre
The 7 Levels of Tension:
Jacques Lecoq developed an approach to acting using seven levels of tension. These changed and developed during his practice and have been further developed by other practitioners. The following suggestions are based on the work of Simon McBurney (Complicite), John Wright (Told by an Idiot) and Christian Darley. Mark Hill introduced you to these levels when he visited, but here they are again.
Exhausted or catatonic. The Jellyfish. There is no tension in the body at all. Begin in a complete state of relaxation. If you have to move or speak, it is a real effort. See what happens when you try to speak.
Laid back - the “Californian” (soap opera). Many people live at this level of tension. Everything you say is cool, relaxed, probably lacking in credibility. The casual throw-away line – “I think I’ll go to bed now”.
Neutral or the “Economic”. It is what it is. There is nothing more, nothing less. The right amount. No past or future. You are totally present and aware. It is the state of tension before something happens. Think of a cat sitting comfortably on a wall, ready to leap up if a bird comes near. You move with no story behind your movement.
Alert or Curious. Look at things. Sit down. Stand up. Indecision. Think Mr Bean. Levels 1 - 4 are our everyday states.
Suspense or the Reactive.
there a bomb in the room? The crisis is about to happen. All the tension is in the body, concentrated between the eyes. An inbreath. There’s a delay to your reaction. The body reacts.
a bomb in the room. The tension has exploded out of the body. Anger, fear, hilarity, despair. It’s difficult to control. You walk into a room and there is a lion sitting there. There is a snake in the shower.
Dynamic Stillness. The bomb is about to go off! Body can’t move. Petrified. The body is solid tension.
Hither and thither one might stroll
eating, drinking, talking, laughing
But I, being desirous,
having the yen to live,
to live with burning florescent flair
leaving mere ashes behind,
will have tasted it all
A lot of people may feel claustrophobic if they have to adhere to what's "normal".
And most people who don't like conformity are probably conformists themselves because they have been taught to suppress the individualist inside of them.
Everybody belongs to their own little social circle so stepping out of that circle is something they aren't comfortable doing.
O societal conformity,
Road to the majority,
Must you root out
To its very end?
Korea has this close minded thought that if you don't study, you have no dream.
However, the current growing generation (which would be us) is starting to change.
We are puppets that struggle to move
We trip and fall on our bounded strings
We freeze yet fail to notice
It is a recent event that is going on, senioritis, and people are starting to slack off in school.
You are not them. You are you.
As a group of seniors started to skip their classes, the power of conformity highly influenced other senior students to skip classes with the group in order to fit in.
You are not them. You are you.
When debating on certain issues, we students tend to follow the prevalent opinion held in the classroom.
O societal conformity,
Road to the majority,
Must you root out
To its very end?
You are not them. You are you.
a short phrase of movement
the repetition of a motif, performed one after the other
2nd Rehearsal of Conformity Piece
WHAT IS DEVISED THEATRE? What does the term 'Ensemble Devising' mean? Check out the following link-
Thoughts on Devised Theatre- by director Rachel Chavkin,
PHYSICAL THEATRE RUBRIC
UNIT THREE: Uta Hagen &
Respect for Acting
Assignment #1: Recreate 2 minutes of your life and present this as if it's the very first time. In order to do this, you will first need to answer the following questions in your class journal:
Who am I?
Where am I?
What surrounds me?
What are the given circumstances?
What is my relationship?
What do I want?
What’s in my way?
What do I do to get what I want?
INTRO to AUDITIONING and the MONOLOGUE
For this unit, we will focus on Michael Shurtleff's 12 Guideposts that he writes about in his renown book,
You will use the guideposts to help you understand how to approach performing a monologue or a cold reading in an audition situation.
Summary of Michael Shurtleff's GUIDEPOSTS
Auditions: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to get the Part
1. Relationships - how to create them on stage.
2. Conflict - what are you fighting for?
3. The moment before - how to start a scene.
4. Humor - why jokes don’t work.
5. Opposite - finding the hidden tension in your scene.
6. Discoveries - making things happen for the first time.
7. Communication and competition - reaching the other actor.
8. Importance - locating the dramatic score.
9. Find the events - what is really happening in the play?
10. Place - create it on a bare stage.
11. Game playing and role playing - play them for reality.
12. Mystery and secret - adding wonderment to the scene.
Guidepost 1: Relationship
Start with the question: What is my relationship to the other character in the scene I am about to do? Facts are never enough…once you know the fact of the relationship, you are ready to explore how you feel about this other character…you must go further, into the realm of the emotion.You need to ask feeling questions about your emotional attitude toward the other character. Do you love him? Do you hate him? Do you resent him? How much? Do you want to help him? Do you want to get in his way? What do you want from him? What do you want him to give you? These are the most important questions to ask. The answers to them will allow you to function emotionally in the scene. That is your goal.
Guidepost 2: What are you fighting for?
An actor is looking for conflict. Conflict is what creates drama. Maximum conflict is what you should be looking for. Who is interfering with what you are fighting for? Do battle with her, fight her, woo her, charm her, revile her. Find as many ways as you can to go about getting what you are fighting for.
Guidepost 3: The Moment Before
: pg 67-69
Every scene you will ever act begins in the middle, and it is up to the actor to provide what comes before. In order to create this moment before, before he enters, the actor may have to go back ten or twenty years in the life of the character. It is like priming a motor to get it started. You have to do a number on yourself, you have to talk to yourself, flay yourself into feeling, so that you are aching to get on that stage or film set and start to fight.
Guidepost 4 Humor
Humor is not jokes. Humor is not being funny. It is the coin of exchange between human beings that makes it possible for us to get through the day. Humor exists even in the humorless. There is humor in every scene, just as there is in every situation in life. ..I have trouble believing in the seriousness of a scene in which there is no humor; it is unlike life. And yet actors will say to me, “How can I find humor in this scene? It’s very serious!” For the exact same reason one would be driven to find humor in the same situation in life: because it is deadly serious and human beings cannot bear all that heavy weight, they alleviate the burden by humor.
Guidepost 5 Opposites
Whatever you decide is your motivation in the scene, the opposite of that is also true and should be in it. Think about a human being, in all of us there exists love and there exists hate, there exists creativity and an equal tendency toward self-destructiveness, there exists sleeping and waking, there exists night and there exists day, sunny moods and foul moods, a desire to love and a desire to kill. Since these extremities do exist in all of us, then they must also exist in each character in each scene.
Guidepost 6 Discoveries
Every scene is filled with discoveries, things that happen for the first time. No matter how many times it has happened in the past, there is something new about this experience, this moment. Acting is a whole series of discoveries…The more discoveries you make in a scene—the less you rely on “we do this every day”—the more interesting your scene will be.
Guidepost 7 Communication and Competition
Acting is supremely a task of communication. It is not enough for the actor to feel, if that feeling is not being communicated…Communication is a circle, not a one-way street…It takes two to communicate: the sender and the receiver. The receiver has to acknowledge the message by sending a reply back to the sender, thus completing the circle before a communication has taken place.
Guidepost 8 Importance
Most people would walk a mile or sleep a week to avoid confrontation. We are trained as children that the most admirable conduct is that which causes the least trouble, so most of us spend our lives avoiding the conflicts of which drama is. It’s important for an actor to realise that what he must use in his acting is the opposite of what he has been trained in life to seek. Peacefulness and the avoidance of trouble won’t help him in his acting. It is just the opposite he must seek.
Guidepost 9 Find the Events
I call what happens in the play the events. One of the actor’s chief tasks is to create the events of the play. What are events? An event can be a change. That is the strongest kind of event. An event can be a confrontation—and for every confrontation there is always a result, a consequence for the actor to present. An event can be a climax, which is a major turning point in the lives of the characters.
Guidepost 10 Place
Most readings take place on a bare stage, which is not the most useful environment for an actor. It’s up to the actor to create a place, and it’s well worth doing, for it will help him immeasurably in creating a reality for his reading. The immediate reality of a bare thatre or sound stage is a real down; an actor would do well to lift himself up, with a place of his own. The physical nature of a place is only the beginning. The most important element is how you feel about the place. The feeling is most important.
Guidepost 11 Game Playing and Role Playing
When we play games, it is for real; when we take on different roles, it is sincere conduct for it is a way of dealing with reality, not of avoiding it. It helps an actor to ask himself in each scene: What is the game I am playing in this situation? What role do I assume in order to best play this game? The answer depends on the circumstance; what people want from you, what you want from them, what you are offering and what you expect. Ask what the stakes are, what you are playing for. But don’t get the idea that you will therefore be unreal or insincere. Games are real, roles are necessary to deal with reality.
Guidepost 12 Mystery and Secret
In every lecture I give to explain the twelve guideposts I find the concept of mystery and secret the most difficult to explain satisfactorily. The concept is mysterious too! Let me put it this way: After you’ve done all the eleven guideposts in your preparation for your character, then add what you don’t know. But the most fascinating acting always has a quality of mystery to us. Garbo, Brando, Olivier, Davis, Guinness—these actors provided us with a dazzling array of answers (they all do the eleven guideposts thoroughly every time they performed), but then they add that quality we cannot explain, that exploration in relationships of what is wondered at but not answered, perhaps cannot be answered. No matter how much we know about the other person, there is always something going on in that other heart and that other head that we don’t know but can only ponder. And no matter how we explain ourselves to someone else, no matter how open we are, there is always still something inexplicable, something hidden and unknown in us too. I am suggesting you add this wonderment about this other person. I am also suggesting you add, too, this wonderment about what is going on inside of you.
UNIT THREE: Short Scenes.
Assignment 1: Create a background for your character. Download the following character development worksheet and upload it (or take a screenshot and upload it) to your wiki journal.
DUO SCENE PERFORMANCE: April 15th, 2013.
UNIT FOUR: INTRO TO DIRECTING
For this unit, we will be having the seniors direct the underclassmen in one of four scenes from John Cariani's
Almost Maine Script.pdf
: Directors need to begin to develop their CONCEPT. They will need to read and re-read their scene to understand what the underlying message or theme is in their scene and how they are going to portray this within the staging, blocking, set design and costuming choices they will make. First, however, you will need to start getting some inspiration. After reading the text a hundred times or so, find an image that best represents the major message of theme you will portray. Do the same for a piece of music. Be ready to bring in both of those media and explain how they relate to your theme.
Due Monday, April 22nd.
Have your actors read their scene for you a few times. Then, you will need to start thinking about your set design. It's important to have a solid design
you begin blocking. Otherwise, you won't know how to block the scene. You will need to have a sketch of your set design to bring in and show the class.
Due Wednesday, April 24th.
Now you are ready to get the scene 'on its feet' by having them improv a bit, or start developing your ideas for blocking. We will watch this in class together, but this is for your reference as you begin to block: Please watch the following video carefully on blocking.
Production Review Assignment: due Monday, 29 April
Please write a 700-900 word review of the spring musical, Children of Eden. You may refer to the below pdf of the program, in order to write your review. Please focus on design choices (set, costumes, lighting) and how they reflect the major themes and messages of the show. You may comment on directorial choices (blocking, staging, choreography) and specific performances (acting, dancing, singing), but please do constructive in your criticism, i.e., if you did not like a certain aspect or moment about the show, please give clear reasons/examples why.
CoE Program reformatted.pdf
FINAL EXAM SPRING 2013:
Please refer to the final exam outline that will apply to you. (This was also handed to you in class).
Theatre I- Senior Directors' final exam.pages
Here are some examples of some directors' concepts:
Director's Concept (good description):
IS.Directing (Director's Concept in OOTI).pdf
Director's concept for
Once On This Island:
director's concept OOTI.pdf
crucible director's concept.pdf
Flowers for Algernon:
Flowers for Algernon director's concept..pdf
Theatre I Final- Acting in Student-Directed scenes.pages
All: please take a moment to watch the following TED talk by director Julie Taymor.
Julie Taymor- TED Talk about theatre, directing and powerful images
ALMOST MAINE PERFORMANCE FINAL:
AND NOW...FOR THE FINAL EXAMS:
FINAL EXAM (SENIORS)
FINAL EXAM (Underclassmen/Actors)
Here they are!! The ALMOST, MAINE Performance recordings:
Almost, Maine: Her Heart
Almost, Maine: Getting it Back
Almost, Maine: Story of Hope
Almost, Maine: Sad and Glad
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"