Perfa 133 / Acting II: Scene Study and Characterization Professor Reid Davis



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Perfa 133 / Acting II: Scene Study and Characterization

Professor Reid Davis

email: RADavis@stmarys-ca.edu

TTh 11:20-12:50 Office: LeFevre 1 x8623

FAH 130 Office Hours: TH 12-2

and by appointment

In this course, students will engage in deeper levels of text analysis and a concentrated focus on characterization. Through intensive monologue and scene study work, the class will expand each performer's range of emotional, intellectual, physical, and vocal expressiveness. The course will also expose actors to various audition techniques such as monologue preparation, cold readings, and interview skills. Both formal and informal writing assignments are targeted to script and character analysis, as well as self and peer evaluation.
Learning Outcomes: The course aligns with the College’s Core Artistic Understanding requirement for both artistic analysis and creative practice. Students in this class will:


  • Deepen text analysis: including, social and historical context; given circumstances; obstacles; story arc; and beats. Special emphasis is given to determining whether the issue is being negotiated on the surface or in the subtext.

  • Learn to find the strongest story to play within each scene.

  • Identify the character’s intention: How one character is trying to change another character. (The intention chosen for each character should be one that genuinely interests the actor and actually prompts ideas for how to play the scene.)

  • Learn what to look for in your scene partner to see if you’re accomplishing your intention.


  • Make bolder and more unexpected choices in your acting work.

  • Use distinctly different tactics, beat by beat, in pursuit of an intention.

  • Find ways to accurately assess and correct your own work.

All the work is aimed towards designing & refining an acting process that specifically works for you. In this way, you should consider assignments and grading as you would an independent study: you get out of it what you put into it.


Basis for grading:

35% Attendance and Participation

15% First scene presentation and portfolio (“What I Should Have Said”). Basis for grade: completion of two versions of monologue; significant development of narrative and emotional arc; personalization)

15% Character study (Monologue) Basis for grade: application of Target work; focus on wants vs. needs; connection of language to voice

10% Performance Professionalism portfolio (completion of professionlism letter and redraft; completion of intern assignment)

25% Final scene presentation and portfolio (Basis for grading: integration of principles into final scene; want/need assessment; text analysis; beat analysis; journal entries)


Grading Rubric for Monologues and Scenes

A (Excellent) demonstrates the following: advanced ability to focus on intention: How one character is trying to change another character on stage; advanced application of Text analysis to determine how much the issues of the scene are being negotiated on the surface versus in the subtext; integration of given circumstances and analysis to prioritize wants and needs and tell the strongest story; ability to focus solely on the partner in the scene; consistently makes bold and active choices; varies tactics in dynamic and surprising ways; advanced application of major aspects of performance preparation (voice, gesture, composition content)

B (Very Good)  demonstrates the following: consistent ability to focus/refocus on intention: How one character is trying to change another character on stage; basic application of Text analysis to determine how much the issues of the scene are being negotiated on the surface versus in the subtext; application of given circumstances and analysis to prioritize wants and needs and tell the strongest story; ability to focus consistently on the partner in the scene; demonstrates bold and active choices; plays tactics in textually supported ways; basic application of major aspects of performance preparation (voice, gesture, composition content)
C (Good)  demonstrates the following: an ability to focus on intention: How one character is trying to change another character on stage; conceptual application of Text analysis to determine how much the issues of the scene are being negotiated on the surface versus in the subtext; ability to assess given circumstances and analysis to prioritize wants and needs and tell the strongest story; some ability to focus on the partner in the scene; makes active as well as passive choices; plays tactics; conceptual understanding of major aspects of performance preparation (voice, gesture, composition content)
D: (Passing)  performs the final project and monologues, and demonstrates at least some degree of knowledge of the following:  intention, text analysis; given circumstances, partner work; active choices; voice/body/breath
F (Failing) either does not complete assignment (performance and reflection) or fails to apply basic knowledge of the following:  intention, text analysis; given circumstances, partner work; active choices; voice/body/breath



Introductions





Tues., 2/8

Course Introductions:

“What Is Acting?”



In Class: Vocal/Physical Warm up; Viewpoints/Laban efforts introductions

Receive: First scene and partner



Thurs., 2/10

Course Introductions:

“What Isn’t Acting?”



In Class: Vocal/Physical Warm up; Viewpoints/Laban efforts introductions

Present: “Bad Acting” monologue



Tues., 2/15

No Class/ACTF

Read: The Actor and the Target chapters 1-3

Read: The play from which your first scene is drawn



Thus., 2/17

No Class/ACTF




1

Personalization




Tues., 2/22

“What I Should Have Said” Exercise

Skill Development: “Being and Noticing,” “Personalization,” “Listening and Responding”

Present: “What I Should Have Said” self-written monologue



Thurs., 2/24

“What I Should Have Said” Exercise

Present: “What I Should Have Said” self-written monologue

Partner Exercise: “The Five Questions:” analyzing scene “relationship”



2

Actions and Tactics




Tues., 2/29

Scene 1 Rehearsal Presentations

billy currington



Hand-in: “The Five Questions” for your scene/play

Skill Development: Analysis for Action

Read/Review: Benedetti Chapter 11 “The Acting Process: Givens, Needs, Objectives and Actions”


Thus. 3/3

Scene 1 Rehearsal Presentations cont.




3

Creating a Character



Tues., 3/8




Perform: Scene 1 Environmental Staging

Sign up: Feedback session, Weds. 3/9



Thurs., 3/10

Introduction: Characterization Inside/Out vs Outside/In

Introduction: Laban Action Efforts



Read: Chapter 15, Benedetti: “The Character’s Body”

Read: Emily Mann or Carole Roccamora’s translation of The Three Sisters (Chekhov)



4

Creating a Character: Laban verbs




Tues., 3/15

Perform: Character Study #1




Thurs., 3/17




Skill Development: Psychological Gesture (Michael Chekhov)








Tues., 3/22


Perform: Character Study #2 Classmate/Celebrity




Thurs., 3/24
















Tues., 3/29







Thurs., 3/31

Monologue Presentation 1

Last Day to Select Scene Partners for Final Scene










Tues., 4/5

Essay due: Daniel Day Lewis in performance




Thurs. 4/7














Tues., 4/12

Monologue Presentation Final




Thurs., 4/14

Scene 2 First Reading




Fri., 4/15

Last Day for P/F or W without penalty









Mon., 4/16-25 EASTER







Tues., 4/26

Scene 2 Analysis due




Thurs., 4/28

Scene 2 First Presentation











Tues., 5/3







Thurs., 5/5
















Tues., 5/10

Scene 2 Final Presentation




Thurs. 5/12

Scene 3 Final Presentation




Fri., 5/13







Final Exam

Final project portfolio due





Monday 12/7 11:30-1:30



















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