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Year 2

The second year of training represents the transition from technique to application. Hopefully, we will have (sensitively) stripped away the habits you brought into school as First Year students, and now you can work together as an ensemble with a shared vocabulary. Your skills and applications are brought to a new level: “beats” in Scene Study will take a leap into the craft and objectives of an entire scene; you will be introduced to the technique of speaking Shakespeare and verse; you will move from hand-to-hand combat to armed combat and so forth.

This is a busy and intense year, but full of opportunity and experience, much of it fully integrated with your production and project work

Movement

Movement & Mask

Jim Calder, Head of Movement.

The second year focuses on styles of theater such as Commedia Dell 'Arte and Melodrama which are incorporated into the scene study class that is working on Ibsen.

The class works on the standard elements common to most training programs, masks, animal studies, improvisation, Commedia Dell 'Arte, and the creation of theater using literature. I do not "teach" these elements, I use them to expand the neuronal circuitry of expressivity.

 

Alexander Technique

Vincent Agustinovich, Mona Stiles, Kim Jessor

You switch tutorial teachers at the beginning of Year 2 and continue with weekly tutorials. Throughout the year we provide Alexander support on all your projects; we come to rehearsals, observe, give you tutorials and notes. The emphasis is on how to apply the Technique to the challenges of creating a character, and the warm up, rehearsal and performance situation. You will work with Kim, Mona and Vince.

After these two semesters of private tutorials with Mona and Kim, you’ll meet with Vince again in the spring of Year 2. This class is taught with a mixture of group sessions and private tutorials. Here, amongst other activities, we use monologues and scenes as the backdrop for exploring your “use”. Performance, like any other activity comes full of acquired habits. What you have learned previously in relatively passive activities will now be applied to this potentially more stressful situation. The emphasis here is on the continual awareness of your body in action, moment-to-moment – developing the ability to recognize when one’s being is fixed in a state of anticipation – a state that removes one from the experience of “the moment”. And by the same token, to be aware of the experience of the entire “self” participating in the moment; this is really the heart of communication.

Meet Vincent Agustinovich

Meet Kim Jessor

Combat

J. Steven White

Beginning the first semester of the second year we rehearse for five weeks and then show the work to the entire school in a demonstration of fisticuffs skills. The rest of semester one second year we focus on learning the Renaissance rapier techniques which will create realism and safety in the fight scenes we create in the second semester second year. In the second semester second year each student picks a partner and, with the help of the coaches, they begin staging as scene which requires the use of weapons. At the end of the second semester second year the scenes are filmed for review before the summer break.

Meet J. Steven White

Yoga

Annie Piper

In year two we focus on confronting fear and risk through more challenging poses - more inversions. Pushing through old patterns/habits. Letting go of needing to be comfortable. Discovering stamina and physical ferocity. Learning to release into your creative flow without catching yourself.

Dance: Partnering and Styles

Michael Raine

Focusing on more advanced technique and choreography, combinations are taught and rehearsed moving towards the goal of dance performance. In addition, the elements of lead and follow are explored and practiced primarily using waltz, foxtrot, swing and tango. In the second semester the dances popular throughout history are taught and rehearsed. The class starts with minuet and moves forward through styles such as Shakespearean rounds, Charleston, twist, funk, music theater, country line dancing and hip hop.

Movement 2

Fay Simpson

Interview Projects - This class is focused on utilizing the physical and vocal tools thus far to embody and recreate someone the student chooses to Interview; someone that they admire who has changed their life.  We will study the psycho-physical layering of persona, shadow and archetype of this person, learned in Lucid Body Basics, while using the observational tools learned in Toolbox, and the breathing patterns and accents learned in the voice classes. These characters will end up in a trio conversation, to be presented in the Lunch Room Series, so there is public witness, as well as classroom, for analysis and discussion.

Meet Fay Simpson

Voice and Speech

Singing

Deb Lapidus, Head of Voice and Speech

Here our goal is to continue to work on and master vocal issues and exercises learned in year one, for increased flexibility and expressivity. Warm ups will include more complex vocalizing patterns and more focus on support. We will work on and explore specific areas of the voice that are gender based. More specific work is also done on the world of the song. The hope is that the student should be able to fully realize a song as a singing actor.

This year includes a Cabaret performance, so there is also focus on the physical elements of sung storytelling. In the second semester, students are encouraged to work on material that is contemporary.

 

SPEECH 2

Jane Guyer Fujita

Second year speech builds on the skills of awareness, anatomy, phonetics, and flexibility acquired in first year and delves deeper into the study of character idiolect and accents.  Speech is investigated as a means to transformational acting. Students study a myriad of different speech patterns and accents using the International Phonetic Alphabet, vocal tract posture, prosody, flow of sound, and over all physicality of the speaker.  Each student leaves the class with a personal process to use when approaching an accent role.  

Meet Jane Guyer Fujita

Voice 2

Scott Miller / Liam Joynt

All throughout year two Scott takes one day per week and Liam the other day per week. A joint approach with a similar mindset of methodology is shared along with the added challenges of receiving information from two different teaching styles.  

In the first semester we get back to basics, having a year in the program the expectation is that your new use can now be re-enforced. We play in a palate of exercises that help identify where the body/mind tends toward tension and contraction in order to protect itself through habitual unconscious behavior. Once identified, new pathways are offered. A progression of a more complicated workload is entered into in order to expose habitual grabbing and end gaming.

Next we explore, through text in heightened circumstances, any tendencies towards manipulations and holding. Work is done with the student individually both in class and in private tutorials to move the voice into a more forward and supported position. During this semester we work a lot on back sound or 360 degree sound - the ability to be heard and understood equally no matter which direction you are standing. Near the end of the semester we introduce the diagnostic tool of the camera so that the actor may start to self-diagnose the more subtle tendencies that still remain from old patterning.

During the second semester we re-visit the process of integration while working on scenes. The process through this work takes most of the semester, spending a lot of time and attention on every phase of the rehearsal process. Students have the opportunity, through work on a character, to develop a vocal choice that fits the natural progression of their rehearsal process. A more in depth process with text and memorization is worked. As well, a full investigation of how the choices of character will start to affect the vocal use of the character. Finally we begin to run the scenes with all the dynamics of play-like conditions in order to challenge the actor to maintain their learnt vocal use with the demands of the scene and performance in general.

Basically, through the introduction of scene work we work on the ability to take two years of voice/breath training into the art of acting. This final stage is very meticulous hands on work aimed at getting to what we "really" do when we act, when we let go of a vocal or movement focus.

Before you leave for summer we do individualized diagnostics of your vocal use where we run you through a series of exercises and make assessments. During your last class we issue individualized prescriptions elaborating what to work on during the summer and go over with you a way to work on it most effectively.

Meet Scott Miller

Meet Liam Joynt

Acting

Toolbox 2

Mark Wing-Davey, Chair of Graduate Acting

Effectively this class covers two major exercises. One is The Choreography of Everyday Life. The other is Actioning. In The Choreography of Everyday Life, the actor takes 90 seconds of an activity you do alone (i.e. brushing their teeth, taking a shower) and scores it exactly to 90-second segments of Bartok’s string quartet number 4. This is an exercise I’ve used many times in rehearsal and in preparing for difficult technical work. You perform it both when we can hear it in the room and while listening through earphones. The standards of accuracy, motivational rigor, and believability that you would expect in everyday acting still apply in this exercise. It gives the actor a real sense of achievement and also allows her or him to understand experientially that they must, and are in fact able to, act equally well under the severest of external technical restrictions.

Actioning is a technique I introduce (and that I use in rehearsal) where the actor has to find a transitive verb that indicates what each character is trying to do to the other person. This leads both to textural clarity (which is a good thing) and also a refreshing lack of self-regard in the actor. It raises the importance of the interchange above that of the behavior of the individual to the importance of the work itself.

Scene Study - Semester 1

Richard Feldman

Scene Study in first semester of the 2nd year continues the work of the previous semester as you continue the journey from "I know that" to "I know how." You are asked to go further and deeper--imagine more, reveal more-- by working on the great works of the masters of modern drama: Ibsen and Chekhov.

Scene Study - Semester 2

Janet Zarish, Head of Acting

The second semester of your second year of actor training begins with a focus on language. By engaging with the writing of Shaw and Shakespeare, you will begin to take full ownership of dense and challenging text; learning how to make it personal, specific and active. We are concerned with meshing craft with the “passion of ideas.” That is - dense text can be brilliantly crafted, beautifully personal and have a heightened sense of truth and meaning that transforms the written word on a page into a vivid and universal experience. This work emboldens you to enter any style of language – from Jacobean and Restoration, to our most intensely language based modern playwrights.

The Now of Then

Larry Maslon, Associate Chair

After mastering basic research techniques and a vocabulary of discussing cultural behavior, the class moves to Chekhov and Ibsen, in order to integrate scene work from acting class with this deeper external circumstance. In the second semester, we move to Shaw, Wilde, and Coward; then Brecht, and a variety of styles related to other scenes in class and in production. All of this work is meant to supplement and complement your work on stage and in class. In addition to screening films and interviewing guests, we do at least one class trip per semester: to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the Frick Collection, and to high tea at some elegant hotel (essentially for Shaw and Wilde!)

Film Component

The Art and Craft of Acting On Camera

In a one-week intensive workshop taught by Welker White, students deepen their understanding of the unique demands, challenges, and opportunities in acting in film and television.  It gives the students an opportunity to adapt acting technique to suit both the constraints and possibilities inherent in a filmed performance.

Through analysis of a range of film and television content, students will broaden their awareness of the filmmaking process and its impact on acting choices.  Students will acquire relevant technical and professional terminologies associated with filmed performance and gain a working knowledge of the process of shooting a film or television project.

Fundamentals of Filmmaking

Over a five week period the class will attend a series of lectures, discussions, screenings, and exercises designed to engage students in the fundamentals of digital filmmaking and visual storytelling.  In this workshop students will work in small groups to write, direct and edit original short films.

 

The workshop will begin by viewing and discussing examples of visual storytelling, focusing on technique, intention and narrative structure.  Participants will then workshop the practical and aesthetic elements of visual storytelling and relevant filmmaking techniques by using Sony cameras and editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, with how-to tutorials in basic cinematography, directing and editing.

The class ends with a mini film festival in which the entire class’s short film are screen for the department.

Core Classes

During this half-semester, all continuing core classes with shift their focus to on-camera work utilizing scenes from Aaron Sorkin and the like for vocal agility, scenes from film and television for scene study, and Shakespeare and musical film adaptations for The Now of Then.

Film Screenings

A weekly curated screening with a faculty member or guest speaker followed by a lively discussion and dissection of the performances, techniques and film as a whole.

Chekhov Film Project

Students will reprise the Chekhov roles they played during their first year in a fully realized film adaptation.  Bringing in a seasoned director, cinematographer and sound engineer, students will also work crew jobs and participate in the behind-the-scenes experience of making a film.

Documentary Workshop

Taking a break from being in front of the camera, students will learn to develop their ‘director’s eyes.’  Utilizing two veterans from The Danish Film School, students are brought through two daily exercises - one "video diary" and one daily exercise structured around a character with the overall aim at developing the students sensibilities, make them realise that none of us "see" the same and hopefully make them discover a few "hidden" artistic preferences pointing to them developing their personal language and motifs.

Graduate Film Collaboration

Students participate in a NYU Tisch Department of Film and Television class designed for second year directors, preparing scenes over the week and working as actors with new student directors, developing cross-departmental relationships and building a common vocabulary which will carry through to the third year