Watch: Mark Wing-Davey - Focus on Actors
The arc of production at the Grad Acting Program is organized over three years in a variety of projects and productions that build and evolve your ability to master different texts, different experiences, and different collaborators on an evolutionary route towards entering the professional arena as an actor prepared--and open to--any eventuality and experience. Faculty members support these productions with their involvement in your progress at rehearsals; they will both work with you directly on these productions and/or support the professional who come to work at Grad Acting.
The first year concentrates on a variety of projects performed in the classroom; sometimes presented for the school, sometimes note. You are immediately thrown headfirst into a world that mixes African dance, Xhosa dialect, and medieval English text in an exciting event called “The African Project.” Over the course of your first year, you will also get to begin the first part of an ongoing three-year Chekhov Project and play several roles in Shakespeare project at the close of the year, usually directed by a faculty member or a guest artist well-versed, as it were, in the Bard.
The second year brings some of these ideas into our smaller performance spaces and focuses largely on bringing elements of your classwork to bear on the demands of a role in production. The class is usually split into two separate, concurrent productions, which helps provide an equity of roles for everyone in the ensemble. There will be an “American Naturalism: slot--usually Miller, Williams, Inge, or Odets--then, one of our favorite events, a cabaret, directed by your singing teacher, Deb Lapidus, in our lounge space; this allows you to communicate thoughts and feelings via song. Everyone then works together on an ambitious yearly project that splits the ensemble into two separate productions played concurrently in two connected spaces. Finally, the company splits into two separate productions that focus on language, class, society, and structure; again, usually Wilde, Shaw, or Restoration Comedy. For all of these productions (except the Cabaret), there is shared casting, where you will be often asked to share a major role or play several different parts.
The third year productions move you towards your professional career. The season itself reflects a varied repertory: classical plays (often including Shakespeare), contemporary plays, recent successes from Broadway or Off-Broadway (which offer an opportunity to delve into the work of a playwright whom you might audition for in the “real world”), and the culmination of the new play project developed at the end of your second year. In addition, the class performs in a final Chekhov project, which allows the ensemble to perform the same play in repertory, assuming different roles in different performances. All of these production are directed by artists who are working professionals, with a wide range of experience and expertise. An important aspect of your final year is "Freeplay" which allows you to conceive, produce, write and/or act in your own performance piece; we have had up to a dozen such projects for each Freeplay season. Your production year culminates in your showcase presentations, which give you the opportunity to present your talents in both Los Angeles and New York to professional agents, casting directors and producers.