Our Philosophy On Actor TrainingThe AU Theatre Studies Program is in agreement with Jane Drake Brody’s address to the ATHE1, that many undergraduates emerging from four-year schools are completely incapable of performing simple scenes honestly and interestingly. The main reason for this is the "smorgasbord" approach to actor training: a bit of Meisner, a dash of Richardson, a little Sills, etc. We believe an undergraduate artist should have thoroughly mastered a single "method" upon completion of his or her studies. This assures each graduate of at least a craftsman level of competency, regardless of his or her pre-existing "talent." The performance curriculum is designed upon this assumption, with each class building upon the elements mastered in previous courses. Our goal is mastery, not merely familiarity. It takes years to master any single method. Thus, as an undergraduate institution, diversity is not our goal, mastery is.
The performance curriculum begins with SPCH 2350 (Acting for Everyone), which is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles of performance. Primary to all stage work is the ability to create meaningful, honest relationships with one’s environment and others. Emphasis is placed on using Spolin styled theatre games to acquire competent improvisational skills, which are then used as the primary tools to develop the actor’s relational abilities. SPCH 3300 (Acting Methods) is for majors who have demonstrated mastery of the skills presented in SPCH 2350 (Acting for Everyone). The course focuses on giving students mastery of the standard American method (Stanislavski/Boleslavsky) through scene work and character development. The skills mastered in SPCH 2350 (Acting for Everyone) are not dispensed with or moved beyond, but built upon to give a deeper sense of reality and artistry to the actor’s work on stage. SPCH 4900 (Audition Workshop) is a required topic for performance majors, dealing with applying all the previous training to monologues, cold readings, and other audition skills. It also focuses on the various professional necessities of the business such as headshots, resumes, and where to find auditions. It is a capstone styled course to transform training into useable, immediately accessible skill sets for both vocational and avocation use within the greater theatre community. This final course requires students to actually attend regional level auditions—to put into practice that which you have mastered.
It is our goal to graduate majors fully capable of immediately and successfully pursuing their goals in the theatre arts.
1Ms. Broady is a professional casting director, and lectures as a representative of her profession.