This class is a tribute to Earle R. Gister, Associate Dean of the Yale School of Drama and Head of Acting from 1980-1994. Earle was a seminal figure in the creation of the American regional theater and at the center of the birth of American conservatory acting training in the '60s and '70s. He ran the program at Carnegie-Mellon for years before coming to Yale to work with the newly appointed Dean of the Drama School, Lloyd Richards. There, he trained a generation of American actors including White Pines' Founding Producer and teacher of this class, Benjamin Lloyd.
This class will use the three playwrights Earle used to study realism: Chekhov, Ibsen and Strindberg.
Earle believed these plays gave modern actors a heightened challenge: to play the high stakes objectives and actions of the characters within a rich world of given circumstances unfamiliar to the modern artist, full of nuance and manners, and therefore requiring research, creativity and intelligence.
This will be a scene-study class for the serious actor interested in an advanced study of realism. Earle's method of psychological actions, based on doing rather than intending will be stressed, along with a deep investigation of the plays being rehearsed and performed in class. Having taught my own version of Earle's method for over twenty years, and as a professional actor who practices it on stage, I can attest that it moves the actor towards egolessness even as it asks for extraordinary courage and sensitivity.
Students should be prepared to dress as close to character as possible when presenting scenes: women in long dresses, men in suits or jackets and ties. Only students who can commit to the whole class should enroll - you learn as much from watching others as you do from working yourself. One or two missed classes can be tolerated, more than that cannot. Students should be ready and prepared to rehearse outside of class throughout the summer, and to read the entire play(s) their scene(s) is from, slowly and carefully. You may work on the same scene for the duration of the class. Because of this, students are encouraged to apply in pairs with a scene from one of these plays in mind (I will insist on the Paul Schmidt translation of Chekhov).
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