CLASSES FOR ACTORS AND WRITERS
with David Rainey
6-week Acting Class
Monday Nights from 6:30-10:30pm
June 26-July 31, 2017
Returning Students $300.00
On the first day, you should bring:
Two scenes (3 copies each) with roles you would like to play. Scenes should be modern (present day to Chekhov).
A monologue of your choice (2 copies). Monologues can be from any period, but must come from a play (no stand-alone monologues, film scripts, books or stories)
My work is very much based in the work of actor and master teacher Uta Hagen. Particularly the work from A CHALLENGE FOR THE ACTOR. In my world, environment and being in the here and now are key elements to my teaching. I am about creating riveting people who live in a world, rather than exceptional actors presenting a play. I have often said to my students, the difference between the two is not much, but the difference it makes is enormous. I can show you how to get there.
The first session, each student should bring 3 COPIES of 2 SCENES (one for me, and two for the scene partners). Scenes should be 5-7 minutes in length; with a role you’d be interested in playing. Scenes should be from contemporary published plays, Chekhov to the present. Look for balanced roles and a strong conflict.
We’ll read all the scenes, randomly assigning parts, and based on how we feel about the scenes presented, students will give me their top choices. Based on that, I will assign the plays and partners. Students do not have to stick with the scenes they brought in, but can choose other scenes if they are a better fit.
TIPS ON FINDING SCENES: It’s best to find the play and get the scene from there, or find the scene and get the play, so you are working with the whole story. But there are many great scene books out there. Go to bookstores, libraries, search Amazon, or simply call Samuel French or Dramatist Play Service and ask for their recommendation of good scene books. You can also search for scenes online, but I’ve found it surprisingly limited to find scenes from good recognizable plays online.
I will also have a range of good scenes to work on that I’ll bring with me as well, so don’t let the search for scenes discourage you from being a part of the class. Find what you can. The exercise is partly for you to discover what you have at your disposal when seeking good material. And if a scene is not great, we have others that will likely be a good match.
Occasionally, we end up with one slot that hasn’t been assigned because none of the choices fit. If that is the case, we’ll read new scenes that are brought in, and make final selections. And begin the work of seeing the scenes on their feet.
Scenes should be off-book by this day. Actors can still hold scripts, but they should be relatively solid on lines, so they can start living the character and be present in the scene. The scenes should have a solid ground plan and be loosely blocked by this point.
Actors should be firm on their lines, and completely off-book. Someone will prompt. This is when we really explore the arch of the scene, and scrutinize over clear action, intention, conflict and tactics.
Scenes should be at a place now where you can live in the reality of the world you’ve created. You should be able to navigate the scene easily with your partner, focusing on the given circumstances, conflict and moment to moment exchange. We’ll look at each scene and give feedback on what to focus on for the final presentation.
Final presentation day. We will watch and critique all of the scenes, and give suggestions on what to continue working on as actors.
REGARDING MONOLOGUES - We won't be spending much time on monologues unless actors really want to. The primary reason for the monologue is to give you something solid to work on in the event that your partner must miss a session. However, if you'd still like to work on your monologue, we can carve out a little time at the end of class for that.
DAVID RAINEY has been a member of the Alley Theatre’s Resident Company for the past 16 years, and is the Founding Executive Artistic Director of The Landing Theatre Company. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he received the Juilliard Theatre Center’s top honor, The Michel and Suria Saint-Denis Prize, and over the years has received numerous awards and nominations of his work as an actor and director. As a teacher he has taught hundreds of actors in Houston, at all levels. On stage he has performed for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the National Actors Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Acting Company, New York Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Ford’s Theatre, Asolo Theatre Company, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival LA, Crossroads Theatre Company, among others. On television he has appeared on Cosby, Law & Order, Vengeance Unlimited, As the World Turns, and One Life to Live. Film credits include North Starr, Hell Swarm, Starforce, Lowball, Multifacial, The 'M' Word, Brushing Death and Don’t Go There. In addition to professional classes, he offers ongoing private coaching for actors.