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Module One

Foundations | Arezzo | Fall Semester

The semester commences with a ten day period of orientation and integration, that includes an intensive in Italian  Language (for students whose mother tongue is not Italian). Module one is conceived as a foundational unit that prepares the student to work in their new environment, to develop the habits necessary for serious training and to introduce the actor to the fundamentals of physical performance. The semester in Arezzo is followed immediately by a one week intensive workshop at Flic Scuola di Circo in Torino. This workshop is designed to introduce students to the specific training demanded for circus. It provides them with a sequenced group of exercises that students maintain throughout Module 2 so they are prepared for module 3 in Torino.

This is a foundational course designed to enable actors to develop the movement and vocal skills necessary for their craft. This includes physical conditioning routines as well as introductory acrobatics and preparation for Flic Scuola di Circo. Contemporary Dance Studies introduce students to their expressive capacities and ground them in a solid technique. An essential component for the physical actor is voice. The course delineates an approach (based on Roy Hart voice work) that enables the actor to realize his/her potential to reach out to the extreme and varied local areas that physical and masked theatre demand.

The music component underlines an aspect of physical theatre that is often overlooked: the musical skills (instrumental, rhythmic and vocal) that are essential partners in both composition and performance. In Music I students approach music primarily through vocal improvisation and ensemble singing. Students are supported through piano accompaniment and strategies for relaxation, openness and physical transformation. Musical impulses reveal themselves through the desire to communicate with a fuller energy commitment.The class provides students with the basic tools for analysing and comprehending core musical structures. Particular attention is paid to quality and dynamics when using sound as a medium.

This course is divided into two complementary sections: History of physical theatre and Perspectives and poetics of creativity. The first section contextualizes key physical theatre practices within the historic and cultural grounding from which they emerge. Class discussions and presentations will focus on the aesthetic, social, political, religious, technical, and economic concerns emerging from diverse significant physical theatre practitioners and theorists. The second section will suggest new perspectives for theatrical creation inspired by neurological and semiotic studies that focus on the relationship between theory and practice in physical theatre and that foreground audience perception.

This course establishes the foundation for the MFA in Physical Theatre. The actor is introduced to the principles of this form of theatre: protocols for improvisation, spatial awareness, physical memory and the use of imaginative metaphor to shape the body. Students learn to use three movement “grammars” that give tools for analysis and execution: Laban Movement Analysis, Etienne Decroux’s scales and Jacques Lecoq’s movement for the actor. Essential to this course are the first steps toward creating an ensemble . A substantial section is devoted to learning the principles of devising. Students commence to generate work for class presentation.

Specially designed for actors, this course introduces the student to the basics in Italian grammar, pronunciation and comprehension essential as students enter into the local culture. Italian will be learned through the enactment of simulated situations, dialogues, and short monologues. Classes will emphasize speaking and listening comprehension through a creative use of sounds and gestures. Reading and writing skills will be developed through a variety of approaches mostly based on physical action and visual imagery. Learning techniques will include improvisation and the use of grammelot. Students will share their own daily experience of Italian life and any acting skill that could be useful to the enhancement of the class.

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