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Course Descriptions

Instructor: Dory Sibley

20 one-hour meetings over the program

Every morning participants will prepare for the rigorous demands of the workshops using the Elemental Body Alignment System. EBAS is a series of stretching and strengthening exercises designed to integrate the body while increasing flexibility, range of motion and core strength. The focus of EBAS is to understand the basic principles of initiating and anchoring movements from the pelvis while finding efficient and effective alignment through experiential anatomy.

Instructor: André Casaca

Week 1 and 2

In this course, students will explore their own Body Comic Identity, rediscovering the simplicity, tenderness and strength it takes to be able to be present in a scene together with the public. Working in a mostly non-verbal way, participants will discover their own personal comic identity through gesture, movement, sound and the nose. The nose creates its own eye, perspective and reality that preserves the words and makes the body speak. Through practical exercises, participants will gain basic tools of comic rhythm and timing as they delve deeper into their clown. There will be a working demonstration for the Accademia community at the end of the course.

Instructors: Samuel McGehee and Saso Vollmaier

Week 1 and 2

What does it mean for the body to sing and the voice to move? What is the rhythm of speech? What is dissonance and harmony on stage? In this course we will explore the hidden musicality of theatre, how it can inspire creation and help to establish form. Our time will be geared towards the composition of physical and vocal scores. Particular attention will be given to work on rhythm, voice and the body as they relate to the space. The participants will have the opportunity to work and improvise with live musicians in order to heighten their awareness of the space and the hidden dimensions therein.

The elements of body, voice and rhythm will be explored on an individual basis in order to uncover hidden potentials, and implemented through ensemble improvisation to stimulate a sense of play. In the end, we will focus on refining a heightened sense of listening in the composition of short études.

Instructor: Chiara D’Anna

Week 3 and 4

This course is an introduction to Commedia dell’Arte and its legacy in contemporary performance. The Masks of Commedia are indeed an excellent tool to expand performers’ physical vocabulary, stamina, space awareness and a deep understanding of tempo-rhythm and comic timing. In this course you will learn how to create successful ensemble work, interact effectively with an audience and improvise with confidence, developing skills that are fundamental in any performance setting – not only physical comedy.

Following an introduction on Commedia dell’Arte and its history, the course will explore how to apply Commedia’s principles and techniques in the development of character and ensemble work. Participants will have the opportunity to focus on different aspects of actor training including body awareness, improvisation, slapstick, stock characterisation and half-mask technique.

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Develop your physical and vocal vocabulary in the creation of grotesque and comic characters with and without half-mask.
  • Devise and perform scenes utilising the Masks of Commedia dell’Arte, props, music and costumes.
  • Improvise and interact with your audience with confidence.
  • Adapt key commedia principles and techniques to any performance setting.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and cultural context from which Commedia dell’Arte originated and its legacy in contemporary theatre.

Instructor: Greg Pierotti

Week 3 and 4

The affect we project to an audience is entirely dependent on the quality of our connection to ourselves and to our environment. If our connection is discursive and fear based, our affect and presence are diminished. If our connection is attentive and courageous our affect and presence is magnetic. Our relationship to our audience, our environment, and the experience of our own instruments – our past histories, our present energy, and our fears and aspirations about the future – creates the unique affect in the moment of performance. This is presence.

In this workshop, students will train in a process that helps them locate their personal power as actors. That physical and energetic power can then be carried into any performance they share with an audience. Students will train in just being a performer owning her/his own power while being observed by others. Being fully and nakedly present – physically, vocally and energetically – is a heroic act that resonates with audiences powerfully. 

To find their way to fuller presence, students engage in physical/vocal training through Fitzmaurice Voicework. They will practice a variety of exercises to connect them to the energy centers of the body as pathways to a variety of performance energies. Finally, using a variety of compositional practices including Affect Theatre (the devising practice developed by Pierotti and his collaborator Cristiana Giordano), students will structure short theatrical pieces based on a Shakespearean text and their own research. Over the course of the two weeks students will share these pieces in progress with larger and larger groups. Titrating the experience of being seen from small to finally quite large audiences assists students in carrying their physical presence work into more highly charged performance contexts. 


Dates (including Arrival and Departure):

June 21 – July 18

Early Bird Registration Deadline:

December 1, 2019

Standard Registration Deadline:

March 15, 2020

APPLY NOW for this program.

The Accademia dell’Arte undergraduate program is fully accredited by Hendrix College.

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