The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute | Class Offerings
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Class Offerings

ACTING TECHNIQUE

Containing the core of our work, the first half of each Acting technique class is devoted to a sequence of concentration exercises to develop actors’ relaxation and effective memory: both sensory and emotional. The sense memory exercises utilize imaginary objects that most people deal with every day, so that actors can begin to create a simple reality for themselves. The second half of the class consists of scene and monologue work, during which time students apply what they have learned in their exercises to their roles. Improvisation is used to help create actual experience.

 

For more discussion about Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting, check out the Methodology blog and speak with Creative Director David Lee Strasberg.

ELECTIVE CLASSES

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute is constantly growing. As we seek to meet the actors’ needs, new classes are designed and added to our curriculum. Please note that classes may change due to student enrollment, the session and faculty availability. The following is a general template of elective classes that are frequently offered at Strasberg. Please check the class schedule for our most current offerings.

Accent Reduction

Accent Reduction is designed for those who speak English as a second language and natives with a prominent regional accent. Students are instructed on how to be understood in Standard American English by solving speech problems and readjusting vocal habits through practical vocal exercises.

Acting for TV & Film

Acting for TV & Film is conducted on our James Dean Soundstage, utilizing high-definition film equipment to capture students as they gain invaluable experience performing on-camera. This class prepares actors for the challenges of working on a professional film set.

Advanced Commercials

Advanced Commercials is focused on long and complex dialogue and handling props and blocking.  It will also give students the experience of the callback and how it is different from the first audition.  Every second week students tackle the same material as the week before, but with a different partner or different direction, so they must be flexible.

Animal Exercise

Animal exercise builds observational skills and expressive habits through rigorous physical characterization. The exercises make the actors aware of their body and how to use it in unaccustomed ways through the final portrayal of the animal.

Audition Technique

Audition Technique teaches our students how to find representation, impress casting directors, and become professional working actors. Students learn how to define an image that works, marketing themselves effectively, and launch a practical strategy for success. Agents, managers, photographers and casting directors participate in select classes.

 

** Available after 6-9 months of study.

Creating a One-Person Show

In this unique production class, each actor will develop, write, and perform a piece originating from their own life experience or imagination. Emphasis is placed on creating material that is personal, thematic, interesting, and meets the basic structure of a solo show. Students will also learn how to make production choices and create marketing tools for their shows.

 

*This is a performance class.

Character Development

Students are introduced to character work in conjunction with, and as a supplement to, the Method. Students will be asked to define character and its role within the play, and to practice creating character biographies. This class will further explore the process of physicalizing the character through mannerism, voice, rhythm and tempo.

Comic Improv

The ability to think on one’s feet and to make bold, specific choices in the moment, without fear of getting it “wrong” are essential tools for every actor. More and more, directors are looking for actors who possess a solid understanding of the fundamentals of improv, this class will provide students with exactly that. Through a number of games, exercises and improvised scenes students will learn to “yes and…” the ideas of their scene partners, identify “the game,” and create dynamic scenes.

Commercials

This course provides the techniques to book TV commercials: how to navigate the audition, what to expect on the callback, and the importance of set etiquette. Students will also many learn elements of the union contract, improv for auditions, eating, drinking and handling a label on camera, how to breakdown a commercial script, and how to keep your head on straight when dealing with rejection and after you achieve success.

Craft to Career

Actors spend a great deal of time and effort working on developing certain characteristics in their craft: being expressive, staying present, establishing relationships, and inspiring themselves instead of just hoping for the best. The same qualities that go into being a successful actor can and should be harnessed in pursuit of one’s career. Your craft feeds your career, and vice versa. Students will learn to express themselves with representatives, casting directors, producers and directors, to be true to their talent, to understand how others perceive them and to take responsibility for their own career. Students obtain a personalized assessment of where they are now and how to put themselves on the career path that is uniquely theirs.

Dialects

Dialects teaches both American and international accents, the phonetic alphabet, and the formation of sounds. Students learn the process to master to master the skills needed to fulfill the demands of a character’s specific voice.

Film Fighting (Level I)

Film Fighting (Level I) demonstrates various styles of martial arts and how to maintain safety in the midst of full-contact action. By examining their work on camera, students discover how to transcend fight choreography in order to convey a story physically and express themselves through movement.

Film Fighting (Level II)

Film Fighting (Level II) challenges the actor to grow mentally, physically and spiritually through intensive training in self-defense and advanced fighting techniques. Jumping, acrobatic movements and weapons are incorporated into the stunt choreography. This class emphasizes fundamental combat skills while preparing actors for filming a complete fight sequence.

Fit 4 Acting

Fit 4 Acting is an intense workout to strengthen both the body and mind by combining various styles of exercises to help build better balance, agility, flexibility, endurance, stamina, focus, and self-confidence. This class prepares the actor physically to be confident to take on any role.

Improvisation

Improvisation provides students with a powerful acting tool that helps explore material on a spontaneous and collaborative level. Students delve into a diverse range of unscripted scenes aimed to stimulate the imagination and engage in the impulses of discovery.

Lee Strasberg Legacy

Lee Strasberg Legacy examines the legendary teacher through exclusive audiotapes, archival footage, and video recordings. Students participate in interactive discussions and physical demonstrations to expand their understanding of how Method acting is relevant to our times and their work.

Movement I

Movement I is an introduction to movement and relaxation techniques based on the principles of the Alexander Technique. Students will learn fundamental Alexander Technique principles and apply them to their everyday life, as well as their actor training. The Alexander Technique is an educational process of teaching yourself to recognize patterns of habitual tension that interfere with performance; it helps to change those habits which may be causing stress, anxiety, and fatigue. We will apply the principles of the technique to the craft of acting by exploring warm-ups, character development, efficient movement, audition anxiety, and partner dynamics.

Movement II

Movement II will continue the exploration of Alexander’s principles as they apply to different aspects of the actor’s craft. The class will delve deeper into the work of coordinating movement and release to create authenticity and truthfulness in the actor’s work. The advanced students will continue to apply the Alexander Technique to scenes, monologues, songs, and stage movement. The class will continue to build the foundation of the actor’s awareness of space and self. The class will be a combination of group work and individual tutorials.

Movement III

Movement III will build a bridge from the Alexander Technique to the Awareness Through Movement Lessons (ATM) of the Feldenkrais Method to assist the actor to find the power in their “neutral state”, freeing them from habitual restrictive tensions. Students will find and maintain their own natural alignment and find a proper balance between effort and relaxation thereby enabling energy to flow in and out of the body rather than being blocked inside. The class will introduce tools that will aid the actor in characterization and further deepen the interplay between internal experience and external expression.

Contemporary Commedia Dell’Arte

Contemporary Commedia Dell’Arte uses Grotowsky work to liberate and understand body and voice to the level where they become valuable instruments to actors, instead of being an obstacle on the road to character creation. Through Commedia dell’Arte work, it will enable actors to reach the character through traditional physical approach.

Method Movement (2 M’s)

Method Movement (2 M’s) develops the actor’s physical instrument in a series of exercises that promote fluidity, balance and strength, in order to follow physical impulses that are activated by the characters function in telling the story. Instead of pantomime the class explores and creates symbolic meaning of the story through physical emblems. The actor explores his or her own physical awareness and how it shifts from moment to moment by the intrusion of another character, the shadow. The exercises in this class are valuable and can be used in any area of the actor’s training.

Musical Theatre Production

Students will be immersed in a carefully chosen musical theatre workshop production that combines the disciplines of acting, singing and dancing in a fun and exciting professional rehearsal setting. The focus of this Broadway Series is to inspire excellence and motivate learning in the theatre arts culminating in a fully produced performance on one of our main stage theatres.

 

** Audition is required for all students.

Music Video

This production class allows students to be a part of all aspects of a video production. Students will learn a pop song and record vocal tracks in our recording studio, rehearse camera blocking and choreography, and gain on-camera experience filming a music video. In addition, students will have a variety of behind the scenes opportunities, exploring the technical/production side of video production: lighting, assisting with camera, set decorating, etc. This class is by audition.

Playwright Spotlight

Playwright Spotlight This course explores the work of pivotal playwrights throughout history. Each session highlights the work of a different playwright such as Tennessee Williams, Anton Chekhov, and Sam Shepard. Students learn about the author’s works while focusing on one play—doing in-depth character work as they read and analyze the play, as well as practicing cold-readings. The course allows students to not only understand the historical value of the author, but to develop essential skills of an actor such as cold-readings, characterization and performance.

Production

Production is an on-camera class structured to teach actors how to apply sensory exercises to the roles they portray. Students learn how to articulate the subtext in a scene, make meaningful choices, and use physical behavior to enhance their sense of storytelling on-camera.

 

**Admission to this class is by instructor approval only.

Reel World & Auditioning

Reel World & Auditioning applies on-camera work and practice in several different film and TV genres, branding and marketing your type, preparations for agents and casting directors, as well as essential internet and social media uses for a career while teaching the actor about work ethic in the real world.

 

** This class is for 2nd Year Conservatory Students only. 

Rehearsal Procedures

Rehearsal Procedures explores this important process that is critical to the success of a film or play. Unlike traditional classes where the director conducts the rehearsals, students take the lead. Actors utilize their unique insights and learn to develop an efficient approach to scene preparation. (Advanced students)

 

**Admission to this class is by invite only.

Scene Study

Scene Study offers students the opportunity to move beyond class work and act in fully rehearsed scenes on an actual stage. This class guides students as they gain a deeper grasp of the complexities of a scene by examining the dramatic elements of the material.

Scene Study for TV

Scene Study for TV takes the concepts of Script Analysis and applies them to TV sides. Students will take an in-depth look into the world of television exploring the various nuances of the major genre’s being used in TV today. The course will focus on the big picture of plot structure down to the individual needs an actor will want to bring to a scene. Through viewing, reading, and exploring text, the class will work together to unearth the script’s gold.

Script Analysis

Script Analysis shows students how to understand material in more depth by developing a character; applying analysis to the work of a scene and integrating Sensory work to either a play or screenplay. The approaches learned on breaking down and analyzing material as developed by Constantin Stanislavsky and Elia Kazan are the basis for the class approach.

Sensory

Sensory focuses on the student’s physical and mental awareness and addresses individual acting problems. Sense memory exercises strengthen the actor’s ability to respond to stimuli, follow impulses, and trust his or her intuition. (Advanced students)

Shakespeare

This class offers students an introduction to Shakespeare’s language, plays and characters. Students work together dissecting his language in a variety of group exercises to extract the emotional meanings behind the poetic form and achieve a clear understanding of what is being said. Students have the opportunity to work on several monologues, sonnets and scenes in this introductory level class.

Singing I

Singing I introduces the beginning steps towards developing a solid vocal technique. Students will explore the pitfalls of singing, explore ways to integrate good technique within all music genres, and explore ways to maintain good breath and voice in every performance situation. Each week we will focus on vocal exercises, assigned repertoires, listen and discuss our instruments, and codifying our sounds with our muscular activity and discuss each artist’s own musicality.

Singing II

Singing II solidifies and integrates healthy vocal technique for every performance situation. Each week will focus on vocal exercises and assigned repertoires of two contrasting songs. Each student must be prepared to sing with piano and be able to learn the notes/rhythms at home on their own time, allowing us to explore each artist’s individual musicality, vocal technique, and performance practice within the class time given.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient form of Chinese meditation based on the Taoist principles of balance and harmony. Students enhance their concentration, will, and awareness through the practice of controlling breath, posture, and movement. Emphasis is placed on learning how to be “present and responsive” to stimuli.

Theatre Dance

Theatre Dance focuses on all aspects of musical theatre dance and performance with an emphasis on learning and performing contrasting Broadway choreographic styles and staging, enabling students to build on performance and adaptation of varied dance styles. Classes begin with work on basic technique incorporating Ballet and Jazz with an emphasis on building strength and flexibility. Use of the body through space, anatomy, posture, stance and technique are stressed.

Theatre History I

This course is a survey of the history of the theatre from primitive origins to modern times. Through the use of historical documents, contemporary writings, and illustrations of architecture and costumes, the major periods of theatrical history are seen from an artistic and cultural point of view. Theatre as a cultural force set in its historical context is a major theme of this class. Theatre will be explored as a reflection of the time and culture that produced it. The course will examine the pivotal theatre artists, plays and movements, which shaped the history of the art form.

Theatre History II

Theatre History II will focus on the formation of The Group Theater, its development, purpose and accomplishments. It will hone in on the founding members. Study will also include a retrospective of Stanislavsky,  Acting theories,The Moscow Art Theater, and Lee Strasberg’s development of the Method. Instruction includes, but is not limited to: lectures, class participation, field trips, research, Q &A, audio/visual presentations and acting exercises. (Offered on rotation. Required for Two-Year Conservatory.)

Vocal Basics

Vocal Basics is for the beginner singer or anyone who wants to firm up their vocal foundation. Through a variety of vocal exercises, songs and sight singing/ear training techniques, students will get individual and group instruction to improve their vocal technique, pitch and musicality.

Voice I

Voice I primarily explores the basics of Fitzmaurice Voicework®: specifically De-structuring and Re-structuring. De-structuring is the process of letting go of any unnecessary tension which inhibits the breath and voice, through Tremorwork® and adapted yoga positions. Through De-structuring, students explore spontaneity of breath, deep release of tension and a greater awareness of the body. Re-structuring is the process of activating the intentional breath for communication that is free, yet focused. Students learn which muscles in the body consciously engage in order to connect breath with voice, resulting in a voice that is communicative, imaginative, and able to meet vocal demands without strain. Material is explored through play, partnered work, observation, and discussion.

Voice II

Voice II will be a continuation of the work explored in Level I.  Students will explore deeper release and awareness in the destructuring process, as well as further applications of restructuring.  Students will have more individual opportunities to work on text and have feedback.The voicework taught in this class will be the destructuring/restructuring techniques of Catherine Fitzmaurice.   www.fitzmauricevoice.com

Voice III

Voice III will be a continuation of the work explored in Levels I and II.  Students will explore deeper release and awareness in the destructuring process, as well as further applications of restructuring.  Students will have more individual opportunities to work on text and have feedback.   Additional focus will be given to speechwork. The voicework taught in this class will be the destructuring/restructuring techniques of Catherine Fitzmaurice.    www.fitzmauricevoice.com

Voice Overs

From commercials, to animation, video games, audio books and more, students will learn the fundamentals of an ever expanding realm of acting: Voice Acting. Students will be challenged to go beyond their vocal comfort zone and expand their catalog of character voices through in-class exercises, homework and real world audition scenarios.