Monday, July 28

I received an email from my movement professor, telling me what to acquire before classes begin.

1-2 sets of monochrome exercise clothing. These should be form fitting, but do not need to be tights. Either exercise material or soft cotton are fine.

1 handball for eye to eye contact work.

Your Yoga Mat and Blanket from Voice Class.

40.00 to cover the cost of your first semester readings and note book. These are your textbooks.

Please see the assignments for the first week of school, below:

By the end of the first week of school everyone should read:

1. Patsy Rodenberg: The Second Circle: How to Use Positive Energy......Amazon and Borders. This book is written for non actors, but gives a very good introduction to the three circles of alignment and use of self that we work on through my alignment technique, and through Alexander work. There will be a short quiz on this book.

2. Lorna McDougal's "The Body Speaks", Amazon, Borders. Though I do not subscribe to all of her ideas it does present the sort of study you are about to embark upon--
which is both creative and skill-based and particular to the training of actors, rather than dancers or athletes.

Luckily, I already had the books (she called them "recommended reading" back in March.


Tuesday, July 15

An email from my Voice professor.

There are a few things you will need for Voice Class and Singing Tutorials:

• Bring a yoga blanket AND a yoga mat. I have a Tapas ® mat AND a cotton “Blanket Mexican” which I purchased at “huggermugger.com”

• Please wear your monochrome movement clothing to voice class, wear little or no jewelry, and be prepared to work in bare feet or sox.

• You will need to have a song with the sheet music. You do not have to have it learned, but you do need to have it selected and you must have the sheet music. This will be the song/sheet music that you will work on in your singing tutorial.

• You need to have the book “One Voice” by Joan Melton and Kenneth Tom. I purchased my copy at “amazon.com”

• You will need to have a Pronouncing Dictionary; it will assist you greatly with your speech and dialect work in both your 1st and 2nd year. I recommend “English Pronouncing Dictionary” by Daniel Jones (with CD ROM or without). I purchased my copy at “amazon.com”

• Bring water to Voice class every day.

• Do not bring food or any drinks other than water to Voice class.

• Bring a 3-ring binder, a notebook or journal, a pencil.


Thursday, July 3

An email from my Textual Analysis professor.

Dear Students:

What follows is some preliminary information about the upcoming class in Textual Analysis. This will give you a sense of the class requirements and what you will need to start thinking about. On the first day of class I’ll be distributing a more comprehensive syllabus with more detailed information about the semester.

We will be spending approximately 3 hours a week (Tuesday and Thursday, 4:10 to 5:30) learning how to read a text, or, perhaps more importantly, discovering how a dramatic text asks to be read. We will be spending a great deal of our time in the first few weeks of class establishing a classical model of analysis based upon a careful and in-depth study of Aristotle’s POETICS. We will be coming up with a common vocabulary to use when approaching a text. After having done so, we will examine texts from the Greek theatre in light of this classical approach. We will then begin to look at the theories of naturalism, for better or worse probably the most pervasive style in 19th, 20th and even 21st century playwriting, and apply these classical theories to our examinations. All texts will be looked at from a literary, historical and theoretical perspective in the hope that we might discover the peculiar method with which each of these texts asks to be read.

This will probably be the most academic class you encounter in your studies here in the conservatory. You will all be expected to bring to the class strong analytical skills, a finely tuned ability to read a text objectively rather than a need to force a text to fit your own preconceived notions, and an ability to express your carefully reasoned opinions both verbally and in print.

I would like to make a point now with you about this class that I will be making over and over again as the year progresses: this is not a subjective class based upon your feelings and your emotional responses to a text. This is a class in which you will be expected to examine a text with a clear and objective eye. What you feel is of far less importance to us than what the text asks you to feel and how the text reveals this to you. This is found from careful and rigorous objective analysis, not simple and intuitive responses. You must expect to read and RE-READ these texts again and again in order to uncover their meaning.

This examination will ultimately lead us to a consideration of how an actor is expected to read a text, what an actor is expected to draw from the text, and how can a careful reading of the text help an actor understand his/her role in a given production.

The first few texts you will want to purchase can all be found, I believe, on Amazon.com. They are

POETICS, Aristotle: trans. S.H. Butcher; intro. Francis Fergusson; Hill and Wang, NY. 1961.

This edition is in paperback and is readily available. We must all work from the same edition here! So get it from Amazon.

OEDIPUS REX, Sophocles: trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald.

The OEDIPUS CYCLE has been translated by these gentlemen and published together. You might consider buying that. Again, it is in paperback.

WOMEN OF TROY, Euripides: trans. Kenneth McLeish. Published by Absolute Press, 1995, in a collection entitled AFTER THE TROJAN WAR.

Try Amazon.com or Theatre Communications Group.

A DOLL’S HOUSE and THE WILD DUCK, Henrik Ibsen: trans. Rolf Fjelde.

THE PLAYS OF ANTON CHECKHOV, trans. Paul Schmidt; Harper Collins: NY 1997.

PLEASE! You must all work from these translations! Do not assume that any translation will do! We will need to all work from the same text and the same publication!

In addition, I will be adding a new text to this year’s curriculum:

Backwards and Forwards by David Ball, Southern Illinois University Press, 1983.

Other plays will be assigned as we move into the semester and see what kind of progress we make.

I will be expecting you all to do some analytical writing as well as some serious thinking in this class. Written work must be typed and cleanly produced, so please make sure you have the equipment necessary to do so (computer, printer, ink cartridges, etc.)

Let me repeat once again what I’ve said often in this letter – you must get the translations and editions that I have listed here. We CANNOT work from different texts!

I’m looking forward to working with you all in this class. I think it will be very exciting for all of us. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to seeing you in August.