Monday, August 20, 2012


Congratulations to all of the participants of the 2012 production of Coriolanus, seen above celebrating after their fourth and final performance on Friday, August 10.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Soul Searching

Training is deeply personal. In movement class the actor's first job often is to find a place of physical neutral with feet planted on the floor, spine straight and fluid and arms and hands relaxed at the side. Early on in voice class actors are encouraged to find a place of vocal open-ness and are given techniques to speak a standard American English free of regionalisms. In improvisation the mind must be free and nimble and the voice and body responsive. In technique the actor must train their mind to be active, engaged, alert and explorative. These teachings often bring young artists to a place of personal conflict or confusion. Perhaps they thought they were more open to the world than they find themselves in class to be. Perhaps they learn about physical or vocal habits that are surprising or jarring. The object of training is not to change an actor. The object of training is to bring the actor into a deeper sense of awareness of their instrument. Once that happens an actor is free to begin to acquire craft and tools that will help them further their storytelling and communicative skills onstage so that the audience receives the message of the play through them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What's in the Details

This week director Jonathan H. finished blocking with groups. Carlos worked with the ensemble on making language more real, more impactful and more active. Master teacher J. Steven White worked on fight scenes with both groups.

Now that the play is blocked student artists must work on adding details: illuminating their words and the story of the play with their thoughts and minds; engaging physically to tell the story through their bodies as well and using their imaginations to make crowd scenes as real as possible.

One Master Teacher at Adler has said that an artist's ability to add highly specific details to their work is directly related to their ability to live their life fully. What are student actors learning about themselves as artists and as human beings? All are invited to share their experience on this blog.
Group A warming up with Carlos
Imagining that the floor is made of hot coals

Stage combat with Steve White

Working with Carlos to make actions real to life

Group B working on fight choreography with Steve White

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fast and Furious

The Summer Shakespeare ensemble performs Coriolanus exactly three weeks from yesterday. In a five week intensive it is vital for all student actors to jump into the work without hesitation. Already director Jonathan Hopkins is blocking the play in rehearsal, moving quickly through the text and demanding precision and detail. A fast-moving and in-depth process can be an opportunity for tremendous growth. In addition to their work as actors, students often learn something new about themselves. They may be suddenly confronted with challenging questions like what are my real strengths? What weaknesses do I need to address to improve? Why have I developed this particular vocal or physical habit? Is my mind as open and free as it should be? Am I willing to take the risk of looking silly in order to grow? Student actors are invited to share their thoughts and observations on their personal growth on this blog. It takes courage but it is part of the work that is necessary for an artist's growth.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What are you learning?

In the first week of class the ensemble read the entire play for understanding. In a series of classes, voice and speech work and finding a physical neutral were introduced as was technique.  Expressing character with large body choices, playing with status onstage, the idea of play for actors, the experience of an audience, exploring with text without trying to make immediate sense of the words, and size were other elements of craft that were also explored. Confronting personal barriers and fears, which rises out of necessity when training as an actor, was also discussed.

Students are invited to share their experience at the end of each week on this blog. Some questions to comment on might include: what challenged you the most this week? what stood out to you most? what are you learning about yourself as an artist? what are you learning about yourself as a human being? 

The cast for Coriolanus follows:

Group A
Jeffrey - Coriolanus
Devante - Menenius
Trevor - Cominius
Lizzy - Lartius
Jennifer - Brutus
Aliyah - Sicinius
David - Aufidius, Fourth Citizen
Casterline - Valeria, Volscian, Fifth Citizen
Kiera - Volumnia, Third Citizen (I.i)
Kayla - Virgilia, First Citizen (II.iii)
Lueshen - Second Citizen, First Soldier
Helen - First Citizen (I,i), Third Citizen (II.iii), Second Soldier

Group B
Yordy - Coriolanus
Karoline - Menenius
Emily - Cominius
York - Lartius
Fania - Brutus
D'Asia - Sicinius
Andy - Aufidius
Ebony - Valeria, Fifth Citizen
Aisha - Volumnia, Third Citizen (I.i)
Tajaye - Virgilia, First Citizen (II.iii)
Mohammed - Second Citizen, First Soldier
Dailyn - First Citizen (i.i), Third Citizen (II.iii), Second Soldier
Mariel - Fourth Citizen, Volscian 

Monday, July 9, 2012

First day at Adler

Congratulations and welcome to the incoming students of the Summer Shakespeare ensemble!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Selecting the Summer Shakespeare ensemble

In May 2012 Director of Outreach Carlos Caldart launched a campaign to recruit New York City high school students for the Summer Shakespeare program. Carlos and team mailed letters to all New York City public high schools. In addition, to cast the widest net possible, volunteers called every high school to make sure the information was received and shared with as many students as possible and also sent e-mail follow ups.

The 2011 Summer Shakespeare ensemble in Julius Ceasar
A total of sixty-three students from all five boroughs called for an interview. Many of them were invited to participate in a callback in mid-June. Applicants were asked to bring a memorized monologue from a published play. Students were assessed based on need, passion and enthusiasm. Of the students who applied, only twenty-two would be invited to participate in the program. Who are the lucky twenty-two? Check in on Monday, July 9, the first day of class, to find out.