Nov 27, 2021  
College Catalog 2017-2018 
College Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

DRAMA 613-4 — Dramatic Techniques I

8 credits
Full Year

Dramatic Vocal Technique I: Voice work focuses on the principles and practice of respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation. Anatomy, physiology, and the physics of tone are explored. Through poetry, actors use sound to create images, rhythm, antithesis, and character. Application and evaluation involves weekly text memorization in poetry and prose, physical exercises, written feedback, and four review sessions with a teacher. (Graduates only)

Fundamentals of Movement: First semester — Development of creative and effective relationships to space, time, gravity, behavior, energy, imagery, music, breath, text, and relationship communication. The work is impulse driven, dynamic, and grounded in full use of the imagination. Second semester–Laboratory of work focused on introduction of Laban effort shaping and the practical exploration of all aspects of gesture, including graphic, emotional, unconscious, and theatrical. Partial emphasis on eradicating gestural habits and providing a process of expanding gestural vocabulary. Working in all magnitudes, staying grounded in emotional truth. (Combined studies)

Graduate Alexander Technique: The Alexander Technique is a mind-body method for becoming aware of and changing habits. The goals of the Alexander Technique in the training of actors are (1) to eliminate any unnecessary physical and mental tensions and habitual patterns of misuse that interfere with the free flow of thought, imagination, physical movement and impulse; (2) to develop enhanced postural support (poise) and easeful movement skills; and (3) to assist in the development of a conscious repeatable process that allows for energized availability in the moment and the ability to transform.

In first-year Alexander, focus is on the development of awareness of oneself in movement: to recognize and learn how to release excess tension and to change physical habits which interfere with the free, easeful, centered use of the body. Through a series of experiential exercises, hands-on guidance by the teacher, and selected readings, students are introduced to the basic Alexander concepts: that we all have habitual patterns that restrict freedom and choice; that the primary control (the head/neck relationship) governs physical organization; that the power of thought affects physicality. The three tools of the Alexander Technique — awareness, conscious inhibition, and direction — are presented and studied in class through observation and hands-on teaching in chair work, table work, floor work, and movement activities. Basic anatomy of the musculoskeletal system is studied and is immediately applied experientially in activities such as sitting, standing, walking and bending. Students learn an Alexander self-lesson to help them maintain good use on their own. Actors work in sections with some individual work in the second semester. Evaluation and feedback occur in the moment through hands-on work and observation by the teacher based on three considerations: the student’s understanding of the Alexander principles, physical use of self, and application in activity. (Graduates only)

Graduate Speech: A variety of techniques are introduced, including those of Arthur Lessac and Edith Skinner, to develop the student’s vocal prowess to meet the practical and aesthetic demands of classes, rehearsals, and performances. Development of efficient coordination of the organs of respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation to follow directions given to change the mode of articulation and vocal production. Development of the ability to recognize and explore the attributes of pitch, duration, and intensity. Discussion of basic vocal anatomy, physiology, sensation, and resonation. Students develop a working knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). (Graduates only)

Individual Graduate Voice Instruction: In the first semester, students work with teachers in individual sessions to identify vocal challenges and target these areas immediately to focus and enhance the training. (Graduates only)

Movement I: A class designed to increase the physical range of the student through stretching, flexibility, and strengthening exercises. Emphasis is placed on rhythm, phrasing, dynamic, intent, and moving in space. The class integrates the process of the Alexander Technique. (Combined studies)

Music Studies I: An introduction to the basic elements of musical composition, including melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, and orchestral color. Featured are two continuous threads of special interest: live performance in class by Juilliard singers and pianists, and a concentration on music written for the theater from the Middle Ages to Wagner. (Combined studies)

Stage Combat: In the second semester, students engage in practical study of the essential ingredients of safe, effective, well-acted stage fights: partnering, attacks, defense, falls, chokes, rolls, and the contributions of the actor to the process of creating and managing comic or dramatic stage fights. Although predominantly focused on unarmed work, swordplay will be briefly introduced and integrated into the overall experience. (Combined Studies)