321 Acting III

ACTING III: Sample Syllabus – subject to change.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Theatre Department

Course: THR F321 F01

CRN: 7****, 3 credits

Required Prerequisites: THR 121 Fundamentals of Acting, THR 221 Intermediate Acting, THR 320 (220) Voice and Speech for the Actor


Dates: January 17- May 10, 2013

Time: Tuesday & Thursdays 9:45-11:15 AM

CARRIE BAKER, Associate Professor of Theatre, Theatre Department Head          


Office Phone: 907-474-7754

Office: THEA 109A

Office Hours: by appointment

I. Course Description:

This course introduces the principles of stage movement and period acting. The class will include introduction to movement dynamics, contact improvisation, stage combat, physical character development, and period scene study.

II. Course Goals and Student Learning Outcomes:

  • To increase flexibility, balance, and physical awareness.
  • To improve posture, alignment, coordination, and centering.
  • To strengthen and lengthen your body through yoga warm-ups.
  • To discover and access your full creative self through movement.
  • To learn how to protect and care for your physical self.
  • To gain a practical understanding of the Contact Improvisation movement technique.
  • To gain a preliminary understanding of basic hand-to-hand stage combat.
  • To experiment with clown work and physical character development.
  • To introduce period acting techniques through scene study.
  • To apply all of the above in performance!

III. Instructional Methods:

This class is very active! Students will constantly be up on their feet participating in exercises, lying on the floor for yoga warm-ups, and engaging the body in rigorous physical activity. Work will include solo movement, close partnered movement, and group exercises. The class will also include discussions, three movement projects, a performance critique, and a Restoration period acting scene.

IV. Required Reading: 

  • Movement for Actors, ed. Nicole Potter, Allworth Press ISBN: 1-58115-233-7.
  • Handouts from: Advanced Acting: Style, Character, and Performance, 1st Edition, Robert Cohen, McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 2002, ISBN: 0767425421.
  • You need to purchase “Character Shoes” for this class. You can find them for about $20 on www.amazon.com. For women, you are looking for about a 2” heel with a strap and men need a basic dress shoe with a hard sole. Theatre UAF’s costume shop will provide corsets, rehearsal skirts, and fans for the women and vests, jackets, and handkerchiefs for the men.

V. Recommended Reading:

  • Contact Improvisation, Thomas Kaltenbrunner, Meyer & Meyer Sport, ISBN: 1-84126-138-6.
  • The Wearing of Costume, Ruth M. Green, Drama Publishers, ISBN: 0-89676-141-X.

VI. Audition:

All Acting III students are encouraged to audition for the Theatre Department fall shows Saturday January 19th  in the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre starting at 10 am. Find more information about the auditions and season at www.uaf.edu/theatre/.

VII. Absence Policy:

Attendance to all classes is mandatory. Exercises, improvisations, discussions, and scene work cannot be made up for the simple reason that they happen in class. If you miss classes, you are missing the course.

Students are permitted two unexcused absences. Excused absences must be supported with written documentation (such as a doctor’s note) presented when you return to the following class. Each unexcused absence will reduce your final grade by 3 points.  Missing a class in which you are scheduled to perform is unacceptable and will further reduce your grade. When possible, notify me via email or phone before class if you will be absent. All handouts and assignments will be given in class; if you miss a class, you are responsible for getting all handouts and assignments.

Please arrive to class on time. Being late will reduce your grade. Three lates will equal one unexcused absence and reduce your grade accordingly. Come to class everyday and be on time. I expect the highest level of professionalism and responsibility from each of you.

VIII. Grading Policy:

Please note: Grading will be based on a +/- system this semester.

Class Participation/ Attitude/ Readings Discussions…………………………..20 points

Movement Projects (4)…….………………………………………………………40 points

Molière or Restoration Scene Performances…….…………………………..…20 points

Performance Critique.…………………………….…………………..…….…..10 points

Final Public Performance………………………………………………………10 points

  1. Class Participation/ Attitude/ Readings Discussions (20 points):

Your level of participation, enthusiasm, energy, and willingness to work in this class is of the utmost importance. Respect for others is integral to the work we do in Acting III. Extensive reading, preparation, and rehearsal outside of class is expected.  The work we will be doing is extremely physical and demanding. Our work will involve intense physical partnering, weight exchange exercises, and lifts, so full commitment and attention to one another is key to the success of this class. Watching others work is also a large part of what you will do in this class. Your participation as a watcher, listener, and responder is extremely important. Watching others working on a scene and responding to their work in class discussions can be tremendously beneficial to your own acting. I expect each of you to be committed to creating a positive, supportive, respectful atmosphere.

I think you will find the readings both in Cohen and various handouts to be very informative and great supplements to the stage work that you will be doing in this class. Keep up with the weekly readings as they will be a consistent part of class discussions and our work together. When commenting on in-class work, I expect each of you to draw on your readings in Cohen and handouts.

Some Important Points:

  • Please wear workout clothes to this class: SWEAT PANTS AND T-SHIRTS ONLY!! Nothing too baggy. ABSOLUTELY NO JEANS OR REGULAR PANTS.  NO EXCEPTIONS. You will sweat. Often you will be layering corsets, rehearsal skirts, vests, and jackets over your clothes.
  • All movement work will be done in bare-feet. Wear sneakers for stage combat classes. Wear your character shoes for scene work.
  • Shut off cell phones.
  • Bring a bottle of WATER to class everyday…you will want it.
  • Please arrive to class on time, DRESSED PROPERLY, and ready to work, armed with an open mind and spirit!
  1. Movement Projects (40 points):

Movement Piece #1: “Evolution” (Solo/ 3-5 minutes)………….10 points

Stage Combat Piece: (Partners 3-5 minutes)……………………10 points

Clown Piece (Solo/ 3-5 minutes)………………………….………10 points

Movement Piece #2: “Symbiosis” (Partner/ 4-6 minutes)……..10 points

This semester you will perform four movement pieces: two solo pieces and two partnered pieces. These are all non-vocal, non-verbal pieces. These pieces are an opportunity for you to experiment with techniques and tools that you will be learning in class. You may want to experiment with using music and/or props. For your Clown Piece, I will provide each of you with a red nose. This is your time to create original work, so have fun and give yourself enough rehearsal time. In performance, these pieces should be choreographed, not improvised. Improvisation will inevitably be part of the process in creating these pieces, but you should not come in and just “wing it” in performance. Movement pieces are another form of theatre and of storytelling, so put the same time and commitment into rehearsal that you would put into rehearsing a spoken scene.  I strongly suggest timing your pieces in rehearsal so that you stay in the given time range. I will assign partners for the combat piece and Movement Piece #2.

  1. Molière or Restoration Scene Performances (20 points):

You will present one Molière or Restoration scene this semester. I will assign partners and material for all scenes. For the first showing, you will present the scene and we will work on it in class. You will then have a final showing of the improved scene. For each scene you must turn in written work at the final showing. Written work will include character analysis, a unit-by-unit breakdown of the scene, and a journal about the process of rehearsing the scene. I further explain performance expectations and written work in the handout Scene Guidelines. When you present the scene in class for the first showing, you need to come in with the scene rehearsed, blocked, and off-book. Also, you should dress appropriately for your character in the scene and have necessary props and set pieces.

  1. Production Critique (10 points):

Three-four double spaced typed pages. You will write one movement critique this semester on Theatre UAF’s fall production in the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre. You receive one free ticket because you are in this class. Simply give your name to the box office when getting your ticket and inform them that you are in this class. Preview night (the night before opening) is free for everyone and no tickets are required. I will hand out Critique Guidelines closer to the production dates.

If you are in Theatre UAF’s fall production, write three-four double spaced typed pages reflecting on your acting/ movement experience and assessing your own physical work in the show.

  1. Final Public Performance (10 points):

For the final public performance you will present your Molière or Restoration scene and other work from the semester that has been further rehearsed and improved.

Final Assessment: Three double-spaced typed pages. Due at the final performance. Assess your own work and physical development as an actor during the semester.

IX. Important selections from the UAF Student Code of Conduct:

“UAF requires students to conduct themselves honestly and responsibly, and to respect the rights of others. Conduct that unreasonably interferes with the learning environment or that violates the rights of others is prohibited…. Honesty is a primary responsibility of you and every other UAF student. The following are common guidelines regarding academic integrity:

  • Students will not collaborate on any quizzes, in-class exams, or take-home exams that will contribute to their grade in a course, unless permission is granted by the instructor of the course. Only those materials permitted by the instructor may be used to assist in quizzes and examinations.
  • Students will not represent the work of others as their own. A student will attribute the source of information not original with himself or herself (direct quotes or paraphrases) in compositions, theses and other reports.
  • No work submitted for one course may be submitted for credit in another course without the explicit approval of both instructors.”

IX. Disabilities Services:

The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. I will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, phone: 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

X. Support Services:

 XII. Tentative Semester Overview (always subject to change!):

NOTE: Each class will begin with a 20 minute physical warm-up of cardio activity, stretching and yoga. Because of the location of the class, I will be extra aware of letting you leave on time…but this means that class must start on time and I expect everyone to be ready to work at the start of class.

Week 1:

1/17 Enrollment, Business, Course Objectives, Grading Policy, Warm-ups

 Week 2:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part One and Handouts: Imagination and Concentration and Incorporation and Characterization by Michael Chekhov

1/22 Learn warm-up sequence

1/24 Learn warm-up sequence, Room Walk/ Circle Exercises/ Alexander Alignment/ Basic Michael Chekhov Exercises

 Week 3:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Two

1/29 Isolations/ Room Walk w/ body leading, Balloon, Rope, Tug-o-War

1/31 Balance & Counter-Balance (back/arm stretching w/ standing/sitting, standing/lying down w/partner, back to back, back to front, airplane)/ Trading Fours

 Week 4:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Three

2/5 Rolls: forward, backward, Stand/Roll/Stand / Trading Fours

2/7 Rolls: side, group, Human Ball / Trading Fours

Week 5:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Four

2/12 Lifts: back to back, back to front, t-back, kohala / Trading Fours

2/14 Lifts: hip lift, baby, shoulder / Trading Fours

 Week 6:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Five

2/19 Review of Lifts & Rolls/ Trading Fours into Contact Improv

2/21 Movement Piece #1: Evolution (Solo)

 Week 7:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Six

2/26 Stage Combat Video: David Boushey


2/28 Stage Combat: slaps, Roundhouse punch, John Wayne punch, blocks, stomach punch, knee to stomach

 Week 8:

Weekly Reading: Movement for Actors: Part Seven

3/5 Stage Combat: head slams wall/ floor, scratch, hair pull, choke/break-out, stomach kick, face kick, chest kick on floor

3/7 Stage Combat: body throw/roll, forward fall, side fall, back fall

 *******SPRING BREAK*******

 Week 9:

3/19 Stage Combat Review and Choreography

3/21 Stage Combat Pieces: performances

 Week 10:

3/26 Clowning Work

3/28 Clowning Work

 Week 11:

4/2 Clown Piece Performances

4/4 Contact Improv

 Week 12:

Reading: Cohen: Lesson 13 & 14 (p.170-208)

4/9 Movement Pieces #3: Symbiosis Performances

4/11 Moliere/ Restoration Movement Day/ Readings Discussion

 Week 13:


4/16 Moliere/ Restoration Scenes (1)

4/18 Moliere/ Restoration Scenes (1)

 Week 14:

Reading: Cohen: Lesson 15 (p.194-230)

4/23 Moliere/ Restoration Scenes (1)

4/25 Moliere/ Restoration Scenes (1)

 Week 15:

Reading: The Wearing of a Costume: Chapter 10 Handout

4/30 Moliere/ Restoration Scenes (1)

5/2 Final Rehearsals/ Discussion