Acting (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Walton Wilson, Chair

Due to the current and inevitable future disruptions of COVID-19, neither Yale School of Drama nor Yale Repertory Theatre will produce a season of plays in 2020–2021. In service of our mission, the School of Drama is temporarily extending the M.F.A. and Certificate programs by one fully funded year of study. All sections pertaining to production work in this chapter of the bulletin refer to a typical production schedule and are not necessarily applicable for the 2020–2021 academic year.

The Acting department admits talented and committed individuals who possess an active intelligence, a strong imagination, and a physical and vocal instrument capable of development and transformation, and prepares them for work as professional actors. The program of study combines in-depth classroom training with extensive production work. At the conclusion of their training, individuals will be prepared to work on a wide range of material in a variety of venues.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020–2021 academic year will be an opportunity for both personal reflection and collective innovation, as well as a time to renew and deepen one’s artistry and practice. The curriculum offers more cross-disciplinary courses, electives, tutorials, and classes covering a wider range of topics and material than in a typical plan of study. Greater priority will be given to rest, self-care, and independent study. At the same time, the state of our nation and our field calls us more urgently than ever to continuous work on anti-racist pedagogy and practice in order to create a more just and joyful profession.

The first year is a highly disciplined period of training, concentrating on the basic principles and craft that lead to extraordinary acting, and identifying practical tools for mining the printed text for given circumstances, character, objective, and action. The second year begins with the collective creation of actor-generated stories and expands the focus into verse drama, with emphasis on understanding and performing the works of Shakespeare. The third year starts with developing self-scripted solo projects; and in the second term, actors will reexamine heightened and extended language through work on diverse texts from world literature. Students also have multiple courses in learning to work on camera, transferring their techniques to the medium of film. A fourth year has been added to the curriculum for the Classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024, to give those students further opportunities to apply their training in rehearsal and performance when production work resumes at the School and at Yale Repertory Theatre.

During the 2020–2021 academic year, any student who wants to act in a project outside the School of Drama must submit a written request in advance to the chair of Acting. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Yale Cabaret provides an additional, although strictly extracurricular, outlet for the exploration of a wide range of material, including self-scripted material, company-devised original work, adaptations, and musicals. The department’s chair works directly with the Yale Cabaret artistic directors regarding approval of Cabaret participation by actors.

With the exception of those courses marked as “electives” in their schedules, students are required to attend all classes in their curriculum.

Plan of Study: Acting

Class of 2024

Required Sequence

Year one (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 123a/b First-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 163b Text Analysis I
DRAM 173b Singing I
DRAM 180a Rehearsal Practicum (Part 1)
DRAM 373a Yoga/Qigong
DRAM 420a Making Stories Online
DRAM 483b Laban Principles
DRAM 493a The Actor’s Anatomy
DRAM 493b Pure Movement: The Work of Trish Arnold
DRAM 503a/b Acting Technique
DRAM 513a/b Breath, Body, Voice
DRAM 523a Making Theater in Virtual and Found Spaces
DRAM 543b Introduction to Stage Combat
DRAM 563a Activated Analysis (Part I)
DRAM 573a/b The Actor as Athlete
DRAM 583b Theatrical Intimacy
DRAM 593a Contemplative Practice for Artists
DRAM 593b Getting in the Body
DRAM 633a/b Anti-Racist Theater

Electives

Course Subject
DRAM 8a/b The Artist as Citizen
DRAM 803a Wellness and Self-Care
DRAM 813a Laughing Club
DRAM 823b On Happiness and Well-Being for the Artist
Year two (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 50a The Collaborative Process
DRAM 51b New Play Lab
DRAM 103a/b Acting I
DRAM 113a/b Voice I
DRAM 123a/b First-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 133a/b The Body as Source
DRAM 143a/b Alexander Technique I
DRAM 153a New Games II
DRAM 163b Text Analysis I
DRAM 180a Rehearsal Practicum (Part 2)
DRAM 340b Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy
DRAM 343a/b Alexander Technique III
DRAM 373a/b Yoga/Qigong
DRAM 403a/b Stage Combat and Intimacy I
DRAM 563a Activated Analysis (Part 2)
Year three (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 163a Text Analysis II
DRAM 203a Acting II: Shakespeare
DRAM 203b Acting II
DRAM 213a/b Voice II
DRAM 217a Langston Hughes Tutorial
DRAM 223a/b Second-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 243a/b Alexander Technique II
DRAM 263a/b Clown
DRAM 273b Dance for Actors
DRAM 283b Shakespeare Embodied
DRAM 405a Stage Combat II
DRAM 413a/b Singing II
Year four (2023–2024)
Course Subject
DRAM 207b Carlotta Tutorial
DRAM 233a The Body on Set
DRAM 253a Commedia
DRAM 273b Dance for Actors
DRAM 303a Acting III
DRAM 303b Actor Showcase
DRAM 313a Voice III
DRAM 313b Voice III: Focus, Application, Self-Calibration
DRAM 323a/b Third-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 343a/b Alexander Technique III
DRAM 363a Creating Actor-Generated Works
DRAM 423a/b Singing III
DRAM 463a On-Camera Acting Technique
DRAM 463b Taming the Cyclops: How to Do Your Best Work in an On-Camera Audition
DRAM 553a Theatre of the Oppressed Project
DRAM 763a The Art of the Self-Tape for Television, Motion Pictures, and Theater

Class of 2023

Required Sequence

Year two (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 133a The Body as Source: Refining the Physical
DRAM 153a New Games II
DRAM 163a Text Analysis II
DRAM 213a/b Voice II
DRAM 223a/b Second-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 243a/b Alexander Technique II Tutorials
DRAM 263b Clown
DRAM 273a Dance
DRAM 413a/b Singing II Tutorials
DRAM 523a Making Theater in Virtual and Found Spaces
DRAM 583b Theatrical Intimacy
DRAM 613b Introduction to Non-Contemporary Acting
DRAM 623a The Progression
DRAM 633a/b Anti-Racist Theater
DRAM 643b Stage Combat: Review and Practice
DRAM 653a The Actor as Creator
DRAM 783b Shakespeare Imagined

Electives

Course Subject
DRAM 8a/b The Artist as Citizen
DRAM 373a Yoga/Qigong
DRAM 573a/b The Actor as Athlete
DRAM 603a/b Company Warm-Up
DRAM 803a Wellness and Self-Care
DRAM 813a Laughing Club
DRAM 823b On Happiness and Well-Being for the Artist
DRAM 833b The Sandbox
DRAM 843b Vocal Practice and Review
DRAM 853b Shakespeare in Spanish
Year three (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 163a Text Analysis II
DRAM 203a Acting II: Shakespeare
DRAM 203b Acting II
DRAM 213a/b Voice II
DRAM 217a Langston Hughes Tutorial
DRAM 223a/b Second-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 243a/b Alexander Technique II
DRAM 263a/b Clown
DRAM 273b Dance for Actors
DRAM 283b Shakespeare Embodied
DRAM 405a Stage Combat II
DRAM 413a/b Singing II
Year four (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 207b Carlotta Tutorial
DRAM 233a The Body on Set
DRAM 253a Commedia
DRAM 273b Dance for Actors
DRAM 303a Acting III
DRAM 303b Actor Showcase
DRAM 313a Voice III
DRAM 313b Voice III: Focus, Application, Self-Calibration
DRAM 323a/b Third-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 343a/b Alexander Technique III
DRAM 363a Creating Actor-Generated Works
DRAM 423a/b Singing III
DRAM 463a On-Camera Acting Technique
DRAM 463b Taming the Cyclops: How to Do Your Best Work in an On-Camera Audition
DRAM 553a Theatre of the Oppressed Project
DRAM 763a The Art of the Self-Tape for Television, Motion Pictures, and Theater

Class of 2022

Required Sequence

Year three (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 210a Shakespeare Lab for Actors and Directors
DRAM 283b Shakespeare Embodied II
DRAM 313a Voice III Tutorials
DRAM 323a/b Third-Year Accent and Dialect Tutorials
DRAM 343a/b Alexander Technique III Tutorials
DRAM 383a Voiceover Workshop
DRAM 423a/b Singing III Tutorials
DRAM 523a Making Theater in Virtual and Found Spaces
DRAM 533a The NOW Project
DRAM 583b Theatrical Intimacy
DRAM 633a/b Anti-Racist Theater
DRAM 643b Stage Combat: Review and Practice
DRAM 703b Non-Contemporary Acting
DRAM 713a Voice Practice and Review
DRAM 713b Voice III: Introduction to Middendorf Breathwork
DRAM 723a Voices for Animation
DRAM 733b Work in the Microscale
DRAM 743b Audition Workshop
DRAM 753a On-Camera Workshop
DRAM 753b Clown II
DRAM 763a The Art of the Self-Tape for Television, Motion Pictures, and Theater
DRAM 763b Auditioning on Camera
DRAM 773b Navigating an Acting Career
DRAM 783a Solo Performance
DRAM 793b Showcase Preview

Electives

Course Subject
DRAM 8a/b The Artist as Citizen
DRAM 273a Dance
DRAM 373a Yoga/Qigong
DRAM 573a/b The Actor as Athlete
DRAM 603a/b Company Warm-Up
DRAM 803a Wellness and Self-Care
DRAM 813a Laughing Club
DRAM 823b On Happiness and Well-Being for the Artist
DRAM 833b The Sandbox
DRAM 843b Vocal Practice and Review
DRAM 853b Shakespeare in Spanish
Year four (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 207b Carlotta Tutorial
DRAM 233a The Body on Set
DRAM 253a Commedia
DRAM 273b Dance for Actors
DRAM 303a Acting III
DRAM 303b Actor Showcase
DRAM 313a Voice III
DRAM 313b Voice III: Focus, Application, Self-Calibration
DRAM 323a/b Third-Year Accents and Dialects
DRAM 343a/b Alexander Technique III
DRAM 363a Creating Actor-Generated Works
DRAM 423a/b Singing III
DRAM 463a On-Camera Acting Technique
DRAM 463b Taming the Cyclops: How to Do Your Best Work in an On-Camera Audition
DRAM 553a Theatre of the Oppressed Project
DRAM 763a The Art of the Self-Tape for Television, Motion Pictures, and Theater

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 3a/b, Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice This course meets both within individual departments and across disciplines, with students and faculty members as fellow learners, using readings, viewings, and discussions in pursuit of these goals: to identify the roots and branches of racism and white supremacy in the structures and practices of theater-making in the United States, including at Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre; to interrogate where the practices do harm and hinder; and to invest in the future by inviting students and faculty to imagine and uplift systems and cultures that do not depend upon or promote supremacy, to build a more just and equitable field.

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 8a/b, The Artist as Citizen This course offers theater artists and managers a forum for reading, writing, and discussion, which may be guided or self-directed. Each student has an opportunity to consider personal responsibility to collaborators, the audience, and the broader society, with specific reference to each artist’s personal history and identity. What ethical and practical frameworks should shape our art form and its professional sphere? How might they align with personal practice and with value systems of the wider world? With an individual’s culture of origin? Or with the culture(s) in which we choose to work? What are the obligations and privileges of national and/or global citizenship? How can love and joy be centered when the artist embraces the role of citizen? This course is offered in person in both fall and spring terms and may be taken no more than eight times during a student’s enrollment. James Bundy

[DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process See description under Directing. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 51b, New Play Lab See description under Playwriting. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 103a/b, Acting I The first year of scene study focuses on the plays of major twentieth- and twenty-first-century American playwrights in the first term and on the plays of Chekhov and Ibsen in the second term. The class is an all-encompassing exploration of the principles and craft that lead to exceptional acting. Actors engage in a rigorous investigation of text, personalization, character development, and character-specific listening in order to lift language off the page and translate it into the dynamic exchange of energy that stems from human need. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 113a/b, Voice I The first year of voice training is structured as a progression of exercises/experiences designed to liberate the individual’s natural voice from habitual psychophysical tensions; to connect image, intention, and emotion to breath and sound; to develop the voice’s potential for expression and awaken the actor’s appetite for language; and to promote vocal ease, clarity, power, stamina, range, and sensitivity to impulse. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 123a/b, First-Year Accents and Dialects Speech training seeks to broaden the actor’s range of imaginative vocal expression and to deepen the actor’s sensory relationship to language. Actors conduct a rigorous examination of their own speech habits, idiolects, and linguistic identity through exploration of vocal physiology. To encourage speech that flows freely from impulse and breath, the approach uses exercises that are actively rooted in the whole body rather than being limited to the surfaces of the mouth. The exploration of phonetics through the study of fundamental phonemes for the dialects of American English encourages flexibility, specificity, and transformation while lifting the actors’ speech from habitual patterns to mindful, embodied choices. In the second term, the actors broaden the boundaries of their language use through the study of dialects in connection with dramatic text. Cynthia Santos DeCure

DRAM 133a, The Body as Source: Refining the Physical In these sessions, actors use familiar physical training forms to deepen and refine the use of the body in the actor’s progress and craft. This course seeks to help actors notice and shift habits and patterns; deepen work with text, character, and body; and investigate physical scoring. Actors should come prepared to move and have text “softly memorized” at the start of each session. Erica Fae

[DRAM 133a/b, The Body as Source This class focuses on the relationship between physical precision and spontaneity. Students are encouraged to temporarily shed the “social body” in order to access and embody the farther reaches of the imagination, to deepen the body/emotion connection, and to strengthen their abilities to commit more fully, directly, and immediately to physical impulses and acting choices. The class utilizes various training exercises and includes some application to character creation, the playing of actions, and use of text. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 143a/b, Alexander Technique I Offered in all three years through class work and private tutorials, this work develops the actor’s kinesthetic awareness, fosters balance and alignment, and, through breath work, promotes the connection between voice and body. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 153a, New Games II This course explores the actor’s playful spirit and the notion of the theatrical event as “game.” Through a series of games and improvisation and composition exercises, students develop complicity with fellow actors/the audience and discover qualities of openness, spontaneity, generosity, and attack as they are encouraged to take risks, access their imagination, and play fully with their voice and body. Exercises explore status, focus, scale, presence, flow, and impulse while delving into the mysterious nature of “le jeu,” the actor’s pleasure in playing. Justine Williams

DRAM 163a, Text Analysis II This course seeks to provide students with tools to mine the printed text for given circumstances, character, objective, and action, noting the opportunities and limitations that the printed play script presents, and promoting the freedom and responsibility of the actor as an interpretive artist. James Bundy

DRAM 163b, Text Analysis I See description under DRAM 163a.

DRAM 173b, Singing I This class seeks to provide students with basic tools for mining character subtext in the words and music of a song so that the lyrics are activated to their full potential; to explore the nuts and bolts of singing with ease in public and working with an accompanist; to develop the actor’s depth of expression through song. Glenn Seven Allen, Anne Tofflemire

DRAM 180a, Rehearsal Practicum: Meeting the Play See description under Directing.

[DRAM 203a, Acting II: Shakespeare The first term of the second-year work focuses on the various tools that Shakespeare’s writing puts at the immediate disposal of both the actor and director, and the opportunity to expand the range of one’s capabilities as a performer by playing from choices supporting the demands of the text. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 203b, Acting II In the second term the emphasis on heightened and extended language continues through work on Molière, Shaw, and diverse texts from world literature. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 207b, Carlotta Tutorial See description under Playwriting. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 210a, Shakespeare Lab for Actors and Directors See description under Directing.

DRAM 213a/b, Voice II In the second year of voice training, students focus on meeting the demands of heightened text with rigorous clarity, emotional depth, and generosity of scale. Continued release work on the body, coupled with a larger array of vocal skills and increased imaginative capacity, gives actors access to their most expansive selves in order to serve the characters in classical plays. Louis Colaianni, Grace Zandarski

[DRAM 217a, Langston Hughes Tutorial See description under Playwriting. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 223a/b, Second-Year Accents and Dialects The second year of speech training continues to expand the actor’s range of vocal and imaginative expression and deepen sensory relationship to language as applied to dramatic texts. Intensive study of dialects and the fundamental phonemes for the dialects of American English provide multiple opportunities for the experience of character transformation and creating idiolect. Cynthia Santos DeCure, Beth McGuire

[DRAM 233a, The Body on Set This course deepens the training of the energetic body and explores how the body can be a fertile resource for the actor’s work for film, television, and new media. This approach to psychophysical work helps the actor create specific characterizations, supports the actor through multiple takes, and can guide the actor in everything from scaling performance for various lens sizes to managing a typically limited rehearsal process. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 243a/b, Alexander Technique II Tutorials This work develops the actor’s kinesthetic awareness; fosters balance and alignment; and, through breath work, promotes the connection between voice and body. Bill Connington, Jessica Wolf

[DRAM 253a, Commedia This course explores the classical archetypes of the commedia dell’arte. It makes use of mask, physical articulation, sound, and rhythm to develop the transformational power of the actors. When the mask is alive and impulses begin to travel with abandon through the physical psychology of the body, the student begins to understand the actor/audience relationship in all its ferocious beauty. The work is primarily improvisational with the actor/creator at the center of the theatrical conversation. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 263b, Clown This course focuses on the discovery of the playful self through exercises in rhythm, balance, generosity, and abandon. The blocks and filters that prevent the actor from following impulses fully are removed. It allows the actor to listen with the body and begin to give more value to the pleasure of performance. Once actors learn to play without worry, they begin to discover the personal clown that lives in the center of the comic world. Christopher Bayes

DRAM 273a, Dance This class explores some anatomical fundamentals of movement through a rigorous daily warm-up. Movement phrases are embodied investigating weight, intention, direction, and freedom. Original movement creations, musical theater styles, contact improvisation, and some vernacular dance forms are also done in class, culminating in combinations of text and movement where creative freedom in the physical realm is emphasized. Warm-up clothes are worn. Jennifer Archibald

[DRAM 273b, Dance for Actors See description under DRAM 273a. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 283b, Shakespeare Embodied II A review and continuing examination of the clues embedded in Shakespeare’s language as keys to character and action, guiding actors to passionate, imaginative, embodied relationships with Shakespeare, his people, and his world. A collective exploration of the interface between the actor’s identity and Shakespeare’s characters, and how we play Shakespeare in 2021. Monologues chosen by the actors, in consultation with the instructor. Daniela Varon

[DRAM 303a, Acting III Scene study begins with the study of Brecht and different approaches to action. Students tackle modern and contemporary material to discover how technique is adapted to the requirements of varying texts. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 303b, Actor Showcase In their final term, students choose and rehearse scenes, which are presented to agents, managers, casting directors, and other members of the industry in New York and Los Angeles. Gregory Wallace assists in the scene selection process, with input from Paul Mullins, Ellen Novack, Daniel Swee, and others. Paul Mullins directs the Showcase. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 313a, Voice III Tutorials The third-year curriculum continues the work of expanding vocal capacity, flexibility, endurance, and expressivity in order to prepare the actor to play any character in any space with ease. A variety of methodologies, including extended vocal techniques, are applied to resonance, range, and vocal extremes such as screaming and shouting. Gentle release work, designed to free the body from habitual muscular tension, is used to stimulate breath and sound, and enhance overall presence. This class also focuses rigorously on applying voice work to text with the implied goal of empowering actors to trust their voice, follow their imagination, and bring life to language on the stage. Grace Zandarski

[DRAM 313b, Voice III: Focus, Application, Self-Calibration The final term of voice training is designed to move the actor toward self-calibration of voice and body. Through weekly classes and tutorials, this course both reinforces and expands the experience of prior voice training, and introduces core principles of Middendorf Breathwork, in which students build kinesthetic sensation and focus on the entire body as a vocal mechanism. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 323a/b, Third-Year Accent and Dialect Tutorials There is often a deep-rooted crisis of identity for the actor when engaged in transformation. This can be felt profoundly when actors shift from their own idiolect into another idiolect or accent. The shift involves technical, artistic, and spiritual elasticity, and most importantly, self-trust—a trust that the transformation will be truthful, personal, and authentic in relation to the project at hand. Speech tutorials focus on how actors individually can build their toolbox in relation to their origins and elasticity. Materials for the tutorials can be text evolving from DRAM 523 or any areas of speech and text work that the actor wishes to explore. Beth McGuire

[DRAM 340b, Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy See description under Directing. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 343a/b, Alexander Technique III Tutorials See description under DRAM 243a/b.

[DRAM 353b, Actor’s Workshop A course for actors in their final term of actor training. The course offers actors a number of possibilities for revisiting, via scene work, the basic fundamentals of craft that were emphasized in the first year of their training, as well as an opportunity to stretch themselves in areas that are untested or unexplored. Material is chosen by the instructor as well as by the actors who are participating. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 363a, Creating Actor-Generated Works The goal of this course is to create actor-generated works for the theater. Students answer these questions: What are they passionate about? What are they longing to express? What are their concerns and desires? Using many techniques of discovery and exploration, the actors create theater works that spring from the answers to these questions. The resulting works celebrate the actor’s individuality and diversity, encouraging access to ethnic roots and traditions. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 373a, Yoga/Qigong This course incorporates forms from the practices of yoga (asana/pranayama) and qigong (energy work). Both vigorous and grounding, these physical forms provide a structure that will be used to map blocked energy in the body and mind. With an emphasis on linking breath and movement and the downregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, we practice feeling the flow of energy through the body in order to cultivate a deeper relationship with the present moment. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Annie Piper

DRAM 383a, Voiceover Workshop This course seeks to provide students with an overview of the voiceover business. Specifically, we focus both on the technical aspects of self-recording and on navigating through the process of auditioning for casting directors. We develop and increase the speed of the actor’s interpretive, analytical, and creative skills to adapt to a very quick creative process. Most importantly, actors learn to “find” the best part of their voice—where their vocal strengths lie, and where their voice fits in the landscape of voiceover work. Billy Serow

[DRAM 403a/b, Stage Combat I Unarmed combat in the first year prepares the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Skills of concentration, partner-awareness, and impulse-response are also fostered in this work. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 405a, Stage Combat II Armed combat in the first year prepares the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Skills of concentration, partner-awareness, and impulse-response are also fostered in this work. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 413a/b, Singing II Tutorials This work explores the interplay and integration of imagination, intention, and breath, and the coordinated physical processes that result in a free and expressive singing voice. The actors gain experience in acting sung material through the active investigation of the emotional, linguistic, and musical demands in songs and musical scene work. Glenn Seven Allen, Anne Tofflemire

DRAM 420a, Making Stories Online See description under Directing.

DRAM 423a/b, Singing III Tutorials See description under DRAM 413a/b.

DRAM 453b, Independent Study: Yale Summer Cabaret Students who want to participate in the Yale Summer Cabaret may audition to be a performer or interview for positions in production, stage management, and administration. Yale Summer Cabaret offers an opportunity to participate in an ensemble company producing plays for the School of Drama, the larger Yale University community, and the city of New Haven. Through the Summer Cabaret, participating students gain hands-on, collaborative experience in all aspects of producing and performing a full summer season. Auditions and interviews are open to nondepartmental students. Chantal Rodriguez

[DRAM 463a, On-Camera Acting Technique This class introduces students to working on camera. Brief scenes are filmed the way films are shot: with master shots, two shots, over-the-shoulder, and close-up shots. The takes are edited into films, which are watched and critiqued. Various exercises on film are explored; and in each class, strong performances from well-known films are viewed and discussed. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 463b, Taming the Cyclops: How to Do Your Best Work in an On-Camera Audition In this class, students shoot, examine, and reshoot audition scenes from all genres of film and television, helping them acquire the necessary skills to audition successfully both in the audition room and on self-tapes. The class also includes workshops and meetings with some of the leading professional casting directors, agents, managers, entertainment lawyers, and actors working in the industry. All of this provides students with the skills and information needed to make a smooth transition into the professional world. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 483b, Laban Principles Laban Movement is a language of body and mind. Movement vocabulary is revealed through the actor’s imagination and connects to expression. Through the discovery of effort, shape, and space, the actor becomes a more dynamic communicator. The internal impulse reveals myriad spatial possibilities. The actor can shape the body into a shy retreat or expand into triumph. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 493a, The Actor’s Anatomy The body is the instrument of the actor. Through the study of anatomy and use of body mapping, connections are formed among all parts of the body. Using the whole self, the actor develops the sensory awareness needed to identify unconscious habits of tension that interfere with coordination. With greater command of physical use, movement sequences that expand balance, mobility, breath, and poise are explored. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 493b, Pure Movement: The Work of Trish Arnold Pure Movement links the body and breath to movement. Our bodies are conscious and expressive instruments. The actor connects intention to action and thought to movement. Pure Movement explores the actor’s breath and body through swings, bounces, undulations, and stretches. To find sustainable energy and balance, the actor must first learn to soften the body. A softened body has presence and readiness. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 503a/b, Acting Technique How does the actor prepare to enter the rehearsal process with a thorough understanding of what’s required to fully engage with the text, the director, and other actors? This course is geared toward promoting a rigorous and in-depth exploration of the questions actors must ask in order to find and claim ownership of their process. Actors spend the term engaging in a careful investigation of text, personalization, and character development while moving through a sequence of exercises and text work. Gregory Wallace

DRAM 513a/b, Breath, Body, Voice An exploration of basic principles and practices of voice training for the actor, including work on self-scripted material and other dramatic texts. Walton Wilson

DRAM 523a, Making Theater in Virtual and Found Spaces (An Opening Project) What is theater? What is performance? How do we expand our idea of ourselves as storytellers and the tools we can use to tell our stories? How do we create the intimacy and liveness of theater while working in nontraditional performance spaces? To explore these and other questions, we collaborate on small weekly projects in groups of different sizes. Each week, students engage with various online digital platforms (Zoom, Facebook Live, Twitch) alongside analog communication tools to experiment in different play spaces and to create small works of theatrical brilliance. Alongside the empathic work of the actor, we explore how these tools and processes provide actor-creators greater agency in their work. Tamilla Woodard, Justine Williams, and Acting faculty

DRAM 533a, The NOW Project In this course, actors create a self-generated work of solo performance inspired by the current world and their own current state of being. Students are challenged to create uniquely personal and individual work in content, form, and structure. The NOW Project offers a forum for students to engage deeply with their own artistry as storytellers to create a courageous work of self-expression that draws from their own novel experience of this moment in time. There is an online sharing with other members of the YSD community at the end of the term. Tamilla Woodard and Acting faculty

DRAM 543b, Introduction to Stage Combat An introduction to the principles of concentration, partner-awareness, and impulse response that prepare the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Kelsey Rainwater, Michael Rossmy

[DRAM 553a, Theatre of the Oppressed Project A practical introduction to the theory and practice of Theatre of the Oppressed through an arsenal of theatrical exercises leading to analysis of systemic oppression. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 563a, Activated Analysis I: Reconnaissance of the Mind An introduction to a methodology for actors and directors developed from Stanislavski’s final experiments. Through a progression of explorative readings, students chart all known given circumstances, building a visceral connection to the world of the play. They also investigate the unanswered questions of the text—zeroing in on those that excite their imaginations and pique their artistic curiosity—and begin to personalize them through études. Taught in conjunction with DRAM 180a. Annelise Lawson

DRAM 573a/b, The Actor as Athlete The goal of this course is to deepen actors’ connections to their body and breath through the filter of athletic functional movement. The course focuses on the fundamentals of anatomy and the principles of strength, endurance, and stability through multiple planes of motion. These concepts are explored and put into practice through a progression of increasingly rigorous movement labs. This results in performers with a heightened understanding of how their bodies move through space, maintaining natural poise and the connection to proper breathing techniques during exertion, a heightened endurance, and the ability to modulate, preserve, and sustain performance energy. Kelsey Rainwater, Michael Rossmy

DRAM 583b, Theatrical Intimacy These four sessions, designed specifically for online instruction, focus on the language and communication tools needed when approaching and working on intimacy in scenes or production. In the first session, foundational principles are reviewed to create safety and respect in the working environment. The next three sessions move into practice, with work on scenes from existing plays that call for intimacy. Breakout rooms are used, with instructor supervision, to slowly and mindfully practice setting up these moments of proposed physicality. Erica Fae, Kelsey Rainwater, Michael Rossmy

DRAM 593a, Contemplative Practice for Artists These sessions focus on awareness and grounding practices specifically designed for artists. While the work may closely resemble sitting practice (mindfulness meditation), conversation is centered around the thoughts and mental habits that tend to affect the practice of creating and collaborating. We begin this process of building internal clarity with the aim of supporting everyone’s creative work and well-being. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Erica Fae

DRAM 593b, Getting in the Body In these sessions, actors begin building a foundation of deep connection to thought and sensation as they occur in the body. The work focuses on opening up areas of the body that feel stagnant and starting to generate real flow. All this serves as a kind of conditioning, preparing the body to work for the actor in both generating and expressing content. Erica Fae

DRAM 603a/b, Company Warm-Up A forty-five-minute physical and/or vocal warm-up at the top of the class day led by one or more members of the Acting faculty. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor.

DRAM 613b, Introduction to Non-Contemporary Acting Contemporary theater relies upon actors to bring their authentic selves to the role. What happens when actors are asked to transform with their character and address language that is elevated or extended? How do actors approach the world of the playwright when it is heightened by poetry, myth, extravagance, or even fantasy? In this class, actors begin to identify ways to respond to the many challenges presented by heightened language and continue to apply the tools and principles of good acting when transforming into the characters that inhabit these worlds. Mary Lou Rosato

DRAM 623a, The Progression During these weekly sessions, actors review specific elements of the voice progression to deepen and augment their artistic practice. Walton Wilson

DRAM 633a/b, Anti-Racist Theater This is an acting class taught through the lens of anti-racism. The work incorporates theater exercises, social and restorative justice, cultural competency, self-care, and anti-racist theory to create an embodied experience where participants learn to utilize their sphere of power to disrupt white supremacy culture. This year, the course will host DRAM 3a/b, Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice. Nicole Brewer

DRAM 643b, Stage Combat: Review and Practice A review of the skills learned in the first and second years prepares the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Kelsey Rainwater, Michael Rossmy

DRAM 653a, The Actor as Creator What excites your spirit? What do you long to express? What do you know to be true? What are your favorite stories? Working individually or with partners, or in groups, how can you find the freedom to courageously say what you need to say, whether it be with words, images, song, dance, movement, or a form you invent? Each actor is supported and guided in the journey toward expressing their true voice. The work is shared online at the end of the term with the YSD community. Joan MacIntosh and Acting faculty

DRAM 703b, Non-Contemporary Acting Extended and heightened language comes in all shapes and sizes in plays written prior to the twenty-first century. This course takes a deeper dive into the challenges of these plays and gives actors the opportunity to use the tools developed during their initial exploration in Acting II. In consultation with the instructor, actors work on material chosen specifically to expand their emotional commitment to character, imagination, and skill. By deepening their experience with these plays and characters, actors gain the confidence necessary to approach these roles in the professional arena. Mary Lou Rosato

DRAM 713a, Voice Practice and Review Review, continued practice, and maintenance of the Linklater Voice progression with particular emphasis on the Channel for Sound, Resonance, and Text, providing the actor with clarification and artistic refinement of exercises, leading to deep ownership of the voice-freeing process. This is accomplished through individual coaching, partner work, group explorations, and warm-up. All exercises lead to practical application to text. The class is also a resource for vocal coaching for projects, as needed. Louis Colaianni

DRAM 713b, Voice III: Introduction to Middendorf Breathwork These four class sessions and tutorials introduce core principles of Middendorf Breathwork, in which students build kinesthetic sensation and focus on the entire body as a vocal mechanism. Dawn-Elin Fraser

DRAM 723a, Voices for Animation This course is an introduction to creating voices for animation. Students explore a variety of speech exercises including shifting vocal tract posture, tone, placement, and tempo to develop unique character voices. Actors practice embodying their original character voices and learn tools to sustain the voices consistently in performance. Cynthia Santos DeCure

DRAM 733b, Work in the Microscale These sessions are a workshop in physical scoring: that internal, energetic-body map that sets up and supports the actor’s work in a scene or production. Actors work with short solo texts (from either plays or films), develop the internal physical score, then test and refine the score to accommodate any kind of “blocking” changes. Erica Fae

DRAM 743b, Audition Workshop This workshop addresses the complex social and artistic dynamics of theater auditions and gives students a chance to further develop their personal practice and craft in preparation for pursuing opportunities in the field. Students receive sides to prepare, work with a reader, and are asked to make adjustments in real time, as well as to observe each other closely with generosity in an effort to develop confidence in best practices and their own individuality. James Bundy

DRAM 753a, On-Camera Workshop In each class, actors practice in front of the camera in close-up and medium shots with sides from movies and television shows in a variety of genres. The focus of the class is on the individual student’s process, concentrating on each student’s distinctive artistic choices with the material, while promoting a sense of ease and confidence working in front of the camera. Camillia Sanes Monet

DRAM 753b, Clown II See description under DRAM 263b.

DRAM 763a, The Art of the Self-Tape for Television, Motion Pictures, and Theater This course explores what makes it possible for actors to show their best work and reveal their artistry through creating an intelligent, professional, unique, and dynamic self-tape. Colman Domingo

DRAM 763b, Auditioning on Camera This class introduces actors to the skill of auditioning on camera. The emphasis is on self-taping for television, for film, and for theater auditions, since self-tapes may well be the primary way auditions will be handled in the future. Actors tape themselves in assigned professional audition scenes, which are watched and discussed in class. This is supplemented by work with Jessica Wolf, exploring how the use of the Alexander technique can help actors audition more successfully. Scenes from films and television shows are viewed and discussed as well. Ellen Novack

DRAM 773b, Navigating an Acting Career Guests from a variety of backgrounds in the entertainment industry meet online weekly to discuss the life and career of an actor and the post-quarantine future of theater, film, and television in America. Ellen Novack

DRAM 783a, Solo Performance An online course, using practicums and tutorials, to guide interested actors through the powerful tradition of solo performance, storytelling, and playmaking. Using the text Extreme Exposure, edited by Jo Bonney, and focusing specifically on BIPOC solo performances, the course seeks to activate the construct of creating with what is found, present, and necessary. Tarell Alvin McCraney

DRAM 783b, Shakespeare Imagined Imagine yourself encountering Shakespeare in his world and time; imagine his people encountering you and your world in 2021. This class is both an introduction to the clues embedded in Shakespeare’s plays as keys to character and action, and an exploration of how to bring your own history, identity, and psyche to his characters and stories, so they may still speak to us today. Sonnets, monologues, and group exercises. Daniela Varon

DRAM 793b, Showcase Preview What is the Actors Showcase, and what is a useful way to think about how to perform in it? What elements contribute to the choice of an effective scene for this showcase? This class is geared toward introducing actors to ideas that will hopefully assist them in their search for suitable dramatic material for the upcoming showcase. Gregory Wallace

DRAM 803a, Wellness and Self-Care Each of us can be our own healer. When we listen to our breath and tune in to our bodies, we can learn to let go of physical tension and emotional stress. We can rediscover inner harmony and reestablish balance of body and mind. We explore ways to bring wellness practices into our daily experience. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 813a, Laughing Club This course is a weekly wellness practice rooted in the healing properties of laughter. It has been shown that extended periods of laughter boost the immune system; strengthen both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; and, by releasing endorphins, work as a natural antidepressant. You are led through a series of exercises based on the Clown/Commedia pedagogy to release toxins through laughter and perhaps a deeper release into some of the more complicated emotions of the moment. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Christopher Bayes

DRAM 823b, On Happiness and Well-Being for the Artist This course is designed to give the artist tools for practice in identifying and enriching personal and collective happiness, equilibrium, and well-being. Over the course of eight weeks we examine how happiness arises and a variety of tools and practices that, when employed, can bring about a greater sense of well-being. Each week’s class features a guest speaker and personal practice. There is also a brief homework assignment of daily practice. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Cynthia Santos DeCure, Erica Fae, Joan MacIntosh, Jessica Wolf, Grace Zandarski

DRAM 833b, The Sandbox These weekly sessions function like an ongoing lab, or drop-in/tune-up training. Possible topics include habit-work, to vortexing/emanating, to energetic body investigations, to creating original work via physical practice. A brief description of each week’s training is sent out in advance of the class, so all can choose to come based on interest. Weekly sessions can also be designed based on students’ needs. Erica Fae

DRAM 843b, Vocal Practice and Review Part of the actor’s ongoing work is to develop a personal practice of connecting to breath and a kinesthetic relationship to sound and voice. This weekly course reviews and deepens the actor’s work using the tools and training of Fitzmaurice Voicework and Extended Vocal Work, among other methodologies, to develop greater autonomy of breath and voice in service to a fuller embodiment of language and free expression. Grace Zandarski

DRAM 853b, Shakespeare in Spanish An exploration into the challenges, rewards, and discoveries of playing Shakespeare in Spanish. Focusing on one play over four weeks, actors rehearse selected scenes and/or monologues, seeking a personalized, embodied connection with their characters. Playing Shakespeare in translation raises political, philosophical, psychological, and personal questions, including questions around universality, specificity, cultural identity, and access. We embrace discussion of these topics along with the work on acting and voice. The class is open to both native speakers and proficient speakers of Spanish, and is conducted in Spanish and English. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Cynthia Santos DeCure, Daniela Varon