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LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT, LOCAL PRODUCTION TEAM, LOCAL ACTORS, LOCAL THEATRE VENUE
Written by Sydney playwright Gerry Greenland, directed by Allan Walpole & co-directed by Christine Greenough & starring Kim Knuckey & Lynden Jones, THE MAINTENANCE ROOM is a two-hander that really does have a fantastic production team attached.
Playing @ the King Street Theatre from 7th Nov to 30th Nov, Tues to Sat @ 7.30pm & Sat. matinee @ 2pm
Bookings via www.trybooking.com/dpla
Have a very successful season & big chookas to you all. See you there everyone.
EMERGING TALENT MAKING THEIR OWN THEATRE PRACTICE & CV
I met Ainslie & Scott at the Howard Fine Sydney Masterclass in June/July this year. They were among a handful of young emerging actors who had made the committment to further their acting craft by doing on-going study. I can not tell you how wonderful it was to witness their scene work.
And in November they will be putting that masterclass professional development to the test as part of the cast in John Patrick Shanley’s The Dreamer Examines His Pillow.
Playing @ THE TAP GALLERY from 10th to 21st December, ‘THE DREAMER’ puts love through the hoops with characters just making it through to the other side of the equation. And with the brilliant dialogue & word-smithery of Mr.Shanley, the cast will have a wild & wonderful ride.
Directed by Vashti Pontaks & produced by UpPathed Theatre Company, cast also includes colleague Peter McAullum & Leah Russell.
Do get along to support this production at THE TAP in Deember….keep an eye out for the promo. hitting the streets as this Blog goes live.
Chookas & lots of love Ainslie, Scott, Peter & the whole production team.
WEST SIDE SHORTS IN MELBOURNE
Tom Vogel @ ANGRY PRODUCTIONS does it again. A great film festival crammed full of interesting & varied short films for $5 at the door – what a bargain!. Dinner & drinks available at the venue. Drakon Pictures, starnow.com & the Comedy Lounge will be sponsoring some great prizes on the night.
Check out the website for more information – www.angryproductions.org
PROJECT SCI-FI BLASTS OFF IN NOVEMBER
Filmmakers this is one for you: do you have what it takes to make a SiFi flick in 1 month?…if so & this sounds a bit crazy & fab then contact Tom Papas @ firstname.lastname@example.org to get all the information. To register yourself & your crew go to www.project-scifi.com & take the challenge to make a far-out weird’n'wonderful Sci-Fi flick in 1 month. Prizes….$10,000 in cool cash & WD products.
You got to start on November 1st & wrap by midnight November 30th 2013.
Awards ceremony is on Friday 13th December (that’s a fitting date for Sci-Fi screenings) at which all the finalists flicks will be screened.
Tom Papas is festival director & can also be contacted at/on: +61 407 295 520, SKYPE:screenmyshorts.
Hello & welcome to the RPW Industry Blog July 2013 Edition. It’s an extra special one this month with a focus on the Howard Fine Sydney Masterclass held over 4 days over June/July.
Many of you wanted to know more about Howard’s masterclass & asked me to write about it in more detail next time I participated in one. In response to that, I’ve added more editorial comments & personal views which may give you a deeper insight into the whole masterclass process as led by Howard.
Please feel free to share my Industry Blog with like-minded friends, colleagues, interested individuals or via LinkedIn & FaceBook.
Read on & enjoy.
2013 HOWARD FINE SYDNEY MASTERCLASS
“Armed with a passion for self-expression, with a point of view about his world and a specific goal to reach for, the actor must acquire a mastery of his craft – or all the talent and good will in the world will count for nothing.” Uta Hagen from A Challenge for the Actor.
Held at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Pavilion over 4 days – June 29 to July 2 – US acting teacher Howard Fine led 18 actors through the most intense & focused scene workshops currently available to Australian actors. The masterclass was also open & inclusive of interested actors, directors & acting teachers who audited, but did not participate in, each days’ work.
Homework & Preparation…no Punch without Judy
But before any of us gathered at the Bondi Pav., the core work kicked off at the beginning of June when we were sent our play allocation & scene partner selection which Howard did in LA. It is in our own best interest to get cracking straight away by making connection with our partner & getting together for a first meet’n'greet & table read of the play. It is up to us which scene we prepare for masterclass & there is a short list of guidelines to assist us in approaching this selection in a specific & logistically disciplined way, here are a few:
*maximum of 5 minutes for our scene – start at the beginning of a scene or when a characters enters/exists; time the scene when it is on it’s ‘feet’ – go 5 minutes & stop.
*memorization – word for word memorization is required, no paraphrasing or adding words.
*read the play, not just the scene, many times.
In tandem with our rehearsals we are required to read Howard’s book, Fine on Acting:a vision of the craft, because in Howard’s book (along with much much more) are The 8 Steps to Role Preparation and Script Analysis which we are required to use as our ‘navigation’ tools in preparation for the masterclass. It is also a good idea to read A Challenge for the ACTOR by Uta Hagen because in this book is the bed-rock technique & work ethic that is the corner-stone of what & how Howard teaches.
And then there is ‘making place’ – creating the physical environment of your scene is as best as you possibly can…a living room from The Goat (the play I worked on with scene partner Michael Long), a bedroom & kitchen combo from Blue Surge , a hotel room from Hooters, a small internal courtyard for Doubt…..”PLACE includes the continent, country, city or village, neighborhood, house or apartment, and rooms in which the characters live.” A Challenge for the ACTOR.
Michael & I rehearsed in my garage & we created our living room together from what was at our disposal from my home & whatever was needed & discovered we needed through the rehearsal process. We tried not to impose anything that was not substantiated by the 8 Steps, the Given Circumstances & our respective character work & discoveries.
Homework, preparation, the 8 Steps, research, reading, imagining, rehearsing, disciplined memorization, knowing the play in detail, creating place, costume, props et al is essential. And if you are thinking to yourself ..’it’s a lot of work..’, you’re right, it is.
Yet this is the level of application & preparation that is expected because it directly ties in with the powerful work ethic that is laid down in Miss Hagen’s book & which is fundamental to Howard’s vision of the craft …“Acting takes a great amount of preparation and it does require rehearsal.” ….. Fine on Acting. If you have a work ethic & vision – great! – now get ready to ‘value-add’ to your established practice; re-boot entrenched acting habits that may have been holding you back; evolve your craft to the next level of mastery. It’s all on offer.
Scene Work on the Floor @ The Pav.
We begin at 9.30am with The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute & steadily work our way through 6 more scenes from plays such as Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, The Goat & Blue Surge. After every scene Howard joins the actors on stage for notes, adjustments & the all essential self-analysis opportunity precipitated by Howard’s opening question - “What worked?, what didn’t? & why?.
This part of the process is intense & specific: Howard engages the actor in detailed analysis & critique, it’s a rigorous process but so very worthwhile. Actors need to have done their homework & preparation thoroughly to be ready & available to take full advantage of the learning curves that come up during Howard’s feedback sessions. Following this session, the actors re-set & then re-work the scene straight away.
Part of Howard’s strategy is to ask the actor to self-assess – what worked/what didn’t/& why? – because he wants us to evolve as strong actors with a solid work ethic & a great ‘bull-shit meter’- to learn to call ourselves on our acting when it’s not working or we’re dipping into bad habits like judging the character, playing an idea, pre-shaping, rushing or sitting in the feelings.
Something to ponder….for some actors this part of the masterclass can be confronting no doubt about it. It can be difficult to accept exacting & precise critique which needs us to be frank & honest about our work, especially in front of peers. Divesting oneself of foibles, ego & fears as much as possible is never easy & pretty much always scary.
Being blocked & closed-off to this process (for whatever reasons!) is going to be emotional, painful even, & yes, very difficult to take in. But if we can find a way to move through it, find a way to let this part of the feedback session seep in to our ‘guts’, than genuine (& truthful) break-throughs can be achieved. Applying that to myself: if I want to seek mastery of my craft then I have to come on-board with open heart & mind, I have to allow change to take place.
A Shared Space on all fronts….
Audience seating at Howard’s masterclass can be considered a ‘work zone’ too. Actors, auditors, teachers, directors & HFSA management all share this space & are included in the feedback sessions, Q&A & if they feel like it, are welcome in assisting the stage management of the scene changes.
Certainly when The Goat needed setting up & striking we couldn’t have done it without Patrick, Aaron, Michelle, Oliver, Lindsey, Hannah, Sam, masterclass alumni & auditor Ian Stenlake & Co-Director of HFSA in Melbourne Patrick Constantinou - a fabulous bunch of co-creatives one’n'all.
This attitude makes for a brilliant collegiate environment & right from the start Howard reminds us all that masterclass is exactly that – class. Last year I audited a masterclass in Melbourne which was led by a superb US actress hosted by one of Melbourne’s busy acting schools & the participants were roped off in the seating bank – OH PLEASE!, the rest of us felt like the poor cousins from back’a WoopWoop…awful!.
And having been to countless workshops, masterclasses, on-goings, courses, Grad. & Post Grad. residentials in Australia, England & the US, a mature collegiate environment is the way to go.
Learning Curves – a personal reflection
Howard’s masterclass is an intensive sabbatical for me, devoid of the pressure to ‘perform’; a chance to get back to the floor & work hard on my acting craft in a class context with a great teacher who loves actors, is passionate about what he does. Howard teaches an acting technique that is not in opposition to how I work: but rather is evolutionary to my work/skill/craft. As with the previous 2 masterclasses, I’ve taken away valuable notes & adjustments that will find their way into all my acting work. Ultimately, this is what masterclass is about for me & why I want to study with Howard.
Big love’n'hugs to the HFSA management team Patrick Constaninou, Phil Evans & Catherine Hallam for producing the masterclass & bringing Howard to Sydney.
My scene partner, Michael Long, has had a hell of a year & I hope doing the masterclass kick-starts a cycle (pardon the pun! ) that sees you getting back to what you love doing – acting. Kudos & hugs for our collaboration this past month working on Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?
And to my fellow masterclass actors…allowing me to share your work & learn from you reminds me of why I am there with you:
“I want to cultivate the seed that was placed in me
until the last small twig has grown”
- Käthe Kollwitz
German painter, printmaker & sculptor whose work offered an eloquent account of the human condition, and the tragedy of war, in the first half of the 20th century.