Program Total Credits: 124
The four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program prepares students for careers in the professional theater or for continued study at the graduate level. In the first year, students concentrate on finding the “core of the actor” through the study of improvisation, monologue, emotional discovery, speech, and movement. In addition to fostering these acting skills, the first year of training is also designed to encourage an in-depth self-analysis of the student’s commitment, discipline, and professionalism. The second year is devoted to technique training, during which actors develop a sense of conversational reality and strengthen their imagination, responsiveness, and spontaneity. This level of training also addresses an actor’s skill for evoking a full, accessible inner life.
The third year is dedicated to giving shape and specificity to the actor’s behavior and aims to refine technique and deepen characterization. Advanced scene study and an introduction to working on style are also integral to this level of training. The focus of the fourth year is on classical performance and preparing the student to enter the profession. Students are given instruction in audition and camera techniques, resume preparation, how to work with agents, and more. The fourth year culminates with an audition-clinic given by a selected panel of agents, directors, and casting representatives.
Actor training in the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts lies at the heart of the two performance curricula. The training is designed to cultivate the actor’s ability to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” Students develop an understanding that such truth begins with a shared interconnectedness between actors onstage.
Early technique studies, for majors in both acting and musical theater, emphasize that the “reality of doing” is rooted in a full emotional life, driven by action and expressed with meaning, clarity, and theatricality. To this end, students are challenged to cultivate a fuller understanding of themselves and to continually exercise their skills as analysts of text and as observers of human behavior.
The program introduces students to a range of training methods, such as Linklater, Meisner, IPA, LeCoq, Williamson, Fitzmaurice, and Laban, as a part of their instruction. The successful student should emerge from the program with a practicable performance technique in place, which enables her/him to develop and sustain a role from first rehearsal to closing night.
Students completing these programs are expected to be knowledgeable about a variety of styles and types of drama, and the challenges presented by each; to work in a vocally and physically free and efficient manner; to be able to identify their character type, and its potential range within the casting conventions of the industry; to have a sense of how to begin to establish a career as a performer; and to possess a work ethic that will support the collaborative nature of theatrical production.
Students graduating from the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Acting program will
- Be able to analyze a text and place their skills in the service of telling a story by fulfilling the demands of that text, using “action” as the primary building block of rehearsal and performance:
- Be able to act and react authentically, specifically and imaginatively within the given circumstances of a scene:
- Be able to initiate action and respond to imaginative and emotional impulses with a dynamically aligned body, free of unnecessary tension, efficient and expressive in action, and capable of transformation according to the demands of character and given circumstances:
- Possess a strong, supported and natural speaking voice capable of speaking Standard American Speech expressively, with distinction and clarity, and capable of transformation according to the demands of character, and given circumstances:
- Be adaptable and fearless in facing the varying demands of dramatic forms, theatrical styles and directors:
- Be able to function comfortably and productively within a group dynamic with confidence in their own abilities and trust in their fellows.