First Year Acting meets twice per week for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, and also requires at least 2 hours per week of outside work for rehearsals and homework. There are 64 classes in the first year.
The beginning of the first year acting Conservatory Program follows Sanford Meisner’s traditional sequence of improvisational exercises and basic scene work, starting with the repetition exercise. You will gradually start to work with imaginary circumstances of your own devising, and then deepen and expand the work over the course of the school year, interspersing the exercise work with basic scene work. All of the first year work is about each individual actor – working as yourself under imaginary circumstances.
There is no emphasis on character. Rather, the work invites you to develop and explore yourself and your acting instruments. You will expand your self-awareness, sensitivities, empathy, and imaginations.
Core acting skills will become habit. You learn to listen deeply, truthfully respond, express authentic emotional life fully under rich, imaginary circumstances. You will learn invaluable tools, (including emotional preparation) and how to work on basic scenes to keep them fresh and improvisational each time.
You learn how to “craft” – that is – how to do actor’s homework in order to reliably produce authentic, personal, imaginative and meaningful behavior in alignment with any given circumstances.
Through constant practice – both in class and outside of class – you develop solid, positive artistic habits. The work becomes part of your muscle memory. It becomes inevitable. You can’t help but do solid good basic acting as yourself under imaginary circumstances, because you’ve learned a set of tools and a process, and have made those a habit.