Guided by the methodology that has its roots in the “system” set forth by Constantin Stanislavski in his three groundbreaking books, An Actor Prepares, Building a Character and Creating a Role, the Actors Studio Drama School involves three years of intensive study in the dramatic arts.
Continuously evolving, the “system” informs the curriculum of this unique dramatic arts degree program. Whether an aspiring actor, director or playwright, you will begin your three-year exploration by studying the actor’s craft and developing a shared language. In the first year you will be consumed with learning the methodology and language, as well as training in your craft. In the second year, you and your fellow MFA candidates will immerse yourselves in unique and specialized training. Working together as an ensemble—actors, directors and playwrights—in your third year, you will apply your knowledge and skills in a Repertory Season.
The program begins with Orientation Week, during which students are introduced to the communal world of the theater in an informal introduction by teachers to the program’s philosophy, process and intentions. In these first classes, the students encounter another unique feature of the program: setting out on a side-by-side journey—as actors, directors and playwrights together—learning the common language that will enable them to collaborate productively, harmoniously, and seamlessly.
It is during this first week that the ensemble nature of the Actors Studio process will emerge.
Armed with the technical fundamentals to be used for the rest of their educational and professional careers, students move from preparation of their instrument (themselves) to preparation of the role.
This year’s focus is the formation of all the students into a repertory group. While continuing with their common and specialized courses, students will develop and collaborate on the dramatic material that will be presented: a weekly series of scenes, one-act plays, and if possible full-length plays, some written by program playwrights and all of them directed by program directors and acted by program actors.
Based on the Stanislavski/Actors Studio Method, MFA Acting students experience an intense training consisting of acting, movement, and voice programs. Students have the opportunity to develop their craft not only in their classes but also in a variety of public performing events.
Through theory and practice, directing students study the relationships of the director to the play, the playwright, the actor, the designers, and the audience in order to create a fully realized production, no matter how diverse the style.
Playwriting students learn to create meaningful personal stories and transform them into dramatic events and characters with deeply human and intense experiences.