CALIFORNIA ACTING WORKSHOP
Dear Actors We're back and after an amazing summer last year, we're eager to get back to work. We couldn't be happier with the way things turned out, in fact, both students and faculty went away thrilled with the work we accomplished. Every single student who attended last year ranked their experience either a 9 or 10 out of 10!
a We've assembled a group of great teachers again, all of whom have big plans for the summer workshop, and again we are planning a host of activities to supplement the classes. Our program offers rich three week experience for students who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of acting.
As our name suggests we approach these three weeks very much as a workshop. Which is to say our emphasis will be on process as opposed to product — while there will certainly be performance opportunities as a part of the workshop, the camp is not focused on a major production. You will be presenting your work from time to time, and the workshop will culminate with the presentation of final projects, but our emphasis will be on developing the tools which will enable you to do the work required in developing a character, and in expanding the way you use your voice and body on stage.
In building these tools you'll be in several different classrooms a day, focusing on different aspects of the craft of acting. We'll be challenging you in your classes, pushing you in new directions, opening up aspects of acting you may not have fully experienced before. But the work of acting is, at its heart, play — and we'll be making sure not to lose sight of that during the workshop either. As we've said, we're very excited about our program — we think you'll find that it'll open doors into new dimensions of acting and that you'll find that once those doors are open, your range as an actor will grow in dynamic ways. So fill out those forms and mail them in — with one year under our belt, this one promises to be even better! Sincerely Andy and Abe
The California Acting Workshop is designed to give young actors training in several different acting skills: basic acting technique, voice, movement, and improvisation. While many will have had some introduction to some of these skills and approaches to the craft of acting, our aim is to give workshop participants a more intensive exposure to some of the tools they will need to pursue as they develop as actors. The primary focus of the workshop will be on developing a character – always the central focus of any actor. Each workshop participant will have several opportunities to present their work – whether it be the development of a character from a scripted piece (the majority of the workshops will deal with script work) or a character from an improvised scenario. The largest part of this work will take the form of scenes and monologues – and it is our intention that each student will leave the workshop with a monologue that he or she feels confident performing, whether as an audition or performance piece.
Students will work extensively with one of the teachers during their three weeks in preparing their pieces, both scenes and monologues. During the second half of the session, each group will work with their primary teacher in developing a final project for presentation at the end of the three weeks. Other projects – scenes, monologues and so forth – will be presented at various points during the workshop.
Along with work with their primary teacher, each student will rotate through workshops with the other teachers as well as each teacher has specific areas of particular strength. In these secondary workshops, each student will be exposed to the focus of each of the other teachers – thus, they will spend time studying a variety of skills. In these secondary workshops, students will do exercises related specifically to teacher's specialty, and also work with the material they are developing with their primary teacher from the point of view of the secondary skill (for example, in a secondary workshop with the movement teacher, students will concentrate more specifically on the movement aspects of their performance, and fill out their characters from that perspective). We will also supplement the daily class schedule with guest speakers and related activities – several blocks of time will be devoted to a discussion of directing techniques, for example, and we will also take several opportunities to see local professional theater.
In this way we aim to get young actors thinking about acting from a number of different perspectives, and to offer them an introduction to and help develop the many skills which make up the varied work of the actor. It promises to be a busy three weeks, but fun and rewarding as well!
Students will choose one of these offerings for their major focus during the workshop (projects are developed only in the major workshops) and will rotate through all of the other areas for supplementary workshops during each week.
Acting Technique this class will focus primarily on building a character and bringing that character to life onstage. We will approach this through work with monologues and scenes, as well as by working with other non-script-based techniques during class time. Actors may also be asked to develop exercises on their own or with partners as a part of the process. Possible Projects – presentation of scenes and/or monologues, presentation of a one-act play, and more.
Improvisational Acting – in this class, actors will work on presenting non-scripted scenes – scenes created 'in the moment' and developed from suggestions from classmates, the audience, or the instructor. Though the most common and popular form of improvisational acting is improv comedy (which will certainly be a major component of this class), we will also examine the use of improvisation when approaching serious situations as well. The class will begin by defining and developing basic improvisational 'rules' and guidelines, and proceed on to more advanced scenarios. Possible Projects – improvised scenes for performance, an evening of improvised scenarios, and more.
Voice this class will focus on the use of voice in acting. The voice is one of the actor's most valuable tools, and also one of the most versatile when developed. In this class you will learn how to care for your voice, and experiment with the range of expression and character you can create. This is not a musical theater class – though you will do vocal exercises to warm up and experiment with your voice, there will be little if any singing required in this class – as such, no singing experience is necessary. Possible Projects – a radio play, or others.
Movement much like the voice class will focus on acting through the use of the voice, this class will approach acting through utilizing the body to communicate. Along with the voice, the body is one of the actor's primary tools, and through getting to know our bodies and their expressive potential, we'll develop another avenue for reinforcing and developing character and expression onstage. As with the voice class, this is not a musical theater class – though some of the exercises will have dance-like qualities, the purpose of the class is to approach the issues of acting through the body, and to experiment with our bodies and the communicative potential they hold for us as actors -- and as such, no dancing experience is necessary. Possible Projects – commedia dell’arte scenes or a one-act play, scenes or a play featuring a large amount of physical acting/comedy, a ‘silent-movie’- type of short play, and more.
Andy Spear is in his second year in the Master’s Program in Creative Writing at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Before enrolling at LSU, Andy worked for six years at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, where he taught Drama, English and History. He has taught several drama workshops in the Bay Area, and worked with a number of small companies including The Credible Theater Company, The Berkeley Theater Project and The 7 Woods Players as a director, actor and also as a playwright. Andy also teaches at the Jefferson Public Speaking Institute and will be co-directing the California Acting Workshop.
A Berkeley native with roots in Oakland, Eisa Davis began acting at age five with roles at UC Berkeley and on a local television station. After graduating from Berkeley High, her work in eleven college plays, musicals, and one independent film garnered her the Jonathan Levy Prize for Acting. Since then she has worked on stage, film and television in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York. Recent roles include June in "June and Jean in Concert" at the Public Theater in New York, Dr. Dobson on "Guiding Light" and Veronica in Athol Fugard’s "Valley Song." She holds a BA from Harvard and a MFA in acting and playwriting from the Actors Studio School of Dramatic Arts.
Abe Newman is currently a graduate student in Germany. While getting his BA from Stanford University Abe was very active in the Stanford Drama department playing the First Guard in Antigony and Motley in Castle Specter. He has also played several other roles including Berger in Hair and Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors. In addition to his many parts as an actor Abe produced and directed plays at Stanford. Abe has taught at several other Education Unlimited programs and will be co-directing the California Acting Workshop with Andy Spear.
Robert Nichols has worked professionally as an actor, director, producer, stage manager and motion picture cinematographer. He studied theater at UCLA and went on to train with ACT and The Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. Robert was involved in the formation of two theater companies: Shakespeare Festival LA and the Meager Theater. He has directed and stage managed professionally in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Robert has previously served as the director of a summer college theater program in Texas and currently works at several other Education Unlimited programs.
Along with the daily work in the studio, the workshop will offer plenty of other activities over the three weeks. We will, of course, want to watch other actors at work, so we'll take four trips to local professional theaters to see plays (plans at this point include a variety of shows, from Shakespeare to musical theater to political theater). Each of these trips will be followed by a discussion of the production (and some, particularly Shakespeare, will be preceded by an introductory session as well). We will also present guest speakers — local actors and theater producers will come and discuss with us the ins and outs of their craft, and give us tips and advice. Each participant will also take part in reading groups, where we will read and discuss plays of interest to the modern theater. We'll have a talent show, and of course we’ll be entertained by presentations of each others’ work (scenes, monologues, etc.) during the the program.
Along with theater activities, we'll also have a chance to take breaks from the workshop material, to hike in the Berkeley Hills, take shopping expeditions, and get exercise. Recreational activities (sports and other non-theater games) will be planned each evening or afternoon, so along with learning lines and rehearsing, there will be ample opportunity for socializing with the other participants.
FROM THE PARTICIPANTS:
"The teachers exceeded my overall expectations! There was a perfect amount of attention from them. I learned more in these three weeks than I have in a year of theater class!"
Danielle Penny, 1998 Camp Participant
"I would recommend this camp because I had a ball here. The instruction was great — I loved the instructors. I found them helpful and think my experience here will be helpful in the future for auditions."
Suzi Green, 1998 Camp Participant
"It was a very caring, loving, fun environment. Everyone was friends with everyone else. It was GREAT!" It was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had."
Abbe Anderson, 1998 Camp Participant
"I'd recommend this camp because it teaches young actors everything about real world acting. In fact, they taught us a lot not only about acting but life as well. I felt not only did we learn how to become characters, but we got to know ourselves better as well."
Patrick Hammon, 1998 Camp Participant
FACTS AT A GLANCE
University of California, Berkeley
Program Date June 19 - July 9, June 27 - July 9
Resident Program fees $1,950
Computer Program fees $975
Fee schedule $450 towards tuition is required upon application. The tuition balance is due by May 15. A partial refund of one-half the tuition balance will be returned if we receive notice of cancellation at least 30 days prior to the start of the program. Students may pay in full upon application.
Additional deposits A refundable room and key deposit of $125 is required. The family is responsible for any damage costs incurred by the participant. Forfeiture of deposit will result if keys are not returned upon departure.
Financial aid A limited amount of aid is available on a need-only basis. Recent tax forms are required for consideration.
Fees cover Full tuition for all program electives, residence hall lodging for the duration of the program, a meal program, workbooks and materials for program electives, access to athletic and recreational facilities, most planned recreational and evening activities, and camp memorabilia.
Fees do not cover Transportation to and from the program site, spending and laundry money, bath linens, bed linens, nights of additional lodging if necessary.
Student responsibilities and conduct Students are expected to attend all scheduled events, classes, and seminars. Students must conduct themselves in a mature and responsible manner, following all program and university guidelines and fully respecting the rights of others.
After application Students are accepted into the program on a first come first serve basis. Accepted students will be sent a follow-up packet with all final enrollment material. This packet includes: a medical treatment and insurance form, a student profile questionnaire, a rules agreement form which must be signed by both the student and a legal guardian, and complete information on housing, meals, and transportation. All forms must be completed, signed, and returned to the CAW before a student may attend the workshop.