Concentration in Performance

Students entering the Performance Concentration will have the ability, aptitude, and stamina to pursue a program of study intended to provide rigorous professional training for a career as a performing artist within the context of a liberal arts curriculum, either as a professional actor or a creative collaborator with strong interpersonal communication and group problem-solving skills essential for success in the public sector. This course of study provides student actors with core physical and vocal technique and a variety of approaches to the acting process from which they may glean their own approach to character building. The concentration emphasizes both theoretical and practical aspects of theatre as an art form, as well as a commercial industry, and trains well-rounded, responsible theatre artists who value ensemble and collaboration within an artistic community.

Courses in Performance

Students in Performance are able to take concentration related classes every term they are enrolled at CSU.

  • Introduction to Performance: Freeing the imagination with workshops from every member of the permanent faculty and a wealth of improvisation and the use (and creation of your own) white mask.
  • Acting I: Beginning scene study with an emphasis on exploring action/objective and the given circumstances of a selected text. The fundamentals of acting: self-confidence, trust, collaboration–developing the actor’s imagination and expressive technique through scene study and directed improvisation. Translating theatre texts into effective and convincing stage action.
  • Acting II: Developing range and depth in approaches to acting: the construction of character; sound preparation for playing monologues and scenes; audition techniques; genres and styles in acting with a focus on naturalism and realism as major conventions for the contemporary stage actor.
  • Reading Shakespeare: The intensive study of Shakespeare text focusing on one play which will be performed at the end of the term.
  • Voice and Speech for the Theatre: This course includes diagnostic work, instruction, vocal exercise and interpretive work based on the work of such important coaches as Kristin Linklater, Roy Hart, and Edith Skinner. The general emphasis is on freeing the body and voice from habitual tensions and patterns for optimal vocal awareness.
  • Classical Text: The Cicely Berry approach to voice and speech for speaking classical text.
  • Acting III: Using exercises to stimulate imagination and inspire instinctual choices actors will use contemporary acting methods in a wide range of dramatic texts. Advanced experience, study and training in acting methods applied to a variety of styles and genres: ranging from the contemporary, experimental or postmodern, to traditions of farce, comedies of manners, or classical plays.
  • Professional Actor Preparation: This class will focus on all phases of “getting the job.” We will begin by diagnosing your most saleable qualities, then move on to understanding how the casting process works. We will cover typing, defining the various industry jobs (both above-the-line and below-the-line), “breakdowns,” interviews, photos/resumes, agents, managers, casting directors, cold reading, prepared readings (for both TV/film and theatre) and monologues, on-camera acting, creating a one-person show. This class is also a reality check for those who are seriously considering the life as a professional actor.
  • Advanced Topics in Acting: Author-specific actor challenges for the advanced actor (e.g., Brecht, Beckett, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Moliere, and contemporary writers). May be taken two times for credit.
  • Theatre Seminar