Theater: Course Offerings

All classes meet one double period per week unless otherwise noted.

Barnett, Lamazor
This is a professional caliber acting class with emphasis on character study, acting technique, breathing, vocal, and relaxation exercises. Time is devoted to movement exercise, sense memory, and to improvisation, games and storytelling. Ensemble work is encouraged and developed. Scenes and monologues focus on discovering the individual actor’s personal relationship to the role and to the text. Actors learn how to break down scripts and understand beats and actions. There are opportunities for performing scenes and monologues, geared toward the individual actor’s needs and desires. Scene rehearsals with partners often take place outside class time. We may have visits from special guest artists and workshop leaders, and we take trips to see exceptional productions around town. Ibsen, Shaw, Stoppard, Mamet, Churchill, Williams, Shepard, Howe, Wilde, Shakespeare, and many more fascinating friends await you. Experience the joy of playing great roles! All acting class students participate in the Scene Marathon, which is presented in our theater. Come, be a part of the living theater!

Acting Intensive
Lamazor – 4x per week
Same description as above, except that this class may work on collaborative playwriting/performance or musical projects, film projects, or full length plays, in addition to scenes and monologues. Students may direct scenes or projects on occasion. There may be several performances at different sites over the course of the year. Imagination, empathy, humor and love are our guiding forces. In this time period, in which technology is so heavily relied upon as the means of communication and self-expression, this class focuses on “being here” and being passionately “present” as artists, humans and authentic inter-actors! This class functions as a true, joyful “company” of actors! All Acting Intensive students participate in the Scene Marathon, which is presented in our theater. We will take trips to productions of note! Prerequisite: open only to advanced students with the permission of the instructor.

Actor’s Voice 
Osborn – 1x per week
The wonderful world of dialects, speech and vocal production awaits you. Funny voices, accents and more are explored in this class in which the vocal side of acting is stressed. Poetry, improvisation, contemporary and classical texts are used, and we work on several class projects including scene and monologue work. Last year’s material included The Importance of Being Earnest, A Streetcar Named Desire, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Braveheart. We incorporate relaxation techniques, voice building, and breathing to help actors deal with the demands of auditions and performance. There are also opportunities to work on eliminating accents and addressing individual speech problems. This dynamic and practical class is tailored to the specific needs of its students.

African Dance 
Jackson, Mackall
African Dance is an exciting survey of the techniques and traditions of dances from the African Diaspora with a special emphasis on the dances of West Africa. Classes are accompanied by live drumming. Note: Participation in the High School Dance Concert, an essential element of this class, requires attendance at weekend and afterschool rehearsals.

Basic Make-up and Hair Techniques for Stage and Studio
Learn some basic and traditional make-up techniques for theater, photo, and film. Character make-up and camera-ready make-up are the focal points of the class. The class will be taught in two units, camera ready make-up for photo, film and television, and character make-up for theater and film. Techniques include but are not limited to: make-up health and safety, base matching, color correction, facial contouring, full-face application under time constraints, head shot make-up, age make-up, animals and monsters, character make-up and facial hair, bruising and minimal special effects. Hair techniques such as wig preparation, hair extensions, period hairstyles, and heat tool usage may also be incorporated if time permits. Students will learn techniques by experimenting on their own faces and working with fellow students. Working on set with photographers and film makers, and understanding what makes good make-up for these media will be covered. Class includes two photo shoot sessions with a student model. Students will create two finished portfolio photos, and will learn about building a professional make-up portfolio. Students will also have opportunities to apply skills by working on student films and other school productions. Book: The Makeup Artist Handbook by Davis and Hall

Brooklyn City Limits Live: Advanced Improv
Those who follow the wisdom of the Tao prize simplicity and spontaneity above all else, and that is precisely what we study in this course. Each section of this class creates its own structure and dynamic, building scenes with location, relationship, and action as the building blocks. After reviewing the basic rules of improvisation, we explore a wide array of styles and forms, comedic as well as dramatic. Informal performances for lower and middle school students may arise, and an evening performance is optional. In addition to learning how to create characters and interact with scene partners, you develop skills that help you in auditions, rehearsals, and performances. While you strengthen your acting abilities, your health and well being are improved by laughter—comedy is our main course!

While we focus on the process, working in the moment, we will have our eyes set on several performances during the spring semester. Fear not! You will learn how to get INSIDE HERMAN’S HEAD, do a HAROLD, and discover your inner buffoon. We will also work on the more-common-than-you-might-think issue of STAGEFRIGHT! Come join in on the fun! Everyone has more than enough life experience to be stage-worthy in this class!

Costume Production 
Scott, Shand
This class focuses on costumes for theater department play productions and related areas of research, design, and construction. Students learn about the design process from creating a concept and drawings to pattern-making, draping, and sewing. In addition to focusing on costumes for stage and film, students will also have the chance to explore other topics such as fashion design and the intersection of art and costume. Classes alternate between working on personal designs and production-related projects. There will be some opportunities to help design and coordinate pieces for the High School Playwriting Festival, the High School Film Festival or the High School Dance Concert under the guidance of the instructor. Note: Crew participation for a minimum of one play or dance concert is required.

Dance 1 
The Department
The class focuses on developing students’ individual choreographic voices through improvisation and the creation of short movement studies. Class begins with a warm-up that integrates different techniques from ballet to African dance to yoga. Students are exposed to different choreographic approaches through attending performances and studying videotapes; in addition they have the opportunity to work with professional choreographers, learning pieces and taking direction. Dances developed both individually and collaboratively with the class are performed during the year. Those developed in association with the instructor are eligible for performance in the student dance concert, for which original costumes may be designed or assembled by students. Both new and experienced dancers are welcome.

Dance/Choreography 2/3
The Department
This class studies dance technique, improvisation and composition to create expressive dance pieces, exploring movement and drama through solo, duet and group forms. Modern dance technique leads to improvisational work and short studies to explore movement textures and qualities. We work with directing multiple bodies in space, using partnering techniques and weight exchange to convey emotional meaning, and studying formal compositional elements such as symmetry, tension, dynamic use of space, costume and environments. Diverse dance styles, uses of rhythm, and music from many traditions are investigated, and students have the opportunity to learn pieces and take direction from professional choreographers. Dances developed in association with the instructor are eligible for performance in the student dance concert, for which original costumes may be designed or assembled by students. There are field trips to notable performances. Prerequisite: Dance 1 or permission of the instructor.

Dance/Choreography 4
The Department
We continue our study of dance technique, improvisation and composition. Emphasis is on the development of the individual artistic voice through complex, expressive dances incorporating solo and group aspects, examination of multimedia techniques, and the use of juxtaposition and collage to expand dramatic possibilities. Each student undertakes a research project supporting the creation of his or her own dances. The Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts provides a resource for our study of diverse music and the integration of costuming, language, and props or sets into our dances. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and take direction from professional choreographers. Dances developed in the class in association with the instructor are eligible for performance in the student dance concert, for which original costumes may be designed or assembled by students. There are field trips to notable performances.
Prerequisite: Dance 1, Dance/Choreography 2/3, and permission of the instructor.

High School Puppetry 
Asbell – 1x per week
This course is an extension of middle school puppetry. All skill levels are welcome. Individual projects may include rod puppets, hand puppets, marionettes, body puppets, and masks.

Moving Image 1
The Department
This class concentrates on the study of film as a two dimensional art form that moves, focusing on the dynamics of screen space and the language of cinema. Working with 16mm film equipment, the class emphasizes the basics of film emulsions, lenses, light readings, and editing. Students develop ideas into well-structured screen narratives, and then each student writes a one page treatment for a short silent film. Working individually or with a production partner, students storyboard, produce, direct, and edit their treatment into a 16mm black & white film. This is a non-linear course requiring constant participation and much out-of-class work. Note: This class is open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.

Moving Image 2
The Department
With continuing emphasis on two-dimensional design and the language of cinema, this class focuses on digital video production and electronic editing, producing sync-sound narrative projects. Students are introduced to sound recording technology, and the aesthetics of the sound image — writing dialogue, directing actors, recording location sound, and layering sound images during editing. The class produces four, seven minute screenplays developed during the screenwriting component of the class. Students are divided into production teams to storyboard, cast, produce, direct, shoot and edit these team projects. Prerequisite: Moving Image 1 and permission of the instructor.

Moving Image 3
This is a course in advanced film production and color cinematography. Students shoot 16mm color negative film, transfer the images to high definition video, and then edit electronically, producing a three- to-five minute work with a complete soundtrack, including an original score. Prerequisite: Moving Image 1 and 2 and permission of the instructor.

Ninth Grade Videography 
This two-semester workshop reflects the structure of an auteur HD video production class. Students will intensively study all aspects of filmmaking and videography including camera direction, directing the actor, lighting for color, screenwriting, interview techniques, editing, and sound design. In the second semester each crew of three will write, cast, and independently shoot an HD, color short or documentary. In this burgeoning age of technological advancement, digital filmmaking has emerged as one of our era’s principle forms of expression, fiction, and broadcast. The goal of this course is to give students the skill sets to tell their own stories in a new and accessible format. Note: This class is open to 9th graders only.

Performance Art 
In this class, we cultivate an improvisational technique that encourages personal storytelling, spontaneity and abstract thinking. There is a unit on autobiography and a unit on interactive site-specific theater (performances, ‘happenings,’ or installations set outside the traditional stage). Past work has taken place in a stairwell, a park, and on a street corner; pieces have taken the form of a scavenger hunts, dance parties, and games. Students work individually and in groups. Through trips and lively discussions the class learns about the role of performance in history and contemporary culture. Given the role of technology in art (and life!) today, this class is also a time to ‘disconnect,’ and to explore the impact that live performance can have on both the audience and the artist. This is a course for students with or without previous experience in improvisation. It is class for visual artists and dancers interested in working with text, and writers wanting to transform their ideas into physical life. The class also benefits anyone who is nervous when speaking in public.

This course explores the elements of playwriting that make it a three-dimensional living art form. Through weekly exercises, we approach a playscript as a blueprint. The course culminates in staged readings of the students’ plays. In addition, each student investigates the work of a modern playwright, discussing and demonstrating scenes from that writer’s work to the class.

Playwriting Intensive
The student is encouraged to identify and investigate his or her central imaginative concepts and to shape them into the stuff of drama. Principles of dramatic construction as set forth in Aristotle’s Poetics, “the logic of consciousness” as described by Suzanne Langer, and “the enslavement of the attention” as recommended by Artaud are among the concepts discussed. Principles of directing are demonstrated. The class culminates in a festival of workshop productions of the students’ plays. The festival requires a major commitment of time and energy during the last three weeks of school. Prerequisite: Playwriting OR one year of middle school Playwriting, OR one year of Acting or Acting Intensive, OR one year of Play Production or Tech Theater AND permission of instructor.

Shakespeare Workshop
Get ready for Will the Bard in all his glory… from sonnet to soaring soliloquy. The workshop begins with learning and performing a sonnet then proceeds to monologues and on to scenes and finally at year’s end we bring it all together in a black box performance (at Manhattan’s Drama Book Shop) called “Will and Friends from Brooklyn.” Those friends may include some of the revenge tragedians such as Marlowe and Middleton and the later Restoration Comedians but it is mostly Shakespeare. In this workshop, you will experience the joy of playing Shakespeare and gain a trust and ease of performing the playwright’s blank verse as if it were your native tongue. You will also use all your other talents from singing to musical skills on instruments both modern and old fashioned. And in our scene studies, everyone plays a leading role.

Technical Theater
The Department
An introduction to stage carpentry and other theatrical craftsmanship, Technical Theater is both a practical and a theoretical course. Carpentry, electrics, audio, and effects lectures act as groundwork for hands-on experience with power tools, lighting equipment and sound gear. Students work side-by-side with their teachers, developing basic stage construction skills, building flats and platforms, creating props, and painting. Stage etiquette is adhered to in this productive environment. Students who wish to extend themselves further may apply for a position on a production running crew; it should be noted that this will require time outside of class.

Play Production
The Department – 3x per week
Each member of a production staff, from the director to the stagehand, has specific duties and skills. Students in this class learn techniques for running a smooth and professional show, taking on the responsibilities for our theatrical productions. Topics covered are construction, maintenance and set-up of props, reading and taping-out scale ground plans, writing cues, calling light and sound cues, and more. This is a course for advanced tech students committed to our theater and productions. Students with an interest in stage management, props mastering, as well as light, set, and sound design are encouraged to enroll and to deepen their experience of backstage life; the vital, unseen, component of the theater. Prerequisite: This course is open to students with one year of Technical Theater, or by permission of the instructors. All students are required to work on at least one production which will require time outside of class.