Shakespeare

Shakespeare work is in many ways the culmination of acting training; it draws on and joins together skills learned in voice class, acting class, movement, and script analysis in a holistic, organic way. Actors without this vital building block in the training may miss the revelatory moment “when it all comes together,” as well as missing out on important growth as an artist, through exploring some of the greatest characters ever written for the stage. Actors with any aspiration to do Shakespeare or other classical work in their career will find this class indispensable, as they will need to draw on thorough, rigorous training when approaching roles in these plays. Casting directors typically look for actors who can demonstrate a grasp of language and possess the ability to combine that with deep, rich, human behavior. But this work is also vital for any plays with heightened language, and even for film and television, in that it expands your imagination and emotional range, as well as your capacity for lighting-fast thought and maximal expressiveness. Actors often enter this class having done little or no Shakespeare work, and are frequently intimidated by Shakespeare’s language — but they are soon amazed at how directly the text speaks to them, and how much it unlocks their deepest emotional life and fullest actor’s imagination.

The class will plunge you into classical acting training. From Shakespearean warm-ups, to exercises that help you unlock the language, to one-on-one work on soliloquies of your choice, this class will give you tools and techniques that you can apply not only to Shakespeare but to all of your text work. The core of the class will be one-on-one work on speeches from the Shakespeare canon. Great attention is given to the particular needs of each individual student. During the course of the class, you will work in-depth on three contrasting speeches, as well as participate in feedback of your fellow artists, and in-group exercises. The class will build your understanding of Elizabethan culture, history, and theater practices, of figures of rhetoric and of versification, in a way that will inform and deepen your acting of the text.

Shakespeare is a second year class available to students in the acting program.

Louisa Proske( Shakespeare: )

Louisa Proske is a director of classics, new plays, and opera, and a Shakespeare acting teacher. She holds a MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama, and a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University, UK. Her classical productions include Shakespeare’s Cymbeline at Yale School of Drama; This Same Progeny of Evils (an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream) at the Hangar Theatre, Ithaca; As You Like It (Yale Summer Cabaret Shakespeare Festival); ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (The Tank, NYC); an international tour of Macbeth; other productions include Poulenc’s opera La Voix Humaine (Yale Opera/ Yale School of Drama); Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Strasberg Institute/ NYU); Rum 'n Coca Cola in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; A Servant To Two Masters (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Louisa taught and coached Shakespeare at the Hangar Theatre Lab Academy, at Mason Gross School of the Arts, and privately in New York City. She trained with Kristin Linklater and Peter Francis James, and studied Shakespeare with leading scholars at Cambridge University. She is a 2013 Drama League Directing Fellow and a member of the 2013/14 Soho Rep. Writer-Director Lab.

Testimonials

  • "This is an incredible program that has given me so much more than I ever expected. I have met with several casting directors who have known me for a number of years and they've commented on how much more grounded my work is."

    Brett Radek

    Student
  • "Working with classical text was a fear of mine. I had never done much work on it, and it felt too advanced for me. I struggled through the frustration of feeling like such a beginner, but it turned out to be one best classes for me at the studio."

    Irene Rivera

    Student