Curriculum at NCDA
| Second Year | Advanced
The curriculum at the Conservatory teaches the student the job of an
actor and the way to become a working actor. This is accomplished through
a course of study that takes as its model the fundamental responsibility
of a professional actor, the rehearsal process. The student/artist develops
into a performer through the mastery of technique, interpretation, expression,
and professoinal orientation.
Through the Dramatic Interpretation segment of the course study, the
student learns how a professional actor approaches a script from research
and analysis through rehearsal and performance. Students work through
two plays each semester with new aspects of the rehearsal process, techniques
and play styles, being introduced and explored.
In the Dramatic Technique portion of the curriculum, students learn
to understand and utilize the body and voice as instruments of the actor.
Four semesters of progressive study and practice in movement, dance
and voice allows the student to explore his or her ranges and acquire
the techniques neccessary for performance.
Throughout the course of study, the student is instructed in the various
professional requirements of the working actor. Specifically the student
learns all aspects of the professional audition process; preparation,
protocol, motivation, goal setting, and career planning.
First Year Curriculum
111 Dramatic Interpretation: Acting; Discovering the Play
The course begins as does the rehearsal process with script analysis,
play disocovery, and silent acting. The student actor learns how
to explore a script in order to expand the imagination and to foster
an awareness and control of ones inner resources. Through work on
two plays of the expressionistic style the actor learns how to research
the play, discover the throughline of the play, the style of the
play, and the character spine. The plays are then rehearsed with
basic blocking techniques allowing the student actor to begin to
discover their acting/interpretive skills. Required Texts: two plays
selected by the instructor for rehearsal projects; Acting: The First
Six Lessons, Richard Boleslavsky.
121 Dramatic Technique: Voice
Devoted to the examination and practice of of the basic principles
of breathing, resonance, placement and dictation. This work continues
throughout the training with a view to developing vocal stamina,
projections, range and flexibility, which can then be fused with
the student actor's imaginative, creative process. Work also concentrates
on the formation of the individual sounds spoken in English and
the development of an ear for speech sounds. The emphasis is upon
the vocal interpretation as it relates to telling the story - communicating
the thoughts. Specifics of inflection, intonation, stress, and choral
reading are practiced.
Through this training the student begins to understand that the
human body is the instrument of the actor. Through repeated exercises
the student acquires the skill to use the entire body within the
actor's space. Through stretching, strengthening and isolation exercises
the student develops kinetic knowledge of the body, strength, flexibility
and range of motion. The student learns proper placement, alignment
and form through training which concentrates on the positions and
movements of classical ballet.
112 Dramatic Interpretation: Acting; Finding the Objectives
Continuing the rehearsal process, the study of the play is broken
down into scenes, actions, and beats allowing the student actor
to discover more specifically the character intent. In doing so
the student's powers of concentration and imagination are enhanced,
providing the student a multitude of choices and the confidence
to use his/her instinctive self. It is at this point that student
actors are expected to have more clearly defined character objectives
and intentions and commit these, as well as their lines to memory.
Rehearsal projects for this semester are of the romantic and neo-romantic
periods. Required Texts: two plays selected by the instructor for
rehearsal projects; Acting the First Six Lessons, Richard Boleslavsky;
The Practical Handbook for the Actor, Bruder, et al.
122 Dramatic Technique: Voice
Using the technical exercises learned in semester one the student
interprets selected pieces of poetry and text, focusing specifically
on the instrument of the voice. Also, the student applies vocal
techniques to the specific rehearsal projects in Dramatic Interpretation
The student learns to become comforatble with the work space and
develop through improvisation, confidence in the movement required
for various characters and themes. Training increases awareness
of musical rhythms and the dynamics of music to develop more focused
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Second Year Curriculum
211 Dramatic Interpretation: Finding the Character
In the third semester, the rehearsal process challenges the student
actor to further build and refine a character. With the introduction
of minimal costumes and props the actor discovers specific character
traits, rhythms in language and movement, and the character's history
and feelings towards others in the play. The rehearsal projects
are in the Greek and Commedia del Arte styles.This semester includes
an in depth study of the origins, purposes, and stylistic periods
of the Theatre. Required Texts: to plays selected by the instructor
for rehearsal projects; The Essentials of Theatre, Oscar Brockett,
Building a Character, Konstantin Stanislavski.
221 Dramatic Technique: Voice & Movement (combined class)
This class combines both the vocal and physical self to the interpretive
process. Selections of song and dance, poetry, and choral readings
are studied and interpreted using the total physical self, the body
and the voice. Students learn technical dance vocabulary and basic
movement for all disciplines including ballet, tap, jazz, character,
and gymnastics and learn to use characteristics form each discipline
in production pieces. Focus is on refining performance skills through
learned choreographed production pieces which incorporate various
characterizations , themes and music.
221 Dramatic Interpretation: Acting in an Ensemble
In the final semester rehearsal projects the actor combines the
interpretive and technical work into an ensemble effort. Student
actors individually and as an ensemble fine tune and polish timing,
rhythem and transitions in order to accomplish a pre-determined
play direction. Focus is on learning to work in ensemble with director,
actors, and production and technical staff toward the goal of the
performance. The rehearsal projects are of the realistic and absurdist
styles and are presented n repertoire for an invited audience.
Rehearsal Projects are exercises for exploring an actor's process
and are not aimed toward performance results. Casting is determined
by the needs to the training rather than the demands of the play.
Projects are preseneted each semester in studio to the student body
and to the full faculty for evaluation. In the fourth semester Rehearsal
Projects are presented to an invited audience.
222 Dramatic Technique: Auditioning, Singing, Professoinal Orientation
This course offers students techniques and advice on the selection
and preparation of audition material. Students learn all apsects
of the professional auditioning process and gain experience through
audition workshops with faculty and professioonal guest directors.
The actor is introduced to solo and ensemble singing allowing further
employment of voice and body to achieve an intent.
The course revolves on different aspects of organizing the actor
to face the challenges of being a working actor. Specifically work
cneters on motivation, goal setting and following through on a career
plan. Students are also instructed in the current standards of headshot
selection and resumé preparation.
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Advanced Program Curriculum
311 Dramatic Interpretation
Actor's Repertory Theatre Production
321 Dramatic Technique
This course is designed to help the student understand theatre
from the perspective of the director. it also gives the student
insight into the interpretive dynamic which exists getween the actor
and director. Each student will select and direct a one-act or oher
short play. Performances are open to an invited public.
This course will give the student and over all understanding of
the organizational and technical aspects of theatre. The roles of
the persons who make up a theatre company are covered, with emphasis
on the relationships and responsibilities the actor has to each.
Stage Combat (unarmed)
Techniques for creating the illusion of dangerous and painful fighting
without weapons while maintaing full control to insure the safety
of the actor.
312 Dramatic Interpretation
Two Actor's Reporatory Theatre Productions
322 Dramatic Technique
Training in spcial skills, pratfalls, tumbling, counter-balance,
levers lifts, mounts, and partner activities, along with object
manipulation, stunts on and around chairs, tables etc.
Student learns basic make-up, corrective make-up and character
make-up, including the use of wigs, as well as prosthetics. This
class includes the assembling of personal make-up kits suited to
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