Studio: Drama

Drama Studio

Lee Lobenhofer, Coordinator
The Drama Studio is a professional training program that provides students with the skills and techniques necessary to pursue a career in acting. This training prepares students to enter directly into professional careers in stage, film, and television or as students into Theater, Speech and Communications Departments of colleges, universities and conservatories. The focus is on career preparation through courses in Theater History and Criticism, Acting, Voice and Diction, Physical Techniques and Dance, and Career and Financial Management. Guest artists have included: Al Pacino, Alan Rickman, Ben Stiller, Jake Gyllenhaal, Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Alec Baldwin, Edie Falco, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Michael J. Fox, Alan Cumming, Delroy Lindo, Peter Facinelli, and Don King (SNL).

Grade 9

Term 1 Term 2
Acting 1 Acting 2
Dance 1 Dance 2
Theater Survey 1 Theater Survey 2
Voice and Diction 1 Voice and Diction 2

Grade 10

Term 1 Term 2
Acting 3 Acting 4
Dance 3 Dance 4
Physical Theater 1 Physical Theater 2
Play and Analysis 1 Play and Analysis 2
Voice and Diction 3 Voice and Diction 4
Improvisation 1 Improvisation 2

Grade 11

Term 1 Term 2
Acting 5 Acting 6
Dance 5 Dance 6
Audition Technique Stage Audition Technique Camera
Musical Theater 1 Musical Theater 2
Film History 1 Film History 2
Improvisation 3 Improvisation 4

Grade 12

Term 1  Term 2
Acting 7 Acting 8
Dance 7 Dance 8
Career Financial Career Financial Management 2
Management 1 Career Financial

Core Curricular Areas

Acting – Acting is the core element of the curriculum and all Acting Studio classes develop students’ understanding of the Stanislavski technique. Students are also introduced to Meisner, Stella Adler, and the Michael Chekhov Techniques. Students must complete and pass the full-year course of Acting in order to be promoted to the next year’s level.

Physical Techniques and Dance – Physical Techniques and Dance offers a series of exercises adapted from various styles of dance and theater movement that are natural to all body types and designed to facilitate the execution of specific actions that require increased range of motion, considerable strength and moderate coordination. Classes may include Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, Mime, Stage Combat, Viewpoints, and Physical Theater.

Theater Survey (Theater History, Play Analysis, and Film Study) – through the study of Theatre and film history as well as the study and analysis of seminal plays from the Greeks through today, students are introduced to the elements of Dramatic Structure, theatrical and film genres, Theatre and film theory.

Voice and Diction – Voice and Diction training gives the actor an instrument capable of producing and projecting sound in a healthy manner, and the ability to articulate clearly in performance. Classes focus on Projection, Diction, IPA, Breath Support, Vocal Anatomy, and Standard American Speech, including voice over, accent work and working with heightened language.

Career and Financial Management – Career readiness classes are designed to prepare graduating seniors for the professional world. Classes include: Acting for the Camera, Career Management, Video Production, Screenwriting, Audition Technique, and Musical Theatre.

Course Offerings

Please note: In each department, not all courses are offered each year.

All of the following courses are required and sequential. Active and consistent participation in class-work is essential for the completion of each course. Most courses require performance projects as well as written research/analytical assignments or projects.

Note: After-school rehearsals are required for all performance classes.

Grade 9

Acting 1 and 2 – Students explore and develop their instruments. They learn basic acting technique, beginning with work on self, characters that are close to self, and building an ensemble. Students present scene work within the department.

Dance 1 and 2 – Introduces a basic vocabulary of movement and begins to explore range of motion, body rhythm, and basic technique with a focus on ensemble.

Theater Survey 1 and 2 – Theater Survey is a one-year course exploring the origins of theater, beginning with the Ancient Greeks and concluding with the beginnings of Modern Drama and Realism. Students will identify major theater artists, staging practices, performance events and theatrical forms, exploring how Theater supports, reflects, and changes our culture and society. Included in Survey is an overview of World Theater.

Voice and Diction 1 and 2 – This class focuses on freeing the natural voice, increasing resonance, articulation of consonants and blends, proper placement and breathing, ear training, support and projection in voice production. Students are introduced to phonetics and the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as a tool. Included in Voice and Diction are classes in Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, relaxation and focus techniques, and Physical and Vocal Improvisation.

Grade 10

Acting 3 and 4 – Students continue to explore and develop their acting technique. Students present scene work within the department.

Dance 3 and 4 – Beginning jazz and tap dance. Students present dance combinations and routines that make them aware of their own performance in relation to that of the rest of the group.

Physical Theater 1 and 2 – Students develop technique and physical freedom through exploration of skills in hand-to-hand stage combat, self-defense, mime, juggling, acrobatics, and relaxation exercises, as well as period styles ranging from Kabuki to Shakespeare.

Play Analysis 1 and 2 – In this course students will study and analyze seminal plays, themes and theatrical styles of the 19th-21st Centuries, focusing on elements such as structure, character, language, cultural context, and larger social significance.

Voice and Diction 3 and 4 – Students create an Individualized Speech and Voice Plan (ISVP) focusing on their own unique challenges and goals. Students are introduced to recording techniques, to IPA transcription and to American Standard Speech (to expand their character options in addition to working on clarity of speech when approaching their own regionalisms). Included in Voice and Diction are classes in Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, relaxation and focus techniques, and Physical and Vocal Improvisation.

Improvisation 1 and 2 – Actors practice and learn basic improvisational skills through short form exercises, games, and activities with a focus on playing in the moment, building story, and operating on impulses.

Grade 11

Acting 5 and 6 – The Junior Acting class introduces the concept of extension of self; students must go outside of self for to create character. Students work on scenes from modern theater, children’s theater, Classical theater, Absurdist theater, heightened text, and farce. Work is rooted in physical and textual exploration of character and the study of period styles. Students present scene work to an invited audience in the Fall and Spring semesters in the Little Flower Theater.

Audition Technique Stage and Camera – This course introduces the student to audition preparation and the audition process for theater, film, and television. Fall semester is dedicated to selecting and performing Classical and contemporary monologues for theater auditions. The Spring semester focuses on film. Students gain hands on experience, taking on the roles of production crew, director, producer, actor, etc…

Dance 5 and 6 – Beginning Ballet and Modern. This course supports the studio work on classical and stylized works. Students continue the techniques learned in the prior years and apply them to further work in ballet and other stylized dance.

Musical Theater 1 and 2 – Musical Theater introduces the student to the study of song interpretation for the stage and acting on pitch. The class prepares students to perform short musical theater scenes, duets, and solos. This class culminates in final performances: Winter and Spring Sing. This class also incorporates a third year of vocal production.

Film History – Film History is a course designed to familiarize young actors with artistically significant classic and contemporary films and film performances with a specific focus on genre, archetypes, and character work.

Improvisation 3 and 4 – First semester focuses on long form improvisation (Harolds) leading to the writing and performance of devised Theater pieces through improvisation in the Spring semester.

Grade 12

Acting 7 and 8 – In the Senior year, students have the opportunity to apply three years of skills and techniques to the rehearsal and production of fully produced One Acts and Plays for invited audiences and public performances. Projects include large group scenes and One Act plays, three fully mounted/professionally designed plays as part of the Spring Drama Festival (SDFs), and an invitation only Showcase presented to casting directors, managers, agents, and producers. SDFs have included Cabaret, Our Town, and As You Like It. Following SDFs, students immerse themselves in student-generated projects. These have included: musical theater/cabaret, filmmaking, and playwriting.

On Camera 1 and 2 – (includes the following course offerings)Acting in Close up – students work with industry professionals to learn the art of the close-up in film acting, using scenes and monologues, in preparation for professional auditions in Film and Television and to fine tune audition material for college arts supplements and Young Arts. Video Production – This class will provide an introduction to Digital Video production by taking participants through the process of producing a class project (production process). Emphasis on the art of lighting, audio and camera work for video. Screenwriting and Pre-production – Students will take an idea from concept to pre-production. Students will learn how to write in standard screenplay format, create a shot list, story boards, a shooting schedule, and put together a creative package which can be used to generate interest and financing for a film.

Career and Financial Management – Equips students with the skills and knowledge they will need to be working actors. Students are introduced to various job opportunities in theater, film, and media where they can apply the skills and techniques they have learned in our program. Students acquire practical professional information about unions, agents, resumes, pictures, interviews, and their options after graduation. Students meet working professionals from theater, film, television, and radio who speak about their fields and answer students’ questions.

Dance 7 and 8 – Students continue to build strength and flexibility, with special attention to relaxation techniques, Yoga, and Pilates. Focus on partnering may include ballroom, ballet, tap, salsa, tango, and choreography.