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  • The URTA Q&A with Alexander Gelman |
    that come immediately to mind Northern Illinois University will be recruiting MFA designers this year in scene lighting and costume design as well as theatre technology What are the main qualities your NIU recruiters will be looking for when reviewing portfolios and interviewing candidates The design recruiters search is in many ways the same as that of the acting recruiters Gifted young artists who need and are genuinely interested in training I suspect all the programs also look for kindred spirits who are likely to connect with the aesthetic and professional values of their primary teachers How would you describe your own time in graduate school And how has your training benefited you in your own career I was very young 21 when I entered graduate school The time there was intoxicating exhausting terrifying and deeply enriching I believe that there were elements of the training that some of my older classmates were able to absorb easier than me I am also convinced that the reverse was true I graduated with a set of skills and a confidence in those skills I also had a lot more to learn I frequently remember my teachers wisdom occasionally down to specific instances and quotes While I proudly carry the flag of my alma mater I believe that at its best my classmates and my work is different from each other except for the professionalism we bring to each project What do you feel an actor should look for in a prospective MFA program There are three elements to successful training 1 A gifted student 2 Insightful and brilliant Master Teacher Faculty as a whole 3 The mutual belief in each other If an applicant receives an offer from a place that does not inspire in them the belief in their unique training they will be better off not going to school at all that year and continuing their search What are some of the guiding principles of actor training at NIU Commitment to authenticity truthfulness and fascination with the partner Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances Creation of a unique personal process that will enable each actor to work under any conditions in any style in all genres Northern Illinois University production of THE MISANTHROPE What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of working with student actors Witnessing and participating in a young artist s discovery of their own power What advice would you give to someone who has just completed a MFA and is about to embark on their theatre career Ideally you have attained a personal process that is meant to serve you over a lifetime of work Rely on it and protect it Protecting it does not mean arguing for it with colleagues who come from different traditions It does mean translating all the input that comes at you into your process so that you NEVER skip steps and ALWAYS rely on the work that you are trained to do That s what makes you a professional

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-alexander-gelman/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with Sara Becker |
    been for my training How would you describe your time in graduate school Probably everyone says this but I d describe it as intense I had a really wonderful mentor at the University of Wisconsin Madison Susan Sweeney pushed me hard and I trusted her completely We still have a very close mentor relationship and she s a big inspiration to me as a teacher How does voice work differ between classical roles and contemporary ones Every play is its own world classical or contemporary Part of rehearsal is figuring out what serves best I m doing that as a vocal coach as much as the actors are doing that as actors There are classical plays I ve done multiple times where each production required a different type of voice work I think that s something training does teaches you how to gauge what type of work you need to do in as many different performance situations and venues and scripts as possible What should an acting student look for in a training program Oh gosh I would hope that an acting student would do a whole lot of research You should be passionately in love with the program you chose You should know your professors and want to work with them specifically I tell people to work backwards think about the artist you want to be fifteen years from now Who is training the people out there with those types of careers Talk to people who went through the program you are interested in grads and current students After you do that level of research match it with some good soul searching and listen to your heart What advice would you give to someone who has just completed a MFA and is about to embark on their acting career

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-sara-becker/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Auditions – One Actor’s Story |
    eating the whole thing in front of the TV But after just a few minutes I got up put away my pride gathered my headshots and my courage and went back to the Hilton I contacted only those programs that I had researched and was keenly interested in I gave them my headshot and wrote them a little note telling them very briefly who I was why I was interested in their program and my contact info and availability for interviews Of the four that I handed these out to three of them contacted me and asked me in for an interview One of them I could tell immediately when I started talking to them that I was no longer interested in them The other two thanked me graciously for contacting them told me that they had enjoyed my work and that I had been on their list I got another interview simply because I smiled at the recruiter in the elevator and told him I was planning on visiting him in London This gentleman was gracious enough to tell me in a very democratic way that he felt that I had given a bad audition but that I wasn t a bad actor In the end I gave out every single one of the thirteen headshots and resumes I had brought and was able to interview audition privately with twelve separate programs two of them I had scheduled separately from URTA and two of them were not with URTA but had advertised open calls at URTA so a total of ten that were directly linked to URTA in some way if you re interested in the math Through the auditions I got coaching on my monologues from some of the industry s top professionals which in itself is a

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-auditions-one-actors-story/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with David McGraw |
    Melissa Turner and I act as personal trainers helping our students break down their work so that they can build a stronger foundation as stage managers Iowa is an academically rigorous program so we also expect applicants to be strong students as well How would you describe your own time in graduate school I did not enter grad school with the proper mindset I arrived wanting to prove myself and so I focused on demonstrating my strengths What I should have done was ask more questions and work outside of my comfort zone But by my second semester I was challenging myself In undergrad you answer the professor s questions In grad school you are the one asking the questions In recent years advances in technology have changed theater production in many ways How has that affected the role of the stage manager Not enough Stage managers tend to adapt other technology to our needs as there are relatively few programs or apps that were built directly for stage managers The challenge is that there are only a few thousand stage managers in the United States so it is difficult to justify the cost of developing new technology for such a relatively small group But as a Research I University we view part of our job to be developing and testing new technologies for stage managers in the field This is also why we conduct the Stage Manager Survey www smsurvey info What should a stage management student be looking for in a training program I recommend examining three components of each training program 1 How will the program help you achieve your 5 and 10 Year Plans How will this program assist you more than what an internship at a major theatre can offer In what position will you be to work upon graduation Will you have so much debt that you will need to take non theatre work or higher paying less rewarding work after studying the theatre that you love 2 What can the faculty offer you over 2 3 years of mentorship Unlike undergraduate programs you will be working with the same faculty member s all of the time Melissa Turner and I have very different backgrounds and stage management styles that though complementary offer different perspectives on leadership and life within theatre 3 Who will be your peers You will practically be living with these classmates during the course of your graduate studies Our grads maintain a blog www iowastagemanager com so that prospective students can see the type of community that they will be joining As faculty we spend a great deal of time recruiting students from different backgrounds to keep our team diverse but we also connect prospective students with current students Your peers will be your network for the rest of your career not only in terms of jobs but also as sympathetic confidants especially in such a solitary profession as stage management What do you find to be the most rewarding

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-david-mcgraw/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with James Knight |
    a four hander for over an hour and a half with no breaks Having to inhabit a character for that long of a time in a focused intense and naturalistic show it was a gift for an actor working on their craft How do you prepare for auditions I am almost always totally off book for every audition ready to bring my own choices and work with the director in the room if they ask for it Being on solid ground with the lines gives me an extra boost of confidence But being memorized also means that I work A LOT on all my audition sides The more time I have the better but I will spend good chunks of each day working them running them bugging my roommates and friends for help mumbling them out loud in the shower in the morning I even fall asleep running lines for my auditions Then I get it done and forget about it Sometimes letting myself forget about it is the best part of auditioning Do you approach classical roles differently than you do contemporary ones There are a lot more reference points for classical roles than contemporary ones You can watch a myriad of different film versions of Hamlet or Macbeth there probably aren t many if any available for the contemporary project you re working on And unlike a lot of other actors I love to see what other people have done with roles Once I feel like I have my own point of view about the character I ll start sifting through old movies books YouTube clips etc I m not looking to steal choices but there will invariably be some moment made by an actor that I hadn t even considered Different choices options perspectives it all gets filtered through me and the director for that particular project That information is out there why not take advantage Do you have a dream role one character you d really like to play Well if you are talking about the entirety of fiction and literature then its Beat superstar lunatic Neal Cassady But if you re talking about plays that have already been written then it s probably John Proctor in The Crucible Or Coriolanus Maybe Katurian in The Pillowman Hmm This answer changes a lot I used to want to be Spider Man James Knight in I AM THE MACHINE GUNNER What should an acting student look for in a training program You need to make sure that the program s philosophies are in line with your goals as an actor Be honest about what you want and what kind of actor you want to be Do you want to focus on film Theatrical classics Devising and producing your own work Make sure that the faculty and facilities at your prospective school align with your needs as an artist An agent showcase at the end of your training is also a huge plus Having a chance to meet with

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-james-knight/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with Joel Ebarb |
    to be very independent there was no hand holding or coddling I was given a myriad of opportunities and access to some really amazing teachers and experiences Through my course work my class projects realized productions at school all of the work I found in the city at various theatres and my internship at Houston Ballet I learned how to learn and most importantly I learned about the business of theatre I was very lucky to find a program that suited my temperament and goals so perfectly In what ways has your own training prepared you for the work you do professionally By learning to be independent and a self starter to be a one person operation when necessary or to push a show through a fully staffed costume shop I have been able to successfully design in a wide variety of venues shows where I basically operated out of the back of my car or shows where I had the luxury of a professional shop to realize my designs So many young designers can only do their work one way I learned to roll with the punches no matter the situation I am proud to say I can do anything anywhere with any budget with anyone at any time What has been one of the most exciting productions you ve been involved in People always ask this question All of the shows I designed for director John Green at Indiana Repertory Theatre count as my favorites John is a director who really trusts his designers and listens to them and encourages them to contribute to the process He never shoots down any idea He is the final word and makes the decisions but you feel so free when you work with him to take risks and really have a voice It is so refreshing and changed my expectations for all future collaborative processes LOVE S LABOUR S LOST Texas Shakespeare Festival Costume Design by Joel Ebarb Do you have a dream show that you d like to work on Well I have already designed most of them Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Macbeth and Love s Labours Lost by Shakespeare and The Learned Ladies by Moliere I have been fortunate enough to design them all I still want to design a production of The Glass Menagerie and Tartuffe anyone need a costume designer What does Purdue s program look for in candidates for graduate training The true desire to learn Work experience outside of undergraduate school A very clear understanding as to why they want to attend graduate school a defined goal The ability to communicate Passion for theatre and the performing arts What should a design student be looking for in a graduate training program Here is my best advice find a mentor that inspires you and go to the school where that mentor teaches The relationship between student and mentor

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-joel-ebarb/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with Ray Dooley |
    and ecstatic You ve had the opportunity to play so many great iconic roles through your career is there a dream role that you haven t gotten to tackle yet Nothing burning at the moment I ve been blessed to play almost everything anyone could possibly want At this point I m interested in really challenging work I had the opportunity in the past two seasons to do Salter in A Number and The Poet in An Illiad which were among the most gratifying work I ve done to date Bruscon in Bernhard s Theatermacher is one but no one will ever produce it Is there a difference in the way you approach a classical role as opposed to something more contemporary Depending on the world the director wishes to create I might spend more time on a structured physicality and more formal speech Research on the given circumstances in which the character finds him or herself social economic status issues surrounding world are essential for period work What should an acting student look for in a training program A bridge to the profession Instructors who are working professionals The opportunity to work with guest artists of the highest caliber What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of teaching acting Broad answer the maturing of a student s talent in tandem with the maturing of the person Narrow answer seeing students discover how exciting and how much fun it is to play high style comedy What advice would you give to someone who has just graduated and is about to embark on their acting career Two general comments Work on your career every day Have a life outside of your career Ray Dooley as Dr Astrov in UNCLE VANYA at PlayMakers Rep Photo Jon Gardiner Thanks Ray

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-ray-dooley/ (2016-04-27)
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  • The URTA Q&A with Jason George |
    get my first instinctual reactions to the material Then I start asking 101 questions Who is this character What do they want Why do they feel the need to speak If I could only speak two or three lines of the dialogue what are those key operative lines I break the scene down into manageable beats and find an intellectual through line Then I improv the piece and throw intellect out even playing the exact opposite of my initial thoughts I let all those ingredients and possible choices marinate in my subconscious as I sleep I hate getting auditions same day because I love how much deeper the work gets from me when I ve literally slept on it I ultimately come up with exactly the version I want to present Then as I go into the audition room I drop the blueprint and just play Whatever was meant to stick does and sometimes I find new stuff that comes from that subconscious My favorite part in an audition is when I ve performed exactly what I had in my head to the best of my ability then ask Wanna take me someplace different and they do That someplace different that a director writer or casting director takes me is the collaboration that makes me love being an actor Once you ve been cast in a role what type of preparation do you do See above I m not really kidding I like to say that I don t audition I do excerpted performances for small select audiences One of the biggest differences between preparing an audition and preparing a performance is tracking the character across the entire piece This is easier in theater where the story is usually performed in chronological sequence but film or television are almost always shot out of sequence and you want relationships or character growth to track appropriately This is even more difficult in television when sometimes even the writers didn t know about a piece of your character s history until it becomes useful to be invented I mean revealed Which is the other point once I ve got the role I use those collaborators talking with the director and writer wardrobe and hair and makeup people I fight for my character and I soak up all their ideas using what meshes with my natural inclinations How would you describe your time in graduate school Monastic We were like monks and the craft was our religion That and hitting the bars regularly we are actors after all so we were like Dionysian monks It was the hardest time of my life where I felt the most insecure It s also where I made some of my best friends and learned how powerful I could be What is your greatest memory from your time in school I did a show at Temple University called HOME by Samm Art Williams directed by guest director rapper extraordinaire Ozzy Jones It was the first time that I

    Original URL path: http://urta.com/the-urta-qa-with-jason-george/ (2016-04-27)
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