Status and Power
with Guest Teacher, Jessica Blank
Dates: Wednesdays, May 1st, 8th, and 15th 2019
Time: 7PM - 10PM
Location: AGR, 15 West 28th Street, 9th Floor, NYC 10001
*multiple discounts cannot be combined
Limited to 12 students
The vast majority of TV storytelling is about power in one form or another. Whether a show takes place against the backdrop of a workplace, or in a hierarchical system such as the military, the government, a law firm, or a police department, status and power are the invisible forces shaping much of the way your character relates to other characters. As a TV actor, part of your job is to know how to read sides for power relationships and how to craft your choices so that they reflect the real-life power dynamics inherent to the story you're being asked to tell. The intricacies of power relationships-- and your character's "status" relative to the other players in the scene--should inform your choices and be part of the reality of the scene. And where your character sits on the "status" spectrum affects your choices about moments and actions, where the scene lives in your body, even your breath and eye contact. In this class, we'll work on-camera with TV sides to learn to read scenes for power relationships, discover how those relationships affect your choices, and learn how small physical adjustments can affect your "status" in the scene. We will also discuss how status and power fit into your individual "type"--as an actor, you'll always need to be able to play both sides of the coin, but part of your "type" does have to do with whether you're more likely to frequently get called in for higher- or lower- status characters.
WEEK 1: HIGH STATUS. Sides will be assigned by Jessica. We'll work with sides in which your character has the upper hand, either situationally or due to workplace rank. Working one on one, we'll examine how your interpretive and physical choices support your character's power in the scene, and how to "drop in" to power and status using easy, accessible physical shifts.
WEEK 2: LOW STATUS. Sides will be assigned by Jessica. We'll work with sides in which your character is the lower-status character in the scene, examining how that both constrains and motivates their behavior and actions in the scene. We'll look at how to keep a character active and proactive even within the constraints imposed by lower status, and where that status lives in your body.
WEEK 3: You'll bring back your sides from week 1 or week 2, based on which material you want to go deeper with. You can choose based on what we've discussed about your type and which sides showcase you better for workshops, or you can choose to work with the status that's trickier for you, to stretch your instrument and work in realms that are less "naturally" accessible to you as an actor.
Ages 16 and up are welcome!
Sides Policy - AGR NY
Jessica will be assigning sides for the first two weeks of this class. Any further sides information for this intensive will be sent out to you 24-48 hours before the class.
Absolutely no monologues or scenes from plays will be allowed.
You may cancel and receive credit up to 7 days before the start date of the class. However, within 7 days of the start date of the class, no credit will be issued. Due to the nature and structure of this class, you will not receive credit or be able to make up any portion of this class for any reason if you cancel or miss a class after the start date.
Please note: You will not be able to schedule a make up date if you miss one week of a multi week class! Please only register if you can make all of the class dates.
Jessica Blank is an actor, writer, director and producer. With her husband Erik Jensen, she is author of THE EXONERATED, a play based on interviews they conducted with over 40 wrongfully convicted death row inmates across the United States. THE EXONERATED won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Ovation, Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards; it has also received awards from Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Death Penalty Focus, and Court TV, and was listed by the New York Times as "the number 1 play of the year." It was made into an award-winning movie adapted by Jessica and Erik, starring Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn and Delroy Lindo. Their documentary play AFTERMATH, directed by Jessica, opened New York Theater Workshop’s 2009-10 Off-Broadway season to rave reviews, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, toured internationally for two years and was nominated for two Drama League Awards. Their new play, HOW TO BE A ROCK CRITIC (based on the writings of Lester Bangs), under commission at CTG, was workshopped at the Public Theater and the La Jolla Playhouse and recently completed a sold-out run at the Kirk Douglas Theater and South Coast Rep, with Erik starring and Jessica directing.