Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Pros Have It

In SCR’s Theatre Conservatory classes are taught by “top professionals in their field.” Nowhere is that truer than in the Adult Acting Program’s Spring Session. Just have a look at the instructors in the two most advanced acting classes.

Daniel Blinkoff in the SCR productions of A Christmas Carol, An Italian Straw Hat and Major Barbara.

Actors Workshop is the pinnacle of SCR’s Adult Program. From its inception more than 25 years ago, the class has been taught by Karen Hensel. This spring, Hensel hands over the Actors Workshop reins for the first time to a new instructor, one who is a “top professional” in the truest sense—Daniel Blinkoff. Playgoers know Blinkoff well because he has portrayed Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol for 11 consecutive seasons—and has been seen in half a dozen other SCR productions, winning acting awards for Italian Straw Hat (Garland Award: Best Actor) and Major Barbara (Robby Award). He has turned in award-winning performances at theatres from LA to New York and been seen in numerous movies and TV shows. Blinkoff is a member of The Antaeus Company on the West Coast and The Actors Center on the East Coast.

Blinkoff’s first foray in the Adult Acting Program was as Act III instructor in the winter session. Now he says, "It’s exciting to be back, this time as the Actors Workshop instructor. The imagination is limitless, and so is the depth of our work. I have been focused lately on exploring and deepening a student's ‘source work,’ and the results have been amazing. By investing in source work, the actor's journey can be revealed to them, it can surprise them, and we open emotional depths in our work unrealized before."

Matthew Arkin in the SCR productions of The Whale, The Prince of Atlantis and Our Mother's Brief Affair.
Act III: Advanced Scene Study and Characterization is a class for students who feel comfortable with the basic acting tools (after at least two semesters of training) and want to dig deeper. Returning to assist them is an Adult Acting Program favorite, Matthew Arkin, an actor who has done it all—Broadway (from The Sunshine Boys to Laughter on the 23rd Floor), off-Broadway (from Dinner with Friends to Moonlight and Magnolias), regional theatre (from Primary Stages to La Jolla Playhouse); television (from “All My Children” to every variation of “Law and Order”) and film (from indies to features). Arkin’s teaching credentials include New York’s renowned HB Studio. Arkin was very busy at SCR last spring, teaching Act III and performing the lead role in SCR’s production of The Whale. Students and staff alike can’t wait for his return.

Ditto Arkin: “I am so looking forward to getting back to this class. The dedication and enthusiasm of the SCR students is always an inspiration to me. Plus, we have a lot of fun!” When talking about the course work, Arkin says that preparation is everything. “I ask my students to stop ‘acting’ and simply ‘be.’ I want them to exist in the emotional, sensory and intellectual space of the character. That requires preparing ahead of time, knowing everything possible about the character right up until the scene begins. The hard work should be in that preparation. Then the actor can inhabit the character, and the events of the scene can just happen.”

Learn about these classes and more here.

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