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The Gaiety School of Acting

The National Theatre School of Ireland

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Part Time Courses

Commedia dell’Arte Masterclass: Sun 26th Feb

“More than any other, the Commedia dell’Arte is the genre of theatre that expresses the present as it moves.”– Antonio Fava

 

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Originating in Renaissance Italy and translating as “theatre of the professional”, Commedia dell’Arte is distinguished by its character types and use of masks, physical comedy and improvisation.

 

Commedia dell’Arte is known for its swift pace and wit – encouraging actors’ imaginations, swift thinking and the physical discipline to create this type of rehearsed improvised theatre.
The style has had an lasting influence on Shakespeare, Molière and performing arts such as opera, vaudeville, musical theatre, improv comedy. You can even spot it’s influence on the modern sitcom.
Led by actor, teacher, director and writer Ronan Dempsey, this one-day masterclass will excite, enthrall and inform your performances in all styles far beyond Commedia.

 

Book now for this workshop on Sunday 26th February
Time: 10.00am – 6.00pm
at The Gaiety School of Acting, Essex St West, Temple Bar, D8
Cost €100.00

Master The Media: Week One

My name is Christoph and I have recently signed up for the ‘Master In Media’ course running at the Gaiety school of acting.

It’s running for 10 weeks on a Monday night from 7-9 which is perfect as I get to leg it home from work and conveniently pop across the road to the course as I live adjacent.
Tonight’s the first night so everyone is feeling very vulnerable and nervous from our body language but Alan our tutor gets us warmed up with introductions and then straight into some short 20 second presentations to camera about subjects of our choice. Sounds easy enough right?

Well there were a few people who took to it like ducks to water and rest of us simply drowned!!
Our red faces and shuffling feet were not gonna distract us from the thoughts racing through our heads.  ‘I look like a plonker and everyone thinks I’m a plonker’.
Alan constantly coaxed us to relax and stop thinking. Stand up straight and stay focused. “You can do this”, he shouts.

After a few takes and then watching yourself back on TV it’s clear we’re actually not that bad and some of us are really good!

It’s amazing when asked what you do for a living any other day of the week you can pull together a few coherent sentences that give your interviewer or Wednesday night Tinder date the gist of what it is helps to pay the bills, but doing it in front of a cold black slab of technology ‘the camera’ is like watching a lorry hurtle at full speed toward a rabbit pasted to the ground with fear. You just can’t look and to be honest most of us didn’t while the other was doing their bit with Alan.

But boy did we laugh and really relax as the class went on.

Alan was giving us so much feedback and helping us correct ourselves and making us laugh a lot and so it did get easier, so we all really enjoyed it.

I’m feeling more confident and maybe more prepared for next week. I’d definitely be a confident guy and wouldn’t shy away from the public as I work with them everyday but when all focus is on every word that dribbles from your mouth it’s really difficult to even hear what your saying.

Here’s to next week!!
mastermedia (1)

Week 10 – ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

Well, this was our final week of Page to Stage where we had to perform the final scenes that we had been working on throughout the course. It was our chance to show what we had achieved and how much we had learned to some of our friends that were invited to watch the showcase. It went brilliantly, we loved every minute and the entire show was seamless.

Before it started we had about an hour to practice our lines with our scene partners, just to get as comfortable as possible with the scene. Some nerves did creep in, as the anticipation started to build ahead of performing in front an audience. For most of the class, myself included, it was the first time any of us had done it so it proved a little daunting.

I could definitely feel the nerves and started to get my lines a little muffled, but that’s what the practice is for – to get those mistakes out of your system. Just before we faced the audience, our tutor gave us a great pep talk. It helped settle the nerves and made sure everyone enjoyed themselves as much as possible.

She told us to enjoy it, and once we saw it in that light, it made things much easier. That’s why we were there in the first place, because we really enjoyed doing it. Afterwards we had a great warm up and were ready to take the stage.

After every scene there was a round of applause and you got a real sense that those watching had enjoyed every performance. My scene partners and I were delighted how ours went, we couldn’t have been happier and the applause at the end felt really rewarding.

In doing this course I had such a great experience. It’s taught me how to build a character, starting by reading a script and then by using the tools I have been taught. I also learned how to develop that character to become a part of a story, by deciding how it will interact with other characters. It was interesting how much a character could change as you worked on them, from the first time you portrayed them to growing them into a complete person. It really was awesome.

What I wanted from this course was to improve my skills and get a feel of what it would be like to work on a stage production. That’s definitely what I got from it. I did Introduction to Drama before this course and it was a taste of everything, which was great for a beginner. But Page to Stage went into more detail on things like scene structure and explored different ways of doing building characters to find out what works best to tell the story.

Through the 10-week course we had something new to work on each week aimed at improving our acting or understanding a scene better, whether it was a new exercise or some advice from our tutor. The showcase at the end definitely gave us an experience of what it feels like to be on stage with audience.

I would recommend this class to anyone who has an interest in stage acting. I had a fantastic time on the course, and I have no doubt that it will spur me on to continue to have fun with drama!!!!!

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Week 9 – ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

In this week’s class we had to do the dress rehearsal for the scenes that we had been working on. At the start of the class we spent sometime practising our lines with our scene partners to help to get into character.
The dress rehearsal was very good, if felt really professional. To start we walked on stage and prepared it with the props we needed for our scene. Then we performed the scene and at the end we took two bows. Afterwards we removed our props to leave the stage ready for the next group.
During the scene we had someone else from the class helping us if we forgot a line. They would read the scene as it was being performed, and if a performer’s mind went blank, they would be fed the line instantly so the flow of the scene wasn’t interrupted. When every scene ended it got a big applause from the rest of the class.
Another thing about the class is the great support you get from your other classmates, everyone is so keen to learn and to help each other along the way. It creates a great atmosphere and when you get that round of applause it’s really a great feeling. I know it’s only a dress rehearsal but there’s still some nerves and you don’t know how you are coming across to the audience, but when you hear those claps begin, it puts you at ease.
My scene was up first so I felt lucky enough as I got to relax and watch the rest of the class as they did theirs. They were all great. While the scenes were being played out, our tutor took notes on each and at the end she gave us some more info on where she thought we could improve to make the scene work better. Overall though, she was very happy with what we had all achieved.
Next week is our final one, where the class can invite two of their friends to come and see the scenes that we have been working on for the past few weeks.
There will be nerves, but I’m confident that what I’ve learned on the course has prepared me for what we need to do. Here’s to the whole show going off without a hitch!!!!
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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Weeks 8 ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

We are on our eighth week now and the time has just flown by.

Last week we had to present our scene to our tutor and we were also asked to bring in some clothes from home that we felt our character would be wear. We then used the clothing in rehearsals to get as comfortable as possible wearing them. It’s another thing which helps you start to see yourself as your character, and feel part of them.

When performing in front of our tutor, it was just us and our scene partners present. When the scene was finished the tutor gave us some tips to improve our scene and also told us which parts of our performances were weakest so we can put more work into them.

We were also told to mix things up a little when we performed our character and to expand our range. Even if we don’t end up performing like that in the final scene, doing things differently allows us to develop our characters and find out new ways of interpreting them. This helped me a lot and gave me more to think about with my character.

In the beginning I kind of stuck with my first impression of how my role should be played, and I’m not sure it was working. But our tutor has told us to try different things and after taking on that advice, it feels like the best way to build your character.

The only way you will know for sure if something, a way of saying a line or a movement, suits your character is to act it out.

Then you’ll know if it feels completely wrong or actually spot on. It’s part of the process, and helps get the best out of you too. For the remainder of the class we worked on our scenes and rehearsed as much as possible. We also tried to use the feedback we got from the tutor to get the scenes right, and more polished. The class also did a few more breathing exercises and some more character visualising.

These really help you get ready to do your scene and I’ve found it also feels like a form of meditation, great for clearing your head. After doing these exercises I feel more focused and a lot more relaxed about what I’m doing.

I had fun working with my scene partners this week and everyone has really got to a good level with their acting. Seeing how well everyone else is doing also gives you a drive to put as much effort in to as possible.

There’s more work to do but it doesn’t feel like work when you’re having fun doing it!!

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Weeks 6 & 7 ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

Week 6:

This week we started with a simple game intended to show us the importance of not drawing attention to a mistake on stage. It started with everyone standing in a circle with one person holding a small ball. Then they had to make eye contact and say the name of the person they wanted to throw the ball to, then throw it to that person.

We weren’t allowed to throw it to the same person twice until everyone in the circle had caught the ball, and once a cycle was complete it started over again. The ball was dropped a few times as it was small and not that easy to catch.

Our tutor used this to point out that on stage mistakes can happen and the best thing to do is to carry on as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

If it’s just a small mistake and you make it obvious by drawing attention to it then the entire audience will notice but if you just carry on, most of the time no one is any the wiser.

After a few cycles a second ball was added and while there were still a few mistakes, everyone carried on as if nothing had happened. The exercise was about focusing on the part you played in the cycle and nothing else.

For the remainder of the class we worked on the scenes we have to perform at the end of the course with our scene partners, while the tutor provided blocking to the scenes.

Blocking, as I mentioned last week, is about showing people where they should be standing on stage during a scene. We then talked about the objective our characters have in the scene and if it would change during the scene.

All the beats, which are different markers present in all scenes, had to be identified also. Everyone was also encouraged to give their scene partners feedback about each other’s characters.

It helps a lot to know how you want to play your character and the input you get from your partners can be very valuable when figuring out how your character is seen by others.

My scene didn’t receive any blocking this week because there are seven scenes in total in the class and it takes about twenty to thirty minutes for the tutor to complete the blocking. There wasn’t enough time to do all of them, but the rest will be completed next week.

This week was more about working with others, which is big part of drama, and being able to take others’ opinions and give some of your own to bring out the best in each other.

Week 7: 

This week our tutor finished providing the blocking, showing us our positions on stage, for the last few scenes who hadn’t received it the previous week. Before that though. we started the class with some breathing exercises and afterwards we were asked to close our eyes and to visualize our character from our scene.

We had to imagine every aspect of them, how they stand, how they would dress, how they are feeling at the time the scene is taking place and what age we thought they were. After a few minutes of doing this we had to take all the characteristics we saw and to become that character as we walked around the room.

Our tutor then asked us to move around like our character was in a hurry and then asked us to freeze, and to act out our character leaving a phone message to someone they loved, it could be anyone from a family member to a good friend. Reading the play that our scenes are from helped us get inspiration for who they might have been ringing. We then had to act out certain situations as our character, such as returning a faulty item to a shop and trying to get it returned or repaired.

These exercises helped us see our characters outside of the play, and helped us take on board who they actually are and how they would react in different situations, not just what is written for them in the play. Our tutor then moved on to give us our blocking.

She first asked us to perform the scene as we imagined it. Then she took us through it again and stopped us to get us to move to where we were supposed to be on stage at certain points throughout the scene.

We were also give some direction about how are character should be feeling at certain points too. After getting these we had time to rehearse the scene with our scene partners.

When we were doing the rehearsals, it became clear that the blocking also helped us remember our lines. This is because we instantly associated different lines during the scene with a position given to us during the blocking.

This was something that was mentioned earlier in the course but you can really see it come in to play during the rehearsals. This was another good class with a lot information to take from it

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Week 5: ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

Well it’s week five and we’re halfway through our course now.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had so many so far because, I’ve been having so much fun that the weeks are just flying in.

This week we started out with our loosening up exercises and a couple of games to help get us in the right frame of mind. They also help release any of the stresses that you might have been feeling from your everyday life. I must say that they work very well, some of the games can seem similar but every week our tutor puts a different spin on them so they feel different.

This is very important in drama, because you have got to change your emotions so frequently, so it really helps to have a clear head when doing so. Our tutor then discussed beats with us and explained that beats by definition were units of action, which mean a change in mood. Every scene will have beats throughout and as actors we should be able to know these points in the scene and make note of them.

After explaining that, we were then asked to discuss with our scene partners where the beats were in the scenes we were assigned last week. We were given about twenty minutes to work on it. We would then have to read for the tutor and the rest of the class up to the point where the first few beats happened in the scene and to explain why we thought they belonged there.

Seeing other people’s interpretations of where they see the beats in their scenes also gave us new ideas for working on our own. We then had to act it out with our tutor provide blocking, which was telling us where we should be positioned on stage and where to move to at certain times throughout the scene.

It’s always important to take notes on the blocking that is given to you, because sometimes when working on a production you might not work a scene for a few days at a time and it will be your responsibility to make sure you know.

We were also given direction on how we should feel and deliver our lines, while always being aware of the beats. There are queues you need to know that tell you how your character should be feeling during a scene and how their objective might change.

Some of the direction that was given felt strange at first, but our tutor explained that sometimes a director will give direction that sounds odd, to help an actor if they are having trouble grasping what the director wants from them.

The worst thing for an actor to do is get hung up on the first impressions of a character but by doing things differently, and in a wider range, you break out of it.

For next week’s class we have to read the play that our scene belongs to so we know the entire story and can understand more about our character. It was another great week!

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Week 4: ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

This week’s class started off with a rhythm game. We all had to clap our hands to a four-beat rhythm, then hit our hips with our hands, then our knees and then stop completely while continuing to count out the same rhythm. Then we started the cycle over again. We did this for about three cycles so everyone got the rhythm down.

The class was then split up into a few groups of four. The tutor signalled one group to start the cycle of claps, hips, knees and stop and then signalled the other groups to start the cycle one beat later. After two cycles we were told to leave the group and walk around the class while maintaining the rhythm, and then return to our groups after about thirty seconds to see if we all were still in the same rhythm.

It was simple enough but when we started to walk around the room it was difficult to keep doing the actions in time. It’s really about concentrating and trying to block out everything that’s going on around you while you move around the room.

We then moved on to another game called “G’day Bruce”. This involved us standing in a circle, while one person approached someone else in the circle. They then reached out their hand to shake and say “G’day Bruce”. The other person would then respond “G’day Bruce,” and then the first person lead the other by the hand and introduced them to someone else in the circle by saying “this is Bruce, Bruce”.

This cycle continued around different members of the class, but if you didn’t do it in the exact way described your name would change from Bruce to Sheila. If you made a another mistake it would change to Bonza. This game was a lot of fun. After a few minutes of playing it the names started to change and people were starting to second guess themselves.

We were then assigned the scripts that we will have to work on throughout the rest of the course, to be performed at the end.  We were given a little time to read through them to try and decide how we wanted to play our character, before doing a reading for the rest of the class.

Our tutor told us that this is how a lot of auditions happen. It’s a way of judging your instincts for a role when reading a character from just the script alone. After we read our scene for the tutor and the class we were asked to give our opinions on who the characters were, what their objective was and what their relationships were. We’ll be doing more work on this as the weeks progress.

This was another fantastic class, every week is always filled with so much information and everyone is really enjoying it!

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

Week 3: ‘Page to Stage’ with Paddy Ferry

‘In this week’s class we were divided into pairs with each pair told to write a scene between two people, about five to 10 lines long. Our tutor also gave each pair a location for their scene.

The scene had to have an underlying conflict, something small like a worker having their lunch stolen from the office fridge or a cashier giving out the wrong change at a petrol station.We were given about 15 minutes to work out the scene before performing it for the rest of the class.

Then we swapped our scene for one written by one of the other pairs. Again, my partner and I were given time to work on the piece before acting it out, as did the other pairs in the class.

But this time we had to add a subtext, something that is going inside your character’s head, and during the scene you would say the subtext to the audience in some way. Adding the subtext can open the scene up a bit more and give more options when deciding how you want to play a character. Our tutor told us that adding a subtext is a useful tool to help you build a character.

We also did a breathing exercise designed to help us control our breathing better using abdominal breathing. We were told to take in a deep breath and instead of letting our chest move up while our lungs filled, we directed the movement more towards our stomachs to try to feel the breath go deeper. This felt a little strange to do at the start as it can take a bit of getting used to but once we got the hang of it, it was very relaxing.

We then played a concentration game where we formed a circle of 10 chairs. Every chair had to have someone standing behind it but only 9 people sitting. The person standing behind the empty chair would have to select one of the people sitting by winking at them. They would then have to make a dash for the empty chair before the person standing behind could tag them. If tagged they would have to sit back in the original chair and the person picking would move on to someone else and so. While we were playing we had to try to pay attention to every movement that happened. It was a lot of fun and I think the class really enjoyed it.

Next week we get our scripts for our final performance and I’m really excited to see what I’ll get to work on. And to hash it out with the class!’

Paddy Ferry is a student in our Page to Stage class, January 2015

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Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama  so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.  Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….

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