University at Albany

Department of Theatre

Acting I


Fall 2015



Class Time:                         Tuesday and Thursday1:15-2:35

Class Location:            PAC 053

Instructor:                        Marnie Andrews


Office Phone:                        917-701-4424

Office Hours:                         Tuesday, Thursday 12:00-1:00 & 3:00-4:00, by appt. only

Office Location:            PAC 346

Catalog Number:            Thr 240Y-0015

Class Number:                        9866


Prerequisite:            This course does not require previous acting experience and encourages students to take artistic risks as a first step in the department’s acting sequence.


Text:   “Rehearsing in the Zone: A practical guide to rehearsing without a director” by

                        Maria Cominis Glaudini. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

ISBN 978-1-4652-3985-3 (Available U/Albany bookstore)



This syllabus is subject to change with the skills of the class. It is a collaborative art.

Development of an actor’s instrument through the use of voice, body and imagination to create realistic behavior under given circumstances.


Concepts taught include:

Understanding of working theatre language, especially the Play aspect.

Creative work habits

Ensemble development

Use of self

Acting as interacting,

Rehearsal skills

Action analysis.

Importance of breath control to an actor

Exercises include improvisation, monologues, and scripted scenes.

Cold text reading

Personal responsibility to the creative whole


Objective–you will achieve these goals by:


Addressing your process through an organized approach to the work

Learning to play as you work

Focusing of body relaxation and physical health

Learning the process of creating a character, rather than focusing on the end result.

Grasping the concepts of American and British approaches to the craft of acting.

Understanding the conditions demanded by the scene and taking risks onstage.


Your acting scenes will be assigned in class; find your play in the library or reserve in the Theatre Department office. You MUST read the play from which your scene is taken.



Attendance Policy: Mandatory attendance

You are allowed two excused absences without grade penalty. Your professor must be notified in advance unless there is an emergency.


Class participation is part of your grade: if you miss class, your grade goes down. Also, if you miss a session, it is your responsibility to find out what happened: sometimes due dates or assignment details change, so be sure to check in with a classmate if you miss a class.

Three unexcused absences will result in an automatic failure of the class. Because of the studio nature of this class, assume that absences will affect your grade. It is therefore not listed as a percentage of any one aspect of grading.

 An absence is excused through an official doctor’s note or a letter from the dean of students.


  • 20% Preparedness. Since class time is limited, once you have learned body and voice warm-up techniques, you will be expected to accomplish those before you enter class. Always approach a scene in a state of relaxation and readiness.


A NOTE ON PREPARATION AND BEHAVIOR REQUIREMENTS: Be prepared to work on a scene in class. Just because you performed last class does not mean that you are exempt from presenting again next class. To this end, always have your script.

When you perform, bring any necessary rehearsal props, rehearsal shoes/skirts, etc.

  • ALWAYS be prepared for the occasional in-class acting game/exercise—meaning, wearing tight jeans, short skirts, flip flops, work boots or any other kind confining clothing, jewelry, or anything else that might inhibit your ability to participate fully is considered NOT being prepared for class.


  • Since this is the beginning of your professional training, your attentiveness to the work of others will be considered throughout the semester. You may see something in the work of others that supports your own process. Theatre is a collaborative art. Your observation as audience to other classmates is part of the process.


  • If you are observed engaged in talking, using your cell phone, texting, or any other distractions during class, you will be asked to leave immediately and receive an unexcused absence for that day. ANY USE OF A CELL PHONE, COMPUTER, TABLET WILL RESULT IN A DISMISSAL FROM CLASS AND A ZERO FOR THAT CLASS DAY.


  • If you come to class unprepared in any of the ways listed above, if you are tardy, if you don’t have your script, your grade will go down.


  • 40% Scene Work: Grades received on your final scenes are based upon whether or not         you incorporated feedback from the in-class work, the clarity of your acting intentions, your progress from the first read-through to final performance, and your overall preparedness for the final showing of your scene. Two finished scenes, each scene equals 15% of your grade.


  •  20% Monologue: Monologues address auditioning practices.


  • 10% Participation As a beginning actor, you must be willing to take risks, to try things you never thought you would do, to be silly, and to fail. It is all part of learning a craft. This is part of being an actor. I expect you to participate fully in improvisations, to volunteer, to accomplish exercises that allow you to become vulnerable and available to the senses you possess, tools that are necessary to becoming an actor. This will probably be both the hardest task to accept in my class and the easiest part of your grade if you allow yourself to participate.       CONSIDER AUDITIONING FOR THE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS


  • 20% Rehearsal Journal and Critiques: You must keep an up-to-date rehearsal journal for each scene you work on. In the journal, you should respond to each rehearsal: what worked and didn’t work, what you learned, what you used in rehearsal from what you’re practicing/learning in class, what confuses you and so on.  If you have messy hand writing, you must type your journal.  If I cannot understand your hand writing, re-submit in type-written form.
  • 10% Quizzes: Primarily focused on working theatre terms and concepts from the textbook emphasized in class.


  • REQUIRED-Theatre Department Performances: All students taking theatre classes are required to attend 3 performances.       One must be the U/Albany show. There is one this fall, please refer to the theatre department web site for times and dates. You must respond to the productions in your journal and attach your ticket. Failure to do this will result in a reduction of your final grade. Your response should be at least 1 page of your journal and it should discuss how the skills you are learning in class were or were not applied.
  • A 3rd requirement in my class is seeing a professional play. It can be one brought to campus, at a professional theatre in the area, or you can rent a filmed production through Digital Theatre. You are required to also write a one-page response to these productions.


  • READ the plays: It is required that you read the play from which your particular scene is taken. If you comment on other scenes in class, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with those scenes.


  • WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS: All written assignments must be typed and double spaced unless otherwise specified. Written assignments are graded on the quality of your writing and the clarity of your thought. Late assignments are accepted; grades on written assignments go down one letter grade each day late. Written assignments MAY NOT be emailed after the due date.


SUNY Theatre Events

Auditions for “Reunions” and “Good Kids” will take place Sept. 1st-3rd. It is wise to audition for these plays, as preparation for this class.


One professional production is also required for my class.

Oct. 9th-11th “REUNIONS: Re-Unions.” 3 one-acts of love revisited

Nov. 5th-14th “Good Kids”


SCHEDULE                               Subject to change, with consideration of the class’ progress


August 27th             Introduction to Acting. Relaxation techniques. Reading aloud. Come to class prepared to move. Purchase textbook asap. Audition preparation. Bring object to next class.

September 1st          Object Exercise.   Tour the buildingRead through scenes in book. Theatre language definitions.

September 3rd             Breath techniques. Improvisations with text and movement.                                                Theatre terms. Open scene                                                           

September 8th             Scene assignments. Rehearsal procedures.                                                September 15th           Working with scenes with Kim Stauffer. Meisner-(hand over script.) September 17th            Finish readings of first scene

September 22nd     NO CLASS HOLIDAY 

September 24th            Rehearse scenes with text exercises.

September 29th            Testing of theatre terminology. Examine scenes from text

October 1st              First half performing scenes

October 6th        Second half performing scenes.

October 8th                  Character choices, Guest Playwright Sybil Rosen Journals due.                                                October 9th-11th             “REUNIONS: Re-Unions” ATTENDANCE REQUIRED

October 13th            Exercises: Private moments, effective memory.

October 15th             Final Performances of Scenes. Turn in Redgrave sheets.

October 20th             Breath work. Monologue choices

October 23rd            Work in pairs.

October 27th    Monologue work

October 29th             Journals due.   Clarify individual exercises

November 5th-14th     “Good Kids” ATTENDANCE REQUIRED. 

November 3rd       Examine concepts through 2nd scenes

November 5th        2nd scene reading    

November 10th        Individual exercise work Emotional recall                  

November 12th       2nd scene exercise work. Private Moment

 November 17th      Off book. Taking direction 

November 19th       Off book. 2nd Half. With direction 

November 28th         THANKSGIVING BREAK 

December 1st        First Half, Second Scene Performs

December 3rd      Second Half, Second Scene Performs 

December 8th     Summary of Acting tools and Language

TBA                               EXAM   (Journals returned.)


Grade Scale  Grade Conversion  Grade Scale  Grade Conversion 
93-100 A 73-76 C
90-92 A- 70-72 C-
87-89 B+ 67-69 D+
83-86 B 63-66 D
80-82 B- 60-62 D-
77-79 C+ Grade < 60 E


General Education Requirements: this class fulfills the student’s Oral Discourse general education requirement. The Learning Objectives for the Oral Discourse General Education Requirement are as follows:

  • communicate ideas (creative, expressive, intuitive, intellectual) according to a specific set of criteria
  • establish and maintain an appropriate performer/audience relationship in a given oral exercise, and actively engage with listeners/audience
  • respond to and, where appropriate, incorporate listener’s comments and questions