The class goal is to give the students a process for acting. The process Patti uses is based mostly on the Meisner Technique, which is an “in the moment” approach to the characters and the choices the characters make in the scenes. The exercises teach students to observe each other and react to what they see and hear, the same way characters need to react to what they see and hear. Students are asked to access their emotions, and to recognize emotions in others. It is through the character's emotions that actors reach their audience.
The class includes a two-part audition lesson. First students all work on the same scene as a group in class in order to learn the techniques of auditioning for camera. This is a cold-read audition. Then students receive a second scene to prepare at home, using the audition techniques, to perform a prepared-read audition in the following class. Both auditions are filmed and sent to each student via Dropbox.
As a final project, students are given a third scene to film/perform in class. They will need to memorize their scenes at home, word-perfectly. Also, there will be background research for students to do at home, including historical, scientific, cultural, etc. specific to the assigned scene and character. We discuss this research and rehearse the scenes in class.
"I have been a professional performer for a long time. I know what it means to have this as a career and what is expected. I will teach them as though they will be a professional and I expect them to behave accordingly.
Students really enjoy exploring these things by stepping into someone else’s imaginary circumstances. In spite of the tedious parts, they usually want more. It really is fun!"