Acting Concentration

As a theater major at Skidmore a student may chose to concentrate in the area of acting.

Acting combines "creativity and craft." The area of acting, like all areas of the theater, requires tremendous dedication, mental and physical discipline, and a commitment to and a passion for the art of theater. Also, like other theater artists, an actor's education and "training" is never finished. Every experience can be useful. Actors must have a knowledge and understanding of the historical, socio-political, and cultural development of humankind in order to communicate the condition of humankind.

The skills and knowledge an actor must possess vary from the general to the specific. Generally, the actor must possess solid physical health, physical and vocal agility, and mental agility. analysis and synthesis, research, process and communication skills are also critical to the actor's work. actors must learn to work collaboratively in the ensemble setting as well as achieve a discipline to work individually. And above all, an actor must have a passion and enthusiasm for life and learning.

Actors must possess a basic core of skills and both general and specific knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. It should be remembered that individual actors will develop and be encouraged to develop their own special skills:

  • Exposure to and training in a range of approaches to acting (Stanislavski, Grotowski, View Points, etc.)
  • Facility with language (including verse)
  • A personalized warm-up
  • Theater history (American and world)
  • Dramatic Literature (American and world)
  • Understanding the contemporary world and American theater scene
  • Costume design
  • Make-up skills
  • Art history (styles and periods)
  • Research skills in the library and beyond
  • Experience in other art forms (dance, music, opera, etc.)
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Mastery of a foreign language
  • Functional knowledge of humankind through the study of history, politics, sociology, psychology, etc.
  • Ability to read music, sing, and play musical instruments
  • Understanding of dramatic form and structure
  • Vocal skills: solid vocal production and articulate speech; work with dialects
  • Physical skills: period movement, tumbling, juggling, fencing, and a variety of dance skills
  • Understanding of a variety of thought processes
  • A solid knowledge of and sensitivity to all other areas of the theater.


An actor is best served by an undergraduate program which combines the study of craft within a liberal arts setting. In addition to faculty actors in the department and guest artists who act as role models and practical experiences, it is also the humanities and sciences which enrich and enliven the student actor's sensitivity to the world.

It is important for students to keep in close contact with their advisors for on-going discussion and evaluations of their work. Actors might consider study-abroad during the junior year as well as summer training and summer stock work.

There are many routes that an actor can select upon graduation from Skidmore. These options should be discussed with the advisor in the junior year. Among the options are graduate school (in the US and abroad), conservatory/studio training, apprenticeships, Equity Candidate Training at LORT theaters, and, of course, waiting tables.

SUGGESTED ELECTIVES FOR THE ACTING CONCENTRATION
  1. At least 19 credits from among the following courses:
    • TH 101 VOICE AND SPEECH IN THE THEATER (2)
    • TH 104 INTRODUCTION TO ACTING (3)
    • TH 198 MOVEMENT FOR THE THEATER (2)
    • TH 203 INTERMEDIATE ACTING (3)
    • TH 204 INTERMEDIATE ACTING (3)
    • TH 242 SHAKESPEARE'S VERSE (3)
    • TH 251 SPECIAL TOPICS IN ACTING (1 or 2)
    • TH 303 ACTING STYLES (3)
    • TH 304 SPECIAL STUDIES IN ACTING (3)
    • TH 343D COLLABORATIONS: SPECIAL STUDIES IN DIRECTING AND ACTING (3)

  2. Other strongly suggested theater electives (semester hours as desired or possible)
    • TH 211 VOICE FOR THE ACTOR (2 )
    • TH 238 COSTUME DESIGN (3)
    • TH 305 SPECIAL STUDIES IN DESIGN AND TECHNICAL THEATER B: MAKE-UP (3)
    • TH 341 THE AMERICAN THEATER: CRITICAL ISSUES (3)
    • TH 325 PLAYWRITING (3)
    • TH 371,2 INDEPENDENT STUDY(3)
    • TH 299 PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP (3 or 6)
    • TH 399 PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP (3, 6 or 9)
    • TH 376 SENIOR PROJECT

    Additional Responsibilities for the Acting Student

In addition to being fully prepared for all course studio work, it is the responsibility of the acting student to become involved in the department as much as possible to advance his or her experience. This means volunteering to act in scenes for the directing classes and auditioning for workshops, seminar and studio productions as well as opera workshop and playwriting workshop readings.

Actors should consider taking as many courses as possible in dance (through the Dance Department) and voice (through the Music Department).


Suggested Electives Throughout the College

Although the real excitement of a liberal arts education is discovery, and many courses at Skidmore are potentially inspirational and useful for an acting student, the department believes that the careful selection of pertinent courses will be particularly valuable for the undergraduate acting student and suggests that the student review the catalogue descriptions carefully and discuss selections with advisors and the acting faculty.

 

Additional Information

Acting students should seek experiences during summer months which will amplify their work at Skidmore. If financially possible, students will gain a great deal by travel and/or through an internship in a summer theater.

Many students need to work during the summer. Our advice then is to find jobs which are close to a theater and find a way to volunteer for the theater when you are not at your place of employment.

It is imperative that students work closely with the faculty in seeking out information for summer work in theater and work or study beyond graduation from Skidmore.