Luxembourg European Annual Theatre Summer School

2015 Theme Projects

All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That's what makes theatre live. That's why it persists.

Stephen Sondheim
(composer and librettist)

Theme Project Work : STYLE & GENRE

Theatre making and acting processes respond to the specifics of the genre being explored and rehearsed. Acting methods stemming from Stanislavsky’s theory and practice can be utilized over many play genres ranging from Shakespeare to Stoppard but certain genres require different thinking, a different ‘acting behaviour’, a different physicality and movement and different relationships with the performance space and the audience. We shall attempt to discover and develop our work in this course drawn from some of the major genres and styles in world theatre: from naturalism to heightened drama, the range is wide and a rich source on which to base our ideas.

Some further understanding on Genres and Styles in World Theatre.


Helen Ireland - The Witty Wizards of Song
(Witty Lyrics: Putting Them Across)

Opinions may vary on who are thought to be masters and mistresses of the wonderful art of ‘witty song lyrics’.  Amongst the regular contenders we have Gilbert & Sullivan, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Lehrer and Victoria Wood – but there are many others, perhaps less well-known but no lesser in talent.
We will be learning a selection of solo and small-ensemble songs taken from the work of the above composers (and beyond).  How to get the most from these lyrics will be our aim; how to communicate them with clarity of thought and intention, using clear articulation, will be central to this.
If you are interested in this course, prior to arrival in Clairefontaine please send suggestions for songs you might like to work on, but bear in mind that a place on the course cannot be guaranteed. E mail Graeme, Philip or John on the addresses found on our web site.

Chris White - Connecting with Checkhov
(Checkhov’s late 19th Century Psychological Realism)

Despite his early death, Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) left a major body of short stories and plays, and in both forms continued to examine the minutiae of everyday experience. Less schooled than Ibsen in the conventions of nineteenth-century French theatre and less morbid than Strindberg, Chekhov used realism more delicately than they did. The characters in his four great plays -- The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1897), The Three Sisters (1900), and The Cherry Orchard (1904) -- rarely experience definitive revelations of truth. However dreadful the events encompassed in his plays, including lovers separated and families dispossessed, and death by duel and by suicide, Chekhov maintains so fine an emotional balance that his characters are simultaneously tragic and comic, pathetic and ridiculous.
Drawing on Stanislavsky’s system and the techniques developed by Uta Hagen we will look at how an actor creates a performance of psychological realism.  We will explore the work of Anton Chekhov which makes intense demands of the actor.  How do you create characters and relationships of psychological and emotional complexity?  How do you take yourself as an actor to a world that is historically and culturally remote?  How do you connect to extreme emotional moments and situations?  These are some of the questions this course will explore.

Mitch Mitchlson - The Comdedy Store
(The New Commedia Dell Arte)

A recent London West End revival in farces such as The Ladykillers and What the Butler Saw and the success of  One Man Two Guvnors shows that the desire for the comedic is always with us. The Commedia dell Arte is proto farce and any consideration of the farceur benefits from an exploration of this Renaissance form. Omnipresent in drama training at accredited drama schools, this medium has much to offer the contemporary actor. It is a form that was born of the tension between the literary plays of antique comedy and the centrifugal energies of the banquet, piazza and stand up comedians of the day. It resonates in studies of Shakespeare, Moliere ,Goldoni and Feydeau. Yet in what way is it relevant for modern playwrights such as Jez Butterworth, Enda Walsh and Richard Bean? The course will seek to answer these questions and explore the style of the Commedia dell Arte, its masks, characters and timeless comedy routines with classic and contemporary references and explorations of text. Accessible, timeless and always with us.

Janice Dunn - Acting Out Fantasies
(Non Naturalistic Stylistics of Acting/Perfomring)

Examining methods for performing /working / presenting non-naturalism. This will include interludes, dream sequences, links, movement scenes, etc. For example: The songs in Habeas Corpus, fantasy in Wonderful World of Disocia, the vision scene in Macbeth; the list is wide, varied and potentially endless. We will particularly examine the requirements of moving between naturalistic and non-naturalistic expression as a performer; and also explore the variety of non-naturalistic choices via group work.