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2017 ATHE Acting Focus Group Pre-Conference
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Call for Presenters and an Invitation to the 2017 ATHE Acting Focus Group Pre-Conference


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Call for Presenters and an Invitation to the 2017 ATHE Acting Focus Group Pre-Conference

Posted By Noe Symonanis, Monday, May 22, 2017

Emerging actors often conflate emoting with acting. Students seek the “emotion” of a scene pursuantly losing sight of the play’s dramatic action. While important, emotion is merely a by-product of how successful a character is in achieving their objective. A character’s strategy in fighting for their objective is marked by their tactics, which in turn are identified as an actionable, evocative, verbs. Although a critical weapon in the actor’s arsenal, the focus on action can be a challenging concept for novice actors who are used to direction such as: be happy, be angry etc. This, then, begs the question: how do you get students to understand and practice such an essential skill?

This year’s Acting Focus Group Pre-Conference will target in on the pedagogy of actions. Our aim isproviding new and innovative ways of getting students to realize how invaluable playable verbs are to the actor and incorporating the technique of actioning the text into their artistic process. We will offer three workshops with this aim in mind and invite proposals for other sessions. Jeff Wax will present on Narrative and Action, Elizabeth Parks will present Generation Z and Action, and Carlos Cruz Casas will present Circus and Action.

Finally, we welcome workshop proposals from members of the ATHE community that address the pedagogy of playable actions. Questions to consider include: What exercises, games, readings, and/or discussions do you use to help students realize the importance of verbs that can be actualized? How do you move your students beyond simply playing “happy" or "sad"? How might you address a student that is resistant to this way of working? How do you prove the effectiveness, if not necessity, of analyzing a character’s behavior by way of provocative, actionable maneuvers? Please submit proposals no later than June 15, 2017. We look forward to your proposals and hope you will join us in Las Vegas in (re)exploring the praxis of the acting instructor through action.

Questions and proposals can be sent to: or

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