As ABC cameras filmed their every move, the 8 playwrights participating in Theatrelab 2006 (Vanessa Bates, Bill Fleming, Bruce Hoogendoorn, Jane Harrison, Caleb Lewis, Catherine Ryan, Fiona Samuel and myself) nervously awaited the arrival of a walking talking icon of 20th Century theatre.
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In August, Inscription sent me along to Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Intensive, in order to write this article. I’m not a comedy writer per se, but was intrigued by the implicit offer of the workshop: Do the intensive, and you’ll come out funnier – or at least, your scripts will.
As a Hollywood script-developer, Michael Hauge is on par with Robert McKee and John Truby. Hauge has worked as a story consultant, author and lecturer. He works with writers and filmmakers on their screenplays, novels, movies and television projects. He has coached writers, producers, stars and directors on projects for Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Kirsten Dunst, Charlize Theron and Morgan Freeman, as well as for every major studio and network.
In August 2007 I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Inscriptions workshop, at which Meisner teacher, Scott Williams, was the special guest artist. The workshop was divided into two weeks: the first week was spent reading the various theatre scripts and screenplays that had been selected for presentation, followed in the afternoon by master classes with Scott. The second week was devoted to rehearsing scenes from the various scripts for a showing on the final evening.
Thirteen years ago, as a young playwright, director Jim Sharman gave me this advice: At every opportunity, work with people who know more than you do. That’s what I did over two weeks this past April with Stephen Jeffreys, who knows everything. More than knowledge, his love of the craft of dramatic writing is palpable and infectious. With extraordinary generosity and humour, with an eye to individual needs, and as a teacher consistently positive and constructive, he shared his experiences with seven fortunate writers – four playwrights and three screenwriters. The range of our work, in form as well as style, varied enormously. Yet Stephen was able to apply his intimate understanding of dramatic writing to each script equally.
I suppose that it’s an understatement to say, that things are pretty bleak for those people who call themselves actors. Let’s face it. How can you call yourself an actor unless you’re actually doing it? Most of the time your career title is ‘unemployed’. Unless of course, you adopt the philosophy, that you’re not an actor, but an artist, acting is just a job you do.
Being an actor, director and founder of the Australian Acting Academy, I have found useful workshops and instructors harder and harder to find. Over the past 20 years I have either dabbled or studied Method, Meisner, Practical Aesthetics, Impulse work and Eric Morris. Because of this I was delighted and somewhat skeptical when I was accepted as an actor for Theatrelab 05 masterclass with world famous LA acting coach Ivana Chubbuck.
Theatrelab 2003 provided a different form of experiential learning for both the participants and observers. Bob Bendetti, Cicily Berry and Tony MacNamara joined forces to form the nucleus of a production team to demonstrate the flow of a rehearsal process from start to finish with “The John Wayne Principle” as the performance text.