Theatre Practice II: Interpretative Acting (DRA2007)

StaffDr Bryan Brown - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Pre-requisitesDRA1004, DRA2067
Duration of Module Term 2: 4 weeks; Term 3: 2 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to offer you the opportunity to explore the interpretative possibilities of the actor, to develop the psychophysical preparation necessary for acting and the ensemble collaboration essential to theatre. The module will further extend your understanding of the theories and practices of performance and encourage an exploratory approach towards processes for preparing texts for performance. The histories of actor training will be introduced and you will be further encouraged to explore the politics involved in the transmission of specific acting approaches. In this way, you will be asked to generate and reflect upon your own acting methodology.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an ability to translate theoretical approaches to acting into performance
  • 2. Demonstrate an ability to analyse theatre texts in preparation for performance
  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to work with others as a part of an acting ensemble

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task- orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and basic technical competence.
  • 5. Contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and analyse, critique and manipulate complex material.
  • 6. Explore theoretical concerns through practice, and vice versa, and to synthesise findings in practical and written tasks. The ability to interpret research into physical practice and vice versa.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and to improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions.
  • 8. Develop confidence in performance skills and public presentation, both of dramatic practice and researched material.
  • 9. Collaborate in various groups and group sizes, to learn elements of teamwork and presentation.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that this module will:

  • begin by introducing practical approaches to a range of performance texts before exploring various working methods. Research and practice will develop simultaneously, and you will share your processes in relation to work on monologues, etude creation, and scene rehearsals in the form of demonstrations, practical presentations and performances.
  • You will then work on a large ensemble piece for performance at the end of the module.  
  • You will begin to critically reflect on the relationship between working practices and modes of performance, towards developing your own personal 'methodology' for developing a role.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities66Staff-led workshops and seminars on performer training, ensemble training, collective creation and theory of collaboration
Guided independent study44Staff-set student tasks including individual and group training, group creation strategies, and performance creation
Guided independent study190Guided Independent Research: Preparation for seminars, workshops and performance

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Monologue3-5 minutes1-4, 6-9Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Process-into-Performance70Contribution to ensemble performance of approximately 90 minutes; selected Log Book material; preparation for and engagement in taught sessions1-4, 6-9Oral and written feedback
Essay302000 words2, 6Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Process-into-PerformancePortfolio (4000 words or equivalent if using audiovisual materials)1-4, 6-9Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay2,6Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Alfreds, Mike (2007) Different Every Night, London: Nick HernBrown, Bryan and Petrakova, Olya (2016) Devising a Playground: ARTEL's Strategies for Embodying Research and Text [unpublished conference paper].
  • Chekhov, Michael (1953/2002) To The Actor, London: Routledge.
  • Donnellan, Declan (2005) The Actor and the Target, London: Nick Hern.
  • Krasner, David (2000) Method Acting Reconsidered: Theory, Practice, Future, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Merlin, Bella (2001) Beyond Stanislavsky: the Psycho-Physical Approach to Actor Training, London: Nick Hern.
  • Oida, Yoshi (1997) The Invisible Actor, London: Routledge.
  • Overlie, Mary (2016) Standing in Space.
  • Panet, Brigid Essential Acting: a practical handbook for actors, teachers and directors, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Stanislavsky, Konstantin; Benedetti, Jean (trans.) (2008) An Actor's Work: a student's diary, London: Routledge. 
  • Wangh, Stephen (2000) An Acrobat of the Heart: a physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski, New York: Vintage books.

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Key words search

Character Acting, performer training, psychophysical acting, text interpretation