Actor Sam Dale invoked the power of imagination yesterday as he guided a University class through the intricacies of directing a scene from Shakespeare. Using a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play he described as magical and filled with fantasy, the actor demonstrated to Theatre Arts Lecturer Jim Schlatter's class the thematic and stylistic choices actors and directors make when deciding how to portray a scene. Dale and five other professional British actors are at the University this week, sharing their knowledge of Shakespeare and theater with students in Theatre Arts and English classes and giving three performances of Dream. Yesterday morning, as College seniors Jeffrey Coon and Lori Horowitz stood in the middle of an Annenberg Center practice room to read the scene, Dale answered questions about the text and called for the students' interpretation of the scene. After each set of suggestions from the class, Coon and Horowitz acted the scene again, adjusting their portrayal to fit the suggestions. While his intent is to teach about theater, Dale said he also learns from hearing students' interpretations of Shakespeare. "It shakes your confidence," he said. "It makes you reexamine your performance." The Actors From the London Stage are completing their 20th annual tour of American colleges. Sponsored by A Center for Theater, Education and Research at the University of California at Santa Barbara, they visit six schools a year to perform and to teach. Actor Eunice Roberts said she enjoys discussing Shakespeare from the different points of view demanded by the psychology, English and acting classes to whom she has spoken during the tour. "It's different depending on what sort of classes you go to," she said. "I enjoy the variety." Coon said the workshop was helpful because he was able to see the concepts discussed in class demonstrated in detail, but he added that it was difficult to follow the specific directions of his classmates. "That's really hard," he said. "I have ideas of how it should be played." According to Schlatter, students benefit from the dual mission of Actors from the London Stage, which is to teach and to perform. He added that the group's perspective on theater as a serious artistic discipline matches the outlook of the Theatre Arts Department. In addition to addressing classes throughout the week, Actors from the London Stage will give several readings and workshops open to the public. Roberts will read for the Philomathean Society Friday at 1 p.m., and Dale will read for the Irish Club Friday at 1:30 in the Benjamin Franklin Room in Houston Hall. The actors will also give a practical acting workshop for students in the Houston Hall Bowl Room Saturday at 1 p.m. A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed Thursday at 1 and 8 p.m. and Friday at 8 p.m. in the Zellerbach Theatre in Annenberg Center. Tickets are available at the Annenberg Ticket Office.Comments powered by Disqus
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