Mr. Brown, the distinguished instructor.
The first part of each class (about one and a half hours) is spent studying verse basics so that you will have the knowledge and confidence (and the practice) to handle
any kind of Shakespeare challenge. Some of the topics covered are scansion, feminine endings, inverted stresses (trochees), long lines, short lines, lists and antitheses. Don't they sound boring? But they all lead to skills that will help you bring the character to life. If they don't, what good are they to you as an actor?
In the second hour and a half, actors work on scenes and monologues which can be from any Shakespeare play. In fact they can be by any writer at all, so you can use the class to prepare any audition.
You should finish the cycle with at least one polished Shakespeare monologue.
In any cycle we always study the verse using one play--As You Like It or Henry IV Part 2--because Shakespeare used a different verse style for each play, matching the verse to the content. So we'll also have to discuss the content, and such things as character, intention, subtext, even (horrors!) meaning.
You may (I hope!) wind up with a better knowledge of what the plays are about, which won't hurt you. But mostly this class is meant to teach you how to prepare a Shakespearean audition, and how to prepare the part when you get cast. Most competent teachers are concerned that their students shall be commercial successes, and I hope I am at least competent.
If you would like more information, please call me at (212) 865-1127.
If you leave your phone number, I'll be glad to call you back, and you can ask me any questions you have (e.g., does the instructor have horns and a tail?--because obviously that picture has been retouched). You can also E-mail me; see below. When you come to class, please do not pull my tail.
I also coach privately, not just Shakespeare, any monologue. For more information
about any of the above see rates, or please call (212) 865-1127 or
E-mail me at email@example.com
Thank you for your interest.
"Telling the truth is easy and pleasant," says Yeshua (Jesus) in Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA. So here's the truth about Karen Kohlhaas. I went out to dinner with a friend and his protégée very recently. This actress has used up all the opportunities in her home state--she had a lengthy and impressive résumé--and she wants to come to the big city, and I was invited to advise her. The one class which I told her was essential
was Karen's monologue class. Karen teaches you a way of approaching a monologue audition that is incredibly solid and reliable. You will never walk into an audition not knowing how to present yourself. Karen and I frequently work with the same students (though we don't teach the same stuff), and I trt to make sure that any student who has had Karen's classes follows Karen's procedures. It's not like a Procrustean bed
; it's simple, logical and reliable, like making sure your shoes are tied. If you click on her picture, you can find her impressive credentials in her bio. She's launched a new website
, too, so you may have to look around, but I know she has frequent classes.
"Well, then, why should we study with you, if Karen has all the answers?"
Because Karen and I don't teach the same things. Ask her. We both give free classes from time to time, so that you can see the difference.
Karen has published several books, including How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition,
and the book is just as complete as the title suggests. You can buy a copy by clicking on the book's picture. I recommend it very highly.
Karen has far more regular cycles than I. Check her website
for new cycles. I have seen Karen work with actors a couple of times, and she is very smart and very competent, and what she teaches is very useful. She's also nice to the actors.
Jessica and Karen have recently started working as a team. Jessica's expertise is in your look
, starting with your headshot. She works to get you through the door and to make a strong first impression. In seminars, she points out some things you probably would never think of--at least I wouldn't--and some things that will make you slap your forehead and cry, "Of course!" Among the smart things she says are, "They will never forget the first impression you make," and "Often we dress for the role we are going to play, and forget about ourselves. Dress YOU first with a dash of the role!" Jessica is a very smart actress whom it has been my great good fortune to work with
, but I myself could never help you in ways she can. When she puts her slides up, I can tell which one is Zooey Deschanel and which one is Will Smith, and that's it. Go to http://www.inherentstyle.com/
or click her picture.
VOICE AND SPEECH
I very frequently recommend that actors study voice and speech. Here are three teachers I know and trust (all three have taught in my private class). Why so many? Because they are all very busy, and you may have to try more than one. We all studied with Robert Neff Williams, privately, at Columbia or at Juilliard. I can't recommend Robert himself any more because he died March 23, 2015 at the age of 95. He left behind a large number of excellent students who teach what he taught, and here are three:
graduated from Juilliard. One of the best things about Juilliard was that the students got four years of excellent voice and speech training, and Susan now spends a lot of time teaching there. She is terrific!
was a colleague at Juilliard and is now on the faculty of NYU Grad Acting. She co-taught privately with Robert Williams for many years. She is terrific!
successfully petitioned Robert Williams to be allowed to take his private class, even though he generally didn't allow speech teachers. Donna is very, very busy at NYU but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try her. She is terrific!
I wouldn't mention any of these people if I hadn't worked with them extensively.
OVERDONE SHAKESPEARE MONOLOGUES
Karen Kohlhaas maintains a horrid list of OVERDONE MONOLOGUES
(including SHAKESPEARE). I say "horrid," because that one you were planning to work on may be on it. Don't worry about it. Will wrote a bunch more monologues besides the ones on the list, and better ones, too. (Helena in ALL'S WELL has much better monologues than the one on Karen's Dreaded List. "Like what?" "Like, 'Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.' " AWW III.2.97-127). Besides, a student of mine recently got three callbacks from a monologue on That Horrid List.
UNPAID COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
My friend Marc Palmieri
is producing his own web series The Thing
. I'm in episode one, and critical acclaim for what I could convey in 12 seconds has been tremendous.
You can also see my friend Alexis Fedor
in her own web series, Gray Matters
My friend Amy Russ
will build your own website for you. Visit her at Actor-Webs.com
. Unlike me, she's competent. The result will not be messy, like this. My page was put together with rubber bands and Elmer's glue, with occasional advice from my son Lyman
, a programmer, and a student, Brendan Kelly. See the bottom of this page.
My friend Gwyn Gillis
is a marketing coach, and among other things runs agent seminars where you actually get to meet agents and casting directors. I'm sorry that the business has degenerated to the point where you have to pay to meet agents, but we have been in a recession--almost a depression--since 2008, and everybody is desperate for money. You can see Gwyn and get some very
useful tips about agent interviews in her video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ruandx8tug8&feature=youtu.be
Does the teacher have fangs?
If you really really really
want to see what the Shakespeare teacher looks like and how long his fangs are, you can look at the BACK STAGE COVER
for September 7, 2006. I'm on the right. As I just said, I'm also in The Thing
, but it's hard to get a good impression of me in 12 seconds. You could rewind and watch me over and over again.
"If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life! No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are"--and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. --Will Shakespeare, playwright
This page was created originally with Netscape Navigator and Macromedia Homesite.
Lyman Brown-Whitehill and Brendan Kelly helped a lot.
If you think it's now, you should have seen it before they got their hands on it.
Table of contents.