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Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Mark Krawczyk

The study of theatre in general, and ac9ng in specific, is an inves9ga9on into the development of a cra> and an art. It is as dynamic and disciplined as a scien9fic inquiry, a voca9onal devo9on, or a spiritual journey, and just as necessary to comprehending the human experience because it incorporates all of

these explora9ons and more. As Joseph R. Roach writes, “theater exists at the center of civilized life, not at its peripheries,” and at the core of that center is the actor for when he “takes his place on a stage… and his audience begins to respond to his performance, together they concentrate the complex values of

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is akin to a revelatory act that that manifests all that has been hitherto unknown to both individual and

culture with an intensity that less immediate transac9ons cannot rival.” Therefore the study of ac9ng

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public, about humanity and society, and the art’s importance is seen in the universal truths it exposes.

My philosophy of teaching begins with my own deeply rooted passion for the process of crea9on. This includes a love for the tradi9ons behind the cra> and art of ac9ng, a desire to transform the lives of performers and audiences in the moment, and an impulse to break molds and find new ways of engaging audiences through con9nual research and explora9on. As a theatre educator my primary concern is, above all, the actor. That actor’s training begins with his process. I strive to impart to her that no maNer what project, or ar9s9c path she endeavors to undertake, it is how the art is engaged in every moment which defines the process and its product. Thereby I encourage my actors to fight against simply becoming interchangeable cogs in the large machine of the theatrical industry. As such even the word “actor” is problema9c to me. I agree with a no9on introduced by Włodzimierz Staniewski, and at 9mes prefer to use the word “causer” instead of “actor,” because then this person becomes “someone who is seeking to cause a fact which has consequences, not someone who is just speaking the lines of a text.” 3 To that end, in order to cause ac9ons, reac9ons, changes, and revela9ons, a student of performance must have opportuni9es to develop mul9ple and diverse sets of skills that provide a framework for his success. These skills include:

 

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a working knowledge of script analysis techniques, theatre history, and performance theories and how to use those in order to read and interpret scripts so as to find the true inten9ons of the playwright ;

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the ability to improvise and respond freely in the moment during rehearsal and/or performance;

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developed and integrated voice and movement techniques used to inhabit a full physical and psychological life of a character;

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tes9ng of his ac9ons into the response of his scene partners

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understanding that the field of theatre is an ever changing one with new theories and prac9ces always being developed;

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willingness to break the mold of tradi9onal theatrical orthodoxies and inves9gate, find, or invent new forms of engaging scene partners and audiences.

Inspiring and nurturing the actor’s process is my ul9mate goal in the classroom and studio. I understand the growth of an ar9st is a gradual, ongoing process, which is reflected in the structure, planning, and

1 Roach, Joseph R. The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 11.

2 Ibid, 12.

3 Staniewski, Wł odzimierz, with Alison Hodge. hidden territories: the theatre of gardzienice. (London; Routledge, 2004), 71.

pacing of each course I teach. I establish clear learning and ar9s9c goals that can be firmly structured around the introduc9on of new informa9on or on prior knowledge of an individual's or an ensemble's process, and endeavor to facilitate my students’ forma9on and monitoring of their own goals as well. To that end I strive to lead the instruc9onal work in the classroom in a posi9ve and effec9ve manner and to make the environment in the studio a place where actors can feel safe to risk the possibility of failure, but also invigorated by the opportunity to explore and refine choices over 9me, in order to gain an understanding of the principles of ac9ng, and, ul9mately, aid them in unearthing their own muses providing them with their own crea9ve agency and the freedom to develop themselves as independent and collabora9ve ar9sts and ci9zens of the world.

Every student should leave a university theatre program with this founda9on .