By Christopher Popple
Autumn is fast approaching, and the United Solo Theatre Festival will once again open its doors at Theatre Row to spotlight distinguished solo performances. As part of United Solo’s ongoing efforts to scout and foster talent, the theatre festival is providing interested practitioners the opportunity to participate in a new Master Class hosted by Academy Award‑winning actress Olympia Dukakis.
For three Fridays, from August 30 to September 13, Ms. Dukakis will host a seminar titled “The Importance of Craft,” which will be held at a private rehearsal studio in New York City. This seminar will teach performers to draw from their own personal experiences and use them in their solo performances. According to United Solo, Ms. Dukakis will instruct her students to develop a “personal connection to thoughts, actions, circumstances and character.” Signing up for each of the three separate sessions is not mandatory, but interested students who wish to apply for all three sessions may do so at a reduced rate.
Ms. Dukakis is best known for her Oscar‑winning performance in the romantic comedy film “Moonstruck” (1987), as well as her Emmy‑nominated roles on the television shows “Lucky Day” (1991), “More Tales of the City” (1998) and “Joan of Arc” (1999), but she began her career in the theatre. She won Obie Awards for her performances in “A Man’s a Man” (1963) and “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” (1963). Together with her husband Louis Zorich, she founded The Whole Theater Company in Montclair, NJ in 1971. Her extensive background as an actor and director makes her an exceptional teacher for participants with all levels of experience looking to hone their craft.
The United Solo Professional Theatre Program presents Master Classes to help new and established artists develop their skills. Renowned directors, actors and playwrights are invited by United Solo to provide seminars on their areas of expertise. This past July, director and playwright Austin Pendleton taught “Scene Study and Monologues,” which focused on workshopping students’ personal monologues. Last December, British actor Allan Corduner taught “Acting & Voice Transformation.”
There is more to be gained from Master Classes than professional instruction. Based on how many sessions they sign up for, attendees will be awarded other benefits, up to and including free tickets to solo performances, waived application fees when applying to perform at United Solo, and invitations to the United Solo Closing Gala at the end of the season, where the best shows and performers will be presented with awards.
For more information on signing up for a Master Class, visit http://unitedsolo.org/us/uedu.
United Solo Professional Training Program
THE IMPORTANCE OF CRAFT with Olympia Dukakis
Master Class, duration each class: 120 min.
Fridays: August 30, September 6, September 13, 2019 at 5:00pm
Washington Sq. Park Area, New York City
Photo by Todd Estrin
United Solo Theatre Festival
Over 130 unique productions from six continents
Up to 5 shows daily
September 19 – November 24, 2019
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
CHRISTOPHER POPPLE is a Monmouth University graduate and budding reviewer.