Columbia prof to teach Shakespeare workshop

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By The Staff

An instructor with rich experience in England and the United States in acting, directing and teaching Shakespearean theatre will lead a workshop this weekend at the Los Alamos Little Theatre (LALT).

The workshop, to be held from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, is open to all participants, but those who plan to audition for Macbeth (LALT November production) are especially encouraged to attend.

Workshop leader Deborah Dennison worked as an actor, director and producer in the New York and London theatre before moving to Santa Fe, where she now runs a theatre company specializing in classical theatre.

Dennison was weaned on Shakespeare as a child in Britain. At age 8, she saw Richard Burton play Henry V at the Old Vic in London and has had the privilege of seeing the work of most of the finest Shakespearian actors of our time for the past 40 years.

At Barnard/Columbia, she earned a Cum Laude degree in English literature where her concentration was Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.

She was first to be chosen from more than 5,000 applicants for one of only 20 places at the famed Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Now a college of the University of London, at the time Central was the innovative school which trained Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Harold Pinter and Laurence Olivier. The three-year course involved rigorous training in the classical theatre in voice, movement and period styles.

Far from being staid and stuffy, this intensive study developing the actor's craft makes the actor comfortable with great classical theatre and frees the performer to delve and soar through the work, knowing that he or she is working from a secure foundation in the material.

In addition to working in the New York and London theatre, Dennison taught directing and acting at Columbia University's graduate School of the Arts, where many of Milos Forman’s film students took her class to learn how to work with actors.

She also taught at AMDA in New York and offered courses at The New School.

Dennison is a published author and has worked for many years in film, producing and directing international award winning productions. She will be teaching a Screen Actors' Guild Conservatory class in Albuquerque this summer.

This fall, she will be taking a theatrical diversion to 17th century France directing Tartuffe for the Arden Players in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

This weekend’s course at LALT will cover essential voice work, period movement and a major concentration on working with William Shakespeare’s text. Please bring either a monologue or a scene with another actor. These may be read rather than memorized, but should demonstrate good familiarity with the material.

The Little Theatre is located at 1670 Nectar St.

The cost is $10 a person, payable at the door, but registration is required.

To register, please contact Eric Bjorklund at 662-5104 or e-mail bjo@acm.org.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Director: Eric Bjorklund

Producer: Dennis Powell

Production dates: Nov. 8,9,15,16, 22 and 23 with a special matinee at 2 p.m. Nov. 17

Auditions: Los Alamos Little Theatre will conduct auditions for the November production of Macbeth in early August. Specific dates will be set. Parts are available for 18 named characters:

Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Duncan, Banquo, Macduff, Malcom, Donalbain, Angus, Lennox, Fleance, Hecate, Seyton, Rosse, Earl Siward, Young Siward, Menteith, Caithness. Parts for minors and unnamed characters also exist (e.g., the witches).

Actors are encouraged to have a monologue (preferably from the Shakespearean canon, but the actor should bring her/his best material) to read during the audition, which is a private interview with the director.