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MFA in Acting Philosophy

The LSU MFA Acting Program provides a conservatory-based approach to the training of the whole professional actor while fostering the inner creative voice of the actor through devising and writing for performance in an open interdisciplinary way.

PHILOSOPHY:

The faculty at LSU believe that training for the actor lies in daily preparation of the body, voice and imagination for a fundamentally improvisational approach to the actor’s work with or without a script. The most thrilling work of the actor is manifested in the moment-to-moment unpredictability of what will happen next. Living truthfully in the given circumstances of whatever the genre, period, or style, the unpredictable actor is the one to watch and the one to cast.

To train for this, the actor needs to continuously seek out and free unwanted and unnecessary tension throughout the body and voice while embracing a new paradigm of the self. Once efficiently organized and focused, the actor becomes intimately and immediately receptive to the behavior of other actors and responds to actively change them. Once locked into this exchange of reception and response, the work gathers a cascading momentum to become the unpredictable spontaneity that one strives to achieve.

The program is eclectic and trains in a variety of techniques such as T’ai Chi, Alexander Technique, Laban, Neutral Mask, Rodenburg voice, Phonetics, Dialects, Heightened Text, Character Voice, Stanislavsky-based acting approaches such as Meisner, Chekhov, Adler, & Strasberg, Stage Combat, Contact Improvisation, Viewpoints, Dance and Devising. Graduates will have a working knowledge of the rich legacy of acting teachers, their methods and history.

We believe in the actor as servant. Actors are collaborators in a living art form and vital contributors to the human ensemble. Nature tells its stories to the world through the well-trained actor.

GUIDELINES:

Success in the program hinges on excellence in four areas without preference: Classwork, Rehearsal/Performance, Assistantship, Thesis Project and Document.

  • Classwork requires an active assimilation of the work in class to rehearsal and performance and rolling over and into the succeeding classes and courses. It is recommended that the MFA student involve outside review and rehearsal to cement the concepts and techniques introduced in class.
  • Rehearsal/Performance requires a focused and passionate goal to integrate prior acting technique and current classroom technique into the creation of an exemplary and inspired performance grounded in the textual and directorial analysis of the play.
  • Assistantship requires a diligent and conscientious approach to exceeding the expectations of your area supervisors. Your current and future teaching assignment depends on stellar reviews from all three areas. Proposals for the teaching of a specialized class need to be submitted prior to the approval of the next semester’s course schedule.
  • The Thesis project is the creation and performance of a one-person show followed by a written document of that journey submitted as a final thesis to the Graduate School required for graduation.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

For a fulfilling life of graduate training in the LSU School of Theatre, we encourage following these guiding principles:

  • Simple

Strive to be direct, frank, open, clear and clean in expression, a plainness of style, lacking in pride, humble. Speak up and directly address your concerns of others.

  • Authentic

Strive to be genuine and real, not false or copied, acting on one’s own authority and best judgment within the law and LSU policy. In so doing, one becomes reliable, trustworthy.

  • Humane

Strive to be kind, benevolent to others, gracious, while slow to judge and giving the benefit of the doubt. Laugh, maintain a sense of humor, taking the work seriously rather than ourselves.

  • Autonomous

Strive for independence and freedom, while living within the law and LSU policy, willfully self-govern.

  • Masterful

Strive for a command of your skill and its underpinning knowledge, an expert grasp of your chosen subject.

  • Purposeful

Strive for a clear reason for your work, a determination, a resoluteness to define the subject at hand, the point at issue. What is your end, your aim, your goal?

  • United

Strive to become a single unit of body, voice and imaginative impulse.