July & August 2014 with Karen Kohlhaas
Table of Contents
- Quotes from past participants
- Karen's Bio
- Notes from past directing classes
- Dates, times and location
- Directing class description and tuition
- Levels of participation: "Full," "Audit," and "Guest class only"
- What I'm looking for in participants
- More quotes from past participants
- Interview/Registration policies
"I've never taken a better organized and more productive class in any field. Karen maximizes the use of every minute in her 10-class master class on directing. My advice is become a full participant, if you can. You choose two plays, cast and direct two scenes. With the first scene, we learned and applied Karen's technique of blueprinting a scene. As a director, you'll never come to work without ideas and a plan. Your second piece is a good chunk of a play that you develop as if you were directing a professional production. Your work culminates in a performance for an audience. Not too many classes give you that sense of accomplishment."
— Elise Marenson, Writer and Director of Film & Theater
"I really loved the experience that we had in the class. The study of directing is so expansive that it's really a lifelong project - but I'm still amazed by just how much of it we were able to do in ten classes. Everything we covered was extremely valuable, inspiring and, of course, practical. I really hope you'll continue teaching this class and other classes for directors in the future."
— Mark Armstrong, Artistic Director of the Production Company
Karen Kohlhaas recently directed the Lucille Lortel Award nominated THE COLLECTION and A KIND OF ALASKA by Harold Pinter at the Atlantic Theater Company, which was named in the top 10 theater productions of 2010 by the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the New York Daily News. She is a founding member of Atlantic. Other productions include the world premiere of Annie Baker's play BODY AWARENESS at Atlantic Stage 2; the Drama Desk Award nominated 25 QUESTIONS FOR A JEWISH MOTHER by Kate Moira Ryan with Judy Gold which ran 6 months Off-Broadway and continues to tour. Other Off-Broadway and regional: Harold Pinter's THE HOTHOUSE (Atlantic), Keith Reddins SYNERGY (Alley Theatre, world premiere) and FRAME 312 (Atlantic, NY premiere); David Mamet's BOSTON MARRIAGE (Public Theater, NY premiere) and THE WATER ENGINE (Atlantic); three productions of AN ADULT EVENING OF SHEL SILVERSTEIN in New York and Sydney, Kate Moira Ryan's OTMA (U.S. premiere) and AT SEA by Clare Bayley (Menagerie Theatre, U.K.). She has also directed at Naked Angels, New Dramatists, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and other New York theaters. Her short films and documentaries have played at festivals in the US and internationally. Karen is a senior teacher at the Atlantic Acting School, and teaches her own directing, monologue, and audition workshops. She is the author of How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition, The Monologue Audition Teacher's Manual, The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors, and is the director, writer and producer of THE MONOLOGUE AUDITION VIDEO (DVD), available at www.monologueaudition.com.
All of the past workshops have been incredibly fulfilling to teach, and have fostered artistic relationships that have extended past the endings of the classes. Very valuable group dynamics are formed between the directors and the auditors that I hope to repeat in the upcoming class; people supportively discussed and questioned each other's work all the way through the process, and many are still interacting and going to see each other's projects and films that have been happening since the workshop.
The work by the "Full Participant" directors grew and deepened with each round of scenes, and the final presentations were very strong and well attended. Approximately 30 actors participated in each workshop, and their participation has led to future interactions, projects and even being cast in full productions of the directors' works! "Audit" participants were active and vocal in class, contributing to class discussion. As of this session, Audit participants will also have the option to work on a "paper project" script analysis of a play of their choice for feedback and notes.
We welcomed as guest speakers professionals from all over the industry. Past guests have included playwrights John Guare, Christoper Durang, Kate Moira Ryan, Michael Weller, Keith Reddin,Tom Donaghy and Jerome Hairston; Directors Michael Grief, Jo Bonney, Carl Forsman, Pam Berlin, Daniel Aukin; Artistic Directors Neil Pepe (Atlantic) and Billy Carden (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Casting directors David Caparelliotis, Mele Nagler and Will Cantler; Designers Walt Spangler and Bobby Tilley; Actors Chris Bauer, Thomas Jay Ryan, Judy Gold and Mary McCann; Producer/Actor Laurie Williams, Stage Managers James Latus and Alex Volckhausen, and agent Beth Blickers of Abrams Artists.
I very much look forward to the next Directing Workshop!
Please email for complete information
Atlantic Acting School 76 9th Avenue just North of 15th Street
This is a 42+ hour class in directing designed to be as comprehensive, practical, and creatively stimulating as possible. There will be practical coursework and also a series of guest lectures with industry professionals including designers, directors, playwrights, agents, and stage managers. Fully-participating directors will be limited to 8; there is also an audit level and a guest-lecture only level (see below).
The coursework includes practical experience in designing and realizing your directorial vision with:
Script analysis for directors Pre-production and research Making choices and making those choices appear on stage! Casting and auditions Communicating effectively with actors Staging: how to use structure, contrast and suspense in storytelling Showmanship for directors Rehearsal technique Time management Troubleshooting
And, lecture/discussion of:
Working with a playwright on a new play Collaborating with designers Working effectively with stage managers, casting directors, artistic directors and producers Working with an agent Directing careers in New York City and regional USA Goals for and handling of previews/opening/run Building your vision of the kind of director you want to be and taking steps to realize that vision.
The class will feature six 75-minute guest speakers from different facets of the industry. All will focus on the director's role and interaction with other artists and theater professionals. Past guests have included playwrights John Guare, Christoper Durang, Kate Moira Ryan, Michael Weller, Keith Reddin,Tom Donaghy and Jerome Hairston; Directors Michael Grief, Jo Bonney, Carl Forsman, Pam Berlin, Daniel Aukin; Artistic Directors Neil Pepe (Atlantic) and Billy Carden (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Casting directors David Caparelliotis, Mele Nagler and Will Cantler; Designers Walt Spangler and Bobby Tilley; Actors Chris Bauer, Thomas Jay Ryan, Judy Gold and Mary McCann; Producer/Actor Laurie Williams, Stage Managers James Latus and Alex Volckhausen, and agent Beth Blickers of Abrams Artists. Guests will be announced as they are confirmed.
There are 3 levels of participation in this class:
8 people will take the full class, working on 2 different scenes with actors of their choice. The first scene is shorter and comes into class once; the 2nd scene comes into class 3 times, increasing the length each time. Directors will have a series of written work, research and casting/auditions to do outside of class as well as the scene work. (NOTE: it is essential that potential directors are committed to completing the written and research work if they are interested in the class. This will be discussed at length in the interview.) Commitments for directors AND actors to show up and be prepared must be ironclad; if someone doesn't show up their class time is forfeited. These participants must have enough time in their schedules to prepare and to rehearse. If you are interested in this level, read the schedule outline at the end of this mail so that you can see what kind of time commitment will be needed.
The first scene (2 characters, 3 minutes) is an exercise that will focus on learning "The Event," a powerful tool for articulating a specific vision for a scene, staging, and communicating with actors. This scene will come into class once. This scene will be cast with actors of the director's choice (recommendations given if needed).
The second scene (3-4 characters, which starts at 5 minutes and will build to 15-18 minutes) will further develop the techniques learned in the first scene, and also focus on more complex blocking and storytelling issues, design and conceptual considerations. This scene will come into class a total of 3 times, building toward performance level. There will be an invited performance of all of the 2nd scenes at the end of the session. This scene will be cast by auditions held by the directors, as part of the course.
The full-participation level will give each director the opportunity to make each part of his or her artistic process tangible, practical and specific in order to guarantee that the audience sees what is engaging, compelling, fascinating or humorous about the scene. While intuition and experimentation will play a part, the overall approach is designed to enable each director to clearly articulate and practically address his/her vision for each scene, get rid of "gray areas," understand and practice excellent showmanship, communicate well with a variety actors, and solve problems.
The full-participation level is for people who have some theater training and experience, such as actors and stage managers, directors who have never formally studied directing or those who want to focus on developing their skills in a concentrated setting. Ideally all will have studied acting at some time. Because of the amount of class time devoted to each director, enrollment is limited to 8. Tuition for the full-participation level is $850.
The class is available to audit, including the guest classes. The auditing level is ideal for people with directing interest or experience who want to learn all aspects of directing but who do not have the time in their schedules to prepare and rehearse for the full participation level. Auditors are a valuable and vocal part of the directing class; their position as auditors allows them to respond to the work from an audience's perspective.
Auditors are also invited to follow along with the script analysis process being learned by the "Full" directors, by working on a "paper project" script analysis of a play of their choice, for which they will receive notes and feedback during the class session. Tuition for the audit level is $425.
GUEST CLASS ONLY
6 of the 10 classes will begin with a 75 minute guest class. Guests will speak about directing, and the director's relationship to actors, playwrights, casting directors, agents, stage managers, and artistic directors. It is possible to sign up to attend the guest classes only. See above for past guests.
Tuition is $25 per guest class, or $125 for all 6 guest classes. If you want to be put onto a special mailing list to be informed of the guests and their dates, please send an e:mail to DirectingClass@aol.com.
For those interested in the Full Participation level: This class is for people with some theater or film experience (actors, playwrights, producers, filmmakers, stage managers are welcome; if there is any question, please contact me for discussion) who are interested in learning concrete, practical stage directing techniques, including staging and communicating with actors. NOTE: I teach a very specific way of approaching a scene/play/work, and we go step by step through that approach in the class. I want those who take the class to be interested in learning that approach, open to taking feedback, supportive of others' work; professional in all interactions with their actors, organized, and willing and ready to devote the time outside the class that it will take to get their scenes ready. It is also very important to be willing to observe class guidelines like scene length, being on time to class and rehearsals, and meeting all class deadlines.
"Thank you so much for offering this amazing Directing Workshop. You merge the practical with the creative, making for an insightful, unique and highly effective approach to the craft of directing. The scene work was invaluable. The tools you have given me will serve me well as a director, as well as an actor, far into the future."
— John Summerford, Actor and Director
"Really insightful techniques. I'm learning more in the four hours [of each class] than I have in all my previousclasses put together."
— Patty Mulcahy, Screenwriter and Film Director
"As an actress I had always wanted to explore theater from the point of view of the director. I'd studied acting with Karen in the past and knew she would show us the essential techniques of directing while encouraging creativity and spontaneity. The entire experience exceeded my expectations and turned into, for me, one of the best acting classes I've ever had."
— Margaret O'Connor, Actor and Director
"The insights we learned were practical as well as exalted; the proof came in watching the work grow stronger with each installment. I enjoyed the professional attitude and mutual respect you engendered in the class among classmates. And lastly and especially, I thank you for guiding me through the crises of my first job as director on the New York stage. Your class made that a much richer learning experience for me!"
— Sarah Tuft, Writer, Director and Editor for Theater and Film
I have begun meeting with those interested in the full and audit levels of participation. On acceptance, preparation for the class will involve discussion of play choices and some initial research and planning. For questions, or to schedule a meeting, please send an email to DirectingClass@aol.com or call 212-252-4200.
NOTE: Before interviewing, please request the complete schedule and make sure you have the time for the class.