A.C.T.'s MFA Program Selected to Perform at Moscow Art Theatre School's Stanislavsky Festival, Now thru Oct 21
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Conservatory Director Melissa Smith announced today that the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Program has been selected by Anatoly Smeliansky, dean of the Moscow Art Theatre School, to perform at Moscow Art Theatre School's 2012 Stanislavsky Festival, to be held in Moscow today, October 15–21, 2012. This year's festival, titled "Open Class: Stanislavsky Continues," honors the 150th birthday of Konstantin Stanislavsky, founder of the Moscow Art Theatre. The A.C.T. M.F.A. Program has the distinguished honor of being the only theater school selected to represent the United States.
Says Smith: "We feel tremendously honored that our M.F.A. program has been invited to participate in this festival with other drama schools from Europe and Russia. The occasion promises to offer a multi-faceted collision of culture, theater, and approaches to the art and craft of acting. Sharing work with students from different cultures and training programs is going to be an invaluable educational experience."
The Moscow Art Theatre was established in 1898 by Konstantin Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko who, in their mission to discover the truth in drama, discovered that its essence is the ensemble. Through their close association with Anton Chekhov and his plays and through Stanislavsky's influential teachings, The Moscow Art Theatre became the birthplace of modern theater and modern actor training.
The International Festival of Acting Schools marks the first time in Moscow history that theater schools from eight countries-England, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Russia, and the United States-will congregate together to celebrate live theater as well as share in open discussions about the most urgent problems of contemporary theater. Each acting school will participate in a series of master classes, lectures, and round-table discussion to showcase their educational know-how.
The 10 second-year A.C.T. M.F.A. Program students will perform Federico García Lorca's acclaimed play The House of Bernarda Alba on Wednesday, October 17, on Moscow Art Theatre's Chamber stage. For this production, the director, Stephen Buescher, head of movement and physical theater in the A.C.T. Conservatory, experimented with having students direct and create physical movement for various scenes, which were then integrated into the final staging to be performed in Moscow. The participating students are Blaire Busbee, Nemuna Ceesay, Philip Estrera, Asher Grodman, Dillon Heape, Lateefah O. Holder, Lisa Kitchens, Aaron Moreland, Elyse Price, and York Walker.
The other participating schools include:
Centro Internazionale La Cometa, Rome, Italy
Performing: Katzelmacher, from the movie script by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts, Berlin, Germany
Performing: Casimir and Carolina by Eden von Horvath
Ludwik Solski State Drama School, Krakow, Poland
Performing: Three Sisters inspired by Anton Chekov
Moscow Art Theatre Studio, Moscow, Russia
Performing: Metamorphosis by Ovid
Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, London, United Kingdom
Performing: …Pages from the Book of… by Bruno Schultz
St. Petersburg University of Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
Performing: Futurismvisions, 23 improvisations around the themes of Russian futuristic poetry
Théâtre National de Strasbourg School, Strasbourg, France
Performing: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest, Hungary
Performing: Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind
Says Smeliansky: "In the world of modern theater, there are several theater festivals, competitions, conferences, and forums. Almost each of them has their own flavor and their own program. The festival taking place in Moscow in October of 2012 has its own goal, in many ways dictated by the time and place of our meeting. The events of the festival are to occur at the Moscow Art Theatre on the eve of the 150th birthday of one of its founders. In this we find, as Stanislavsky would say, our superobjective: we want to present the state of the worldwide theater school, that same school that will define the direction of stagecraft in the decades to come. It is our hope that we are able to find and to hear each other, to understand The Common point we occupy, and to sense a new movement forward."
Ranked as one of the top programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program is the only theater training program in the country accredited to award the master of fine arts degree, yet is not affiliated with a college or university. The essence of A.C.T.'s actor training lies in the interplay between the professional company and the Conservatory. Student actors at A.C.T. perform frequently within the program in Studio Productions, as well as in cabaret and Shakespeare productions that tour to the larger Bay Area. Third-year M.F.A. Program student actors perform in A.C.T.'s mainstage production of A Christmas Carol and also audition for roles in A.C.T. mainstage productions. In recent years, students have played leading roles in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, Once in a Lifetime, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, as well as performing in new and commissioned works. Many graduates of the program go on to distinguished careers in theater and film and include such celebrated actors as Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, Christopher Fitzgerald, Danny Glover, Omar Metwally, Dileep Rao, Anna Deavere Smith, and Denzel Washington. A.C.T. provides a wealth of talented actors for productions across the San Francisco Bay Area: graduates of the M.F.A. Program have taken on leading roles in productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Stage, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, among others. The M.F.A. Program functions as the cornerstone of the A.C.T. Conservatory, which also includes the Summer Training Congress, Studio A.C.T., and the Young Conservatory, and trains more than 3,000 students annually. For more information, visit act-sf.org/conservatory.