student directed plays
Posts

  • Fall Season of New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Student Directed Play Series Finishes Strong

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department finished off the Fall Season of their Student Directed Play series with two successful productions of Three Days of Rain, written by Richard Greenburg and directed by Alex Giarratano, BFA Acting for Film, and Private Lives, written by Noel Coward, and directed by Sara Sedran, BFA Acting for Film. The plays were mentored by full time faculty Riley Steiner and Cathy Giannone.

    Three Days of Rain is a play by Richard Greenberg that was commissioned and produced by South Coast Repertory in 1997. Three Days of Rain was nominated for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

    “During the production of this show, one of the biggest things I learned was how to have total faith in my actors and crew to help me execute my artistic vision,” says student director Alex Giarratano of the experience. “I would say directing a play and getting so much help from my cast and crew restored my faith in humanity to some degree. I greatly look forward to tackling this process again and I just want to give you my thanks one more time for giving me this opportunity.”

    Private Lives is a 1930 comedy of manners in three acts by Noël Coward. It concerns a divorced couple who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. Despite a perpetually stormy relationship, they realize that they still have feelings for each other.

    After touring the British provinces, the play opened the new Phoenix Theatre in London in 1930, starring Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Adrianne Allen and Laurence Olivier. A Broadway production followed in 1931, and the play has been revived at least a half dozen times each in the West End and on Broadway. The leading roles have attracted a wide range of actors; among those who have succeeded Coward are Robert Stephens, Richard Burton, Alan Rickman, and Matthew Macfadyen, and successors to Lawrence have included Tallulah Bankhead, Elizabeth Taylor, Elaine Stritch, Maggie Smith, Kim Cattrall, Penelope Keith, and Lindsay Duncan. Directors of new productions have included John Gielgud, Howard Davies, and Richard Eyre. The play was made into a 1931 film and has been adapted several times for television and radio.

    “I’ve always wondered what a director’s job was until I decided to direct a play for the first time,” says Sara Sedran about her experience. “It’s hard—even harder than I expected it to be. In it I found happiness, excitement, disappointment, frustration and what it means to be tired, because you are dedicating 120% of yourself to something you care about. I learned what passion means and how it helped me carry on and not give up. I learned about trust. Trust for my actors and crew members, but most of all trusting myself no matter if other people don’t. I learned the power of decision making and what it takes to be determined. 

    Directing is very much like drawing on commission with a permanent marker—you start from scratch to create your art piece, you choose all your tools but you can’t erase, only adjust and on top of that you only have a limited amount of time. Even though it might not sound like it, it’s the most fulfilling experience.”

    If you are interested in directing a play at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, we are now taking submissions for next semester’s Student Directed Play series until December 9. Please see the flyer below—we are especially seeking scripts with global impact and cultural diversity.

    Student Directed Play Fall Series 2019

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 5, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1073

  • New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting Department Presents Fall Series of Student Directed Plays

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department kicked off their Fall Student Directed Play Series with two successful productions of The Play, an original play written by and starring Amr Nabeel and Grant Morningstar, (BFA Acting for Film), and directed by Matthew Harper-Johnston (BFA Acting for Film) and Commencing by Jane Shepard, directed by NYFA alum Juelz Velasquez. The plays were mentored by Associate Chair David Robinette and full-time faculty Cathy Giannone.

    THE PLAY

    Two strangers meet while waiting for a theatre performance to begin. Through an extended conversation they both realize that they are connected beyond the confines of their seats.

    The Play begins with a Slob slumped in his seat. A Snob clacks in, drying himself from the tempest outside. He sits next to the Slob and after a beat they begin speaking to one another. An awkward and fragmented introduction flourishes into shared laughter, boastful arguments, mutual irritations, and clashing opinions on art. On this journey, they discover that the impact they have on one another is not constrained to the row they sit in. Beneath the sharp-tongued combat and competition for four-syllable words lies a story that explores forgiveness and acceptance. They both have played a role in each other’s lives, for better or worse.

    “I’ve never had to opportunity to put on a play which was written by a fellow student and that really interested me,” says Harper-Johnston about his experience with The Play. “As a director, part of my vision in every project is to incorporate other people’s vision so the whole project becomes very collaborative and familial. Having the opportunity to work on something where such a strong vision was already established was such an exciting challenge. Grant and Amr wrote a really interesting play that have thematic similarities to the previous plays I had worked on. It explores the awkward silences of real life and is also a battle of wits and the plays I love to work on usually have one or both of those aspects.”

    Writer and co-star Amp Nabeel declared, “It’s been such an honor to work with such fantastically creative and ingenious individuals. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to create this piece of theatre, which undoubtedly, could not have been done without the contributions of all those involved.”

    COMMENCING

    Kelli can’t wait for the blind date her friends have set her up on, until it turns out to be a very disappointed lesbian named Arlin. Mutually appalled, yet appallingly intrigued, they proceed to pull the screws loose on both straight and gay women’s culture, to find common ground in the search for love and self.

    “This was my first experience directing after being involved in many Student Directed Plays,” says Velasquez. “I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and grown from directing this play.”

     

    The next work in the Student Directed Plays series will be A Long Time Ago an original play written and directed by NYFA Alum Thomas Steward.

    Student Directed Plays Fall 2019 Long Time Ago

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 25, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1181

  • ‘Absurd Person Singular’ Concludes Summer Series of Student Directed Plays at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The Acting for Film department at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) finished off their very successful Summer Series of Student Directed Plays with the amazing production Absurd Person Singular, written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by BFA Acting for Film student Iunia Dinu, mentored by instructor Riley Steiner.

    Absurd Person Singular is a 1972 play divided into three acts, documenting the changing fortunes of three married couples. Each act takes place at a Christmas celebration at one of the couples’ homes on successive Christmas Eves.

    “Taking a play from paper to stage takes a lot of hard work, teamwork, and structured creativity,” says student director, Iunia Dinu. “In a world that is fueled by constant distractions, I wanted to help tell three important stories through an entertaining medium. Alan Ayckbourn’s phenomenal comedic writing made it almost easy for us to get into the groove of the play. I wanted to tackle the issues of gender equality within marriages, specifically focusing on ignorance, power struggles, and ambition.”

    Absurd Person Singular
    Dinu adds, “Overall, it was a fantastic experience where I learned about the importance of having a clear direct vision, how to communicate ideas over to my actors, and how to work collaboratively with other people in a structured creative environment.”

    Gloria Kare, a BFA Acting for Film student, had a blast, saying, “What a pleasure and an unforgettable experience to have worked in such a demanding and fun play!”

    Michael Murdasanu, another BFA Acting for Film student, agreed, calling the production “something that was really fun and challenging. I’ll never forget the experience.”

    Absurd Person Singular Absurd Person Singular

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 15, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1175

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Sam LaFrance Featured in Road Theatre Company’s Summer Playwrights Festival

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Lost Boy, a play written by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Sam LaFrance, was recently featured in Road Theatre Company’s Summer Playwrights Festival.

    LaFrance attended the 1-Year Acting for Film conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2008. He currently works as the building manager for NYFA-LA’s Barham building.

    Lost Boy tells the story of a man being released from prison after kidnapping several children 22 years earlier. The play was previously part of NYFA’s 2019 Winter Series of Student Directed plays. LaFrance directed the production, mentored by full time instructor David Robinette.

    “I saw a few Student Directed Plays and figured this would be a good opportunity to workshop one of my own projects,” LaFrance told NYFA. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone who loves theatre. You are completely immersed in it and that’s an amazing feeling.”

    The tenth annual edition of the Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival staged nearly 40 staged readings of new plays in just eight drama-packed days. The festival concluded on August 4, after staging readings at both the Historic Lankershim Arts Center Theater and Gallery and the Road Theatre’s 77-seat venue in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony. The fest is considered one of the largest playwright festivals in the nation.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Acting for Film alum Sam LaFrance on the success of his play Lost Boy and looks forward to future productions!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 13, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1469

  • Playwright Lindsey Ferrentino Visits New York Film Academy (NYFA) Production of ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Monday, July 1, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film department had the opportunity to host a special performance of Ugly Lies the Bone, directed by NYFA Acting for Film alum Coco de Bruycker. This special performance was followed by a Q&A with playwright Lindsey Ferrentino and actor Ralf Little, who were in attendance for the show.

    Ugly Lies the Bone tells the story of Jess, a veteran returning from her third deployment in Afghanistan who was wounded in action. She has been assigned to a new video game therapy—an immersive virtual reality experience created to distract soldiers from their pain. However, ignoring her actual reality proves more difficult than it seems. The spotlight is on Jess as she navigates her new life, desperate to feel comfortable in her—literally—new skin.

    Lindset Ferrentino Ugly Lies the Bone

    Director Coco de Bruycker worked with the NYFA Acting for Film department to arrange the Q&A after connecting with Lindsey Ferrentino. “That we had the honor to play Ugly Lies the Bone for Lindsey Ferrentino is truly amazing, says de Bruycker. “Truthfulness is probably the biggest thing I take away from her … It impressed me how much time she actually spends on research and discovery as you go. And that’s also one of the reasons why I chose to do this play.”

    Actor Luke Sweeney, who played Stevie, was inspired by the fact that Lindsey and Ralf came to the show and spoke afterwards. “I was just very grateful to have them in the audience,” says Sweeney. “They both have big things happening in their careers and personal lives right now and for them to take a night to come and see us perform was a gift … It also inspired me to know that even though there may be some quiet months, Lindsey and Ralf still work really hard to make sure they are making a living doing what they love. It gave me an immense amount of confidence starting off my career path to know that even the best actors and storytellers you meet are still navigating their way.”

    Actress Isabelle Germain spoke of the difficulty of working on the play, telling NYFA, “Becoming Jess was one of the toughest challenges I’ve had as an actor … I absolutely love this play and all of the characters within it. Ugly Lies the Bone was a cathartic, healing experience.”

    Lindset Ferrentino Ugly Lies the Bone

    Ángel Gabriel, who played Kelvin, was excited to be a part of the production. “To have the playwright with us on Monday with one of the original cast members was surreal,” says Gabriel. “A truly mesmerizing night for all of us … The universe prizes you when it sees the hard work and determination that you put in. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”

    de Bruycker discussed the process of directing the play: “In rehearsals—and also during the shows—we discovered so many things together, both cast and crew as a team, and I’m utterly grateful for all those different angles …The show taught me also to trust the team, the process, and myself. Any creative work is unpredictable, sometimes painful, and Ugly Lies the Bone shows that pain doesn’t necessarily have to discourage you. It’s empowering. You can use anything on your way, both the highs and the lows.”

    de Bruycker was thrilled to have been able to make the Q&A work, adding, “I’m so glad we could unite the playwright with our actors and great crew at New York Film Academy for a night. And also the audience in the tears and laughs they shared together every night we brought this story to life. Thank you.”

     

     

     

     

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    July 19, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2378

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film Host Winter Season of Student Directed Plays

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Starting in February, the New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department kicked off their series of workshop productions featuring plays directed by the students themselves.

    The season kicked off with the first two plays—Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Michael Gum (BFA Acting for Film) and Doll’s House Part 2 by Maame-Ekua Mensah (BFA Acting for Film.) Both plays were mentored by full-time NYFA instructor, Cathy Giannone.

    “The Student Directed Plays are an experience that changes all that are involved,” states Giannone. “They are a valuable and important lesson in creativity and process. Everyone walks away having more confidence and a better understanding of the work.”

    “I have learned quite a bit through directing Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” says student director Michael Gum. “As far as creatively, figuring out how to describe a vision in multiple ways so that everyone I am working with is on the same page.  Because the play is fantastical, bizarre, absurd, and at the same time talking about real issues, finding the balance of worlds and keeping everyone in the same world is one of the elements that I think is most important.”

    Gum adds, “I also think that there are two important themes in the play. One: that while technology can be used to form connections, an obsession with it can alienate. And two: The difference between loving the idea of someone and actually loving someone. To me, both these themes are very relevant to today, particularly for students and those working to get in the film industry.”

    Student director Maame-Ekua Mensah had this to say about her experience directing Doll’s House Part 2: “I wanted to do this play to encourage the  audience to take a stand on their own opinions in the future, while still being able to see the logic in others’. The play discusses old perspectives on feminism, love, marriage, and commitment. We currently live in a society where it’s easier to agree with everyone because we are unable to keep the peace when someone has am alternative opinion. I believe people should be coming together, whether or not we have altering opinions, to advocate for the greater good for society. I believe that you can learn a lot from listening to your ‘opponents’ in life. Working on this play has also given me much insight on how to work with a cast and crew.”

    The third Student Directed Play by the NYFA-LA Acting School was a production of In the Blood, by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Hattie Sallie (BFA Acting for Film) and Cathy Giannone.

    In the Blood tells the story of a homeless woman with five children by five different fathers in a society pitted against them. Speaking about her experience directing the play, student director Sallie says:

    “I wanted to do this play because at the end of it, I cried and in the midst of the crying I asked myself ‘why?’ I wanted to explore my place in society and how I treat people who can do absolutely nothing for me. Then I decided that this would be an amazing, timeless play that I could put up because I wanted to try my hand at directing and I wanted the audience to take a look at themselves as well, have the kind of journey I had while reading In the Blood. 

    “I learned so much from directing this play. I learned the importance of listening, hearing the writer’s intention, colors!!!. I think I have learned how to become a better actor because of it. I am so thankful for this opportunity because now I know the feeling of being on the other side of the casting process and how much I wanted the actors to come in and be ‘the one.’ I know how I loved when the actors came in prepared, when they worked with me, trusted me and not tried to be against me. I learned how much reading and replying to emails and text messages and notices are because I wanted my actors to let me know that they received all the information given. 

    “I learned the importance of rehearsal—how you rehearse is the way you will perform—and how to communicate with actors, how to bring in the energy and uplift them when they needed encouragement. I could go on and on but I will leave it at: This was one of the best experiences of my life!”

    In the Blood star MFA alum Demyra Ravyne Payne has this to say about her fifth production she’s acted in: “NYFA gives not only its students but its alumni the opportunity to do work we couldn’t do anywhere else. “I am very thankful for all the support NYFA has provided me.”

    Thurs. Feb. 28 7:30pm The fourth Student Directed Play of the winter season was an original work from NYFA Acting for Film alum Sam LaFrance: Lost Boy, who also directed it, mentored by full time instructor David Robinette. 

    The play tells the story of a man responsible for kidnapping a handful of children twenty-two years prior being released from prison.

    “I saw a few Student Directed Plays and figured this would be a good opportunity to workshop one of my own projects,” says writer/director LaFrance. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone who loves theatre. You are completely immersed in it and that’s an amazing feeling.”

    NYFA-LA Student Directed Plays Winter Season 2019
    The final Student Directed play of the winter season was Tartuffe and was performed earlier this March. Tartuffe was written by Molière, translated by Richard Wilbut, and directed by Valerie Torres (MFA Acting for Film), mentored by full time NYFA instructor, Mary Sala.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the student directors of the NYFA Acting for Film Winter Season of Student Directed Plays on jobs well done! Bravo!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 10, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 939