Salon Project

Baroque style - Colorado Govenor's Mansion

Baroque style – Colorado Govenor’s Mansion

The Salon Project is a method of training actors in styles of movement and language in various eras of history that are most frequently represented in the classical theatre performance canon. The guiding concept is that an actor learns the style of an era by living in the actual era that produced the style. It is based on the principle that the actors’ sensory connection to the people and surroundings of the world of the play in which they have been cast, provides the stimuli that causes that character to come to life and behave truthfully in that time period.

The course, Playing with Style, THTR 4023, requires that students gain an understanding of the style of the time period by studying the places, people, events, protocol or manners, dances, music and art of the specific salon time period; Elizabethan, Baroque / Restoration, Regency, Victorian / Edwardian, and the early 20th century.

The Salon Project provides the student with the opportunity to create a living performance experience of the assigned time period and it serves as the final cumulative style project of the semester-long course. It is largely a resource exercise for the actor that is cultivated out of the students’ research and understanding of the time, place, values, structure, beauty, recreation, sight and sound of the period, as well as how to behave (speak and move). The students’ research of the liberal arts of the era, including history, political diplomacy, literature, religion, theatre, art, music, dance, architecture, the fashion, and (in some cases) the use of various languages provides the foundation on which character and the style of that character are created.

Greek style - CU-Boulder Mary Rippon Theatre

Greek style – CU-Boulder Mary Rippon Theatre

Essentially, the Salon Project provides a context, for the students to experience the world of the period style and the content of the course. It allows the student to fully embody the period through a structured improvisation that includes the people, politics, protocol, dances, and manners. It is always accompanied with live music of the period and open to an invited public audience to remind students one of the main components of the course is the act of embodying style techniques in performing period plays.

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