The American University in Cairo

I visited Mr. Mark Mineart's THTR 225 - Acting I class on the day he had scheduled the showing of scenes and monologues that his students had prepared. Following the showing of a given scene he took time to work the scenes with the actors together with active participation and input from the rest of the class.

The students showed up on time and were ready to proceed with the session as soon as they had settled down.  Mr. Mineart spent the first five to ten minutes of the class explaining to the class the work that would be done in the week to come.  He went over the scheduling of the scenes and appointed various organizational tasks to the students.  He answered any questions they asked and clarified the whole process to them.  Once this was gotten out of the way, Mr. Mineart asked two students to step forward and perform their assigned scene from Beyond Therapy.  As the students were setting up for their scene Mr. Mineart went carefully over which set pieces and props were necessary for the scene.  He emphasized that the objective was not to clutter the performing space but select only those elements that are functional.

After the scene was run Mr. Mineart worked with the student actors on finding out what was needed to improve the scene.  He discussed the difference between memorizing the scene and knowing the scene and worked with the students on how to make a strong entrance, how to communicate through physical posture, how to use props effectively, and how to be bold in making acting choices.  Overall he was trying to get them to be more specific and focused in their acting choices.  This process was achieved through the method of enlisting the participation not only of the actors in the scene but of the entire class as well.

The impression I got from this session was that, in addition to having the class under firm control and commanding the students' attention and interest, the instructor had succeeded in gaining their trust and respect.  There was definitely excellent rapport between Mr. Mineart and the students and they all seemed eager to learn from him as much as they could.