Master Teacher Joy Zinoman is back at Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory this fall to teach her highly competitive Directing class. In this interview, Joy reflects on the origin of the class and its evolution and shares some insights on the craft of directing.
Every two or three years. It is a demanding class, not only for the students, but also for the many actors they employ and for the Studio Theatre facilities in which the directors-in-training create.
Those interested submit a letter including their experience, training, and more importantly why they want to take the class. Students are selected by the instructor.
The class was originally written for actors interested in directing. But now each class has students from many disciplines: filmmakers, writers, directors, teachers, stage managers, and, of course, actors.
It is both lecture and assignments. There are major lectures on The Stage, Movement and Blocking, Business, Use of Improvisation, Characterization and Working with Actors, Rhythm and Tempo, Theatrical Organization, working with Designers, and more. There are five assignments and a final project.
That is completely up to the interests and taste of the students. Highly experimental, realistic, classical, original, and musical material have all been used.
To quote Harold Clurman, “the first quality surely is the ability to deal with people." Then there are many demonstrable specifics of the craft. These can be learned. And a director must be both an administrator of a production and an artist. A director needs to have something to say and the personality to release creativity in others.