Ralph is also teaching our Adult Acting Class this spring, and we caught up with him to talk characters, collaboration, and critique.
ACT: What can students expect to work on in the class?
RR: We do monologues and scene studies, with the scenes usually between two people. We work on character development. Usually, I will pick something for each student, but we also have people bring things in that they’d like to work on, that they’d like feedback on. In my class, everyone participates in honest and respectful critique. It’s very collaborative in that sense.
ACT: What do you want people to know about your class?
RR: It’s a kind class. No one yells, no one screams. It’s a safe space to experiment and to try new things. Trying something new is so important, and in this class, the pressure is off so that you can. It’s a great way to learn, to get help, and also to really increase your self-awareness and get to know yourself.
At the same time, there’s outside work that you have to do. You do have to learn your lines. That’s expected.
ACT: What’s most exciting for you as a teacher?
RR: You get to watch people open, watch people as they find parts of themselves. And if you’re a theatre junkie like I am, it’s pretty exciting to spend time exploring the text. I love hearing students’ interpretations of a script and thinking, “I’ve never thought of it that way before!”
I had a student last year whose native language was not English and she had never taken an acting class before. She did a scene from The Glass Menagerie; she was totally unfamiliar with the script or with the characters. The innocence and the openness she brought to the scene were just beautiful.
I also love to see someone really surprise themselves. Someone will have a comedic scene, someone who’s never really done comedy before, and they’ll do the scene and get a laugh, and they are totally not expecting it. That’s wonderful to see.
ACT: Why should someone take this class?
RR: Dancers practice. Musicians practice. You want to get better at something, you practice. Taking an acting class is keeping the gears going. Plus, you get to walk away with experience that you can take with you into an audition.
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Many thanks to Ralph for spending a great afternoon with us! Now it's your turn! Want to take Ralph's class? Click here to register!