Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boston University, Thoughts about the BFA Program

Hey guys, 

I’ve been getting a few requests about what my audition experience was like and the BFA program at BU so I figured why not make a post. 

I auditioned for BFA programs my senior year of high school, 2010. I auditioned at: 
Point Park University
Carnegie Mellon University
Boston University
Emerson College
New York University
University of Illinois- Chicago
Depaul University

I additionally had safe schools which I did not apply for a BFA. 

Auditions were pretty the same overall, two monologues contrasting (only BU and CMU required one contemporary and one classical), you go in slate, perform, talk a little, or maybe not at all and leave. 

I was super fortunate and got in to all but two schools. In the end, I choose BU because I liked the idea that studying abroad was mandatory and there seemed to be a really fantastic sense of family there. 

I believe, that if you want to learn how to be an artist,how to generate meaningful work and feel extremely artistically and spiritually fulfilled Boston University is the place for you. 

**warning cheesiness ahead

There were 39 of us admitted to the Freshman year. By our senior year there was 37. BU’s strongest asset is the connections it creates within the class between the professors, the students, and each other. Freshman year they focus on leveling the playing field so everyone is coming to the work with a clean slate. This means that the school doesn’t necessarily become a hyper competitive and toxic place where people fight against one another to see who is best, but use each other and help one another grow. My classmates are some of my best friends, they are my family, my support group, everything really. I know I can turn to them and ask for help and they will open their arms to me and vice versa. With this supportive environment it’s super easy to learn to fail and try and fail and try again and again, because you have such a great group of people who will catch you when you fall. 

**end of cheesiness 

Now, the program! I’ll sum it up as succinctly and best I can, 

Freshman year all students are enrolled in what’s known as Performance Core. The year focuses on basic skills, ensemble building, and you figuring out who you are as a person and how and why you are that way. A lot of introspective work and time. The school knows it’s asking a lot of you emotionally and so there are many health matinees (blocks of time where people talk to you) about physical, emotional and mental health. You’ll take, Voice and Speech, Alexander Technique, Movement, Acting, Drama Lit, Theatre Ensemble, a writing class, and more. Freshman aren’t allowed to perform in shows so every week you have a class called Locals which is the entire class existing and performing in a free safe place for one another. (Freshman year, I dumped a gallon of fake blood on my head….you can literally do anything)

Sophomore year you will have declared your major. Either a BFA in Acting or a BFA in Theatre Arts. Both majors are just different ways to a similar end. The Acting major focuses on acting and has a very set schedule all three years. You sign up for the acting major sophomore year and you know then what classes you’ll be taking senior year. Core acting classes are taken every year including acting, voice and speech, alexander technique, and movement. Acting majors are required to perform in shows every quarter starting the second semester of the Sophomore year and their senior year ends in an acting thesis: a 25-45 minute one person show containing ten different beats. 

The Theatre Arts major allows the student to devise their own way of studying. If you’re interested in acting but also directing you can add lots of directing classes. Other students havve focused on playwrighting, dramaturgy, dance, and even outside theatre studies. Casting is not mandatory and you can also apply to assistant direct a show or take a quarter off to write a play. Acting classes are a tiny bit more geared through physical acting Grotowsky technique and the Theatre Arts thesis is when all Theatre Arts majors create a theatre group and produce, direct, act, or write their own productions. 

For Acting majors the first semester of Junior year is focused on all things classical. Students are trained in armed combat and classes focus on Shakespeare’s text. The second semester the students fly the coup! Usually going to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art or the Accademia de’ll Arte in Arezzo, Italy; however you can go anywhere, we’ve had people go to India, Australia and Africa even. 

After the junior year students return for senior year. 

Acting majors focus on their thesis the first semester and Theatre Arts focus on it all year with their thesis’ being performed in the last quarter. Senior year also takes a look at the professional world and the students place in it. You’ll take a class with the indomitable Mary V. Buck who will tell you how the world will see you and act as general bad ass adviser. Boston University has a showcase in NY over spring break and Boston later on. Usually, there are a group of students who will also fly to LA for a meet and greet cocktail kind of thing. 

Ok, this is a lot,any questions hit me up. 

Cheers

Anonymous said: Ah! I meant for dropitlikeitsmildlywarm!!! Sorry sorry sorry!

 :)

Anonymous said: Hi! I just saw your answer for Shermans-march-to-the-p, and I know of a really amazing monologue called Boot, which was created as part of the fresh ink program. It is a piece which is just a standalone monologue, and does need to be cut down for auditioning, but it's pretty fab! (And it's about a female high school student, so perfect for her age)

Wooo! Thanks for contributing, I have the best most helpful followers!

thoseawkwardstages said: Hi! First of all, your blog=total life saver, so I'm a senior and my drama class requires that I return to school with 4 new monologues: a dramatic-contemporary, a comedic-contemporary, a classical, and a stretch. I'm 17 years old and can play believably early teens-mid twenties with some wiggle room at the top. To give you an idea of the monologues I've done Oleanna, Jitney (rena's), Independence by Lee Blessing, Marisol. I'm open to any suggestions but I really need help with comedic. Thanks!

Neena Beber, Nicky Silver, and Annie Baker

Cheers

stupendousy0uth said: I would love a monologue suggestion if you had the time. I am a 17 year old male and I am an opera singer. I have been accepted into the Oberlin Conservatory summer vocal Academy and one of their requests is that we bring in a monolouge. I am more of a singer but obviously with opera acting is an important part of the art form. I would love a piece that would challenge me and help me grow as an artist. Thanks!

Try looking at things by Nicky Silver!

Anonymous said: great blog!

Thanks! 

shermans-march-to-the-p said: Hi! I'm obsessed with getting my hands on plays and expanding my library and was wondering if you could help me out with choosing a monologue for an audition. I'm audition for Sweet William in my school's production of Barbary Allen by Gay Hammond, it's an Appalachian tragedy. William is described as stalwart, yet charming and well spoken; "sensitive enough to see Barbary, but not sensitive enough to hold her." I was wondering if you knew of a monologue that wasn't too urban. I'm 17. Thank you!

 Try Sam Shepard’s Back Bog Beast Bait.

Cheers

dropitlikeitsmildlywarm said: Hey I'm an 18 yr old female and I've been trying and trying to find a contemporary monologue to audition with for my colleges show season. I've been trying to find one with a character who has a bit of an odd personality (not crazy, just a little off), and is funny because she is, like she's not just standing onstage cracking bad jokes.. If that makes sense. But i also find myself looking for ones with a strong young woman in them. These are just character types I know I can play well separately

I haven’t checked it out yet but look at The Beautiful People by William Saroyan. 

livelifeshameless said: Where did you go to school? Boston University?

I did indeed!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Anonymous said: I'm auditioning for LAMDA. Just finished American Academy of Dramatic Arts so I feel comfortable with any american work. Any ideas?

Yay, I love LAMDA. Are you American? What are the requirements of the audition?