Acting Magic is a compilation of a lifetime of teaching and performance in the dramatic arts. Though the course is based on my experience training young actors for the professional theater, it serves beautifully for avocational, educational and ministerial purposes of homeschool drama enrichment, church ministry, and school theater programs.
The goal of our curriculum is to develop the student’s ability to express himself confidently and joyfully, to create a character role with genuine emotion and portray it with technical skill. Our program nurtures self-esteem, reinforces both oral language and reading skills, and inspires a real enthusiasm for classical literature and biography....And the students have a lot of fun!
Our teaching curriculum consists of twelve individualized unit studies that introduce the fundamentals of acting and can be taught over three or four semesters depending on semester length. Students learn through theater games and progressive exercises how to increase their concentration, observation, sense awareness and memorizations skills. Lessons in stage geography, blocking, deportment, mime, improvisation, and basic character building skills are presented, as well as a thorough selection of speech drills. The book also contains a comprehensive glossary of theater terms and an in-depth history of theater throughout the ages. Graphic handouts are provided, illustrating key concepts taught in the unit studies. Each unit study is a source well that the Director may come back to, raising the skill difficulty each time and incrementally building familiarity with and mastery of the material.
The unit studies are taught to all age-groups from three years to adults. Where necessary, instruction has been simplified for the younger children. The curriculum contains detailed recommendations for dividing up classes by age and grade level and instruction time.
The curriculum is perfect both for the experienced teacher and for the mom who has never taught drama in her life but would like to start a drama group or just teach her own children at home. I have designed the unit studies to accomodate the least experienced of teachers. Some of our clients who have enjoyed using this curriculum are teenage girls and boys who wanted to bring structure and professional organization to their homeschool or church dramatic activities.
Our curriculum is designed to acquaint each child with the beauty and magic of theater; to take him from beginning voice, stage movement and role playing exercises to a level of performance excellence and repertory disciplines. Lessons are incremental in developing the multiple skills of the actor’s art. The curriculum is laid out clearly enough for even the most inexperienced homeschool mom to feel up to the task. Each lesson is described in detail and a teacher’s key provided to summarize and track the concepts being taught. Our training is “craft-oriented” with major emphasis on developing a flexible vocal technique, a controlled and expressive countenance, and a technical ability to bring a character to vivid life. The amount of time needed to cover some lessons will vary according to the number of students, and the proficiency sought.
The teaching material is clear and practical and provides ample opportunity for even the most unimaginative teacher to be confident, creative and original. We guarantee that your students will love this course and love drama as a result!
As a perfect accompaniment to Acting Magic, we recommend our Golden Treasury of Acting Scenes. Using this material, you can customize a Recital program to suit your interests, age-group of students and your budget. You may find more details about this collection of scenes in the Drama Materials for Sale link. Our dramatic selections are glimpses into lives of people who make choices for truth and goodness. The boys like our action-packed scenes of swashbuckling musketeers, knights on noble quests, rope-twirling cowboys, and Christian soldiers and martyrs living and dying for great causes. Our younger girls love the heroines out of early America and Victorian England while our teens enjoy their first adventures into comradeship and courtship through the ages of romance and chivalry.
We have found that the teens enjoy putting on the moccasins of the luminous figures of the past whose lives seemed much graver and more deeply felt than the modern man or woman. The examination of such people under a dramatic microscope helps strengthen the student’s discernment and appreciation of the finer possessions of the Spirit.
Though most of our scenes are adapted from period classics, historical fiction, or biographical data, we have provided a few contemporary work pieces for those students who feel more comfortable playing characters close to their age and experience. We have also adapted some musical scenes from the nostalgic past and Broadway/Hammerstein classics to suit the more musically inclined. All the roles are challenging,, adventurous and inspiring. We have adapted four plays by William Shakespeare both for the little children and the teens and adults. Character roles involving a more complex understanding of human evil or human weakness require a level of emotional maturity as well as an intellectual grasp of the values of life under examination and study.
A Personal Philosophy
My goal with Family Playhouse is to not only provide students with the tools to be effective performers but to encourage a new and loftier perspective of the Arts. I want them to know that they have an opportunity to bring their own rare gifts of grace, stamina, wit, sweetness, purity, intelligence, and liveliness of heart to each acting assignment and to an industry that desperately needs their virtue. Their contributions will bear many blossoms when they derive their strength and inspiration from the God-given beauty within.
It is with joy that I offer Acting Magic as a building block for others. Our children are our most cherished investment, and should be encouraged to view art as a means to portray the beauty and goodness of life. As Leonardo da Vinci wrote: “In life beauty perishes, but not in art.”