Middle School Theater

Department:  Middle School

In his Biographia Literaria, Samuel Taylor Coleridge described an essential element of the artistic process using the Latin phrase "laxis effertur habenis," meaning "carried on with slackened reins." The idea is that the artist must both master the technical side of the art and learn to open emotionally, physically and intellectually to creative inspiration. The technical elements are the reins, and when they are in place, the artist must trust the work enough to be able to slacken those reins and let creativity do the driving. This is a crucial step in the creative process because, ironically, the final impediment to creative inspiration is often the technique or craft. In class we say, "You have to know your stuff, and then you have to be able to let go of your stuff." All Waterford theater classes have this philosophy at their core.

Theatre: VIII Introduction to Theater

In this class we will explore the history and tradition of the theater. We will survey the Upper School core curriculum, which includes acting fundamentals, articulation and voice production technique, and mask work. Much of the focus will be on the cultivation of vulnerability. In Middle School, students are rapidly building walls to protect themselves in what can often feel like a hostile emotional environment. These walls cut off connection to emotions and creativity, and once they are up, it is difficult for most to break them down. Throughout the term, students will participate in exercises that will help them break through these walls. When the walls are down, the actor is in a state of vulnerability, and from there is able to access creative potential.