Course D - The Directing Dynamic: Experienced Directors & Actors

Vincent O'Neill

What are the essential elements of successful directing? How can we acquire these elusive skills? How do we apply them on the rehearsal floor? What are the tools of the directing process which will make us much more effective actors? What is the magic that transforms a team of actors and designers into a powerful force which can create a production, regardless of the style, which engages, fascinates and entertains? We will uncover the secrets, skill-sets and techniques for creating impactful and dynamic productions. The techniques of directing are very precise but eminently learnable, and are also invaluable to actors, who through an understanding of the director’s viewpoint, are empowered to create much more comprehensive and visceral characters in performance. The two principal plays explored in depth will be Jean-Claude van Itallie’s experimental work Interview and Martin McDonagh’s modern Irish classic, The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Bring a scene from your own favourite play, which we will explore and stage, in order to cover a wide range of styles. Be prepared for a thoroughly practical, fun and challenging week at the end of which your skills as actor-director will have reached an exciting and impressive new level. Let the journey begin!

Vincent O’Neill: Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Western New York’ s pre-eminent theatre company, Vincent trained as an actor at the Abbey Theatre School of Acting, and as a mime artist with the legendary Marcel Marceau in Paris. He won the Harvey’s National Theatre Award for Best Newcomer in Irish Theatre. In 1985, he became a member of the Abbey Theatre Company, with which he toured to Edinburgh, London, Paris, Philadelphia, New York, Hong Kong, Leningrad and to Moscow Arts Theatre. He toured his internationally acclaimed one-man-show, “Joyicity”, extensively throughout Europe and the USA, with two runs off-Broadway, and also to Toronto, Sydney and Tokyo. Since emigrating to Western New York in 1989, he has worked both as actor and director in all of the region’s major theatres. He has won Western New York’s Best Actor Award for ten subsequent years, and he has also won awards for Best Director, Outstanding Playwright and Career Achievement. Vincent is also Director of Theatre Performance at the University at Buffalo’s Department of Theatre and Dance. He was honoured recently by the Buffalo News as Citizen of the Year.