It’s 9:30 a.m., a cold December morning, and in one of A.C.T.'s 8th floor studios at 30 Grant, the second-year Master of Fine Arts Program actors are preparing to show off what they’ve learned in this semester’s Physical Theater class. The Commedia dell’arte masks are lined up on the table. The actors check their props. Upbeat music blares from the speakers. And seated in the front row are two dozen M.F.A. Program actors.
|M.F.A. Program Physical Theater class, 2015–16. Photo by Stefan Cohen.|
It is moments like this that show how closely knit the Master of Fine Arts Program actors are. No matter how many rehearsals, fittings, readings, and performances they have, they are always there for each other.
This close-knit family is a facet of the M.F.A. Program from day one. At the beginning of December, the first-year student actors got their first taste of putting on a show, performing Rajiv Joseph’s Animals Out of Paper. This play focuses on the relationships between Ilana, an origami artist, and Suresh, a teenager who has been sent to her studio by his teacher. “It’s about how we deal with pain,” says M.F.A. Program actor Avanthika Srinivasan. “It’s about identity. These are things that are universal.”
For this group of first-year actors, Animals Out of Paper not only represented a finale to their first semester at A.C.T., but also provided an opportunity to find onstage answers to the challenges posed during their classes. “How do you listen? How do you live in the moment? How do you work with your scene partner effectively?” says Srinivasan. “Those questions helped us develop these characters. And the experience brought us even closer together as a class.”
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