Artist In Residence Trains Theater Students With Workshops

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Theater professional and Shakespeare Behind Bars founder Curt Tofteland directed theater workshops for students on Nov. 6 in the Black Box Theatre.

Because there were limited spots for the workshops, students were asked to register before the event.

However, other students were allowed to be in the audience.

“The students were a great group,” Tofteland said. “They were willing to take risks and give 100 percent.”

Tofteland critiqued students and encouraged them to reflect on why they wanted to act.

Tofteland asked students to share the qualities of someone they aspire to be like.

Common responses were attributes like “compassion,” “empathy,” “open-heartedness” and “hardworking.”

Tofteland said the activity demonstrated how the traits students named were things they may lack.

“Fix you, and you may fix the world,” Tofteland said.

Tofteland also had the students participate in team-building exercises that helped them understand the importance of cast unity.

Tofteland taught students how to act out scenes to their greatest expressive potential.

Students completed an exercise that helped them understand how to add greater emphasis to their line
deliveries and to enunciate more effectively.

Students also learned to add movements to evoke emotion in their acting.

They completed clapping and word expression exercises to demonstrate four levels of
Shakespearan thought: cognitive, emotional, spiritual and metaphysical.

He said these levels of thoughts determine the character’s state of being.

Students learned how to understand Shakespearan diction to more accurately portray their characters.

Tofteland visited UCA as an artist within the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s Artists in Residence series.

As part of the series, professors submit proposals nominating artists to invite to UCA.

Art director and theater lecturer Rebekah Scallet recommended Tofteland’s visit.

“I was very excited to participate and challenged myself to do things and see how people may react. It was fun for me,” Scallet said.

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