AD: Tennessee Williams Advanced Scene Study Weekend December 7 and 8 | Practical Aesthetics Technique

AD: Tennessee Williams Advanced Scene Study Weekend December 7 and 8 | Practical Aesthetics Technique


The Art and the Audition with Karen Kohlhaas
New York, NY 10011


Karen Kohlhaas

Job Details


Hi Everyone,
I'm very much looking forward to this weekend in December.
If you've wanted to learn more about Tennessee Williams and dig deeply into one of his wonderful roles, please join us. 
The weekend will also be an introduction to Practical Aesthetics Acting technique.
It's possible to attend as a full participant or an auditor. All info below.
Karen Kohlhaas

Featuring *Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique

Tuition: $250 full participant | $125 audit

Taught by director & senior teacher Karen Kohlhaas of the Atlantic Theater Company (bio below)

The weekend includes
:: Intensive tablework/script analysis using Practical Aesthetics principles
:: Moment-to-moment work
:: Full staging of the Williams scenes on the 2nd day
:: Language and accent
:: Film clips, images and research on each play from my documentary on Williams

In this intensive weekend we'll dig deeply into the life and works of Tennessee Williams and apply Practical Aesthetics* script analysis, performance technique, and staging to scene work from several of his plays. You'll learn a lot about Williams and his impact on the world theater. His roles have been played by the greatest actors of each generation since they were written. 

I've been teaching this workshop for actors in New York, and at university acting programs and theater companies across the country. If you already love Williams, or if you have never worked on his plays, you will act and experience the exquisitely drawn characters of this ferociously prolific playwright. It can be a revelation to work on writing of this quality, and experience how deeply it can affect your technique, your use of language, and your emotional connection (see comments below).

*PRACTICAL AESTHETICS is an acting technique and philosophy of theater developed by playwright David Mamet and taught to the founders of the Atlantic Theater Company in the mid-1980s. It is the foundation philosophy and technique taught in the Atlantic Acting School's New York University and in-house programs. Practical Aesthetics' roots are Stanislavsky's later writings, Meisner, Stoic philosophy, Joseph Campbell, and the psychological writings of Jung, Freud, Bruno Bettleheim, Alice Miller and William James. Notable Atlantic alumni include Clark Gregg, Rose Byrne, Kristen Johnston, Edwina Findley, Jason Ritter, Gina Rodriguez, Simon Helberg, Eddie Cahill, Amelia Rose Blaire, David Call, Elizabeth Olsen, John Early, Matthew Fox, Bryan Greenberg, Zoe Lister Jones and many more.

Saturday, December 7th, 9:30am-5:30pm 
Sunday, December 8th, 9:30-5:30pm  


Full Participant: $250
Auditor: $125 

TO APPLY: Reply to this post with a picture and resume, and please list any previous Williams experience (not required, I just like to know!) 

I'm still in awe of how deeply and viscerally his words were able to affect me. You have created a new Williams fan and advocate in me and I can't wait to continue learning more. I also really enjoyed working with you and being able to unlock some really great things in my scene work. Thank you so much for such an incredible weekend and opportunity to learn a powerful new technique and work with some incredible writing.

Without exaggerating, I can say that it was an intense, transformative two days. I loved every second of it. I felt that the scenes drew us in more deeply than I had ever experienced in a Broadway or even Off Broadway theater. There were the tools that I took away as well! Hang on to the action, play the question, advocate for the character and play the solution not the problem. Can’t forget those. I think you should know that your teaching affects people deeply and permanently.

I'm still reeling from how wonderful the TW weekend was. I appreciated learning more about TW's background and how it impacted the characters. Using Practical Aesthetics, particularly following one action throughout, was enlightening. I only have the highest accolades for you and your classes.

Tremendously informative on both the aesthetic (sheer appreciation of Williams' work) and pragmatic (direction for the scene) levels. I was absolutely rapt at the depth and nuanced presentation of your research.

The simplicity of Practical Aesthetics and the need to stick to your choices was beyond valuable to me. The idea of one action carrying a scene proved stunning outcomes throughout the workshop and this simplicity is what I need given the fact that I often overthink and search beyond the page for answers.

You know something is good for you when the brain starts tingling. I liked that Practical Aesthetics gives a way to narrow one's focus, and get into the work. Otherwise, of course, the mind wants to start painting with all the colors, especially with Williams, since there is soooo much there.

You won’t let habits, or b.s. in an actor’s work slide! Thanks for caring about our growth Karen. Truly loved this process and appreciate how the weekend and working with you has made me step back, breathe, and return to the words that first inspired me to act. The answers are on the page…and I am grateful for the reminder.

I'm looking for serious actors with a solid training base of previous scene study who appreciate great dramatic writing.
I also ask this in all scene classes I ever teach: please only apply if you are ready and willing to bring the highest level of professional commitment to your work in this class, which means arriving completely off book for your scene, and having read and thought about the whole play, before the weekend. We can do so much when this level of commitment is brought to the work by everyone. If your energy is going into just trying to remember the line, it can't also go into fully trying a new piece of direction, breaking through to a new level in your acting, or truly being there for your partner. I've been doing this a long time and I know beyond a doubt that this is true.

• Roles will be cast 8 days before we start or earlier
• You are welcome to send in scenes/roles you would like to work on and I will do my best to accomodate requests, but ultimately I will cast the scenes with the entire group in mind. Thanks to Williams, there are many roles to choose from and everyone will have a great part. Registering for the class signifies that you will accept any role in which you are cast
• You don't have to meet with your partner before class, but you can, if you like, to run lines. I don't, however, want partners to practice interpreting/acting their scenes together beforehand because we are going to take a fresh look at the scene using Practical Aesthetics script analysis.
• Be ready to do/try accents! Most of his roles have regionalisms, often Mississippi Delta, but many others including Italian, New Orleans, and New England. Scenes will be assigned beforehand and I will point you in the direction of accents to start working with.
• Highly recommended reading, before or after the weekend: 
Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams by Lyle Leverich 
Memoirs by Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams and the South by Kenneth Holditch

is a Director, Teacher, Author, and Filmmaker. Director: Karen is a founding member of New York's Atlantic Theater Company, where her productions include plays by Harold Pinter, David Mamet, Annie Baker, Keith Reddin, Shel Silverstein and Kate Moira Ryan. She has also directed for the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York Live Arts, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, the Alley Theatre, Houston, New Dramatists, Menagerie Theatre in Cambridge, UK, The Culture Project, Practical Theater Co. in Sydney and others. Teacher: Karen is a master teacher of Practical Aesthetics acting technique. She has over 25 years teaching experience and is a senior teacher at the Atlantic Acting School's NYU undergraduate and full time conservatory programs. She teaches her own NYC classes in monologues; Fearless Cold Reading & Audition Technique; Advanced Acting; and Directing (summer only). She teaches guest workshops around the country and internationally including theaters, schools, conferences and universities in Atlanta, Austin, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Mississippi, the UK and Australia, and also teaches teacher trainings to university and high school teachers in her unique approach to monologues. Author: Karen's books and DVD are The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors (foreword by David Mamet and a Backstage MUST-READ); How To Choose A Monologue For Any Audition; The Monologue Teacher's Manual; and, The Monologue Audition Video (DVD). Filmmaker: Karen's short films include two with acclaimed performer/playwright Taylor Mac, several short documentaries, and she is currently at work on a feature documentary about Tennessee Williams in the Mississippi Delta. ( She is also now working with St. George's Episcopal Church in Clarksdale, Mississippi to found The Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum in the former rectory lived in by Tennessee Williams and his grandparents.


December 7, 2019 - December 8, 2019



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