AD: Acting Class | Practical Aesthetics and Tennessee Williams

AD: Acting Class | Practical Aesthetics and Tennessee Williams

CATEGORY: Classes/Schools

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


Karen Kohlhaas

Job Details


Hi Everyone,

We are having a great time in the version of this class I'm currently teaching for Rose Bruford College, UK and I've decided to offer another one in August, open to actors with previous training. 

We will meet on Zoom.

This class will meet for six 3-hour sessions, twice weekly. You will learn the Practical Aesthetics technique, learn about Tennessee Williams, and work on a substantial (about 10-12 min) scene from one of his plays. Depending on the scene, you can work on an accent.

All info below. Join us!


with Karen Kohlhaas 

Karen Kohlhaas is an Atlantic Theater Company founding member and senior teacher. She is a master teacher of the Practical Aesthetics acting technique (see below for description) with over 30 years in the classroom. She is also a Tennessee Williams scholar and is in post production for a feature documentary on Williams' life and work. (Full bio below)


Wednesdays & Fridays 11am-2pm EST
August 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28

Tuition: $325 Full Participation | $150 Audit

To apply: reply to this posting with your resume


Developed by playwright David Mamet and actor William H. Macy, the Practical Aesthetics technique was taught to Atlantic Theater Company founding members when we were undergraduate drama students at New York University in the mid 1980s. We have taught the technique to generations of actors at the Atlantic Acting School. Practical Aesthetics demystifies the process of acting by training the actor with a simple, concrete set of script analysis and performance skills. Emphasis is placed on truthfulness, deep investment, action, listening, honoring the playwright's intentions, and storytelling. 

Notable Atlantic alumni include DeWanda Wise (She's Gotta Have It), Rose Byrne (Damages), Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Jason Ritter (A Million Little Things), Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kristen Johnston (Mom, Third Rock from the Sun), Marianna Palka (Glow), Zoe Lister-Jones (Life in Pieces), Eloise Mumford (Chicago Fire), and many more.

Practical Aesthetics is the most profound acting technique I've ever studied and it has only deepened my love and understanding of drama in the 30+ years I've taught it.


Tennessee Williams remains one of the most often produced playwrights of all time, with multiple productions of his plays occurring at any given moment, all over the world. His roles have been played by the greatest actors of each generation since they were written.

The class will begin with a Tennessee Williams overview, including a slideshow of photographs, and film clips. We will then work on scenes using Practical Aesthetics script analysis to identify specific and actable objectives while taking the entire play's throughline into account. We will also apply performance technique principles to enhance moment to moment work. And, we will pay lots of attention to Williams' incredible language, and how to take full advantage of its beauty and power in your acting of the roles, and connection to your partners.

Interspersed between the scenes will be readings from beautiful Williams essays on theater, and biographical details that relate to each play.

Each scene will work in class three times.

 • Please come to the class having read the entire play that your scene is from. If you've read it but it has been a while, please read it again.

 • Be ready to do/try accents! Most of his roles have a regionalism, often Mississippi Delta, but many others including Italian, New Orleans, and New England.

 • I will cast the scenes based on the group. 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.

• Please only enroll in this class if you will prepare thoroughly, be a generous, communicative scene partner, and give your whole heart to the work!

• Highly recommended reading: "Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams" by Lyle Leverich; "Tennessee Williams and the South" by Kenneth Holditch


August 12, 2020 - August 28, 2020



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