Richard Maxwell will teach a 3-hour long masterclass for theater makers based on his recent book Theater for Beginners. Maxwell’s precepts for actors are simple: learn your lines, learn your blocking, warm up, listen. “For the actor,” Maxwell writes, “the blocking and the lines are the only two elements concrete and attainable. Everything else on stage is vague and unruly… If I am directing and tell an actor, ‘Sit person X in a chair,’ I expect the actor to evaluate what the stage direction is actually asking. In this case, what does the verb, ‘to sit,’ by itself, yield?" Maxwell explores with performers what it means to “bring” in the context of the simplest possible execution, and how by undoing that one might still find accomplishment.
Richard Maxwell is a playwright, director and the artistic director of New York City Players. He studied acting at Illinois State University and then became a co-founder of the Cook County Theater Department. He is a Doris Duke Performing Artist and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, and was an invited artist in the Whitney Biennial. His latest book, Theater for Beginners, is published by TCG (2015). He directed Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play, Really, for New York City Players (March 2016). Upcoming projects include Guardian of the Shrine, and Samara, directed by Sarah Benson with music by Steve Earle.