About Theater Gym
The actor is an "athlete of emotions" -Antonin Artaud
You can do more than you think you can do.
Theater Gym is a new concept in professional actor training from Stolen Chair's Jon Stancato, daring you to imagine a world in which your body, voice, and creativity are not limited by the clichés you've accumulated to survive the slog of being a working actor. At the Theater Gym you'll have a supportive and challenging space to work yourself past these clichés (and often past the point of exhaustion), at which point you'll discover the secret reserves of strength, inspiration, and emotional honesty you didn't realize you had.
And once you've completed the 10-week Core Workout, the Theater Gym functions like an actual gym, where you can drop-in any time to get your body, voice, and imagination back into shape, get feedback on devised work, or receive one-on-one guidance on anything from classical monologue to a commercial side.
About the Curriculum
"All things have a portion of everything." -Anaxagoras
Modeled on a class Jon created for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's MA Theatre Lab entitled "Theater at the Extremes," the curriculum draws freely on the training modes of the 20th century's great innovators in physical and ensemble theatre, including Jerzy Grotowski, Jacques Lecoq, Roy Hart, Joseph Chaikin, and Richard Schechner. While most contemporary actor training swears allegiance to a single guru, Jon believes that it's far more exciting to discover how, once your practice reaches a certain level of intensity, the techniques of all of these individual geniuses converge into a single, powerful foundation.
Classes delve deeply into these techniques, dramatically extending the expressive range and power of students' bodies and voices while also exploring how to apply these techniques to the full spectrum of genres, from kitchen sink realism to heightened theatricality and how to use them to devise new work.
About Jon Stancato
Lauded as "ingenious" by the New York Times, Jon is Co-Artistic Director of Stolen Chair, the 4-time Drama Desk-nominated theatre company he founded with his partner, Kiran Rikhye, in 2002. He has directed 15 original works for Stolen Chair, including 2013's The Man Who Laughs, a live silent film for the stage, and last season's spoken-word opera, Potion: A Play in 3 Cocktails. As a freelance director, his work was recently seen in London in The Ecstasy and the Ecstasy, an original work he devised with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's MA Theatre Lab where he is an instructor of extended voice, physical theatre, and devising.
Jon brings his distinctive approach to physical theatre, blending the influences of Grotowski & Commedia dell'Arte, to over 1,000 students each year. In addition to his course at RADA, he has taught at Yale, Swarthmore, the European College of Liberal Arts (Berlin), Bard College, and Pace University, among others.
He has trained with Joseph Chaikin, Thomas Richards & the Grotowski Workcenter, Anne Bogart & SITI Company, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Richard Armstrong, Antonio Fava, Chris Bayes, Roving Classical Commedia University, and the SF Mime Troupe, as well as in the techniques of Jacques Lecoq.
He also climbs rocks, plays bass guitar, reads tarot, and concocts cocktails and cuisine.