Movement & Ensemble Coach
King Lear (2019)
The Merchant of Venice (2018)
The Winter's Tale (2017)
Much Ado About Nothing (2016)
Titus Andronicus (2015)--assisted the voice and text coach by leading warmups
Movement & ensemble coach:
King Lear (2019)
Trumpus Rex (2018)
Past classes for the public
with Seoul Shakespeare Company and Speech of Fire:
(See our list of 2022 classes on our Speech of Fire Shakespeare Studio page)
Rehearsing Monologues and Scenes, SoF & SSC 2019
Movement and Ensemble, SSC 2018, SoF & SSC 2019
Acting Shakespeare’s Text, SSC 2018, SoF & SSC 2019
Exploring Gugak in Theatre Training, SSC 2018, SoF & SSC 2019
Preparing to Perform: Strategies for Approaching Shakespeare's Text, SSC 2016
Shakesperiments workshops, SSC 2014-2018
In my first year as artistic director of Seoul Shakespeare Company, for our 2015 production of Titus Andronicus, we had the company's first text coach, the wonderful Amy Mihyang Ginther, who had just graduated with an M.A. in Voice Studies from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She coached the cast and created an extensive warmup for the production. As we approached performances, she had me take over leading the warmups at the beginnings of rehearsals and before performances. She also taught a number of workshops for the public through SSC, which I helped organize and participated in. When she left Korea the following year, Michael Downey (who was directing our shows by then) and I asked her to recommend resources for coaching our casts in the future, and she recommended a variety of sources, which we began exploring and implementing. After Amy left, Michael and I took over coaching SSC's casts and offering public classes to help prepare actors for future shows, while continuing to train and build our techniques.
Beginning in 2016 with Much Ado, Michael and I served as the company's text coaches for four years, and we sought to develop a core group of actors experienced with Shakespeare's text. Each year we added new techniques into the rehearsal room. Since Much Ado is mostly prose, there was little verse work to do, but for this production I coached actors a little in Harold Guskin's technique of "taking it off the page," which is a favorite of mine. In preparation for our 2017 production of The Winter's Tale, one of Shakespeare's late plays in which the verse is very challenging, Michael and I taught our first workshop series for the public, based on the work of Barry Edelstein, David Carey, and Rebecca Clark Carey, and through teaching these workshops we began to further our own abilities with text and with coaching casts. Over time we were able to offer more techniques as we gained experience, continued studying training materials, and attended training ourselves. In addition to specific Shakespeare text techniques, I increasingly used the "taking it off the page" technique with actors, and in King Lear I added feeding lines to the actors aurally, verse line by verse line, as a natural extension of the "taking it off the page" technique.
For most productions it was impossible to get the entire cast together for text workshops, so we addressed specific text issues as they came up in rehearsal, rather than providing explicit text training, while in our classes for the public we were able to go more thoroughly into text work. However, when I directed King Lear, I finally scheduled a training day at the beginning of the rehearsal period, in which we held a workshop on text covering the basics (iambic pentameter, short lines, shared lines, feminine endings, enjambment, thou vs. you, language height, etc.), so that the cast would start rehearsals with a common vocabulary which could then be used and elaborated upon in rehearsals. King Lear was also the first production in which I coached actors to phrase on verse lines rather than on punctuation (a technique which I had first started experimenting with as Paulina in The Winter's Tale, then applied quite strictly as Portia in The Merchant of Venice and found tremendously useful). In Lear, this technique produced dynamic results.
For a long time I had wanted to incorporate movement training into our productions, and since most of my own movement experience was in traditional Korean dance, I had thought about incorporating dance training into the 2019 production of King Lear that I directed. However, in 2018 I was fortunate enough to be in a production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by Ben Crystal, and spent three weeks training in movement and ensemble with this cast. (See more about Ben's training methods here and here.) The training really opened our cast up physically, helped us use the full playing area of the stage, and connected us to each other emotionally, and I used some of the training techniques learned there in our rehearsals for King Lear, which proved to be very effective. To prepare for King Lear, I also served as movement and ensemble coach for Michael's 10-Minute Play Trumpus Rex, which he wrote and directed for Seoul Players' 10-Minute Play Festival, and I taught an introductory movement and ensemble workshop for the local community in order to keep these skills sharp for Lear.
Coaching actors has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement in Seoul Shakespeare Company, and Michael and I are continuing to offer classes for actors through our new company, Speech of Fire. See my acting class page for more on these.