VIDEO: "Let's Do Some Work"
Education as theater at acting giant Alfred Molina's public master class
Education as theater, at acting giant Alfred Molina's public master class
"I feel almost superfluous," says legendary actor (and veteran acting teacher) Alfred Molina, shaking his head in amazement at the depth and persuasiveness of the student scene reading he's just witnessed.
The young actor is pleased, needless to say, and when Molina follows up with a suggestion that will become the driving motif of the evening, "Now let's do some work," the student leans forward eagerly. "Yes, please," he says.
The three-hour public master class featuring Molina and thirteen of the MFA acting rpogram’s finest best on the stage of the Freud Playhouse , kicked off the new Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts UCLA Theater Master Class Series, a major new enrichment program offered by the Department under chair Michael Hackett.
The work Molina does with the students often consists of simple, practical exercises that pay unexpected dividends in terms of deeper feeling and sharper clarity of meaning. In the video segments below you’ll witness the instructor’s delight as the actors’ performances of scenes from Shakespeare, Shaw, and Chekhov evolve under his influence.
Molina, superfluous? Not a chance.
A passionate student of theater and of Shakespeare in particular (the playwright he’s teaching in his regular Saturday afternoon class during the winter quarter), Molina spurs students to dig deeper into the meaning of the lines, to discover what is concrete and "actable" in a scene. ("That makes sense to me," he says at one point. “ I understand that. I can act that.”)
Throughout an exhilarating evening of instruction, these MFA acting students matched and exceeded the expectations of the Department, which refers to them as "professionals in training." We present on video selected segments from this exceptional evening of The Theater of Education.
Videographer: Juan Tallo.
Editor: Nolwen Cifuentes
Click through to watch the clips in HD.
About Alfred Molina
Born in London in 1953, of Spanish and Italian heritage, Alfred Molina says he decided to become an actor after seeing Stanley Kubrick’s film “Spartacus” at the tender age of nine.
He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at City University in London and found early success on British television, co-starring with Leonard Rossiter in the ITV sitcom “The Losers.” He made his feature film debut in 1981 as a short-lived native guide in the opening sequence of Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Arc.” His big break in films ame with “Letter to Brezhnev” in 1985, followed up with a starring role in “Prick Up Your Ears,” in 1987, in which played Kenneth Halliwell to Gary Oldman’s Joe Orton.
Molina has often played iconic villains, from Snidely Whiplash in “Dudley Do-Right” to the many-mandibled Doctor Octopus, “Doc Ock,” in “Spider-Man 2.” In 2002, he gained wide recognition for his portrayal of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera alongside Salma Hayek in the biopic “Frida.”
In 2006, Molina portrayed Touchstone in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and appeared in Ron Howard’s adaptation of “The Da Vinci Code.” He appears as Stephano in Julie Taymore’s 2010 film version of Shakespeare’s “Tempest.”
Molina’s ongoing and extensive stage career stage work has included two major Royal National Theatre productions of Tennessee Williams’ “The Night of the Iguana” (as Shannon) and David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow” (as Fox).
In his Broadway debut, Molina performed in Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play ‘Art’, for which he received a Tony nomination in 1998. In 2004, starred as Tevye in the Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
In 2010, Alfred Molina had joined the cast of “Law & Order: Los Angeles.” His character, Ricardo Morales, recently left his post as a Deputy District Attorney to resume his former career as a homicide detective.