The Art of Transformation

HB Studio offers both online classes and in-person classes at the Studio. Before your first class, please review the information outlined on the relevant page(s). Class titles below indicate which are running online vs. in person.

Sign up for either Part A or Part B independently (5 weeks each), or join both for the full 10 week term. You may join Part B without taking Part A.  

Instructor: Janice Orlandi


SPRING 2021: What is the “Duse Blush?” A Psychophysical Response to Imaginary Circumstances
The physical exploration and study of the science of emotion in drama
(Part A: March 17 – April 14 | Part B: April 28 – May 26)

This online class introduces the actor to Psychophysical Methods of acting, including Michael Chekhov Technique, Rasa and Emotions, Overlie Presence Work, Williamson Technique and Hagen Character Conditions. Psychophysical methods of acting engage the actor in processes of imagining through the body, raising consciousness of the body’s and mind’s reactions to physical sensations and stimuli. Through physical imagining, with attention to movement, breath, vocal release and sensation, you forget your sense of ‘self’ and allow the embodied imagination to transform you into the mind, body, world and circumstances of the character. From Roman gestures to Delsarte, from Indian Drama to Michael Chekhov tools, we explore character transformation and qualities of movement, emotion and sensations that inspire transformation into character.  

We practice and apply psycho-physical tools for creating characters using texts from “Spoon River Anthology,” by Edgar Lee Masters, and speeches of historic characters from autobiographies, film and plays. Using these texts, we create physical scores for characters and explore character through qualities of movement, protocol & style. You are introduced to tools for building and “creating a character” with emotional freedom and range, and for processing images, sensations and emotions. 

Topics explored include: 

  • Activating the body for acting practice & warmups
  • Creating the imaginary body of a character and world of the character 
  • Atmospheres of character: personal, environmental & scenic 
  • Atmospheres of the play: emotion, time and place 
  • Archetypal and psychological gestures 
  • Activating sensation & emotion with sound, gesture and movement 
  • Activating the five senses and creative imagination 
  • Awakening inner and outer images or objects 
  • 8 Rasa emotions in Indian drama and music 
  • Archetypal emotions, mask, breath and posture in Indian drama 
  • The science of emotion 
  • Alba Mask, breath and posture explorations
  • Imagining the world and dreams of the character 
  • Awakening radiant presence

SUMMER 2021: “The Lost Art of Letters” – Creating Character Portraits through their Letters.
(Part A: June 16 – July 14 | Part B: July 21 – Aug 18)

This online class lays the foundation for performers to create, write, self direct and incubate a Character Solo Performance through the exploration and dramatic form of letters. Working online over Zoom in our virtual studio, we will make the most of the opportunity to play with the framing inherent to the medium of live video. 

The epistolary form adds a confessional reality to a story and demonstrates differing points of view and dramatic content. Actors will explore and research powerfully inspired and passionate letters of love, celebration, joy, grief, forgiveness, compassion, anger, despair, romance, friendship, and more. Inspired by Michael Chekhov’s Character Portraits exercises, we will incorporate character transformation and embodiment, physical dramaturgy, historic research, costume elements, props, set, lighting, sound and music, to fully realize solo moments and performances presented as choreographed portraits through letters. You will create a character and their environment through exploring: archetypes, atmospheres, inner objects or centers, imaginary body transformations, movement and vocal qualities, animals, objects, age, status, historical period style and physical states or conditions. We will utilize character development tools for transformation including exercises and approaches developed by Michael Chekhov, Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and Loyd Williamson. 

Letters will be drawn from many sources, including letters to and from artists, historic personages, the press, family, lovers, poets, actors of cinema and theater, leaders, prisoners of war, letters from the front, and more. The possibilities include, for example, letters to and from Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Isadora Duncan, Ida B. Wells, Georgia O’Keeffe, Oscar Wilde, Ira Aldridge, Rudyard Kipling, Anton Chekhov, Marilyn Monroe, Tennessee Williams, Zora Neal Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, Anne Sexton, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Queen Elizabeth I, Mozart, Nicholas Romanoff, Pushkin, Vincent Van Gogh, Anne Frank, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Parker, Michelangelo, Chief Seattle of the Duwamish Tribe, and others discovered through research and personal connection.

“How can you buy or sell the sky –the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.”   Chief Seattle of the Duwamish Tribe, 1855


You may join Part B without taking Part A:

Current and Upcoming