Former Dean of the Actors Studio Drama School and master acting teacher Sam Schacht will present a lecture and master class on “Acting Chekhov: The Stella Adler Approach,” for Princeton University students, open to the public to observe, on Thursday, September 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the Whitman College Theater on the Princeton campus. The session is part of a fall course being co-taught by Professor R. N. Sandberg of the Program in Theater and the Department of English and Professor Olga P. Hasty of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, “The Human Comedy of Anton Chekhov Off and On Stage (In English Translation).” The event is cosponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Department of Comparative Literature, The Council of the Humanities Class of 1970 Fund, and the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and is free.
The course focuses on Chekhov’s play The Three Sisters through which the students are exploring the worlds that Chekhov’s drama opens to readers, directors, actors, and spectators. The course examines the play’s text and cultural context and its various stage and film versions, and uses scene work to bring the piece alive.
In addition to his many years as a master teaching artist, including his current work teaching scene study at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Schacht has had an extensive acting career on stage and in film. His Broadway acting credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona, Golda, Bosoms and Neglect, and The Magic Show and off-Broadway shows have included True West, Jack Gelber’s Rehearsal, and The Increased Difficulty of Concentration at Lincoln Center. He has appeared on television in Law & Order, The Equalizer, Ryan’s Hope, One Life to Live, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Paradise Lost, and True West. His film roles include Another You, A Shock to the System, Heart of Midnight, The Manhattan Project, Tattoo, The Gambler, A New Leaf, and Puzzle of a Downfall Child. Schacht has also directed off-Broadway and at regional theaters and was the co-founder of two theater companies in New York City, The New Group and The Workshop.
Sandberg has directed numerous theater productions at Princeton, including Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Also a playwright, his play, Roundelay, premiered at Passage Theater in 2013, and his other plays have been seen in Australia, Canada, England, Japan, Panama, and South Korea, as well as at theaters throughout the U.S. Sandberg is a Princeton alumnus and in 2014 received the University’s President’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Hasty’s scholarly work and teaching focuses on 19th-century Russian poetry, Russian post-symbolist poetry, formalism, the Russian avant-garde, Nabokov, émigré literature, and Russian drama. Her most recent project, How Women Must Write: Devising a Poetic Self, examines strategies of poetic self-presentation developed by 19th- and 20th-century Russian women poets and the cultural dynamics that shaped the images they devised for themselves.
On October 25 Sandberg and Hasty will screen a film of the Wooster Group’s production of Brace Up, their interpretation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, followed by a discussion with members of this New York City-based company of artists who make work for theater, dance, and media. This event will also be free and open to the public.