Visiting Actor Takes Us Inside Hollywood

To get in the mindset of an actor at work, sometimes you have to act like an ape — or a fox, or a fox with his leg caught in a trap.

Acting techniques include taking on the persona of an animal, actor and filmmaker Hank Rogerson explained to Brooks School students gathered in Chapel this morning. Assuming a creature's mannerisms, to a lesser degree each rehearsal, can help an actor lose their self-consciousness and more fully focus on transforming into a character.

Rogerson shared this, and other trade secrets, with students during his daylong visiting artist lecture series on campus December 4.

Visit our Lehman Art Center page to view the full schedule of exhibits this year and read about past shows.

The Santa Fe, New Mexcio-based film professional has worked in every aspect of movies and TV during his 27-year career. His acting credits include recent roles in the 2015 drug-war thriller Sicario and the 2016 Tina Fey comedy/drama Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

He has also written, produced and directed two documentary films: Shakespeare Behind Bars, a 2005 film about Kentucky prison inmates who form an acting troupe, and Still Dreaming, chronicling elderly actors who return to their craft to put on a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2014.

Learn more about Brooks School's theater program.

At Brooks, Rogerson shared some film clips to illustrate his acting-technique lessons and spoke about all aspects of his profession, from teaching philosophies to his own audition experiences.

And with students coming from a variety of classes to hear his lectures throughout the day — English, Introduction to 2D Art, Digital Art, Introduction to Film, Introduction to Acting and Advanced Art — all were able to take away something relevant to their schoolwork or extracurricular activities.

Within the Visual Arts department at Brooks are myriad opportunities for students interested in the digital arts, photography and film, to delve deeper into those fields.

"I thought it was interesting getting firsthand information and firsthand stories from an actual actor being in acting class," said Brandon Fogarty '19. "It was just a nice, professional perspective."

The aspect of Rogerson's talk with his class that most surprised him was the tidbit about how actors may act like animals to practice for their parts. "Actors like to be animals," Fogarty mused. "I just never thought about that before."

Those moments of marvel are exactly what Director of Brooks' Robert Lehman Art Center Amy Graham said that she hoped to provide when she enlisted Rogerson to come to Brooks as part of the Lehman's artists in residence program: The actor/director's seminars offered students, "a wonderful opportunity to interact with an engaging, successful person in the arts."

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