John Basil has directed 27 of the 37 Shakespeare plays, many of them staged at American Globe Theatre. As a founding member, and Producing Artistic Director of American Globe, he has become known for his dynamic, exciting & visceral approach to teaching, which incorporates a wide range of work including classical, contemporary, theater and film. During the company's 25 year run, John also directed on the NBC soap opera, “Another World”; completed seven seasons at Sarasota Opera; helped launch the Sedona Shakespeare Festival; and worked regionally, directing diverse and teaching works by Shakespeare, A.R. Gurney, and Neil Simon. He created AGT's innovative "Playing Shakespeare Series”, and furthered his academic engagement with numerous institutions such as Columbia University’s Teachers College, Rutgers University, NYU, Penn State, and Elon University, to name a few. John is currently a tenured professor at Marymount Manhattan College.
John began his theatre career as an actor, studying with Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, and Mira Rostova, or also referred to as “The Three Sisters”. He went on to work the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Nikos Psacharopoulos. After studying with the Royal Shakespeare Theater’s John Barton, it all changed.
Drawing on his work with actors of varied levels of classical experience, from novice to experienced, John co-authored his first book, “WILL POWER: How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days” (Applause), which is now used at twelve universities. In 2021, John Basil will release “Building A Performance: An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal”.
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workshops & coaching.
"Over the last 30 years, I've had the great pleasure of not only working with John Basil as an actor but observing him as a teacher. John is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on Shakespeare, his plays, his world. He knows how to unpack his text and embody and inhabit his characters. As a teacher, John shares all of this knowledge with his students in an atmosphere that's fun, freewheeling, creative, energetic and inventive. He's devilish virtuosity on steroids! And when you are done learning from John, you not only understand how to play Shakespeare, you can't wait for the chance start doing it!"
- Barbara Tirrell, film and television actress (Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway); Jessica Jones; FBI; Bull; Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire)
"John Basil is the most gifted teacher I have ever worked with. His method takes the seemingly impossible and makes it not only understandable but wildly fun and fulfilling. As an actor, this will teach you how to take brilliant risks, and successfully make strong choices. This technique has been invaluable to me - and translates excellently to film and TV acting."
- Olivia Thirlby, film and television actress (The L Word: Generation Q; White Orchid; Dredd; Goliath; United 93; Juno)
John is available to teach workshops or give lectures at your school or over Zoom.
With over 41 years of experience in directing and teaching Shakespeare with the First Folio, John will guide actors through the clues in Shakespeare's text, analyzing the Bard's language, and thereby allowing an actor's choices to be clear and concise; creating a dynamic that is easily understood.
Lecture Price List with full descriptions
Using the First Folio, John will give you an overview of the clues Shakespeare embedded in his texts to help guide the actor.
This in-depth workshop builds on basics taught in the two-hour workshop, along with further exploration of Shakespeare's cues to the actor. The text is broken into acting clues by the use of punctuation, antithesis, assonance and repetition. This visceral approach to analyze Shakespeare's language teaches the actor how to make the script work as a "blueprint."
1 Day (6 Hrs.)
In this one-day workshop, John will coach a class of actors on their audition monologues. Speaking is creative argumentation and imaginative debate. All Theatre, TV and Film scripts are based on the Art of Rhetorical Speaking. In theatre, it is all about the words. In film and television, it is about the silent moments and reactions surrounding the words. By utilizing Shakespeare’s First Folio technique, actors will learn how to find the “blueprint” coded into their role; leading them to make visceral and authentic choices. We will then translate your bold choices for a stage performance into a more intimate one suited for film and self-taping endeavors. In this newly formatted class, you will discover how to apply this technique to not only classical, but TV and film scripts as well.
Private Coaching Sessions (1Hr)
Coaching sessions are also available to help the actor prepare a monologue or scene; specifically tailored for grad school admittance or professional auditions. From classical to contemporary, film or TV, John will help the actor make clear, specific choices, enhancing the character and performance. The actor's audition will go from the vague to the specific, from playing the result to playing the intention. Through analysis of text and staging of the actual audition, John will help the actor find the character’s humanity in order to score a callback.
"Read Will Power if you want every day's rehearsal, from Day 1 to Day 21,
to hold remarkable insights and activities."
- Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress, Moonstruck
How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days
by JOHN BASIL with STEPHANIE GUNNING
Competition is fierce, how can an actor gain an edge? Prepared actors make bold, unique choices and impress casting directors, gaining the performance edge.
Will Power guides the seasoned, and novice actor alike, through a lively, goal-oriented 21-day rehearsal process leading up to the moment of audition or performance. Never again be confused about where to begin, and how to follow-through in development of your Shakespearean role.
In this book, the stepping-stones to character, coded into the work by Shakespeare himself, are clearly laid out, explained, and adapted to our modern rehearsal process. Now make bold, visceral choices rooted in the text, from staging to speech and actions, and incorporate this technique into your personal approach to not just classical works, but acting.
BUILDING A PERFORMANCE
An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal
by JOHN BASIL and DENNIS SCHEBETTA
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Congratulations! You got the part! Now what? Many actors of all levels find it challenging to apply classroom and studio techniques to the rehearsal process. Rehearsing for a class is vastly different than a professional situation, and a consistent, practical, and constructive method is needed to truly bring to life vibrant and intricate characters.
Building a Performance: An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal provides tools and techniques through different stages of the rehearsal process to enable actors to make more dynamic choices, craft complex characters, and find an engaging and powerful level of performance. John Basil and Dennis Schebetta bring decades of acting and teaching experience to help actors apply the skills they learned in the classroom directly to the professional rehearsal room or film/television set. They show how to glean distinct choices from early readings of the script, how to add dynamics to their physical and vocal decisions, how to explore interactions with other actors in rehearsal, and how to address specific challenges unique to each role.
While students will benefit from the practical applications and advice, intermediate and advanced actors will find exciting and new ways to engage with the material and with other actors at rehearsal. Actors of all levels will gain tips and techniques so that they can continue to discover more about their character. With these tools, actors will be inspired to dig into the text and build a dynamic performance.