In Joanne's Audition class, we spent the day doing cold readings in pairs. She (and several of our teachers this summer) have emphasized the importance of reading out loud every single day. We took turns reading scenes about five minutes long, and every time the sides ended we were all desperate to know what happened to the characters in the end. Since we can't all have a personal Joanne with a vast knowledge of great plays to make recommendations at our disposal, I thought I'd mention a few of the ones that we read selections from, although I'm not sure if they are all published yet: What They Have by Kate Robbins, Completeness by Itamar Moses, King of Shadows by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Happy Face by David West Read, and Incendiary by Adam Szymkowicz.
In Hal's combined afternoon Advanced Technique class, we could pick any combination of the techniques we've learned so far (movement qualities, imaginary centers, tempos, atmospheres, etc) two create characters. He set up a table and chairs, and we went up two at a time, with our characters and techniques in mind. One person sat down first, then the next came out and had to start the scene by asking, "You come here often?" It was really entertaining and interesting to see how many ways the scenario could play out, for better or for worse. It's fun for us to be able to use these ideas, which at first glance can seem technical or abstract, in an improvisation to illustrate how useful they can be when working on a "real" character in a production.