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MAY 19 & 20

12:00 PM - 6:00 PM Saturday and Sunday





“Comedy is unusual people in real situations; farce is real people in unusual situations”

Chuck Jones


From our smash hit production of The Government Inspector to this season’s hilarious The Metromaniacs, Red Bull Theater has planted its zany flag at the farcical summit. Come play with Michael Urie, star of The Government Inspector,  and two time Tony nominee Mary Testa, plus participate in a special Q&A hour with The Metromaniacs adaptor and Tony Award-nominated playwright David Ives. Scene and monologue work will feature cuttings from some of the most hysterical plays in the canon. For actors of all ages and experience - Whether you’re interested in brushing up your comedic chops, finding a new comedic audition piece or simply having a good laugh, this is the intensive for you



Course Objectives:
  • Increase the flexibility of your physical and vocal instrument

  • Develop a greater awareness of your body and voice

  • Hone comedic time by increasing awareness of audience reaction

  • Utilize text to create complex comedic characters

  • Learn how to work with and respond honestly to your scene partner in a way that unlocks your own potential as a performer


Enduring Understandings:

Farce is rooted in truth and bold choices alongside a great command of language and, often, physicality. A flexible, confident voice and body are essential for effective presentation of a character on the stage. A deep understanding comedic rhythms and timing is essential for finding not only the comedy, but the honesty of the scene.



Schedule and Materials


Mary Irwin is a teacher and coach of voice, speech and text, and an actor.  She taught voice, speech and Shakespeare in the UNSCA School of Drama from 1995-2017.  Mary served as Head of Voice and Speech from 2001-2016, and as Assistant Dean from 2013-2016.  She did voice, text, and/or accent coaching on close to 100 productions for UNCSA, including an orchestral/theatrical Much Ado About Nothing which won a Regional Arts Emmy Award.  Mary twice received Teaching Excellence Awards from UNCSA.  She is currently a freelance teacher and coach in New York City.

Professional coaching: Cost of Living at Manhattan Theatre Club (2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 2 Lortel nominations), And So We Walked: An Artist’s Journey Along the Trail of Tears, Master Harold … and the boys and Noises Off, all at Triad Stage, Our Town at Palm Beach DramaWorks, The Dresser with John Cullum at the Clarence Brown Theatre, and Misalliance at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  Other teaching: The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London; The Laura Henry Studio in Santa Monica, CA; Red Bull Theater’s Shakespeare and Jacobean Workshops; Cherokee Summer Co-Laboratory Storytelling Workshop in the Education Dept. of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, NC; and guest teacher of Shakespeare text and voice pedagogy at Sarah Lawrence College.

Mary was Voice and Text Coach for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival for seven seasons, coaching productions of The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  She is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher (2003) and holds an MA in Voice Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London (thesis entitled Alchemical Reactions: The fusion of Shakespeare’s text with voice and acting practices in contemporary actor training.); and BA (summa cum laude) from New York University.  She has professional acting credits in theatre, television, radio, voice over and film.

David Ives was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play for Venus In Fur, which has been produced all over the country and the world, and was turned into a film by Roman Polanski. He is also well known for his evenings of one-act comedies All In The TimingLives Of The Saints and Time Flies. Other plays include New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza;  Metromaniacs (adapted from Piron and reaceiving its New York premiere this year at Red Bull); The Liar (adapted from Corneille); The School For Lies (adapted from Molière); The Heir Apparent (adapted from Regnard); Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); Ancient History, and Polish Joke. He also adapted 33 musicals for New York's celebrated Encores! series at City Center. A Chicago native and a former Guggenheim fellow in playwriting, he lives in New York City.

Ben Mehl: Red Bull Theater - The Government Inspector, School for Scandal.  Off-Broadway: Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Public Theater), Comedy of Errors (Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park), At the Table (Fault Line Theatre). Regional: The Crucible, Yentl (Cleveland Playhouse) Troublemaker (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Six Degrees of Separation (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Henry V (Two River Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Chautauqua Theater Company). TV: "The Good Wife", "Supernatural Investigator". Film: Viral Beauty, The Fly Room. Mehl is a member of the Actor's Center and proud volunteer at the 52nd Street Project. Adjunct Faculty & MFA: NYU Graduate Acting program

Mary Testa: Two Tony nominations, two Lucille Lortel nominations, five Drama Desk nominations, two Drama League nominations, an Obie Award for her performances in From Above and On the Town, and a special Drama Desk award celebrating Queen of the Mist and ‘Three Decades of Outstanding Work.’ Broadway: Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Xanadu, Chicago, 42nd St, Marie Christine, On the Town, …Forum, The Rink, Marilyn, Barnum. Opera: Anna Nicole/BAM. Off-Broadway includes The Portuguese Kid, The Government Inspector, Orange Julius, First Daughter Suite, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Queen of the Mist, Love Loss.., Regrets Only, See What I Wanna See, First Lady Suite, String of Pearls, A New Brain, Tartuffe, On the Town, In Trousers. Films include: Big Stone Gap, The Mother (, Eat Pray Love, The Bounty Hunter, The Out-of-Towners, Sleepers. Much Television including recurring on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Whoopi; and guest spots on Bull, Difficult People, Two Broke Girls, White Collar and Nurse Jackie. Featured on twelve original cast albums, Mary's album with Michael Starobin, Have Faith, is available now on Sh-K Boom Records, iTunes and Amazon.

Michael Urie is currently starring in Hamlet at Shakespeare Theater Company after his triumphant turn in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song at Second Stage Theater.  He also starred in Red Bull Theater’s acclaimed production of The Government Inspector. He originated the role of Alex More in Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer & Cellar Off-Broadway, on tour, in London and for the PBS series Theater Close-Up. For this performance he received the Drama Desk Award, Clarence Derwent Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, LA Drama Critics Award and nominations for the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards. New York theatre credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Broadway), Shows For Days (LCT), Homos, Or Everyone In America (Obie Award), The Cherry Orchard (CSC), Angels in America(Signature), The Temperamentals (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Theatre World awards, Drama League nomination), The Revenger’s Tragedy (Red Bull), Another Vermeer (HB Playwrights). Regionally, Urie has worked for Two River, The Old Globe, Vineyard Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Folger Shakespeare, Barrington Stage, Hyde Park (Austin), and The Blank (L.A.) Film: He’s Way More Famous Than You (also directed), Thank You for Judging(co-director/exec. producer), Beverly Hills Chihuahua, WTC View, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, The Decoy Bride, Petunia, Such Good People, The Hyperglot (director), and Grantham & Rose (exec. producer). TV: Gavin Sinclair on Modern Family, Younger, Workaholics, The Good Wife, Hot in Cleveland, Partners and Marc St. James on Ugly Betty. He currently hosts the Logo series Cocktails And Classics. Web series: “What’s Your Emergency” (director). Training: Juilliard.




12:00 - 3:00: Scene Study with Michael Urie

3:00 - 4:00: Meal Break

4:00 - 6:00: Voice work with Mary Irwin



10:00 - 11:00: Open rehearsal space for partner work

11:00 - 1:00: Group work with Ben Mehl

1:00 - 2:00: Q&A with David Ives

2:00 - 2:30: Meal Break

2:30 - 5:30: Scene Study with Mary Testa


A monologue or scene will be assigned a week before the class. Prepare it as best you are able. Memorization is encouraged but not required​.


A hard copy of the Scene/monologue packet. A journal is recommended to record notes and observations. Comfortable clothing that you can move and breathe freely in and a water bottle is strongly encouraged.


Contact Nathan Winkelstein with any questions.


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