The Role of an Intensive Training Program in the Development of an Actor: My Experience at the American Conservatory Theater's Summer Training Congress
Gonzalez, Andrea M., 1985-
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I applied to the Summer Training Congress (STC) and was accepted into their five week "Core Skills" program. As this program was obviously connected to theater, it was suggested to me that I could use my experience at this program as the basis for a SIP discerning the validity of an intensive acting training program, specifically STC, in the development of an actor and that I could develop some kind of criteria to measure this validity. Although I had not intended my time at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) to become a part of my SIP when I applied to the program, I needed to turn in a SIP proposal and I had no other ideas. Though I was not sure how I would go about developing this idea, and though I was not very interested in the idea, I did not want to leave for California without having chosen anything. I submitted the idea the day before I left K (which was also the day proposals were due) and felt incredibly relieved that I did not have to leave with a missed deadline and with the pressure of an undetermined SIP. As I just mentioned, even though I submitted this idea, I did not feel excited about it and I did not feel interested in it either. Over the last four years, what I have come to understand of the SIP is that it is supposed to be something that drives you, something that is supposed to tie your whole K experience together. It is supposed to be this big "Capstone," as it is nicknamed, sort of the Holy Grail of K experiences. The SIP is supposed to be something that you are immensely proud of and that is rich with meaning at least according to the college viewbooks and all of the first year information sessions and the frequent reminders sent out every subsequent year about the importance of choosing a SIP. My first year at K, I went to a presentation session called SIPs That Change the World where students talked about developing literacy programs for children in South American villages and helping save people from malaria in Burma. At the time, these SIPs seemed to be the be-ali, end-all of college experiences, projects that were deeply personal and that could prove that you could make something happen. My SIP idea did not feel anything at all like that to me. Despite my lack of enthusiasm about my SIP, I was very excited to be on my way to the STC.
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