Building Character Through Collaboration

 
Through a variety of dynamic theater courses, our Upper School Theater Program helps students learn the fundamentals of performance and technical theater.  In addition to classes, our Upper School has three main-stage performances a year: Coffeehouse variety show, a musical, and spring drama. 

Meet Our Director of Theater

Jarrod Yuskauskas
Director of Upper School Theater
jyuskauskas@mamail.net

Jarrod Yuskauskas received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival/University of Alabama's Professional Actor Training Program and his BA in Theatre from DeSales University.
 
As Director of Theatre Arts for Moravian Academy, he has directed “Cymbeline,” Into the Woods,” “Arcadia,” “Man of La Mancha,” "Hello, Dolly!," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Twelfth Night" and Outstanding Production by a Smaller School Freddy Award winners  “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” "My Favorite Year," “Big Fish,” and “Urinetown.” As an educator at Moravian Academy, he instructs six theatre courses, including three levels of Actor Training and two courses in Shakespeare Analysis/Performance (developed and taught with Dr. Catherine Moore). 
 
As an actor, he has performed with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (including Cassius in their touring production of “Julius Caesar”), two seasons with Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, BRAT Productions, Bucks County Playhouse, Media Theatre (“Annie” with Wanda Sykes), and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (including the title character in “Winnie the Pooh, the Musical” and as John Tarleton in Shaw’s “Misalliance”). 
 
Locally, Yuskauskas has frequently been seen at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre and Civic Theatre of Allentown.  For Muhlenberg: “My Fair Lady” (Henry Higgins – 2017 ABE Award, Best Actor), “Gypsy” (Herbie), “Hello, Dolly!” (as Horace Vandergelder – 2015 ABE Award, Best Actor), “Spamalot” (Sir Robin), "Crazy For You" (Zangler), and "HMS Pinafore" (Sir Joseph Porter).  At Civic Theatre he has appeared twice in the one-man show “The Santaland Diaries,” as well as playing John Wilkes Booth in “Assassins” (2016 ABE Award, Best Actor in a Musical), Gomez in “The Addams Family,” and the title character in “Young Frankenstein” (2014 ABE Award, Best Actor in a Musical).
 
Behind the scenes, he has taught at Civic Theatre School, The Lesson Center, and DeSales University Summer Theatre Institute in addition to serving as Choreographer for Philadelphia Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” and Dialect Coach for the Muhlenberg College productions of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” "Street Scene," "The Miss Firecracker Contest," “Pirates of Penzance,” and Lafayette College’s “The Secret Garden.”

Course Offerings

List of 5 items.

  • Introduction to Theater

    The objective for this course is to provide students with an understanding of the development of written and performed drama, with a focus on its roots in ancient Greece, the Shakespearean era, and present-day musical theater.
     
    Beginning with an exploration of the theater space and the aforementioned historical examination, the course progresses to more “hands-on” aspects of the art form.
     
    The next areas of focus are the technical aspects of theater. With emphasis on set building safety, students learn the proper use of tools used in the scenic building trade and dabble in scenic painting techniques. Students move on to basic costume construction techniques.
     
    The remainder of the course focuses on Training for the Speaking Voice. This basic building block of the acting trade proves beneficial for every student. Using the work of Kristin Linklater, the goal is to provide students with a solid basis in clear vocal production and text analysis for public speaking and performance.
  • Acting I

    This course is designed to provide the student actor with the beginning tools of voice, movement, and acting technique. Beginning with a focus on healthy vocal production and physical relaxation, students progress into the development of a personal acting technique using methods developed by Robert Cohen. The final exercise of the year is a unit of basic stage combat and safety.
  • Acting II

    The course enhances a student actors' development and personal technique by exploring three major styles theater: early-Realism with Henrik Ibsen, High Comedy using the principles of Maria Aitken, and William Shakespeare.

    The course begins with Ibsen, examining the plays “A Doll House” and “Hedda Gabler.” Students research and present on various topics pertinent to the plays of study. Maintaining an actors journal adds to the depth and honesty required for this style of theater and is displayed in a scene from the students assigned play.

    Following 19th-century Realism is a study of High Comedy using the Maria Aitken text and touching on comic styles from English Restoration to Noel Coward. Throughout the year we devote time to dialect work, with a focus on English Received Pronunciation and Cockney. The dialects are used regularly in our study of High Comedy. Finally, each student selects, prepares, and presents a Shakespeare speech.
  • Acting III

    In Acting III, the student actor is expected to continue to hone their personal acting technique and put it to use in the self-motivated preparation of a great deal of practical work.
     
    With a focus on contemporary theater, students work through a number of new plays, analyzing them as in a real rehearsal process (ie “table work sessions”). The final project has students on their feet, exploring one of the plays for in-class studio production.
  • Stage Craft

    The goal of this course is for the student actor to develop an understanding of the design and construction aspects used in theater. Through presentations, students see the development of the art form and learn about its luminaries. Through practical work, students learn fundamentals of set shop safety, tool usage, and scenic construction and painting.
     
    Following the work in the scenic shop, the course moves into costume shop technique and construction. Additionally, students work on the Winter Musical and Spring Drama with portions of the set and costume designs being used as the basis for practical learning experiences.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus