My name is Stacy Ann Raposa and I teach a class called Bare Naked Angels.
Several years ago, I had an idea for a different kind of solo performance show. My suggestions were ignored by my theatre company. My voice went unheard. Deciding that this was unacceptable, I took matters into my own hands. I assembled a cast, held meetings in my living room, and in April of 2006, Bare Naked Angels was born.
Since then, BNA has evolved into a teachable method that, as one of my students puts it, should be "required" for every actor. Although what I teach is unique, it compliments any and all acting techniques and is therefore an invaluable tool for any artist.
The four month process begins by assembling a class. Actors must display a willingness to explore the depths of their minds and souls. There is no room for egos or negativity. My first priority is creating a safe space for artists to share without fear of being judged.
Month One: Each meeting, actors are instructed to "write two pages." This inevitably leads to questions like "What do we write?" or "How do I do that?" I do not answer these questions. I only explain it doesn't matter what they write, just that they write. This initially leads to frustration, but is a necessary step in the journey. I have found that the less restriction you impose on an artist, the more meaningful their work becomes, and the more they benefit from it.
Month Two: Amazing things start to emerge. Upon hearing feedback from their peers, artists are surprised to find they have written things they have no idea they wrote. They discover things they thought they had forgotten. They lend support and understanding to one another. They begin to find their voice. With the help of group exercises (based largely on the philosophies of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way), artists begin to look at themselves in a different way, to see something in themselves that they have never seen, which is crucial to their discovery process.
Month Three: The refining process. After the actor has a firm grip on their story, I give them the tools they need to navigate through their writing and create an immediate and engaging piece.
Month Four: During the first 1-2 weeks, I review the pieces to find common threads. A word, a thought, a feeling. I connect the threads, break the pieces down and re-assemble them into one coherent ensemble piece. All actors are on stage at once and often play characters in other actors pieces. The final few weeks are spent rehearsing and the class culminates in a final performance for the public. Although this class is meant for any actor, not just stage actors, performing their final piece in front of an audience is a crucial step in the ongoing development of their creativity.
BNA allows the artist to grow in a very unique way, enabling them to discover who they really are. It enriches their artistic life and challenges the boundaries of their artistic ability. It gives them the tools they need to become better actors and freer people.