Workshops and Classes

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Master teacher Arne Zaslove is available for master classes, weekend workshops, intensives and longer class series.
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Experience the Power of the Neutral Mask
The path of the Neutral Mask is a journey of self-discovery and rebirth.
Master teacher Arne Zaslove creates a safe and sacred space, within which participants experience their own grounding, stillness and economy of movement. Solo exercises and group improvisation instill a physical expressiveness beyond the need for words.
np_masks array_webDeveloped as a tool for theater professionals, the Neutral Mask offers the benefits of flexibility and freedom of imagination. This work allows performers to find a neutral center from which to develop a myriad of characters, and support the work of an ensemble. It is also suitable for people seriously engaged in moving beyond the limitations of their own “mask.”
The physical exercises are gentle and yoga-based, adaptable for participants at different levels of fitness.

Commedia dell’ Arte

Commedia for EMGThe boisterous physical comedy of Commedia dell’ Arte grows from a group of character archetypes, or “masks.” These characters, developed in improvised street performances in Italy, have inspired Moliere, burlesque, silent cinema and circus. Their critique of social hierarchy is still alive in the work of stand-up comics. Explosive and expressive, these characters liberate the actor’s verbal as well as physical imagination. Participants benefit from Arne’s decades of familiarity with the Commedia characters, and from the opportunity to work with his own collection of authentic masks.
Divining Shakespeare

Zaslove introduces principles of scansion, sound and imagery in Shakespeare, then demonstrates by coaching student actors in performing some of the great passages from beloved plays.

Divining Shakespeare Workshop
Zaslove spends 90 minutes presenting the nuts and bolts of how Shakespeare constructed a speech. Then 2 hours are devoted to coaching participating actors in their prepared speeches or scenes. This coaching session can be planned to follow immediately after presentation, for a half-day workshop. Or it can be scheduled a week or more later to allow time for actors to use the tools presented to them in rehearsal, before receiving coaching.
Learn how the rhythm of the heartbeat pulses through Shakespeare’s verse.
• Experience how Shakespeare links sounds and images to evoke emotion in actor and audience alike
• Observe how the “magical” characters rise above everyday speech into rhyming verse, incantation and finally song
• Eavesdrop on the rehearsal process, watch how the director’s coaching helps the actor build to a polished performance
• Come away with the tools to mine the riches in Shakespeare’s language
ShakespeareThose for whom the Bard is still a stranger will begin an acquaintance on friendly and comfortable terms. Those who already know and love him will deepen their passion through learning some of the master’s secrets.
We are lucky that the world’s greatest playwright and poet wrote in English. And the ever-renewing popularity of Shakespeare on film proves that the Bard is a man for our time. Arne Zaslove has been proving it for years with long-running hit productions: of a ’50s rock ‘n’ roll Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Cole Porter and Gershwin-soaked Twelfth Night, a wild west Macbeth, a Coney Island Comedy of Errors, Othello set at a U.S. Marine base and many more. Each of these productions has made Shakespeare accessible to audiences of all ages – without changing a word of the original text.
Divining Shakespeare is not an academic workshop. It is an insider’s look at how theatre professionals plumb the depths of Shakespeare’s language. It is a chance to savor, be entertained, and learn to divine the mysteries of the world’s greatest playwright.

“It was a wonderful delight to watch the interaction between teacher and students, and that magical moment when the penny dropped, and Shakespeare made sense! Everyone came away inspired and having learned something.”
– Linda Greenwald, English-Speaking Union

Funny Bones

Walk a few steps in a pair of clown shoes, and see how you like the fit. This 5 hr. Master Class with director and clown doctor Arne Zaslove introduces the “mindset” you need to liberate your inner clown. Using simple, yoga-based physical exercises, a few props and a selection from Zaslove’s extensive collection of character masks, learn to improvise solo and with a group. The greatest clowns fully inhabit their bodies and use them expressively. You can too! The spirit of laughter relies on more than just wisecracks – it comes from human character and truth.
funny bonesThe clown shoes are metaphorical – but do wear comfortable clothes, suitable for moving.
Expressive Mask for Clowns

Contemporary clowning has benefited, among many influences, from the great practitioners of New Vaudeville. Now every clown’s toolkit must include the ability to interact with the audience.
Arne Zaslove’s work with expressive masks is based on a series of improvisations that help the performer discover the “motor” of a situation, augment it to a comic level, and (the hardest part) find an organic and satisfying “button” to conclude the improv. Performers hone their ability to think on their feet and work imaginatively with others, while maintaining precision and performance energy.
The mask is a tool that is eventually shed. In its place we find an original character face that is personal to the performer. The balance between ensemble work and personal exploration gives each performer the strongest possible base from which to develop their own material. Arne’s approach is nurturing and rigorous in equal measure.

Arne Zaslove created “Café des Artistes” for the Pickle Family Circus, and has directed Pomp, Duck and Circumstance in Berlin, and Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle. He has helped many professional clowns develop their acts, and has served as a consultant on new material to David Shiner, as well as a clown doctor for Cirque du Soleil. Arne was the Commedia dell’ Arte consultant for “The Glorious Ones,” a musical produced at Lincoln Center under the direction of Graciela Daniele.
np_arne_masksArne served a personal apprenticeship with Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, the founder of the Dell’ Arte School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake. He was the first American to study with Jacques Lecoq, and worked closely with him at a time when Lecoq was engaged in fresh exploration of the workings of improvisation and character development. Arne has participated in Pierre Byland’s clown workshop in Switzerland, and was recently sent as a Fulbright Senior Specialist to teach Commedia at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik. Visit

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