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Theatre 141 - Scene Performance - Susan Hinshaw

Course:Scene Performance
Professor:Susan Hinshaw
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Photo of instructor


I'm Susan Hinshaw and I am happy to be teaching Scene Performance this semester.  I have worked as an actor in London, Seattle, and Los Angeles, appearing in numerous leading roles on-stage and in films. I am also a solo performance artist and perform my solo shows nationally and internationally. After graduating with an MFA in acting, I trained and studied with many notable artists including Barry Kyle (artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company), members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Michael Shurtleff, George Shadanoff (formerly of the Chekhov Theatre, in partnership with Michael Chekhov), and studied for seven years with Jose Quintero (cofounder of the Circle in the Square Theatre, collaborator/ interpreter of Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neil). I have studied voice using the Linklater technique with training from the Nobel institute in Sweden, and movement using the Alexander technique with training under Jean-Louis Roderique. 

I have been teaching acting for thirty three years and have been at COC for 22 years.  It is my great joy and privilege to work with and train student actors as they embark on their theatrical journey or explore their educational options as a creative artist. 

I look forward to working with you and sharing my love of theatre and acting with you!

Course Description

The official course description is: 

Advanced study of the principles presented in Acting Fundamentals.  Explores the vocabulary, elements and skills of the actor’s craft through group work, games, exercises and improvisation. Provides theory and application through the use of prepared exercises, readings, discussion and performance of scenes and monologues.


Student learning Outcomes

1.  Prepare, rehearse and present scenes and monologues from contemporary and stylized dramatic texts.  

2. Compare and contrast various styles of acting.


Course objectives

1. Examine actor tools relating to character, relationship, environment, motivation and action.

2. Define and assess the basic tools of the Stanislavski approach (the magic if, substitution, sense memory, emotion memory, observation, circle of attention)

3. Analyze a scene examining the given circumstances of the character in the play, through line of the scene and the play, spine of the character, beats, intentions and obstacles.           

4. Evaluate personal progress and provide self-criticism throughout the creative process.

5. Assess, measure and apply constructive feedback for use in experimentation with the role.

6. Employ critical and aesthetic analysis of dramatic material and performance.

7. Examine and design a role to fulfill the stylistic and historical obligations of the play.

8. Define and assess the historical and social context of dramatic works that call for stylized acting techniques.

9. Analyze and evaluate classical texts that are written in verse for performance.

10. Demonstrate proficient use of the voice and body in exercises, warm-ups and performance.

11. Demonstrate development and refinement of artistic discipline through the preparation, rehearsal and performance of theatrical material.

12. Synthesize and demonstrate a methodology for developing a role outside of rehearsal in order to meet the defined obligations to the text, playwright and director.

13. Distinguish and employ a professional working standard.

14. Demonstrate basic skills in stylized acting.

15. Formulate and demonstrate a personal, realistic approach to performing a role.

16. Demonstrate comprehension and analysis of principles of scansion.

17. Demonstrate basic skills for stage auditions.

What to Expect in this Course

The assignments in this course will consist of exercises, improvisation, actor homework, monologues, scene work, voice and movement, reading plays, analyzing plays, seeing plays online and performing. It is designed with complete participation in mind. You will rehearse and perform two scenes and two contrasting monologues throughout the semester. Acting techniques relating to character, relationship, environment, motivation, action and advanced personalization will be explored in depth as you rehearse and perform. We will work from modern texts, the Realistic Period and Shakespeare, in order to develop a personal technique applicable to any material you might encounter as an actor - both classical and contemporary. You will leave the class with two contrasting monologues with which to audition.

Types of Assessments

You will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

20% Assignments

20% Contemporary scenes

20% Modern/Realism scenes

20% Shakespeare monologues

10% Final

10% Classroom etiquette


Assignments: autobiography, scene analysis, paraphrase, play critique @ 5% each

Contemporary scene: two performances @ 10% each

Modern scene: two performances @ 10% each

Shakespeare monologue: two performances @ 10%

Final: two contrasting pieces @ 10%

Classroom etiquette: punctuality, courtesy, focus, communication, preparation, rehearsal, warm-ups, and participation in discussion, games, & exercises@ 10%.

Textbook Information

There is no textbook to purchase for this class.  We will work from the plays from which the scenes and monologues are selected.  

You will be required to read the play your assigned scene work is taken from. 

Additional handouts may be assigned throughout the semester.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 07/11/2021 Sub#: 366