Noël Coward Scene Study

Presented by Jonathan Lynn – 

An Uta Hagen Centennial Master Class: An Actress’ Beginnings

In this workshop for professional performers, delve into elements of high farce, satire, heightened language, and timeless social commentary as you examine and play characters from the works of Noël Coward, one of the greatest British playwrights of the 20th century. Scenes will be drawn from several of Coward’s plays, including the farcical comedy of manners, HAY FEVER, in which, as a 15 year old high school student, Uta Hagen made her first appearance on stage as Sorel. HB offers this workshop in honor of her historic career, as the culmination of the 2019 Uta Hagen at 100 celebrations.

Lead by prolific director Jonathan Lynn, explore scenes through table work, text analysis, discussion, rehearsal and presentation in class for critique and development.

“People mistakenly believe that Coward’s plays are light-hearted drawing-room comedies – they couldn’t be more wrong. Most of his plays are about people drawn from all classes and backgrounds struggling with life and the frailty of the human condition. That is why they continue to be revived across the world every year since his death in 1973.”
-John Knowles, Trustee of the Noël Coward Foundation (from essay “Private Lives“)

Using the specifics of language, action, subtext, circumstance, and relationships the goal is to connect with the work at the deepest most personal level. Coward’s extensive body of work includes plays HAY FEVER, PRIVATE LIVES, BLITHE SPIRIT, DESIGN FOR LIVING and PRESENT LAUGHTER.

“My brother acted in the summers and somehow, when I’d turned fifteen, he convinced the other actors at the University to let me play his sister in HAY FEVER. I’m not so sure what Noël Coward would have said, but with the local people there, we had a great success. In Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin I started to believe, perhaps I was an actress.”
 Uta Hagen

*Please review registration prerequisites before enrolling (on the right-hand side of this page on desktop or below on mobile).

Jonathan Lynn’s film directing credits include the cult classic CLUE (he also wrote the screenplay), NUNS ON THE RUN (also written by Mr Lynn), MY COUSIN VINNY, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN, SGT. BILKO, GREEDY, TRIAL AND ERROR, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS (NAACP Image award) and most recently, WILD TARGET. For television, Lynn has acted in and written dozens of episodes of various British comedy series, including YES MINISTER and YES, PRIME MINISTER, created and co-written with Antony Jay … After receiving a law degree from Cambridge University, Lynn’s West End theater debut, aged 23, was as Motel the Tailor in the original London cast of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Subsequent London directing credits include: THE GLASS MENAGERIE working with Tennessee Williams; SONGBOOK (Best Musical: Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award); ANNA CHRISTIE (RSC, Stratford and the Donmar); Joe Orton’s LOOT, PASS THE BUTLER by Eric Idle, Shaw’s ARMS AND THE MAN and David Wood’s THE GINGERBREAD MAN (Old Vic, twice) … read more

This workshop is made possible with the generous support of the Noël Coward Foundation.