News and Events
Acclaimed Actor Alfred Molina Hosts Theatre Master Class
Famed film and television actor Alfred Molina engaged the students of Pepperdine’s Theatre Department in a special Shakespeare-focused Master Class part of a series sponsored by the Center for the Arts and Friends of the Theatre.
On Saturday, Mar. 20, Molina worked with students Brooke Lowry and John Hays, who will be starring as the ill-fated Juliet and the Friar, respectively, in the Fine Arts Division spring production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which opens Tuesday, Apr. 5, and runs through Saturday, Apr. 9, in Smothers Theatre, Malibu.
Senior theatre major Brooke Lowry, who has taken the stage in several Pepperdine productions in past seasons, appreciates the role-specific tips and techniques that she took away from the class. “He took everything I already knew about the clues in Shakespeare’s texts and made them approachable,” she explains. “Hearing him apply them helped me translate them to my work, which is something that I’ll always be able to use if I ever perform Shakespeare again.”
From helping the students find and associate emotion with the imagery in the Bard’s verbiage, to exercising the students’ ability to channel their physical energy into their words, Molina’s prestige was surpassed by his ability to connect with the young actors. “We were all nervous working with such an esteemed actor, but he was very kind and down-to-earth, and we would forget what a big deal he is,” says Lowry.
The experience was just as memorable for Molina, who admits, "Coming to a new school is always nerve-wracking, but Pepperdine was welcoming, and the students were eager to work, and were prepared. A visiting teacher could not ask for more."
Molina is an accomplished London-born actor whose diverse and distinguished gallery of performances has led to a lengthy and triumphant career in film, television, and the stage. Last fall he appeared in the critically acclaimed movie An Education and filmed a comedy for BBC opposite Dawn French. In late fall 2009, Molina opened in the UK in the highly celebrated Donmar Warehouse production of Red, which debuted on Broadway in April 2010 and earned him a Tony Award nomination, his third after receiving one for Art in 1998 and Fiddler on the Roof in 2004.
Following Molina’s education at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, he quickly gained membership in England’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, where he performed both in classics like Troilus and Cressida and new original works like Frozen Assets and Dingo. In 1979, he won acclaim (and a Plays and Players Award as Most Promising New Actor) as The Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist at London’s Half Moon Theatre. Two years later, Molina found himself on the big screen making his American debut in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and in Stephen Frears’ 1987 drama, Prick Up Your Ears.
He made his Broadway debut as the Irish chatterbox Frank Sweeney in Brian Friel's play Molly Sweeney (1995-96). He also completed a run at the Mark Taper Forum of The Cherry Orchard in 2006 opposite Annette Bening.
Molina currently stars in the NBC series Law & Order: LA.
The Master Class Series, formerly called the “senior showcase,” invites guest artists to mentor theatre students at one special session. Previous master classes have included contributions from such actors as Jason Alexander, Betty Buckley, Gary Sinise, Michael O'Neill, Carole Cook, and Tom Troupe, as well as a number of agents, casting directors, and other entertainment industry professionals. One such guest artist that has participated for the past seven years is Seaver alum Carroll Kimble, one of the top voiceover casting directors in Los Angeles.