Shia LaBeouf is not merely an actor; he is also an architect of experiences, you see. Through both his sometimes baffling red carpet and press conference appearances and his now numerous instances of interactive performance art, he’s constantly challenging our assumptions about everything from fame to the space around us.
Now, he wants to teach you how to do it, too.
Literally, you. That is, if you happen to be in or around the general Los Angeles area and available on Saturdays for the next few months. LaBeouf will be on hand to oversee the first semester of his new Slauson R.C. Theater School, and it seems all you need to do is just show up. There’s no tuition involved.
“If you don’t like it, leave. If you do like it, I’ll be there next Saturday,” he tells potential pupils in a Twitter video. “I’ll be there every Saturday from 9 a.m., building shit with whoever shows up. I’m trying to change the world, if you are too let’s get it. Bang.”
In fact, Slauson R.C. Theater School doesn’t even require any previous acting experience of its pupils. “All they need is to show up and have a story that they’re willing to share,” claims the school’s website.
Of course, if you haven’t figured it out by now, the school will not be your typical theater camp experience. (No memorizing Shakespeare monologues here.)
The syllabi for the school’s first three courses—entitled “Making Moments,” “Constructing Short Narratives,” and “Creating a Piece”—are helpfully posted online.
Your very first assignment? Creating a group circle. A beautiful group circle, mind you: “Gather together & stand in a circle. Move together until you have made a beautiful circle. Not an oval. Ask yourself if you like the circle you have made. Ask the others.”
In the first session you’ll be challenged to consider your own tastes in entertainment, examine props, meditate on light sources, and query the properties of particular costumes. “Discover the poetry of the costume & make some decisions on how best to reveal that. Does it flow? does it interact with the light Does it whip or drag?” reads the syllabus.
Eventually you’ll break into groups to do exercises based on just two lines from an obituary, which seems odd, but in the next class you’ll mostly spend time considering the narrative possibilities of a fictional obituary of a man who hit his head as a small child and lost the ability to form memories. Then, in section three, groups will create their own short narrative plays based on three weeks of interviews they have conducted with real-life people (“Split the workload, some company members focus on the perpetrator. Others on the victim. Some spend time interviewing the city councilman, some spend time interviewing the homeless population.”
The final line in the syllabus of all three lessons: “Go forth. Make it sacred.”
Now, maybe you’re thinking “Okay…what?” But this isn’t all some big LaBeouf ruse. He seems sincere in the aims of the program, and he’s enlisted others to help. They include Shelley Mitchell, a famed actress and performance coach who herself was extensively trained by Lee Strasberg. Bobby Soto, a relatively unknown actor who will co-star with LaBeouf in the upcoming David Ayer film The Tax Collector, is also involved.
If anything, the school might not only teach you how to perform, but also offer some honest insight into what exactly LaBeouf has been doing over the past several years.