Dramatic antics take the stage

Ben Vondran

Thousands of students are on campus at City College five days a week, toiling away to get those units they’ll need to transfer, shuffling from one class to the next.

For the most part, those periods of time each day that students spend staring at the clock in the typical class can be more than a little draining and the grind gets repetitive. Ed Romine’s acting classes though, are not your typical classes. They’re, well, something else.

This class is different – very different.

Romine, instructor of Theatre Arts 111, “Beginning Acting,” said he believes in his wild method of instruction and loves what he does.

“It’s beyond love though,” Romine said. “Love is definitely in it, but I need this… It’s the slow fulfillment of a passion.”

The classroom is lined with a couple of couches, no desks, and the only chairs around are those big comfy chairs that are usually reserved for the teacher.

As students begin to filter in, apparently it’s time for hugs. Before class starts, every single student makes the rounds and embraces each of their classmates, while engaging in friendly small talk.

The relationships the students have in class with one another, is more reminiscent of elementary school than college. Not that there’s an abundance of hair-pulling or name-calling, but how many classes do students get to have where everyone gets along on a “buddy-buddy” basis?

Students take place in a variety of unconventional lessons including lifting a couch, feeling a rock, and touching the wall. These aren’t exactly ordinary ways to learn, but according to Romine and most of his students, they are effective ones.

Romine said with his 20 years in the making, perfecting his style of teaching has been a “long, long process, but it has getting better and better.”

Romine gets class started with a joke and the introduction of that day’s prop-slash-learning-tool – a rock.

Today’s topic is using your mind to create the setting for a scene. In other words, playing imagination.

The reactions from students seem to be mixed about whether or not Romine has perfected his method, but overall he has a dedicated following in the classroom. Only a couple of students, who chose to go unnamed, said his methods could be considered “a little too out there.”

A lot of technique and skills are taught amidst all the craziness. So if looking to get a new perspective on how to act, or if you just want to try something different, this is the place to be.