Your Coach: Debra De Liso
For the first time, award-winning actor, dancer, director, writer, choreographer, and teacher Debra De Liso brings her wealth of film and theatrical experience to students outside the Los Angeles with her online academy, the Theatre of Compassion.
Debra has directed more than 700 original one-person plays at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA), USC and professionally.
Debra has also taken her skills and empathy into the community--to theatre workshops, transforming lives in prisons and working alongside artists with disabilities and girls with Turner Syndrome.
In 2014, Debra won the Rainbow Award from the LA Women’s Theatre Festival for her decades of work bringing theatre to multi-cultural and diverse communities.
Debra holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Theatre, and she received a Fellowship at UCLA to earn her M.F.A. in Acting, where she won the Jack Nicholson Prize for Acting.
About This Course
In the flagship four-module, five-week intense online course, you will experience the challenges and the joys of making art from your life experience.
Each Monday, you will receive a video writing prompt and an assignment to complete in time to share with other class members and Debra in the online live 3-hour Zoom session the following Saturday.
The Saturday sessions will be filled with sharing work, receiving dramaturgical feedback from Debra, and the opportunity to experience the community of compassion in a safe space.
By the end of the course you will have written a 12-25 page solo script, complete with blocking, stage and lighting cues, and practice in performing your play.
Class size is limited to a maximum of 10 students in order to give the fullest attention to every member.
Additionally, you'll receive a rich curated collection of additional materials to enhance your learning experience, now and in the future.
An Invitation: This Course is for You!
While writers, actors and directors can benefit from this course, it has a much broader application than only for those in the film & theatre industry.
Students have come from all walks of life, and don’t necessarily take the course because the want to become actors; they come for many reasons--because they want to explore new ways to express themselves creatively; because they want to make a piece of art of their life stories; because they simply want to do something different to shake up their lives.
We have arms wide open to welcome whatever personal goal you may have that this course can support.
See below a few examples of solo shows that were created under Debra's guidance.
Barbara's play Lies, Anger & Forgiveness won “Best Drama,” “Best International Show,” “Pick of the Fringe,” and “Oncore Production Award Winner” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and “Critics Choice Award" at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
Michael J. Gonzales
Michael's play The Ivory Thread won "Best New York Premiere" at the United Solo Festival.
"I walked into Debra’s Solo Performance class with a blank notebook, and this play brought me to NYC!" Michael said.
Testimonials About Debra De Liso
"I taught screenwriting at UCLA for thirty years, the last decade as co-chair of the program. I recognize the values of great teacher. Debra is that. I have seen her workshops. She has the insight and capacity, patience and fearlessness to locate and to bring out the best in an actor’s resources. In performing my solo play (How Prostate Cancer Made a Man of Me, later renamed Prick) I had the direct experience of working with her as a performer. She made an experience that could have been terrifying a journey of discovery and connection; both with aspects of my autobiographical material that I had not truly processed emotionally, and then with performance skills."
--Hal Ackerman, Author, Write Screenplays That Sell-the Ackerman Way, and other books; UCLA Screenwriting Area Head Emeritus
"As a hard-of-hearing gay man, I was extremely self-conscious and full of self-doubt. I came to Debra searching for deeper meaning in myself as an artist but wasn’t confident as to my ability to be present. Debra never saw the challenges I faced as obstacles. Rather, they were treasures that were a part of my soul.Debra never saw me as a binary box in which to stuff myself. Rather, she saw the humanity within me that I didn’t realize existed. She pushed me to celebrate myself rather than be ashamed. I would not be the psychotherapist I am today had I not continued working with Debra."
--Patrick Tully, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
"I am an Emmy Award winning writer with over 100 produced television credits. I only mention this to place in context how valuable Debra’s input and guidance has been in my writing and growth as a professional and simply as a person. She is a skilled and accomplished actress, director and writer with a solid grasp of craft coupled with great insight into human nature...I am glad she has chosen to share this impressive background online enabling her to share her hard-earned and remarkable knowledge with students world-wide."
--Brooks Wachtel, Emmy Award Winning TV & Film Writer
"As a retired teacher and returning grad student I took Ms. De Liso's workshop with the simple intention of sharing my own work with a larger audience. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to find myself on a stage enacting my own story. Ms. De Liso has created a program that includes all learners of any age, all those who want to develop confidence as they discover their own inner strength by sharing the story that is festering inside them. She recognizes that this story is the one basic to character building and lasting knowledge. De Liso provides a safe haven, a safe nest, a non-threatening, non-competitive, playful atmosphere where individuals experiment with different techniques to explore and expand, while discovering their own voice."
--Rochelle Duffy, Ph.D.
- About Writing Exercises (1 minute)
- Writing Prompt #1 (5 min video/10-20 minutes to write) (4:53)
- Writing Prompt #2 (5 min video/10-20 minutes to write) (5:17)
- ASSIGNMENT: Outlining Your Play (15 min)
- ASSIGNMENT: Begin Your Script (5 min. prep + writing time) (1:33)
- RESOURCE: Solo Performance Video Links
- MODULE 3 - Writing Prompt #4 - OPTIONAL (2:02)
- EXERCISE: Actor's Grounding Practice - Warm-Up (4:28)
- EXERCISE: Morphing Into Character(s) (1:35)
- TOOL: Using Chakras to Define Your Characters - OPTIONAL! (6:02)
- TIPS: Staging/Blocking Your Solo Performance
- WORKSHEET: Creating Your Characters' Back Stories
- OPTIONAL EXERCISE: YOUR CHARACTER'S FAMILY TREE
- ASSIGNMENT: Complete Your First Draft