5/9/17 - Empire Screenwriter works with Governor's School students on acting and writing

Students at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts
and Humanities had the opportunity to take masterclasses in script analysis and scene study from professional playwright, screenwriter and producer David Rambo. Rambo has written for television series such as 
CSI:Crime Scene Investigation, Revolution, and Empire, and his plays have been widely produced by theatres throughout the country.

"David has been a long-time supporter and friend of the Governor's School. This is his fourth visit to campus working directly with students in the drama and creative writing departments," said Daniel Murray, Drama department chair. "The relationship began when David's play, God's Man in Texas,played at the Warehouse Theatre around the time our residential high school opened, and he came over to watch a preview of my play, The Trojan Women, with our inaugural class."

During his week at the Governor's School, Rambo taught classes on script-analysis, which he describes as a deconstruction of the text as a tool to help actors find clues and resonances that will help them create fully-dimensional characters. 

"This is very important for young actors to learn and understand, as anything from a character's speech pattern or vocabulary, to seemingly innocuous references in dialogue can be useful in their interpretation," said Rambo. "Beats are identified and clarified where a character's internal action changes can help the actor make a characterization more vital."  

Senior drama student Trey Barry explained, "It was interesting to learn how to think more about the author's perspective, and their intention, while understanding the structure of the writing, versus just the actor's own personal interpretation of the work."
Rambo also conducted a Humanities symposium for all Governor's School students on his life as an artist. "He talked about how you can't have success without failures, and all the failures you have shape who you are as an artist," said drama student Emily Seymour. "It was very encouraging."

"Time and again I'm blown away by the talent, generosity and openness of the students at the Governor's School," said Rambo. "It was a privilege to spend time learning from them as I shared some of what I've learned."

As a playwright, Rambo has written The Lady With All The Answers (off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre starring Judith Ivey; Lortel nomination), God's Man In Texas, The Ice-Breaker, Babbitt, an all-new book for Lerner and Loewe's Paint Your Wagon, and The Tug Of War. His work has been widely produced by theatres including The Old Globe, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geffen Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre, Alliance Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse. 

Rambo's theatre success brought him to the attention of William Petersen, star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, who hired him to bring a playwright's approach to character to the writers' room. After seven seasons, David wrote and produced V, NYC-22, Revolution, the record-smashing premiere season of Empire and the upcoming TNT series Will.  He has developed multiple pilots for Showtime, CBS, and NBC and is the screenwriter of Tracy and Hepburn, a feature currently in development. 

In addition, Rambo adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, including All About Eve, 
Casablanca, Adam's Rib and Sunset Boulevard, which was produced at the Hollywood Bowl with John Mauceri conducting Franz Waxman's Oscar-winning score. Rambo has been recognized with an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

The S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities Drama Department provides pre-professional theatre training to juniors and seniors who attend the residential high school program. These students receive training in acting, theatre movement, dance, voice and speech, singing, performance and special topics such as audition preparation, playwriting, and theatre history. The department also hosts guest artists, like Rambo, to provide different perspectives and insights from professionals in the field through the Governor's School for the Arts Foundation's Guest Artists Program. Successful alumni from the program include Tony Award winning actress Patina Miller, Orange is the New Black star and Tony-nominated actress Danielle Brooks, and actor in TBS' new hit series Search Party Brandon Micheal Hall.