FAQ

Frequently asked questions (Theartre acting)

Do you adhere to any particular style or method?

You mentioned “great acting”. Do you think everyone has it within them to be “great”?

How much work? I mean, how long do people normally study with you?

You have a “mixed levels” class. Why is that?

How do you choose your students? Do you have to audition?

Is there a difference between film acting and stage acting?

Do you allow auditing?

Do you do private coaching?


Do you adhere to any particular style or method?

No, I don’t. Each student is different, and as such, each may have a different challenge that may exist at any particular point in time. Also, a challenge that may be present for one student may not necessarily exist for another. What’s important for me is to gain a clear understanding of each student as an individual. The more I get to know the student, the more I can help that student grow as an actor and as an artist.

The classes are very active, with everyone working in every class. If you have a scene scheduled, you do it. A monologue, you do it. Wear comfortable clothes and be prepared for a workout. I believe strongly that you should leave each class on a high. I know that I do. It takes me a while to wind down after each class. Class is an amazing process. I feel privileged to be a part of it.

You mentioned “great acting”. Do you think everyone has it within them to be “great”?

Absolutely. It is simply a question of how much are you willing to risk. And by that I mean how willing are you to see the world as it truly is? How far are you willing to go to abandon your preconceptions? How willing are you to accept chaos that may exist in your life, instead of turning away because it scares you? How willing are you to let go of control, to break free of those binds that keep you tethered to the ground, and finally to let your imagination soar? Greatness comes from that. It takes work. And a lot of commitment.

How much work? I mean, how long do people normally study with you?

It truly depends on the individual. I have people that have been studying with me for a years and I have people who have started last week. And I have students who return after being away for a while because of work, or because of life.

You have a “mixed levels” class. Why is that?

By “mixed levels” I assume you mean that the class is filled with people of varied levels of experience, which is the case of the workshop. I feel that to segregate classes as ‘beginning’, ‘intermediate’, or ‘advanced’, is somewhat artificial. First of all, because of the kind of work we do in class, it doesn’t take a great deal of time for the work to progress to a profound level, regardless of one’s background. And there are people who have never set foot onstage who enter the class and are immediately brilliant with an inherent knowledge of technique. For others, it takes a little bit of time. Regardless of one’s level of experience, truth is told, it isn’t even necessary to take an acting workshop to act or even to get work in the business, though I wouldn’t recommend that route.

Personally, I don’t believe the body of the work is based on technique. Technique is important, but what is essential is who you are, and what you have to bring to the work. Whether you have been studying acting for 20 days or 20 years, it still boils down to your ability to let go and free the imagination. In class, as I mentioned, this frequently takes a lot less time than one would think. With regard to experience and study, however, it certainly accounts for something. It counts for a good deal, especially when it comes to the level of confidence that an actor has onstage or in an audition. In the workshop, what occurs is that the people with less experience learn from those with a greater level of experience, especially in the technical aspects of breaking a scene down into beats, actions, objectives, obstacles, etc. But what also occurs, is that the people with greater experience learn from the newcomers in that, like any art, or sport, or anything that requires technical expertise, there are certain rudimentary aspects that are continually emphasized. To hear these aspects consistently reinforced is extremely important, regardless of one’s level of experience.

How do you choose your students? Do you have to audition?

This dovetails with the last question. The entrance into the class is by interview. I don’t ask people to audition because I am more interested in the person than their ability to do a monologue. Provided that they commit to the process, everyone has the ability to reach their potential and be ready and able to seek work, so it doesn’t matter where someone is in the work when they come to me initially. When I meet with someone as a potential student, whether they are planning to pursue or to continue a career as an actor, or whether they are interested in self-exploration outside of the acting field, what is most important is the commitment to the work. Meeting someone gives me a good sense of that.

I like to work with dynamic people who have something to offer the class as a whole. When a new student enters the class, they are immediately accepted by those who are already there. The current students understand that the person entering has met with me has something new to give, and always look upon the new student with a great deal of interest. Also, when I teach, I devote a good deal of time to each individual student, so it is important to me to feel that the time that I spend with each student is time well spent. I take the responsibility of teaching seriously and my desire is to enhance the growth of those that are in the workshop.

Is there a difference between film acting and stage acting?

I get this question a lot and my answer, having acted and directed onstage and on film, is always the same.

No.

Acting is acting just as truth is truth. There may be minimal adjustments that one has to make regarding the camera versus a large audience but these adjustments are as natural as how one would behave when having a conversation with someone across a dinner table, versus speaking to someone from across the street. Because you are onstage, it doesn’t require you to behave in a “theatrical” way. One should be as natural in one’s behavior onstage as on film.

There are classes that believe there is value to on-camera workshops. I don’t. It would be nothing for me to set up a camera and monitor to record the work, but I strongly believe that it puts the emphasis on how an actor looks, rather than their internal experience.

You allow auditing Do?

A trial class is allowed, but I don’t allow auditing, per se, for two reasons. The workshop is about exploration as much, perhaps even more, than it is about performance. The work that is done leads to performance level, however, getting to that place often involves going through a process that involves taking risks. In order to take risks, it is necessary to feel that the space is safe and free of judgment. With someone auditing and not participating, the space becomes a bit less safe and a bit more judgmental. Additionally, for the potential student, it is much easier to see if the class is something that feels right for you when you are actually participating and participating fully. With a trial class, you do the work, (including a monologue if you have one) as if you are fully enrolled in the workshop.

Do you do private coaching?

Yes, I do. However, I wouldn’t recommend private coaching to take the place of class. When I coach privately, it is always done for a particular purpose. For example, private coaching can be very useful if you have a specific audition for which you need to prepare or if you have the need to break through a challenge that has been consistently standing in your way. In general, though, being in a class environment offers the student the kind of interaction that is necessary to experience the acting process in its purest form. Nothing can take the place of giving to, and receiving from another actor.

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