The workshop takes you through the process of creation. From the initial reading of the script to the realization of any given character’s emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, sexual and sociological world. You will learn not only to think for yourself, but also to take and incorporate very specific direction. Bottom line! You will obtain the tools you need to develop into an actor with both the ability and the confidence to make the impression necessary to get the job.
Every moment of every day, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re making choices. Our lives are a reflection of the choices we make. The same can be said about our work. Our work is a reflection of the choices we make in the process of creating a character and his/her world. The Master Class focuses intensely on the choices that best serve the actor in the professional workplace.
An actor’s job is to create characters. In other words, to create people. Different types of people. To create the things that differentiate them from their characters and not simply project their own personality, character, nature, etc. onto their characters. I often hear actors say, “They’re (casting directors, directors, producers) not looking for an actor, they’re looking for the person!” To which I reply, “Maybe their experience has led them to believe that most actors aren’t capable of creating other people. What are you doing to change that perception?”
This workshop is designed specifically to allow the actor to focus entirely on building his given character and the world he inhabits for the purpose of production.
Each actor is assigned a one person play and over the course of the four weeks works to create that one person. Works to create a life so secure that on opening night he can step out onto the stage genuinely prepared to live and breathe as that person. Knowing who he is and where he is as that specific human being. A person prepared to live the experience.
From the initial breaking down and analyzing of the script, through the myriad exercises necessary to create sense and logic, form connections (i.e. relationships) to every person, place and thing mentioned by and/or dealt with by his character, through the mandatory receiving and incorporating of specific direction to the seemingly endless repetition of dialogue and actions to achieve the illusion of spontaneity.
I believe that “constructing” a character benefits from first taking the time to “deconstruct” the script. Not unlike a mechanic who takes apart an engine to know how it’s put together. To build something you must have materials to build with. For actors those materials exist in the form of information in the script. Scripts are loaded with clues. Pieces to a puzzle. A puzzle that when put together creates a world. Creates life. A life the actor is meant to live in a world he’s meant to inhabit.
“Actors are investigators…Actors are responsible to the people we play.” — Philip Seymour Hoffman
I have had the great privilege of seeing some of the most extraordinary performances of Shakespeare’s plays ever produced. What made them extraordinary? The fact that the actors on stage weren’t “playing” Shakespeare. They weren’t focused on a “style” of acting. They had created real, flesh and blood, people who were simply speaking to each other in their mother tongue. Not “Shakespearean” language.
Actor John Douglas Thompson (who recently starred as Othello in NYC) said he prized “the actor’s ability to make antique language sound contemporary, just like they are speaking to us right now in an everyday conversation. It still contains meaning and urgency, but it’s delivered in such a way that our contemporary ears say, ‘Oh, he’s speaking to me.’ ” This is achieved, Mr. Thompson said, when actors bring “a certain amount of irreverence to the text.” He doesn’t mean improvising, of course, but that actors can stiffen up when they “follow the iambic pentameter religiously. When you follow rules like that rigidly, you can become a rigid performer.”
“That’s probably the biggest secret of acting: If the actor believes it themselves, they can make you believe it.”-Melissa Leo
2018 European workshops
Manufacture des Abbesses
Sophie VONLANTHEN — 0664957826
July 2 – 27 “Master Class”
November 12 – December 7 “Shakespeare”
June 18 – 29 “Master Class”
Institut fur Schauspiel, Film – und Fernsehberufe
an der VHS Berlin Mitte
Telefon: +49 (0) 30-9018 374 43
Fax: +49 (0) 30-9018 374 86
October 15 – 19
International Casting Workshop
Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 6:45pm
Over the course of this 4 week workshop actors have the opportunity to work with different casting directors from different countries to gain a broader perspective of the casting process and to develop their ability to adapt to the different ways people work. Different environments, different demands.
An Actor, Director, Playwright, Casting Director, and Teacher.