October 2015: On the set of 11/22/63

I’ve been extremely busy coaching on 11/22/63, a mini-series starring James Franco, Chris Cooper, George MacKay and Daniel Webber. It’s based off the novel by Stephen King, about the Kennedy assassination. It’s been wonderful to meet great Canadian actors like Shauna MacDonald; to coach exciting younger actors like George, Daniel and Lucy Fry; to watch seasoned actors like Cherry Jones, James Franco and Chris Cooper work.
I’ve recently re-branded my site and other online materials with the help of one of the actors I’m training. I plan on being more active on Facebook from now on so I can better connect with students from my Toronto studio there and encourage students to be more involved in the community as well. I am also planning on creating short 2-3 minute clips with acting advice that I’ve had for a long time.

ABC’s for the Actor

ABC’s for the Actor

… (a play on ‘Always Be Closing’ from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross)

1. Always Be Centered

Actors must be (‘matter-of-fact’) … how else can they dream? The only person who can dream is the person who can stand with both feet firmly on the earth.
— Richard Boleslavsky

Wake up to each day with a commitment to your art, your craft, yourself as a human being on this planet. All this daily work (putting in your 10,000 hours on your own, in class, when you’re working on a play or on a set) all this work will lead you to be a fully centered, instinctively disciplined, relaxed, open, aligned actor. Yoyo Ma, the incredible cellist, was recognized as a genius when he was five. His 10,000 hours must have been completed by the time he was ten. In one interview about performance preparation he says that before he begins to play he exhales everything and then on the next breath – the first note he plays – everything is there. Like all great artists who have worked – and continue to work — on all aspects of their craft, he has found that now this simple moment brings him there. It’s only after all this personal ‘cleanse’ of your vocal, physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual blocks, that you will stand fully centered, grounded; expelling a breath and ready for you to be filled by your creativity. This applies to acting as well, as can be seen in my classes in Toronto.

Crimes of the Heart & Madeleine Sherwood

Crimes of the Heart

The production of Crimes of the Heart in Toronto received great reviews (here, here & here) for the directing, acting, and production values. It is wonderful to offer such high-level, detailed work to the theatre community here. Most shows at the studio were sold out and received standing ovations.

My dear friend and teacher, Madeleine Sherwood, who is now 93, and our friend Polly Fitch came to visit from Montreal. They came to the theatre to meet the cast and that was a highlight for all of us!

Crimes of the Heart

Crimes of the Heart, by Beth Henley

“It has heart, wit and a surprisingly zany passion that must carry all before it … it would certainly be a crime for anyone interested in the theatre not to see this play.” ~ NY Post

Buy tickets: $15 – $20

Dates: April 18th – May 2nd

Directed by Miriam Laurence

With Danka Scepanovic, Oliver Pigott, Natalie Krill, Sheri Godda, Michael Eisner, Erin Boyes

Set design by Sophie Ann Rooney & Ryan Tonkin

Produced by Sterling Theatre

The Theatre Machine
376 Dufferin Street   Toronto, ON

Showtime 8pm

Cost: $15 — $20

Learn more about the production.

LA & Actors Studio West

Los Angeles

I spent three weeks in Los Angeles and worked with some wonderfully committed actors on two readings in preparation for productions next year.

Meanwhile, I was accepted into the Playwright/Directors’ Unit of the Actors Studio West. My interview with Martin Landau, Mark Rydell and the other committee members was quite a treat, as was sitting in on the classes and sessions there and witnessing many newer experimental exercises and techniques and some excellent work. The wonderful thing about the Actors Studio is its adherence to a love of the process and the commitment of everyone there; their love of the craft and art of acting.

So I am very excited and focused and invite you all to be in touch and to spread the word about my upcoming classes