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Theater and Comedy

Exploring Vulnerability On Stage

This workshop gave each of us an amazing opportunity to become a little more aware of the social face (or “mask”) that each of us have unconsciously chosen to present to the outside world. Bogdan Tabacaru, an experienced and talented director, used Sanford Meisner’s teaching on text and improvised scenes to help each of us begin to set aside our mask just a little bit so that we could authentically step into the shoes of vulnerable characters on stage. Each of us left the workshop with a sense of having gained a bit of insight into living more truthfully in our real lives.

David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole

This extraordinarily well written play involving family members dealing with deep loss in their individual ways – and in ways that we all can recognize in ourselves and in our own families. The play was adapted to make a successful movie starring Nicole Kidman in 2010.

Where Actor Meets Director

Where does the actor meet the director in the process of creating a memorable dramatic performance? How do I, as an actor, blend my preparation and emotional passion for my character with the the vision of the director so that we can truly be partners in this creative endeavor? This recent, memorable workshop on exploring the expressivity of our emotions and bringing that to the stage offered some inspiring insights.

Emotions: My Connection To Stage And Life

Learning to become a more authentic actor requires opening up more fully to the full range of my emotional being. It’s perhaps safer when playing a character on the stage, but it’s still not easy. The reward is that I am at the same time learning to connect more fully with everyone around me in my real life. I’ll never be finished with this exploration as long as I’m alive, but it is an extraordinary and exciting journey for sure.

Pinter and Protest

Harold Pinter was considered to be one of the most influential of modern British dramatists with a career spanning more than 50 years as a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. He wrote plays that emphasized that unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. Coming to understand what this means for me personally has been a long journey.

It’s About The Beat

Whenever I watch a performance of Mahler’s second symphony, The Resurrection, I am spellbound by the intense emotional connection to the arc of my own life. John Williams Jaws is inseparable from Steven Spielberg’s story – so much so that the first couple of notes is all that is needed for me to see again that shark attack. What makes music so powerful and how can I learn how to use that power in my own creative life?

On The Road From Me to We

Stephen Colbert once observed that “Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” But what is the focus of the things I make up? Is it mostly about me – my ideas, my money and my goals? Or is it mostly about us – a better and more satisfying life together than any of us could create by ourselves? Trying to become a better Improv actor has helped me to discover the importance of this choice in my real life.

Learning to Live Truthfully Through Acting

I recently got around to watching the 2009 movie “The Blind side”, staring Sandra Bullock in an Oscar winning role as a born-again Christian mother who adopts and cares for a Black athlete from a poor part of Memphis. Bullock was one of the students of Sanford Meisner and she said that her success as an actor stemmed very much from Meisner’s emphasis that “the foundation of acting is the reality of doing.” For me it is increasingly clear that working to become a better actor means working on the skills that will also enable me to live my life more fully.

Why Choices Matter

If we are to accept the Quantum Mechanics notion of multiple parallel universes, then every possible lifetime that I might create with my choices must be happening in one of those universes. Does that mean I can do “whatever I want” and have no responsibility for the consequences of my choices? This post explores the insights into this question offered by a few movies and theater plays.

Criteria for Good Choices

It is an intriguing idea that every choice we make creates a branch into a parallel universe, yet this is not the reality that any of us experience in our real lives. We must make a choice and then we experience only the consequences that flow from that choice. So what distinguishes a good choice from a poor one?

What If I Had Made a Different Choice?

We all experience our world as a continuum of choices where each choice forever precludes the alternate paths. It’s obvious, right? But what if this “obviousness” is misleading? What if there could be parallel universes which could accommodate every possible alternative? Quantum Mechanics offers some insight into this possibility.

The Art of Deep Listening

Interviewing guests for a podcast or a video broadcast doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult – until you try it. The very best hosts are the ones who really listen to their guests and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. This is an ability that can change our whole life.