As a working actress and teacher with many years of experience teaching basic and advanced acting classes for stage and film, I use my experience and insights to inspire diverse pools of students, enabling them to reach across personal boundaries and produce remarkable transformations that help them create characters on stage and in film. The process of creating a character is an inspirational one; it teaches us, transforms us and guides us to be better on stage, on film and in life. Providing students the opportunity to explore characters through their own interpretation allows their talent to shine beyond expectations. When the personal merges with imagination, artistry begins.
I apply the Actors Studio Method Acting technique in my classes, which provides the tools and foundation necessary to liberate individual creativity and unleash unbounded imagination, thus resulting in spontaneous, surprising and entertaining work. I also work as an actress and use that experience, including the experience I have gained from participating in sessions at the Actors Studio since becoming a member in 2002, in order to continue developing my actor’s instrument. Working in session enables me to bring new insights to my teaching as I continue to develop an ongoing and deeper appreciation for the craft of acting. Acting informs my teaching, and teaching informs my acting.
School of Visual Arts, New York, 2009 – Present, Acting Instructor
— Undergraduate Program (Acting for Film; Directing Actors)
— Continuing Education Program, Acting
— Pre-College Program, Screenwriting in Action
Acting for Film. This introductory class exposes directors, editors, writers, and cinematographers to the process of film making from the actor’s point of view. Filmmakers learn by participating in exercises that demonstrate acting techniques such as relaxation, concentration, sense memory, private moment, animal exercise, moment-to-moment work, improvisation and script analysis. By placing filmmakers in the shoes of the actor, in a practical rather than a theoretical way, they experience the actor’s work first hand and therefore learn how to clearly and effectively communicate their vision to actors in order to elicit meaningful and clear performances. Minimizing the communication gap between writers, directors and actors is an essential component in enabling all participants in artistic collaborations to achieve their individual objectives.
Directing Actors. The Actor-Director relationship is the fundamental collaboration that brings life to the writer’s script, enlightens the director’s vision and illuminates the actor’s work. No matter what acting technique one utilizes, this advanced class focuses on providing directors, writers and actors with additional tools to communicate their unique perspectives into one cohesive voice and thereby to lead the direction of theatrical or film projects. For the writer’s script to be realized and for the director's vision to be satisfied, the actor's process must be understood and a common language must exist between them. Without a common language, a gap will exist no matter how great the script, how fantastic the director or how brilliant the actor. Together a delicate dance begins challenging one another to deliver their best work and to bring balance, energy and uniqueness to the film. When writer/director/actor share a common language, a quality film will result.
Continuing Education. Conduct specialized classes/workshops for actors and non-actors (lawyers, doctors, public speakers, marketing executives, etc.), teaching them how to approach the actor’s work, thus enabling them to think in new creative ways and, ultimately, develop fresh perspectives on their respective professions. Through various exercises, they learn to make the risky choices that result in exceptional work, inspiring them to find the surprising side of themselves, creating a deeper understanding of who they are, first as people then as actors. Great achievements of successful people are emboldened by the clear understanding and use of their physical and emotional experiences.
Pre-College Program. Participate in a summer workshop for high school students, involving working with them through character driven exercises to help them develop short written scenes and then working with them to direct professional actors in those scenes to provide the students with insight into how actor’s experience those scripts and help bring the words to life.
Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, New York, 2012 – Present, Teacher and Director
Teens Acting Class. Adapt the acting process to bring out the extraordinary individual expression of young adults. The class focuses on helping students develop their potential as actors and sustain their curiosity in an atmosphere of professional fun.
Adult Acting Class. Teaching acting to actors and non-actors. This class utilizes acting techniques that enable students to apply their personal experiences and imagination to create multi-dimensional characters. The class teaches students techniques they can apply to overcome obstacles in acting as well as obstacles in their day-to-day lives. By focusing on moment-to-moment awareness as actors, students develop a greater appreciation for the moments of their lives outside the studio and use that awareness to benefit them in their other professions. Students participating in these classes develop the confidence to make artistic choices that enable them to reshape themselves and grow as individuals.
Directing. Classes taught at the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance have ended in showcases directed by me. Examples include: The Bald Soprano (Spring 2014); Mythtery and Mayhem (Spring 2013): and Platonov (Spring 2012).
Bernie West Theatre, New York, 2005 – 2009, Instructor
Worked with students to advance their skills and craft as actors through monologue and scene study. Utilized a variety of acting techniques to bring the writer’s words to life by enabling students to bring their own experiences and imagination to the work, thus personalizing their performances by reaching within themselves to find the greatness of the characters.
My work has resulted in international invitations to demonstrate Method acting techniques. Select workshops include the following:
Theatre of Change, Athens, Greece (2015, 2016, 2017)
Bucharest, Romania (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Tallinn, Estonia (2016)
Marjon University, England (2016)
Falmouth University, England (2016)
I have also participated in international educational conferences and international theatre festivals, including the following:
ATINER International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts (presented a paper entitled “From Stage to Screen: Applying the Method Technique of Acting to Adapt a One-Act Play as a Feature Length Screenplay”, published in the ATINER Conference Paper Series)
International Conference, Theatre Pedagogy in a Changing World, Tallinn, Estonia (a presentation entitled “On the Method of Lee Strasberg – Actors at Work”)
Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Romania (Summer 2016), Invited Observer
Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Romania (Summer 2017), Actress -- iperformance (a co-production of School of Visual Arts, New York, Falmouth University, UK, Motorvate, UK, and European Cultural Foundation)
Presently writing a chapter called “Method Acting: A Collaborative Technique” for inclusion in a forthcoming book on international perspectives on training of the actor
PRIVATE ACTING COACHING
As a private acting coach on feature films and stage productions, I work with directors and cast members on script analysis, improvisation, character development, and individual and ensemble work. Recent examples include #Selfie and #Selfie69 (for Zazu Film Production), Carmen (post-production), and Project Oceans (a short film directed by Graciela Cassel), with an additional feature film project forthcoming in 2017.
I also teach private acting sessions and mentor actors on an ongoing basis. Many of my students have booked jobs on stage, in film and on television following my coaching assistance in preparing for auditions. In addition, I work with many of my actors in connection with their ongoing work, including through script analysis, rehearsal and off- and on-set coaching. Among the recent projects my actors have secured as a result of our collaboration are an upcoming dramatic series for Amazon Studios, an audition for a major feature film to be directed by an Academy Award winning director, and an audition for one of the film industry’s leading casting directors.
SELECT STAGE, FILM AND TELEVISION EXPERIENCE
No Exit (Turtle Shell Theatre), Inez
Manipulation (Cherry Lane Theatre), Cristina
The Cherry Orchard (The Actors Studio, with Ellen Burstyn), Varia
Off The King’s Road (Theatre for the New City), Sheena (New York Times review)
Carmen (feature, pre-production), Actress and Acting Coach,
Stefania (short, post-production), Principal Actress
#Selfie, #Selfie69 (features), Actress and Acting Coach
Ben Again (pilot), Actress
Perkins 14 (feature), Actress
Subterranean Love (Ileana & Paul) (short), Principal Actress