Making it Personal

At the beginning of April, Padraig and a new student, Bridgette, set to work on the one act play “Specter” by Don Nigro. Not all scenes transition from the table quickly, but Bridgette and Padraig very quickly tapped into the event of the scene. Finding the event of the scene is necessary before any scene […]

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Relieved of Perfection

Part of the joy of being an artist in Cay’s studio is finding that you are “deliciously relieved of perfection.” These are not my words. I appropriated them from Sheilagh during the advanced class last Monday night. They are fitting though in that they sum up the experience of being in class week after week, […]

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The Preperation: Using an incomplete ‘as if’

“I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments. It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them too.” Cate Blanchett, speaking to an attentive class of second graders, is saying these words. They are not her words, and this audience is not her true target. The words are a part […]

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Stay focused

In the wake of the election earlier this month, I found myself asking the same question everyone seemed to be asking. What now? At my survival gig as a bartender I instituted a loose rule in the final few weeks leading up to Nov. 7th that his name was banned from conversation. This was an […]

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Impostor Syndrome

I have become a creature of the left brain. My days are filled with emails, scheduling, phone meetings, and compulsively checking my inbox to see if we have gotten anymore contributions on the fundraising page. I remember years ago sitting in a class on entrepreneurship being taught all of the ways to fundraise for your […]

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Tap Dancing Elephant Seals and a Student Blogger invade Monday Night

There is a power that comes from knowing what it feels like to be truthful and vulnerable onstage. Conversely, there is a sense of frustration that goes along with that power when an actor can sense that they are not as truthful and vulnerable as they are capable of being. Both Kieran and Ana of […]

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Thoughts on “Hamilton” and why you should have seen “An Octoroon”

Last week I wrote that I had been offered an opportunity to see “Hamilton” and that it was “exactly as good as they say it is.” Well, because I have had some time to process the experience, and because I am, for better or for worse, me, I’ve been rethinking that line. In college I […]

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All my friends are getting married or written up by the Times, and I’m just over here scoring tickets to Hamilton

My classmates are blooming. Fitting for an unseasonably warm winter. One is racking up frequent flyer miles on regional theatre gigs, another is all over my television trying to sell me prescription drugs, the third is swinging in an Off-Broadway production that was was written by a the fourth (who is also starring in it); their production […]

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Identity Crisis

I worry that my expiration date for working in the food industry might be close at hand. “Two lattes for the Princesses,” my coworker, let us call her B, mutters and we both laugh. “Two Princess lattes coming up,” I reply, and moments later feel the familiar weight of guilt come to rest across my […]

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Scar Tissue

Sometimes loss seems to seep it’s way into our lives more heavily than others. The reaper is always there, of course, his shadowy figure looming on the fringe of our awareness, but occasionally his presence becomes palpable. When I started this post Sunday night, reports were just coming out of Paris about yet another series […]

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Devour Power

You all have either heard it from Cay or have been the unfortunate if likely deserving recipient of the comment, “Guys, the least effective use of me is as a police woman,” meaning, you didn’t do the work, you know you didn’t do the work, and she’s calling you out. Blech. But what about Cay […]

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Why do you act?

Obviously this is such a personal question.  But I really want to know why you, (yes YOU, actor-reader!), why do you act?  And more to the point, why are you still doing it?  Still, as in, you had your chance to cut out, you’ve thought it over long and hard and you’re still at it.  […]

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Through

In keeping with the inimitable Tim Bell, I also love a quote that is on Cay’s wall, one by Robert Frost. I realized after having taken an extended hiatus from Cay’s class (life, gigs, pregnancy, a baby), that I have been perpetually misquoting it.  Like, a lot.  I’ll meet a young actor with young actor stuff […]

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Nothing human runs unmingled.

Last Tuesday I found myself looking around the studio, taking in as much as I could of my last class with Cay for the next few months. I’m off to the DC Fringe festival which will take me out of class until August at the earliest. My eyes fell on a quote we have pinned […]

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Falling in love with uncertainty

A friend and I were talking this morning about the insane things we had access to while we were in school. A visual artist, she spoke longingly of a massive 8 peddled loom and a free for all 3D printer. For me it about the space of undergrad and the constant immersion in Theatre. We had […]

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Learning to Relax

A few Tuesday’s ago Cay sighed and commented that “the more I do this, the more important I see relaxation is.  I’m may be turning into one of those teachers who’s only note every week is going to be “see if you can relax’.” Part of drill class with Fred is a weekly 15-20 minute […]

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Running, golf, and blogger thoughts.

Around this time last year I was just outside of Los Angeles being drive to the San Diego airport by my older brother. As career and lifestyle go we couldn’t be more opposite. I’m an artist, he works a blue-collar job. I jam on craft beer and running, he has a love affair with Corona and […]

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Monday afternoon: Pursuing Objectives

Monday afternoon, winter has fully engulfed the city again, and Ciara is conjuring up her own ice storm in the form of a monologue about a wife’s frustration with her husband. Jeff, the target of the frozen blast, sits with his back facing the class. Ciara finishes with a familiar ultimatum: change or leave. “What attracted […]

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Tapping into the personal

When my scene partner texted me the night before class to let me know she wasn’t feeling well and was not going to be there I knew what it meant: I needed a monologue. Monologues are a total pain in the ass. Everyone sort of knows that. But we also accept that they are a part […]

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Welcome back Fred and Drill Class

We are celebrating the return of Fred Waggoner at the studio, perhaps nobody more so than Max Meisel who finally has a place to go every Friday morning again. Every. Morning. Seriously, the guy never misses drill. The first session back was just as challenging, just as eye-opening, and just as beautiful as all of […]

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Letters to a Young Poet

At the start of this year I had the good fortune to attend a question and answer evening with a gentleman who I had met previously and who is a writer on House of Cards. We rode the train home together and I asked him why he did those sorts of events, ones that have […]

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The time I almost quit acting

I knew what this week’s blog was going to be about. As I packed up my bag after class I pictured myself knocking it out in an afternoon, possibly that very same day. I ignored the nagging feeling that I hadn’t actually written a blog for last week, weekly posts being something that Cay and […]

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New Class, New Year!

For some reason Autumn always feels like the start of a New Year for me in the city. Maybe it’s that I was conditioned to look at it that way by years of Summer break followed by the start of school. Or maybe it is the ability to finally use the word “autumnal” for a […]

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The Art of Personalization Workshop: Day 4

  “They’re photographs,” Cay whispered to me on Sunday as we watched the workshop participants tape an alarming amount of printer paper on the usually blank studio walls. “Yesterday we were looking at pictures of old Russian homes and one of the things we noticed was that they were filled with photographs, paintings, and drawings, […]

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The Art of Personalization Workshop: Day 1

    When I think of Chekhov, I think of going to the museum and looking at a Vermeer. I look at the paintings and I think, how can that be so alive and so present? The depth of Chekhov’s understanding of thehuman condition allows actors who approach his characters to spring to life if they bring themselves to […]

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Studio Spotlight: Melissa Smith and the Art of Personalization Workshop

Melissa Smith is the conservatory director and head of acting at A.C.T. in San Francisco. Prior the A.C.T. she served as director of the program in theater and dance at Princeton University where she taught introductory, intermediate, and advanced acting. She has taught acting, improvisation, and scene study to students of all ages in various colleges, high […]

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Walking out of an Audition…With Style!

“Alright Champ, I guess we’ll be seeing you on Broadway.” That line sounds like a Sondheim lead in to the 1st Act big finale. I imagine it being the final stinging blow tossed out the door by an agent named Harry Goldstein, counting his gobs of cash right on the desk, as our hero realizes his quest for glitz […]

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Every class is a rehearsal

There’s a famous story of the Royal Shakespeare company putting up a production with no set, no lighting, and entirely in rehearsal dress. It’s a popular story in actor circles, and I remember hearing different versions from various teachers throughout my time in school. The moral being that actors with a rehearsal mindset rather than […]

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Studio Spotlight: TJ Mannix

TJ Mannix is an actor and improviser living in New York City. His credits include “Law and Order”, “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular”, and appearances on stage as a member of the The Second City Company.  He is currently teaching his 29th round of Commercial Audition classes at the Magnet Theater. His website can be […]

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The Actor’s Vow

Elia Kazan’s Actor vow is something I stumbled across a few weeks ago for the first time. For me it has served two purposes. The first is as a validation of the frustration we sometimes experience in the acting process. The second is a reminder of the power that comes from committing fully to pursuing […]

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Studio Spotlight: Mark Alan Gordon

Mark Alan is an actor, director, and mentor. As an actor, he has worked at such regional theatres as La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Syracuse Stage, The Kitchen Theatre, the Round House Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of DC, and Arlington’s Signature Theatre. While living in NYC, his TV credits include the ubiquitous “Law & Order,” […]

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Working on Place in Monday Night

Last week, while enjoying the freedom of a rare Monday night away from work, I decided to drop in on the Advanced Scene Study class. Quite a few people were out leaving us with a small contingent, just one scene and one monologue on the line up. The scene was from “Period of Adjustment” by […]

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Studio Spotlight: Alanna Thompson

  Alanna Thompson has been working professionally as an actor and writer for over ten years. Her television credits include J.J. Abrams’ Six Degrees, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and Rescue Me. A link to her IMDB can be found here. I read on your IMDB profile that you have a black belt in kickboxing?  It’s interesting you asked […]

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On Drill Class & Saying Goodbye to Winter

“Actors go to class, actors go to class, actors go to class…” These are the words of a teacher of mine whom I very much respected in Los Angeles. It has become a sort of mantra to me in the last few months. I feel like this winter was hard on everyone. The snow seemed […]

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Studio Spotlight: Judy McLane

Judy McLane is a Broadway actress currently starring in the long running show Mama Mia! As an actress and singer she has worked across all mediums including television, film, and concerts performed around the world. Other Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Aspects of Love, and Chess. Her national and international tours include, the Baker’s Wife in Into […]

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Monday afternoon class observation in March

“I’ve talked to you about what the table read is for, right?” I am observing the Monday afternoon class. Karl and Chris sit at the table having just finished a read of two different scenes. The question is directed at Chris. Chris: “I don’t think so. I know what I think the table read is for, […]

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The Toolbox of Technique

Confession: In Theatre school I  was required to complete two years worth of “Technique” classes.  Now, several years removed from my conservatory classes, my strongest memory seems to be one in which the teacher ordered two students to run straight at each other across a room. The students were told not to stop, not to […]

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Studio Spotlight: Laura Chaneski

This interview is the first in the student blog’s new “Studio Spotlight” series. Each month one actor studying at the studio will have their brain picked on all subjects related to their experience as an actor and student in the professional world.

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Shayna and Max bring down the house.

If you had been in the Tuesday afternoon scene study class last week, this is a small snapshot of what you might have seen… I’m laughing so hard my stomach hurts. In front of me Annie is doubled over gasping for air. Cay is lifting her glasses to wipe away a tear. On stage Max […]

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Happy New Year from the Student blogger!

I’m going to break from the usual format today, though it has a purpose, so bear with me. Today I want to know about YOU. More specifically, I want to know about you so that you can know about you. And even more specifically, I want to ask a really stupid question that actually isn’t […]

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What do the Royal Shakespeare Company and Snowboarding have in common?

“Mammals are born with two instinctive fears;  sudden loud noises, and fear of falling.” What does this have to do with acting? I found myself asking this question when Cay brought it up this last week. “When a child is born their immediate instinct is to grasp anything near them. Grasping is the natural reacting […]

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Why didn’t I get that job?

A few weeks ago I went in for an audition and was pleasantly surprised to see a director I knew. This was my second time being seen by this director, and though we had never actually worked together,  they had just wrapped up a project that a good friend was working on. I liked this […]

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When you’re ready to hear it.

One of the funny things about life as an artist in class is the number of times we seem to get the same note. And the number of times we seem to get the same note from varying teachers. How many times have you heard this conversation in class? Teacher: “You need to be doing […]

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Sometimes you don’t feel it

This week I got to spend the afternoon in the Monday class as an observer which, if you have never done as an actor, I would highly recommend. I had the pleasure of watching other artists in action, I didn’t have to worry about my impending scene, and I didn’t have to beat myself up […]

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Let’s talk about being prepared

I’m going to tell you a story. And I’m not going to tell you the name of the actor in the story because, quite frankly, he is rather embarrassed by the whole situation and it’s hard enough for him to sit here and write this without worrying about anonymous judgement. Plus he should have known […]

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Why we take class

As actors we often take for granted how strange what we do actually is. I’m not talking about the job itself, although a whole separated blog could be dedicated to that subject. I’m talking about the in’s and out’s of our daily lives. Hours spent at Kinko’s printing up and stapling resumes to head shots. […]

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On committing to a moment

“Okay, hold it there.” Migina has just walked into the scene. Max is sitting on the floor, cross legged, up center, and she stands over him. They are on the second run of this scene, and Cay has stopped them roughly half-way through, and not for the first time today. Cay: “Okay, Migina, I want […]

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Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

This week I caught up with Tuesday afternoon’s class. Migina and Christina are working on a scene from SAVAGE IN LIMBO by John Patrick Shanley. They’re doing lovely work and really stretching themselves by playing against type. The play is set in the Bronx and Cay had this useful tip for working on the Bronx […]

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Tuesday Evening May 14th, 2013

In Tuesday night’s class, Ryan and Kayla had a great rehearsal of Book of Days by Lanford Wilson, pictured above. In the scene, Kayla plays a small town community theater star and Ryan a hot shot New York director. Kayla is auditioning for St. Joan by Bernard Shaw, thinking that it is by the same […]

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Notes from Monday Afternoon

This week I caught up with the Monday afternoon class. Anna, Jeff and Ross were working on, The Scene by Teresa Rebeck. The actors had a really good rehearsal, they were on top of the material and the scene was cooking. Jeff had great success in his character body work. It was so specific, that […]

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Notes from Tuesday Afternoon

In Tuesday afternoon’s class, Tim and Migina had a fantastic rehearsal. They are working on a scene from Venus in Fur by David Ives. Both actors were solidly prepped, working well off each other and the scene took off. Tim found hilarious behavior to express his mounting frustration with the scene and with Migina’s character. […]

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Notes from Tuesday Evening

This week I caught up with the Tuesday night’s class. First up were Kayla and Pam, working on Craig’s Wife by George Kelly.  In the scene, Kayla’s mother is terminally ill. Kayla has a strong preparation for the inner object of the mother and was able to access it effectively. Pam found the rehearsal made […]

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Notes from Tuesday Afternoon

Great rehearsal tip from Caymichael Patten: Cay gave this piece of advice to a couple of actors working on the scene from Arthur Miller’s, All My Sons, where Chris proposes to Ann. One of the main obstacles in the scene for both characters is the memory of Larry, Ann’s former fiancée and Chris’s brother who was killed […]

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