THE CHILDREN’S HOUR by Lillian Hellman MC² Actors Studio Scene Work

“Our awareness, observation and the exercising of what we learn about the human condition inevitably inspires and informs how we live honestly, truthfully and authentically in our work as actors. A lot of the time this may feel inconvenient, difficult, tedious and maybe even heart-wrenching work during the exploration process. Especially when there is not the immediate ‘payoff’ we so often crave. But the more we stay on track, the more we continue to persevere, the more we continue to align, refine and cultivate our craft, the more the ‘payoff’ will eventually come. It is about artistically and creatively persevering. Even during those moments when we feel like we don’t want to artistically and creatively persevere. It’s not about going around it, or over it, or underneath it. But going through it. We must go through it. We must be focused and disciplined in our approach to what we want to achieve as artists. And we must hold ourselves accountable within and throughout the creative process. Why? Because, as actors…that is and will always be a huge part of the artist’s journey…And let’s not forget this important fact…We love what we do! The craft of acting comes from the living, observing, and implementing of what Life itself has to teach us about the human condition…And then be able to marry that along with our imagination and personal investment to LIVE story as it pertains to a specific text. This is not just about technique. It is about humanity. It is about Life. Life itself has a delicious limitless rainbow of colors to offer and teach us as artists that is crucial to our work. I happen to call it Mary Poppin’s purse. It has everything needed within it! It is so important for the actor to stay open to it in their every day Life…to keep searching for the Life within the craft itself as it will ALWAYS be mirrored, justified, and validated by Life. Remember this…Life may not always be about acting…But acting will always be about Life!”
~ Mario Campanaro
Master Teacher
MC² Actors Studio
Los Angeles | New York City | London

MC² Actors Studio’s The Actor’s Process Series

“You have to set a goal. You have to have tenacity. If you don’t have it, don’t waste your time. There’s a whole additional set of values and needs in addition to your talent and your skill. Just sticking it out, being productive, getting seen, and getting talked to are big parts of it. The biggest thing is tenacity. Without tenacity in your system, talent doesn’t mean much. But if you have discipline and tenacity, coupled with talent, you’re capable of doing anything. You need passion, tremendous passion. I try to make is so clear to you how much you have to commit to it in order to get what you want. And if you’re not prepared to make that commitment, don’t waste your time. It’s not a surface thing. It’s not like, ’Oh, I’ve got so much talent, or beauty, or whatever, that someone will see it, and they’ll pick me out of the whole bunch, and I’m off!’ It just isn’t like that. You have to work, commit, reveal yourself. You have to be willing to put yourself on the line.”
~Gerald Freedman, The School Of Doing
I read it (the script) over and over and over again. Just to find out, in actors terms, ‘the given circumstances’ – who you are, what people say about you, all of that. That’s the first thing I do. And then I write a bio of the character. I try to fill it up as much as possible: What are her memories? Does she have brothers and sisters? What secrets does she have? What’s her favorite color? I do all of that work first. The character is always ever-evolving, just like we evolve based on circumstances that happen to us. There could be things that happen where we absolutely know how it’s going to affect you, but you really don’t know how it’s going to affect you and how it will make you veer off course at any given time. So whatever prep work you do, the next work you have to do – you leave yourself alone. You leave yourself absolutely alone.
~Viola Davis, BAFTA Guru Interview
My preparation is always pretty much the same, regardless of whether it’s a $150 million film or a $1.5 million or whatever it may be — I’ve got to do a lot of homework, and I’ve just got to be well-equipped when I come onto the floor. And I want to come onto the floor with ideas. And I want to also be well-prepared so I have the ability to have a freedom to explore any avenue on the day. And have fun.
~Michael Fassbender to Backstage TV 
With big emotional roles, it’s very easy, especially if you’ve grown up in the American school of acting, to exploit your own pain. You have to be careful about that, because nine times out of ten, your pain is not appropriate to the character. You can watch someone onstage cry and cry—but in the audience you feel nothing. It’s easy to become indulgent. For me, what’s important is the story first.
~Laura Linney 
In some way it’s an indication that I’m in the right place, because the fear is kind of informing me: I’m in the place where the known is ending and the unknown is beginning. And that is our job, to consistently put ourselves in a position where we’re uncomfortable and going beyond our comfort zone. If you’re fortunate enough to build a career, a little pebble is put out in front of you, and you’ve got to step toward it, and with each step you’re hopefully going further out and getting beyond what you’ve done before and exploring territory that has yet to be explored. So you have to really make friends with that fear. It’s a bit of a tightrope walk.
~Mahershala Ali, Hollywood Reporter Interview 
One of the most important keys to acting is curiosity. I am curious to the point of being nosy. What that means is you want to devour lives. You’re eager to put on their shoes and wear their clothes and have them become a part of you. All people contain mystery, and when you act, you want to plumb that mystery until everything is known to you”
~Meryl Streep
You do a lot of homework. I think of it as kind of training your creative animal. You, the thinking mind, is kind of training your animal to be sensitive to this kind of thing or to think more about this kind of thing and to maybe engage in this kind of pastime more—so you end up in a process of osmosis kind of shaping the way you carry yourself, the way you see the world. And of course you work with a script, and of course you find your different ways into putting that script into into your body. And then when it comes the day of performance, you can take your animal off the leash and you surrender to it. You cannot control it with your thinking mind, otherwise you’ll be doing something maybe precise, maybe shaped and crafted and varnished, but you’re not giving something spontaneous and more truly honest. And to do that, you have to kind of, yeah, unleash and hand over the reins to the animal itself and not the animal trainer, which is a thinking mind.
~Riz Ahmed, Backstage Interview 
That’s the thing about being an actor. You have to avail yourself to circumstances and experiences that you yourself don’t know anything about. But we as human beings…we are not as individual as we think we are. And that’s what allows for us to experience empathy when we watch things. So for me, going to school and going to get acting training was about that. Learning more than what my personal experience would offer. And availing myself to that. And doing the research and the technical preparation. And then just breathing and letting ‘God walk through the door’ like Oprah said.
~Lupita Nyong’o, The Queen Latifah Show
When I’m given a role, the first thing I do is read the play over and over again. I scour the script and write down everything the character says about himself and everything that everyone else says about him. I immerse myself in my character and imagine what it might be like to be that person.
~Tom Hiddleston, The Guardian 
Someone might have a germ of talent, but 90 percent of it is discipline and how you practice it, what you do with it… Instinct won’t carry you through the entire journey. It’s what you do in the moments between inspiration.
~Cate Blanchett
I think that the stress that we put on ourselves is probably a good thing; I don’t understand why they don’t talk about that more. They should talk about that in acting class and schools. The trick is that fear and that stress that you feel is a great motivator. Fear is a great motivator. I had a lot of fear and still have my fears, but it really drove me to work, work, work, and then work some more. And if I look at my younger self, maybe I wouldn’t change it, because that fear—like, I didn’t grow up well off. I didn’t really have a Plan B, and in fact, I took great pride in not having a Plan B. I didn’t wanna give myself any opportunity to fail, and I was a big believer in hard work being the salvation. Everything went back to working hard. And I still believe if you’re willing to do the work, you’re gonna see great results.
~Jared Leto, Backstage Interview 
You have to go through this long, painful process of learning techniques to be able to recognize a ‘good accident’ or a ‘bad accident.’ Ill-informed intuition is fantastic—it’s what great art is. So really old painters or writers or actors are brilliant, because they’ve finally reached the point when they can let go of all technique. And young actors or young writers who try to pretend that technique doesn’t matter have got their heads up their arses, basically.
~Helen Mirren, Interview Magazine
You have to have someone outside of your own brain who will help you create, and you have to find the community who will hold you accountable…(he then goes on to say) It comes down to never running out of approaches, and that comes down to building tools in your toolbox…(he then goes on to say) Craft comes in when the idea doesn’t just drop into your lap and you have to draw from a set of tools that you have developed over the years.
~Lin-Manuel Miranda, Forbes Interview
I have had the luxury of ‘Noes’. And I’ve also had the luxury of ‘Yeses’. And it’s taught me a lot. There’s also, to me, spaces to learn. There’s also quick crash course masterclasses on how to really know how to define who you are when you walk into the room. Bring who you are, but also have the preparation…have the craft…and have the knowledge behind the character so that they can all mesh together.
~Mj Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA Interview
Every person is driven by some deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep secret and finding that for a character gives you that which drives it through. You look for it and then you try and find that essence that drives them. If you can find it, if you find the right one, they’ll know it.
~Robin Williams, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind
That’s how I got hooked on acting. It’s an education in and of and by itself. I do a tremendous amount of research because I have to know who this person is in order to let you know who she is. If I don’t feel that I have captured the essence of this woman, I cannot do that.
~Cicely Tyson, Time
If you start at a place and say, ‘I have certain skills that allow me to work in this profession,’ and give yourself a little boost of confidence, then you can operate from that perspective of pushing yourself to know what more you’re capable of…(he then goes on to say) I always want to know what I’m capable of. I want to reach out as far as I can…(he then goes on to say) So if this is what I’ve put so much into in my life, why not keep going in that direction?
~Rami Malek, Backstage Interview
I’ve always taken my craft very seriously and have always felt that I had to make choices for very personal reasons, very subjective reasons. If I ever chose something because I thought it would win me an award or make me a lot of money, I was going off track…Ultimately, what we have as individuals is what makes us an individual. I think to be able to approach something personal and to learn a craft of getting into someone else’s skin, I guess that’s the biggest actor rule that I live by.
~Glenn Close, Closer Weekly
All the work is a kind of mining, and you’re mining for clues. And there are many many clues… that could bare exploration for the rest of one’s days and you’d still feel there was more to learn… So I think what tends to happen is you learn as much as you can, you absorb what you learn and hope out of that will grow something that is true. And you forget everything that you don’t know – which is a lot… (he then goes on to say) It could easily seem as if this work – especially as so much of it is done on your own, in preparation – is that it’s a kind of an isolationist exercise. But again, that work that you do on your own is the work that allows you to be OPEN with your colleagues, to be fluid. It allows the imagination to work in response to what they bring, because you have no idea what they’re going to bring.
~Daniel Day-Lewis, StageMilk Interview

Broken Hearts

From The Masterclass:

“It is not the ‘easy’ that makes the Artist. It is not the ‘easy’ that makes the difference. It is all the complexity. It is all the ‘stuff’ that we may very often want to shy away from, that is the necessary ingredients to our work. 

Sometimes it is all those ‘things’ that may make us feel broken hidden deep down within. It is all that ‘stuff’. The deep, messy, dark and even shattered truth that is so very beautifully human…so extraordinarily ordinary…and that is an undeniable truth…whether we like to admit it or not…that lives within each and everyone of us.

And it is all that ‘stuff‘ that is necessary for our glorious ‘opening’ within the creative process. 

You are necessary. You are the answer. The technique means nothing without You….ALL of You from the depths of your soul. 

And though your personal pain is not the pain of the character’syou will always have it there as a reference point (if it is safe and helpful to do so) to marry to the givens expanded by your imagination that can help you along the journey to fulfilling that greatness of the Life of the text.

It is that kind of bravery that makes the Artist. It is that willingness to deeply live in relation to the givens and to do so publicly that makes you and your work more than worthy of being witnessed.

And it is when the work becomes far more than just ‘play’…When it  holds an artistic and social responsibility within your mind and heart…When it serves a greater purpose…That the work really starts to make a difference in shifting the world in and around you.

The great paradox of that is…In order to really do that…You still have to be willing to INTENTLY play…With the objective of revealing the utmost truth…In a myriad of very often extremely uncomfortable circumstances…While also fulfilling that great artistic and social responsibility…By using and sharing your heart and soul.

But along that creative process, there may be times when you are going to have to walk through your very own Hades in order to get to your very own Utopia. You may have to endure a lot…You may even find yourself struggling/suffering at times…But if you keep persevering…If you keep on believing in what you are doing…If you simply do not give up…You will find that all that hardship pays it forward by bringing something profoundly fulfilling into your Life. 

You may want to cry because it hurts so bad…And then you may want to laugh until you cry…Because you got through it.

And once you make it out of the fire, you will see all the beauty hidden within the ashes.

Each of us has our very own story of strife and struggle. And each of us has the potential for a very deserving and awe-inspiring victory.

Stay along the creative path. Do not give up! Struggle through if and when you must. Discover what else there is…Because you are everything. It is all there. In you. Find yourself there. Meet yourself there. Honor yourself there. It’s all there waiting to be discovered, explored and tapped into.”

Much Love,

Mario Campanaro
Master Teacher 
MC² Actors Studio

MC² Actors Studio’s News Corner!

The Shepard Theater, Los Angeles 

On March 13th 2021, our studio had to make the difficult yet inevitable decision to close our physical studio theater doors due to the Covid 19 pandemic and open our virtual studio theater doors. However, we did not give up! We persevered! #ActorWarriors We did not skip a beat nor did we miss a single week! And though we struggled with the unknown, something incredible happened. As is so often the case in the life of the artist, we adjusted, adapted and made the creative conscious decision to do all we can to continue our work in this foreign land of Zoom while still upholding all of our professional standards of truth, authenticity, exploration, sophistication and artistic integrity.#BirdsOfAFeather 

For over a year and a half now, our ensemble members, internationally, persevered during a time when it would have been so easy to find reason not to continue to do the thing that they love. To find justification “to wait” or to hold off “until tomorrow” or when “it’s back in the space”. However, that was not the case at all. Our Los Angeles, New York City and London ensemble members continued to #GetUp rather than give up. Over the past year and a half, they all journeyed into a series of extremely beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious but always very complex texts #GladiatorsForTheWork.

This has been a very unique way of working for all of us and one that has gained much attention, respect and enthusiasm from actors, industry professionals and media internationally. As we all know, the camera never lies, and with close ups in mind (or even self tapes), it demands that the actor fully endow the utmost truth and authenticity within all of the givens of the text and the unknown of each and every moment. It challenges us all to go deeper and deeper in order to honestly reveal the life of the givens through our one-of-a-kind instrument. 

We also implemented the use of green screens for all scene work so that our ensemble members continued to endow and explore environment in a new and exciting way while also developing this necessary skill clearly happening in our modern digital/CGI film and television mediums.

What could have remained such a bleak and dark time, has presented itself to be one of the most fulfilling, expansive, heartwarming and transformational journeys #GetPaidInGrowth. To continue on with such like-minded, committed, invested lovers of theater has not only brought our long term ensemble members that much closer, but it has attracted and brought new ensemble members with equal burning passion for the glorious craft of acting. #ActorTribe. 

Our studio cannot express how inexplicably moved and proud we all are by everything our ensembles have accomplished during this time in history. They all continue to #MoveMountains.

Our London and New York City ensemble members will continue to do their incredible work on our online platform until we are assured it is safe to move into a physical theater space. In the meantime, we are working very diligently to solidify things so that when that moment finally arrives, it can be a safe, conscious, seamless and easy transition for all.

We will be auditioning prospective London and New York City on-going ensemble members and for our waitlist via Zoom July 6th-14th 2021 for our August 2021 ensembles and onward. 

With that said, we are so excited to finally be able to announce that, starting on August 5th 2021, all of our Los Angeles classes have been given the OK to be held in our normal theater space, The Shepard Theatre at The Complex Hollywood

We will be auditioning prospective Los Angeles on-going ensemble members and for our waitlist via Zoom July 6th-14th 2021 for our August 2021 ensembles and onward .

Lastly, we are also beyond excited to announce that we are in pre-production for our first ever Repertory Theatre production of MC² Actors Studio’s The Skelton Scenes. We will be posting more information on auditions for this project in the very near future. 

We wish you all the very best and look forward to seeing and working with all of you incredible artists soon! 

Until then, stay safe and keep on taking all the necessary steps to make all your dreams realized. 

Much Love,

MC² Actors Studio

Meet The Ensemble (July 2021)

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