Category Archives

What You See Is What You Get…

The Circles Of “I Am”…

Authenticity Through Action…

Tapping Into Uncharted Territories…

Roundtable With Neil LaBute

Neil Labute is an acclaimed playwright, screenwriter and director. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre, London. In 2013, he was named one of the winners of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Arts and Letters Awards in Literature. Mr. LaBute’s plays include: Filthy Talk For Troubled Times, Bash: Latter-Day Plays, In The Company of Men, The Shape of Things (Drama Desk Award-Outstanding Play), The Distance From Here, The Mercy Seat, Autobahn, This Is How It Goes, Some Girl(s), Wrecks, In A Dark Dark House, Fat Pig (Outer Critics Circle Award-Outstanding Off-Broadway Play and Olivier Award Nomination-Best New Comedy), Helter Skelter/Land Of The Dead, The Break Of Noon, The New Testament, Some White Chick, The Furies, Strange Fruit, In A Forest, Dark And Deep, Lovely Head & Other Plays, Reasons To Be Happy, The Break Of Noon, Money Shot, The Way We Get By, All The Ways To Say I Love You, The War On Terror, How To Fight Loneliness, True Love Will Find You In The End, Reasons To Be Pretty (Drama Desk Award Nomination-Outstanding Play and Tony Award Nomination-Best Play). His work also earned him the honor as a Lortel’s Playwright Sidewalk Inductee in 2013. LaBute is also the author of Seconds of Pleasure published by Grove Atlantic. His films include In the Company of Men (Independent Spirit Award-Best First Screenplay, New York Critics’ Circle Award-Best First Feature and the Filmmaker Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival), Your Friends And Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Some Velvet Morning, Bash: Latter-Day Plays,The Van Helsing Series, It’s Ok, Ten X Ten, Full Circle, The I-Land, Denise, Double Or Nothing, BFF, Bench Seat, After School Special, Sexting, Tumble, Possession, Some Velvet Morning, Some Girl(s), Dirty Weekend, Full Circle, The Shape of Things, The Wicker Man, Lakeview Terrace and Death At A Funeral.
Thursday August 26th 2021 6:00 pm PST
It was an extraordinary night for our Los Angeles Ensemble filled with passion, knowledge, wisdom, advice, encouragement, stories, humor, love, humility and mountains of generosity by the one and only legend NEIL LABUTE! We are all so humbled, grateful and inspired! We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mr. Labute back for a work session class for our Los Angeles Ensemble and a Roundtable Discussion class for our London Ensemble in the very near future!

Becoming The Answer

“Let No One Leave Your Presence Feeling Lonely”…

“One of the greatest tools an actor (or any artists/human for that matter) can possess is his or her compassion and empathy. The ability to have an open heart and a willingness to dive into the depths of the human condition is the very foundation for our work and the ability to live moment to unknown moment within extraordinary circumstances. We have to be willing to see, hear, feel, taste, understand and experience more than just our own small circle of experiences in order to live the vast highly complex life of characters in unimaginable pain, great struggle and overall high stake circumstances. This is ultimately the ‘in’ to every character we will ever play/reveal/live. Everyone has struggled. Everyone has suffered. Everyone has had trials and tribulations. Everyone has a story. Every story has a history that formulates who we are and how we move and function in life and what we strive to get, achieve, be and experience. We have to understand that at our very core, we function from survival love received and love unreceived. From there our story unfolds based on what life throws at us. This is not just about our technique. This is about humanity. It is about our humanity  And every human’s story has within it the worthiness to be witnessed simply because it is part of the essential fabric of this thing we all call ‘Life’.”
~ Mario Campanaro
Master Teacher 
MC² Actors Studio 
Los Angeles | New York City | London

Learning Who You Are Through Discomfort…

“Dear Actor…
Dear Artist…
Do not get overwhelmed by the enormity of your creative mission. 
Get inspired by the undeniable talent, strength and ability that inherently lives within you to do something remarkably transformative with it. 
Let me introduce you to your true Artist Self: 
You are a slayer of limitation.
You’re an alchemist. 
You are a creative gladiator.
You’re an artistic warrior. 
You were always meant to move mountains.
When most may exclaim:
The creative warrior simply whispers:
‘I am just beginning.’.”

~ Mario Campanaro
Master Teacher 
MC² Actors Studio 
Los Angeles | New York City | London

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

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

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