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Dream Big. Start Now.

Imagination plus action. It takes both to succeed.

Sprinkle – generously – with the fire of enthusiastic feeling.

Bake until done.

Enjoy the process. Savor the results.


Fall Training Is Coming

The new season begins in September. 

The Meisner Foundation Training, Advanced Training, and Chekhov Training Programs are interviewing now.

What are you waiting for?


Make Success Happen

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

One of my favorite quotes. Might have been Lincoln said it. 

Want success?

It's up to you.

Make it happen. 

Get it?

Get it.


The Elemental Gestures Of Life

Went to sleep last night with powerful impressions after tonight's Chekhov Training on the theme of expanding and contracting.

Awoke this morning and couldn't help but look for more. 

Where to look? 

Where NOT to look?! 

Expanding and contracting are the primary gestures of our daily experience. 

Observe them in the rhythm of your own breathing. 

At another pole, we observe them in the universe.

Expanding and contracting are human and cosmic breathing.

*

Take a deep breath in.

Breathe out.

Put your attention on the inner movement, the inner gesture, the expanding and contracting.

Allow a relevant image to arise. 

Pay special attention to the transition, the moment of change from expanding to contracting, from contracting to expanding.

Experience the sensations.

Express your feelings.

Say hello to inspiration.


Inner Activity, Human Aura, Actor's Presence

We looked (again) this week at what Chekhov calls "inner activity." Someone brought up the concept of the human aura.

The aura radiates from the human body like the spokes of a wheel radiate from the wheel's hub. Indeed, the Sanskrit root "at", means the spoke of a wheel. 

Alternatively, the Latin term for aura means "air." The aura is in fact a kind of aerial emanation. It is sometimes called the "psychic atmosphere" or "magnetic atmosphere" of a person. 

Michael Chekhov calls it the "personal atmosphere" of a character.

You can find a lot of scientific (and psuedo-scientific) writing on the subject of auras. 

Writing from a strictly scientific point of view, Rudolf Steiner says this:

"The color effects perceptible to the spirit(ual) eye that ray out around the physical human being observed in his activity and that envelop him like a somewhat egg-shaped cloud are the human aura. The size of this aura varies in different people, but we may say that the entire human being appears on the average twice as long and four times as wide as the physical human being.

The most varied shades of color flood the aura. This color flooding is a true picture of the inner human life. As this changes, so do the shades of color change. Certain permanent qualities such as talents, habits and traits of character, however, express themselves also in permanent fundamental color shades."

Michael Chekhov suggests to imagine an Ideal Center high in the chest. A center full of activity (energy-movement-gesture....) Picture it as a golden-yellow sun, warm and light-filled. Imagine the rays shining out - radiating - in all directions. Raying out beyond the limits of the physical body and into the immediate and even infinite space. ...

In this way, the actor develops and strengthens his or her inner activity, his or her inner power. 

And, in turn, the aura. 

Which is to say, the actor's presence.


What We Stand For

MCASB means hardcore training and real results.

"Show up. Train hard. Act better."

How simple is that? (Note I didn't say easy.)

What's worth having is worth working hard for.

Get what you want. Earn it. 


Michael Chekhov

What's so special about Chekhov?

Plenty.

Stanislavsky said: "Seek him out, wherever he is teaching or performing. He is my most brilliant pupil!"

Chekhov speaks to actors.

Join the conversation at the coming Winter session. 


Meaningfulness Comes From The Actor

Haley is in this year's Meisner Foundation Training. She (and everybody else) is clearly learning and growing a lot. Now's the time of the season when things really come together. It's a well-earned achievement. Training hard is tough, tougher than you think. Not everyone who began last September is still with us. But for those who've come this far, it's exciting as hell to witness their developing talents at work.

Haley sent me this on-the-money quote from Jodie Foster. It made an impression on her because Haley's heard me say the same thing over and over again all season long.

Foster: "I’ve had a long career; it’s been 50 years... I’ve learned that the meaningfulness comes from the actor. It’s your investment, it’s up to you to really take the material and make it deeper. That’s always challenging."

Sandy Meisner said it takes 20 years to master the craft of acting. I can't tell you he's wrong. It does takes time. Most actors don't want to hear that, but it's the truth. 

Here's the take-away. Find a great teacher and start training now. Plan on keeping at it a good while. 

If you're serious about acting, that advice is a no-brainer. 


Getting There, Doing That

The urge to "skip ahead." It's widespread and symptomatic of our fast-food culture. And it's particularly, sadly, evident in actors and wanna-be actors.

From the point of view of someone who values mastery, it's maddening, of course. But after all, who wouldn't like to have a great physique, for instance, while eating whatever you like and never having to exercise?

I get that. Only, life doesn't work that way. And we know it, too, we just don't like to admit it.

Remember this: There's a price to pay for getting what you want. Always. And that price, as a rule, is a pretty fair reflection of value. In other words, what comes cheap, generally is cheap. Not worth much. You get what you pay for.

What's more, what's worth having is worth working for. Because it isn't the "got it" that satisfies, so much as the "getting it."

"Been there done that" – where's the energy in that? How about this, instead: "Getting there, doing that!" Feels a lot better, don't you think? 

There's simply no achievement without effort. And there's no great achievement without great effort, great work.

So forget about skipping ahead. Skipping ahead leads, inevitably, to falling behind. And finally to quitting. It may satisy in the short run, but it's a loser's bet.

If you're inclined to skip ahead, I suggest the following alternative: Decide to give up. That's right. Decide to fold. Admit that you aren't willing to put in the work. Because that's honest. Actually, you can live with that, you really can. And then you can move on.

On the other hand, if you're good with step by step, if you're not interested in skipping ahead, if you're up for training and practice, then you're in another class. Let your desire fuel your steps and go for it. Train and practice hard and consistently. Have a long-term perspective. Keep your eyes on the prize and pedal to the metal. Because you, unlike the "skippers" who don't stand a chance, in fact have a real shot at getting exactly what you want. Maybe even more. Because you have what it takes.


Said Stanislavki

"Seek him out, wherever he is teaching or performing. He is my most brilliant pupil!"

– Konstantin Stanislavksy, on Michael Chekhov


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