Magician Betty Buckley

In the same day, Betty Buckley can teach a masterclass that can fit in a rehearsal space or can teach a class of 180. How is this possible? Well, if you are lucky enough to snag a spot in Betty’s upcoming  Five Day Song Interpretation/Monologue Workshop, the first case is true. If you grab the opportunity to see her in her upcoming show at Joe’s Pub, well then you are sitting in a masterclass that has the enrollment of about 180.

How does Betty Buckley do it? How can she make me cry while I’m listening to “Memory” writing this blog? By adding meditation she says, “It’s a shortcut to the focus every great acting technique is trying to achieve.” Buckley informs her students that the benefit of meditation’s “one-pointed focus” allows for the voice to follow. “It follows who you are and what you feel about life and how you take care of yourself.. It’s magical but it’s also completely practical.” What she preaches to her students is also what has allowed to have such a fulfilled and long career which is shown through the 16 records she has recorded, received numerous awards including a Tony award, inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2012, and recently, garnered rave reviews for her time as Big Edie in Grey Gardens out in California.

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Betty Buckley’s most recent album “Ghostlight” produced by T Bone Burnett
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Rachel York and Betty Buckley in “Grey Gardens”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Davis, a past student of Betty’s, remarks, “She’s a magician — when you watch her perform it looks like magic. But she’s able to teach you to do that, too. That’s what’s fascinating to me.”

If and when you snag that ticket to see her upcoming show at Joe’s Pub, watch her carefully and learn as she serenades you to the stylings of Jason Robert Brown and Radiohead.  If you’re not careful you’ll lose yourself- she’ll transform and transport you before you even have the chance to say “Holy,Grizabella.”

Sam Christensen needs you to be yourself

As actors, we spend a lot of time pretending to be others. We get in the room and (hopefully) our minds go straight to the work. However, as we all know, the moment before the audition starts is just as important. How do you show not just your skills and techniques as an actor, but who you are? How to be “authentically” yourself. Sam Christensen (who has worked with Leslie Jones, Will Wheaton, and Zooey Deschanel to name a few) helps you play the most complicated character- yourself.

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  1. What is the most difficult part about giving actors Image Consulting?
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First, I don’t offer Image consulting.  There are certainly some consultants who sit one on one with actors and advise, “be this, be that….wear this, wear that….get these kinds of pictures”  I suppose this kind of consulting might be beneficial if there were a formula for an actor’s marketing success.  But, in the several decades I’ve been lucky enough to work with actors at every level of career development I haven’t found that formula.  But, I have discovered one important truth that outweighs any other.  And, it’s this: authenticity, uniqueness and signature audition and performance are the attributes that do assure progress.

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Secondly, and here’s the answer to your question, the most challenging aspect of helping an actor define a distinct image is getting them to let go of their hope for some ‘one size, fits all’ formula and, then, to resolve the technical difficulties that make the ease of authenticity, in any setting, a challenge to all human beings.

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So, instead of consulting about image, I’ve created a workshop that mimics the actual process of auditioning and performing.  My goal, and I think we do a great job of achieving it, is to solve the authenticity challenge so that the actor can move forward to create a successful marketing campaign and a signature performance and audition style.  

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  1. The podcast you did with “Actor Things” was incredibly informative and helpful. You mentioned that the “type” aspect of casting has too much emphasis put on it, can you elaborate?
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I’ve noticed over the years that actors are often preoccupied with defining their ‘type’.  In a certain way this makes perfect sense – “if I knew my type exactly, then, I could better submit myself and I could make the best use of my time in seeking out roles for which I’m ideally suited.”

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However, what’s forgotten are a few keys factors.  First, one’s type is fairly obvious to all.  It’s apparent that the six foot, all-American, blondish actor is not going to be playing the Dali Lama.  Then, there’s the blue collar vs. white collar discussion. Notice that several of those fairer six-footers – Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio – have all worn both dress shirts and work shirts in their various roles.  Lastly, the same attractive, younger female actress may play a privileged upper East-sider on ‘Girls’ while being cast as a trailer park assault victim on and episode of ‘CSI – somewhere or other’.  How a given actor is seen and ‘typed’ is far more dependent on the needs of the casting director and the show than any other single factor.

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The more important question is this: when ability and an audition have put a performer into serious contention, a “call-back” from which an actor can actually be cast, does a given actor stand out?  Now, type is not the issue – everyone at a call-back is the right type and acting ability is no longer in question as everyone at a call-back has proven their viability.  The issue is this setting is identity, can an actor be memorable when reading with several other proven contenders, all reading the same lines and all the right type?  Individual authenticity becomes the crucial factor in the environment where one can actually be cast, or, at least, be remembered distinctly for future opportunities.

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  1. What advice can you give to young or beginning actors? What is the best way to figure out how they are perceived?
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A firm grip on identity and how to succinctly define it for others is an essential tool to support study, roll out effective marketing and ensure a positive introduction to the creative community in which the actor hopes to spend a lifetime.

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In addition, listen carefully to how others describe you – in your family, your education, among your friends.  Listen and collect the responses, avoiding getting ‘stuck’ on any particular piece of praise or critique, but instead looking for the patterns in how others describe you.  Those trends in outside perception invaluable guide to the sense others have which sometimes differs from how we each see ourselves.  Authenticity is, in part, based on recognizing outside perception and integrating it the our take on ourselves.

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With authenticity confidently in place, the answers to marketing questions, auditions challenges and performance quandaries become much more clear.

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After all, each actor is not only offering their talents and craftsmanship, but also their unique individuality – being remembered and career progress are dependent on personal authenticity.  It’s the only response to the constant request….”just be yourself.”

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n Come and let me tell you more and answer any questions at a Preview/Demonstration at T.Schreiber Studios, Wednesday, September 7, at 8:00 pm

A Word with the Director

 

The actors in Brian Drillinger’s Rehearsal Performance Workshop are deep in tech for their final showings! This Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm. Brian Drillinger, the teacher/director of the Rehearsal Performance Workshop, had some time to answer a few questions.

 

brianDirector of the Rehearsal Performance Workshop- Brian Drillinger

 

How long have you been working at T. Schreiber?

When I decided to move back to NY three years ago I reached out to the T. Schreiber studio and was invited to come teach. What was proposed to me was the rehearsal performance class. I thought it was a brilliant idea to have a class designed to take an actor through the whole process of preparing to perform a major role in a play.

 

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Why do you enjoy doing the RPW and what makes it a unique experience?

The class begins with the first read of the play. It then covers breaking down a text, creating a character, and sculpting a performance. At the end of the class the actors have the opportunity to present three performances of the play we have been rehearsing in front of an audience. This allows them to experience the results of all their efforts. It’s a priceless opportunity to learn and experience all that goes into preparing to work in the professional theater.

 

What do you hope the actors take away from this experience?

Through our process I introduce exercises and techniques that have proven effective to me over the years. I encourage the class to explore these exercises and then incorporate them into their creative process. The smart actor will be able to use the skills they have learned and practiced in any work they go on to do in the future. My intention is to instill in them a technique, a way of approaching their work that is specific and effective.

 

Who or what inspired you to become a director?

My love of directing happened by chance. I was asked to direct a reading of a play. It was The House Of Yes, by Wendy Macleod. I was excited by the challenge and incorporated lights, music, and blocking into the reading. It went so well that I was then asked to direct the production, which also went very well.

By Raquel Loving  

To learn more about the Rehearsal Performance Workshop please visit: http://tschreiber.org/the-studio/acting-classes-nyc/rehearsalperformance-workshop-2/

T. Schreiber Nominated for 13 NYIT Awards!!

Monday, August 8th was the NYIT nomination announcement party! T. Schreiber is honored to be a recipient of 13 nominations. Thank you to the judges, audience members who voted, and of course to the New York Innovative Theatre Award Foundation for acknowledging the productions of our 47th season!

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HOT L BALTIMORE
1. Nominated for OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
2. MARY CANN nominated for OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN 3. GEORGE ALLISON nominated for OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN 
 
NATURAL LIFE
4. Nominated for OUTSTANDING PREMIER PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
5. HOLLY HEISER nominated for OUTSTANDING ACTRESS 
6. JOSEPH GIARDINA nominated for OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR 
7. NOELLE McGRATH nominated for OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS 

8. ANDY COHEN nominated for 

 OUTSTANDING INNOVATIVE DESIGN

   

HARPER REGAN
9. Nominated for OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
10. MAEVE YORE nominated for OUTSTANDING ACTRESS 
11. TERRY SCHREIBER nominated for OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR
12. MIKE GOMEZ nominated for OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR
13. RYAN JOHNSTON nominated for OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR
 
Terry Schreiber quoted in the BroadwayWorld.com Article!
 
Our 2016-2017 Season begins in October with Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherfucker with the Hat.

REEL Tips

There’s a side of acting that will make you cry faster than that Lee Strasberg teacher. It’s the business side of acting. Part of being in this world is walking that thin line of being the CEO of yourself, tapping into your creative self at any given moment, but also being pragmatic. To that end here’s some practical and wise advice on what every actor will eventually need – A REEL.

REEL DO’S and DON’TS by Helen Abell

The basic purpose of a reel is to grab the attention of the agent or casting director by putting selections of your highest quality material together to put your best face forward and then leave them wanting more.

Important DO’s to remember:

*It must be focused on YOU! The first face they see should be yours.

*Know your type and focus your material in a way that highlights your type. As your reel continues on you can diversify away from your type and show them how you can stretch, but you want to begin with how you are most easily cast. You want the casting director or agent’s first thought to be, “Yes. I can see that. I know how to cast this person.”

*Always choose Quality over Quantity. One clip of strong professional work is worth a lot more than 5 badly edited, badly lit scenes.

*Make sure your finished reel is posted on the casting sites! It gives you a leg up. Your submission is more likely to be seen if it has a video attached.

Most importantly, the first 30 seconds are the most crucial!

How long should it be?

*If you do not have a legitimate number of credits, it is a good idea to keep it between 1 minute and 30 seconds minimum and 3 minutes maximum.

*If you don’t have a lot of material the best thing to do is to create Speed Clips instead of a reel.  30 seconds to 1 minute of good quality material from one project is better than throwing a bunch of mixed quality things together. Break it up and showcase yourself with the little clips.

* Short and really good is better than long and pretty good.

Remember: The point of a reel is to:

  1. Show what you look like on camera
  2. Show your dominant type
  3. Demonstrate your acting ability

Our new class REEL WORK FOR ACTORS is specifically designed to help you get a reel tailored just to you.

Written by Helen Abell  with interviews from Vince Pisani, A-List Atlanta Actor, & Vic DiMonda, Associate Producing Director of the John W. Engeman Theatre

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