NAME AND TITLE:
Artistic Director of THE ARTIST THEATRE GROUP
Acting Teacher, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer
John Patrick Shanley
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world.. ‘I am an Artist will answer you. I am here
to live out loud’” by Emile Zola
“To live Moment to moment. To live Truthfully. To not live in the past. To not attach myself to the result. And to enjoy the journey.” This is from Meisner and I have found it not only to be great advice for actors, but it has become my philosophy for Life.
MOMENT THAT MARKED MY LIFE:
The birth of my son Matthew, on Oct. 16, 2000
I am focused on putting up my own plays, and making my own films and teaching both in the US and Abroad. I have taught in Mumbai, Paris, Berlin & Stockholm and in every place I’ve taught they want me to come back. I am really looking forward to teaching in Mexico.
How is it that you started acting?
I wanted to be an actor since I was 5 years old. My father didn’t think it to be a
serious occupation and wouldn’t allow me to do it. So, I graduated High School
a year early, went into the Navy for 2 1/2 years and when I got out, I started
doing what I wanted to do and that was study acting. I first went to H.B.
Studios in New York, because I had read that Al Pacino had studied there. I later moved to Los Angeles, where I Studied the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West. It was there that I got to Study with Sanford Meisner himself and the all of my time there, Bob Carnegie, the founder of Playhouse West.
How did you come up with the idea of creating The Artist Theatre Group?
After I left Playhouse West, I wasn’t getting many opportunities to act. I wasn’t
getting auditions for anything I wanted to do, so because of my lack of
opportunities I started my own group. I called it, The Artist Theatre Group,
because I considered myself and Artist and the Group, because of the Group
Theatre and I wanted to pay respect to them, because there is where Sanford
Meisner, Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler’s methods were born.
What is the essence of Sanford Meisner’s method?
It is what I wrote in my Philosophy, “To live Moment to moment. To live Truthfully. To not live in the past. To not attach myself to the result. And to enjoy the journey.” Alsonwhat I love is it lays down a great foundation, for Living Truthfully under the Imaginary Circumstances. It strips away any thing that is false in our acting. It trains the actor to really listen. It really teaches the actor how to Not Act. It teach us that what we do does not depend on us, but on our partner.
How does this method contribute to artists lives?
Sandy felt that two of the big problems for the actor is that they didn’t listen
and they need to concentrate more. The exercises that Sandy came up with
teach us to do just that. It teaches the Artist to make things simple, specific
and personal. I believe art is a search for the self, and that being said, we
learn so much about ourselves, that we were unaware of before.
Interviews With Anthony
NAME AND TITLE:
How did you get involved with acting?
I wanted to be an actor from the time I was 5. I used to act out scenes with my Brother and Sisters from the movies and TV shows that I liked. Being an actor was frowned upon by my father, so I graduated High School a year early and went in the Navy for 2 1/2 years and when I got out, I started pursuing what I loved. The first acting school I went to was H.B. Studios because I had read that Al Pacino had gone there.
What would be your first advice to upcoming actors?
To study your craft. To find an acting technique that speaks to you and study. Read plays, go to movies & plays and begin to develop your eye as to what makes good acting. Create your own projects. Through acting classes you can find people of like mind and begin to find those that you can create with. But stay in class and learn your craft. We never stop learning. Do plays. You have to do something every day for your art. Read interviews and watch interviews with those actors, writers & directors that you love. What was their path.
Is there a regimen you advise actors to do daily? ( Or weekly)
As I said in the previous question, we have to always be working at our craft. Their are exercises that you will learn in your acting classes that you can work on, on your own and with other classmates. Most of the work should not be down in class, it should be worked on between classes. Rehearse. Try different was of personalizing the text. You travel the world teaching, what is the common problem that actors face all around the world? And how do you think they should over come that problem. The problem is the same around the world. There is not enough work. First off you have to find a way to survive so that you can pursue your art and you must live below your means. Next, you
have to not think that you can only make it if you come to Hollywood or NY. It is so difficult for American Actors to make a living as an actor and even if you get at O-1 Visa which allows you to be in the states for 3 years, you can only make money as an actor. So you would need to be able to support yourself for 3 years and these are both expensive cities to survive in. I believe it
is only about 11% of the actors in the SAG-AFTRA make over $15,000 a year. If you are an artist, that you need to do you art where ever you are. If your goal is still to come to the US, you should have a nice body of work behind you, and a great reel when you come. I say what Strasberg said, “Do the work and they’ll find you.”
What is good acting and what is bad acting?
Good acting is no acting. Living truthful under the imaginary circumstances. A good actor knows how to “Be” and not “Seem to be.” A good actor knows how to listen, make strong personal choices. Bad acting is indicating feelings rather that really feeling.