The Russians say: The difference between theatre and film is: To go to the films is like kissing a girl through glass; in the theatre you can put your arms around her.
— Alan Schneider,
“Your talent is in your imagination. The rest is lice.”
— Stella Adler
“"We have to see it, smell it, taste it, participate, because the university we go to is ‘life’”.
— Paul Mann
A life of learning the art of acting
My first Acting teacher was the mesmerizing and brilliant Stella Adler. But the greatest influence in my development as a human being and actress was the gifted actor and teacher Paul Mann. Paul’s training was based on Stanislavski and Boleslavsky, Michael Chekhov and Erwin Piscator. He trained with three of those four.
Mind-boggling to me who only had read these historic names in books while dreaming of becoming a great actress from age five. Paul loved Life. He lived for the art of acting. He believed that this profession could illuminate and affirm all that was good in mankind and that it brought forth understanding on a universal scale. He had a world view of an actor’s role in society. All this was part of our lessons, discussed and taught in class.
Both Paul and Stella were highly cultured artists, both were great actors of a certain stature but they came from very different backgrounds. Many thought Paul was larger than life, a physical and sensual force comfortable in his unselfconsciousness. It was this physical freedom that was one of the unique teachings of his craft; he taught us that there was no censorship in the imagination of an actor’s mind. Those imagined circumstances were limitless. Paul respected those who did their work well, whether a waitress or a doctor, and he taught acting as a craftsman would. A class was a step-by-step process towards progression. He was not caught up in the commercial “hurry”.
For example in our first year of study we were not allowed to speak … there were exercises and assignments only, and no speaking of words until we not only understood action and objective but could do it. Then the words had to come out! There was a need to speak them! In class it was music to our ears to hear his voice say: “Take your time,” before we started a scene. My teaching and coaching is based on this training. You were interviewed by Paul Mann personally in order to be accepted into his class, he did not believe in auditions for training: “Why do you want to act,” was his first question. No one had ever actually asked me that.
This favorite film was an early acting class assignment and one of the greatest performances I ever experienced.
I sat in the old dark ELGIN movie theatre downtown in New York City, so stunned and overcome
by Maria Falconetti’s performance.
LENORE with PAUL MANN and ALAN SCHNEIDER at the American Theatre Training Institute (ATTI) New Bedford, Mass.
Taught by Lenore Harris
The following studies are explored through Individual Sessions or Group Classes:
SIDES (for Auditions)
SCRIPT ANALYSIS: The Investigation & Discovery of Your Role
For professional actors, directors, and advanced students.
In this workshop a play will be selected to work on as if you were cast and acting a role in it. Another option (to be decided), is the selection of individual monologues chosen by each actor or the teacher, that serves as material for script analysis using the same technique as when breaking down a full length play or screenplay.
The specifics of research into the milieu of the material to create an understanding and belief in the character’s life and environment that is different from your own, or, where there may be similarities –- either way it is not your life...but acting as if it were your life. Exercises are worked on to enhance the actor’s imagination in order to broaden and deepen mental and physical versatility. The character you play is not you, but the script and your imagination triggers and fuels your talent to engage the many emotional lives that are inside you.
Within the script and its analysis lies the answer to everything that stimulates and transforms the actor internally and externally. The imagination is key in this system of acting based on the scientific principles of Konstantin Stanislavky.
Stimulating your uncensored, unselfconscious imagination where everything must be believed as the justification of the character’s choices.
Private coaching available.
For more information, visit the Contact page.
Paul Mann Class Notes
“Understanding something intellectually, having all the answers to technical questions doesn’t mean you are physically involved. WHY do I start to speak NOW. WHY do I stop speaking.”
“Don’t be so safe — so impersonal with your imagery! PHYSICAL – VISCERAL."
"The correct way is to start with what you want — want — want — THE WANT!!! "
“Your mind must be focused TIGHTLY to something.”
© Lenore Harris All Rights Reserved