Monday, May 18, 2009

ACT TRUE - an article by Marc Durso

We occasionally will feature articles on our blog written by other acting instructors who we feel embody the highest standards of skill and professionalism in their teaching. Marc Durso, the founder of ActTrue in Miami and Los Angeles, is such a person. We met Marc at Big Break Hollywood when he was one of the guest instructors. Ever since then, the actors who experienced his approach have been asking when we might have him at yourACT for a workshop. We are looking at dates when that might happen. In the meantime, enjoy this article and the video links at the end - thanks, Marc!

accomplish, achieve, attain, bring about, carry out
authentic, actual, factual, faithful, precise, undistorted

Acting is undeniable action and imaginative living that is so truthful, so passionate, so clear, that it engages the mind and spirit of the audience, till they breathe with your character.

High standards? A lot to shoot for? Absolutely! Art. Why do it any other way!

We are called actors, not "feelers" or "emoters" or "posers". We DO! Because that’s what makes human beings. We are in action, with goals, objectives, expectations of success. We "feel" because we have set ourselves in motion, in action. Emotion is a result of the actions we take.

We live within a world of circumstances, of place, of time, of relationship, NOT LINES! Young actors standing in hallways outside of camera classes practicing their lines, trying to find "interesting ways" of saying them, are working from a false premise, that it has something to do with lines. The legendary Master Teacher Sanford Meisner said, "An ounce of behavior is worth a ton of words."

And it is behavior that we investigate in our work at ActTrue: NOT ATTITUDES, NOT FEELINGS, NOT EMOTIONS, NOT TRICKS, NOT GIMMICKS, NOT SHORTCUTS! Stanislavski’s premise, "Action with thought is behavior" is the basis for ActTrue's approach to text. Our teaching is grounded in the unshakable integrity of the Hagen Process of creating truthful human behavior. As both a student of Master Teacher/Tony Award winner Uta Hagen and then as her associate director on a NY premiere, I have specific professional experience with the application of the Ten Object Exercises.

Ten Exercises that free the actor into action, who lives within the exciting imaginary circumstances of the work, without the inhibiting weight of predetermined emotional choices.

Ten Exercises which reveal the Thoughts which create action as human beings, Exercises which have been applied to acting challenges for over 50 years at HB Studio in NY by actors who have gone on to create acting in America:

Al Pacino, F. Murray Abraham, Debbie Allen, Anne Bancroft, Candice Bergen, Peter Boyle, Matthew Broderick, Gary Burghoff, Stockard Channing, Jill Clayburgh, Whoopi Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Hal Holbrook, Harvey Keitel, Jack Lemmon, Bette Midler, Penelope Ann Miller, Geraldine Page, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jason Robards, Fritz Weaver, Sigourney Weaver and many, many more.

Let me quote from a Backstage West interview, Feb. 12, 1998, with Award winning Director Sydney Pollack, (who was also a teaching assistant to legendary Master Teacher Sanford Meisner):

"...behavior is the key...doing is the operative word. Acting is doing. The great misconceptions is that it’s about saying things--that it’s about the way you read lines....In fact, the last thing that happens in performance is speech. Everything else comes first, and is the real part of the iceberg. It holds everything up. Acting is doing something...and the emotion sometimes expresses itself verbally. It’s (emotion) the last thing in a chain of events. And it’s very hard to convince people that that’s where the search always has to be: for the behavior..."

I invite you to join me in that search.
Marc Durso
ActTrue, Inc.

More Videos of Marc in Action - click on titles to view

1 comment:

  1. "We must overcome the notion that we must be regular... it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."
    Uta Hagen - Tony Award winner, Master Teacher

    Ms. Hagen, my Master Teacher, set life as our standard of Art; never attained but endlessly and uniquely reinvented, by each of us. That's the glory and power of our Art.

    ActTrue is honored to share Ms. Hagen's process with actors around the world. Thank you, yourACT, for the opportunity to share her work.