Spiritual revelations after an 8-week online Masterclass
This blogpost is going to be a peculiar one, to say the least. There are not going to be tips on how to navigate the industry, you won’t find a list of do’s and dont’s when looking for an agent or auditions. This is just an actress’s thought after 8 very intense weeks of pure work and research. Because the paradox of the actor isn’t just in the duality between reality and fiction, but also between our “persona” in the Industry and our heart, the reason why we do this. Our calling. You have been warned.
The Strasberg Campus International Masterclass has started with flying colours back in May; now we’re in July and it's just over. Seems incredible that nearly 8 weeks have gone by. Time indeed flies, which makes me think of the fragility and inconsistency of life and how small we are, compared to this thing that we think we’re in control of, but in reality we’re just passengers, spectators.
The Masterclass, that took place via Zoom, has been a bit of an experiment. Months ago, we would have never thought to try any of the Intimacy steps online (except the Phone Call, which is all about screen acting), but this was before. With the pandemic, everything has changed and surely it gave us the brazenness to dare, and so we did. After a year of distant private coaching that worked out really well, Alexander went and launched a Campus Term completely online: we then dared to pour our hearts out in the solitudes of our rooms, connected via a computer screen.
We started as a group of strangers from different backgrounds and at different stages of our careers, and we are ending the journey as friends, as it always happens when there’s such honest, unapologetic, vulnerable work. We created bonds that are deeper than the ones we might have with people we have known for years: this is the magic of our work, so weird, we play pretend and we’re yet so real. As it often happened to me, more than my own work and my own journey, I have been moved by watching others. The way they opened up to strangers in such a brave way. We really do put ourselves on the line as we try to run away from ourselves, delving into our characters and inevitably finding something out about the same people we wanted to run away from. A classic.
I personally worked on a character that is very close to my heart: Alice from Closer. I played her when I was much, much younger, back in Rome, before I moved to London and, oh, how much I wish I had the knowledge I have now. I love her because she makes choices that I would never have made, but at the same time I get her, I understand her. She’s so delicate and incredibly strong at the same time. She loves so deeply, losing herself into this very same love that leaves her shuttered in a thousand little pieces, and yet she’s the only character in the play to have a real arc, to get out of the ditch she was in, to take control of her own life and come on the other side as a winner. It was a hard journey for me, because after trying various substitutions I ended up choosing a particularly painful one. Another thing I love about our work, how cathartic it is, “not therapy, but therapeutic”, how through our work we can give a massive middle finger to whatever went down in our lives and make it Art.
We escape the banality of our existence by putting (literally) the whole of ourselves in our art. The most difficult of all the arts because we are the very same medium for it. We don’t put our bodies and minds back into a case when we’re done working. We cannot clean out brushes from the acrylics or oils. We are the acrylics and oils, we are the brushes. We are the very finely tuned instruments.
This is an ode to all the actors and their work. I love you. I love us. Let’s keep going to commercial auditions, yes, let’s take headshots and write to casting directors, but as we do it, let’s always remember that we are an instrument of the Divine, we seek the Truth, because it’s the only important thing, really.
"As actors, we strive to represent the Truth. The more truthful we are, the more the audience becomes a witness of our transformation -- And so the change is kicked into motion within themselves, too. We are here to help them heal".
-- Alexander Ananasso