Playing the Paradox

The best acting, like life itself, contains paradoxes, or opposites. Look to nature – inhale/exhale, tide in/tide out, day/night, loud/soft, creation/destruction: for every action, there must be an opposite and equal reaction. As most great actors have always known -using opposites infuses our work with surprise and nuance. Even in loving someone, there may beContinue reading “Playing the Paradox”

Jeffrey Marcus interview with Corey Parker

I am re-printing an interview that I did with the estimable actor and coach, Corey Parker, with whom I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with at the beginnings of our careers at the Public Theater in NYC. Corey’s blog is Corey Parker for the Actor Corey: When did you know that you wantedContinue reading “Jeffrey Marcus interview with Corey Parker”


While we may talk a lot about our actions (what we’re actively doing) in scenes, the choice that adds the most ‘flavor and spice’ to any event is the obstacles. Obstacles, for our purposes, are the challenges that are keeping us from attaining what we want. In our day to day life, we spend anContinue reading “Obstacles”

Polé, Polé (pronounced po’-lay)

What I bring back from my African trip is a Swahili phrase that I heard over and over – “Polé, Polé (slowly, slowly)”. The biggest overall adjustment that I find myself giving actors is urging them to slow down (while they are talking, not before talking –i.e, going into their heads before responding). When weContinue reading “Polé, Polé (pronounced po’-lay)”

Reading is fundamental

There is no such thing as a great ‘dumb’ actor.  The most famous “dumb blonde”, Ms. Marilyn Monroe, was always seen with a book in hand.  And not just any book, but one of the Russians (Tolstoy, Dostoyevskey)!  A good actor knows a little bit about a lot of things.  In this day of realityContinue reading “Reading is fundamental”

Innocence is everything.

Babies are stinky, crying creatures that keep you awake at night and vomit on you – and yet everyone loves them because of their innocence.  Puppies can be peeing, pooping, whining, barking and chewing fiends – but they are cherished because of their innocence. The reason that babies and puppies steal focus is that HumansContinue reading “Innocence is everything.”

What can you do to keep going when you feel like quitting?

I was asked this question days before seeing the gorgeous musical “Billy Elliot” for the second time.  *spoiler alert* In order for Billy to go to ballet school, he needs bus fare for the audition.  Through a series of heart-tugging events, many of the miners in the town chip in to get him there.  ThereContinue reading “What can you do to keep going when you feel like quitting?”