Frequently Asked Questions
How many actors are in the workshop?
We don't ever have more than 10 actors in the room at a maximum. Otherwise, we can’t do the work that needs to be done.
We have very few 'rules' in the workshop, but the most important one is this: Everyone works every week. If you're in the room, you're working. Everybody in the pool!
Also: there are no auditors, no chin strokers - the only people in the room are the ones who have 'skin in the game.'
Trust is paramount.
Do we choose which pieces to work on or do you select material for us?
I like to have a mix of approaches on this topic.
There’s a lot that I learn from an actor/actress when they choose their own material. Naturally, we all express ourselves in everything that we do - so the choice of material an actor makes teaches me about where they may be coming from as human beings. I do also make recommendations, as well, however. You and I will work together on those decisions and somewhere in the middle, we’ll come to an agreement, I have have no worries about that.
In general though, you can be assured that regardless of your level of training and experience, we will begin with the Sonnets and then when appropriate, progress on to the Monologues, then Soliloquies and finally, on to Dialogue Scenes.
I also believe very strongly in the benefits of cold reading Shakespeare, so I throw cold readings at people from time to time. Fear melts away when you don't have to do anything other than simply making sense of the material. And of course, if you can read Shakespeare cold, you can read anything cold!
Is everyone working on Shakespeare all the time?
In general, yes, everyone is working on Shakespeare; but the name of the workshop is not an accident.
Shakespeare is the foundation for every kind of acting you could imagine and applies to all kinds of material, including Television and Film scripts. I love it when people come in with writing from different historical periods or different genres - and then apply the work to that particular text.
In addition to Shakespeare, actors have also worked on plays by Aeschylus, Albee, Beckett, Chekhov, Friel, Hwang, Kushner, Miller, Nottage, O’Neill, Parks, Pinter, Shange, Shepard, Vogel, Williams and August Wilson.
This would be the “Beyond" part of the workshop.
What is your association with Fay Simpson and Lucid Body House?
Because Fay and I have worked so much together over the past 25 years and in so many capacities - as performers, teachers and co-directors - there are definitely references to the Lucid Body work. Occasionally, Fay joins us in the S&B workshop as a Guest Teacher, much to our benefit. In fact, we periodically co-teach a workshop at Lucid Body House called LUCID SHAKESPEARE, so I am very familiar with her approach and she with mine.
This coming January/February 2019, Fay and I will be conducting our latest LUCID SHAKESPEARE workshop at Lucid Body House. We will be focusing exclusively on “Antony & Cleopatra” for 5 weeks. Here's a link - https://lucidbody.com/event/lucid-shakespeare-antony-cleopatra/
How do I pay?
This is an ongoing workshop and with that in mind, I have limited the actor’s basic commitment to blocks of 4 classes at a time. That way, if you need to leave the workshop for any reason (hopefully for work, since that is the ultimate goal after all), you can do so easily. The actors pay $400 for each block of 4 classes, either by cash or check and often, via Venmo. Naturally, cash is king, but a check is always acceptable.
The main point is that when you pay, you have 4 classes “in the bank."
I have structured the workshop in this way so that if you have to go away for any reason at all, you are not then stuck with a huge commitment to me. The longest commitment you would ever make to being in the workshop is 4 weeks at a time.
Will you charge me if I miss a class?
No, I do not charge people for classes missed.
Because I am an actor first and a teacher second, I don't feel morally comfortable charging you unless you’re in the room. We’re all adults. Everyone is on an honor system. I am there for you and not vice-versa.
If, for some reason you can’t make it to class, I trust that you’re missing for legitimate reasons and that you will be there when you are able to come. Sometimes people have auditions to prepare, sometimes they have survival jobs, sometimes they get sick or need to visit family.
I do keep a spreadsheet of who comes when, however, so that we are always up to date on your participation. The only thing I ask is that you please notify me via text or email as soon as you know you'll be missing, so that I can adjust my plans for that particular work session.