Letter from a discouraged student and a little advice

from a former student who has just completed Tech I but not completed Tech II or III yet.

‘Wendy, I’m halfway through a rehearsal process and I’m feeling a bit discouraged. I’m not doing good work. When I’m on the verge of doing good work, they shut it down because they want cookie cutter. I’m feeling confused about how to work with directors and actors that aren’t Mesiner-trained. There’s a certain standard of work that I got used to while studying with you, and it’s scary how hard it is to find that elsewhere. I’m so ready for LA in July. I need more goodness. This fake shit is dragging me down. Any words of advice?’

Reply:

1.  Who is “they?” The other actors can’t tell you how to do your role.
2.  The director can tell you what he or she wants but you can fulfill that through reality of doing.  Don’t play the adjective. Do what will give the director the result.  If you’re told where to move or how to say a line, fine.  Do so.  You can deliver it with authenticity – louder, softer, etc.  Just find your way into that organically.  It’s a drag but you can do it.
3.  It doesn’t matter if they aren’t Meisner-trained.  It doesn’t matter if they can’t hear you. You can still listen.  Listen and really connect no matter how fake the other person is.  Just keep staying connected and doing what your character needs to do. Use reality of doing.
4.  Yes, come do more training because your skills aren’t strongly rooted enough yet to stop you from letting others lure you into bad work.  If you need to, schedule a Skype coaching session with me.
5.  You may not be doing as bad as you think.
6.  Don’t sweat it.  Who’s going to see it? You’re going to do some bad work in learning how to do good work.  You are talented and are going to become very, very competitive.  I’ll see you in LA.

Wendy