Spotlight: Anthony Abeson

So, I’m super excited and just need to harp on very briefly about how fabulous my new, ongoing acting instructor (and his class by association) is.

The Willy Wonka of acting

THIS guy. This guy right here? They call him A-money. But whatever, right? Everybody talks a big talk. Every acting teacher thinks they’re the second coming. They’re actors, after all.

Granted, I haven’t attended a wide and varied array of acting classes in my career up to this point. However, even in my early stages, there is something about Anthony’s class that is unlike any other experience I’ve had in a class or on set. Once the door closes in on our small theater room at the Producer’s Club, it’s like we’ve all entered the safest of safe spaces. A space where we are free to be someone else. Or even free to be us! And to experiment with what “us” means. For budding and wary actors like myself this is of the utmost importance as I slip and toe-test my way through things. I remember the few moments after my first class during which I performed my first monologue. Dizzy with excitement and anticipation (yes, AFTER the class was over), Anthony led me and another new student out into the hallway, clasped his hands together hopefully, and asked us each if during our first class we felt safe and felt like we belonged. That just solidified things for me to continue on with the course. The answer was yes anyway.

Also, read this if you want to survive!

I may be typing in circles now, but explaining what makes Anthony’s class special really is difficult; you’ve just got to experience it. He freely allows one audited class for anyone who might want to attend, though most of those who audit tend to know someone else who takes his class.

Aspects of his technique are more straightforward to explain that whatever ethereal energy makes the class just so darn enjoyable. One lesson which I’ve personally taken to heart, considering how much it takes my development of scene and character to the next level, is his advice to pay attention to references to the past. A great deal of acting is reacting in lieu of past experiences, but what are past experiences that are not real to the actor? Without going into too much detail, Abeson avidly encourages fleshing out these false past experiences to make them as real to the actor as possible.

I’m not going to sit here and harp. I hate typing too much, but if anyone out there sees this and is shopping around for the right instructor for them, I cannot recommend Anthony’s class enough. He does require an audition for entrance into his class, but trust me, the brief yet familiar discomfort of a small-scale audition is worth every supportive, encouraging, and magical piece of advice this guy has to offer. Cheers!

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