Acting as an Art
October 16, 2017
An Actor’s Life Objectified
July 12, 2019

The Actor’s Greatest Challenge

Photo by Mehrdad Haghighi on Unsplash

I am frequently communicating to actors and students that the greatest challenge an actor faces isn’t a technical one, it’s a human one. My own experiences and observations have taught me the truth of this statement — including triumphs though more usually frustrations. Through my own struggles and what I now see in my students,

the “human challenge” for me is the elephant in the room that has become the essence of my teaching.

Naturally, this kind of statement leads to some raised eyebrows and squinted looks — skeptical yet curious — and the conversation inevitably leads to a greater explanation on my part. While there are numerous directions that this can be taken, I will do my best to share my meaning in some general terms.

In essence, it could be said that the problem I experienced and see still is about need. While attempting to fulfill the demands of the role there is also some personal need or needs operating in the background. Needing approval, needing to be great, needing to be right, needing to be the best, needing to be recognized, needing to get the part, needing not to screw up, needing to impress… needing to be something. And that something isn’t who we think or feel ourselves to be right now.

Within all of this need, the actor has no freedom. It is an invisible but no less real prison leading to contrived performance lacking in confidence.

     So long as these types of needs play a present role in our being, they will colour any attempted work. Every choice, interpretation, expression is unavoidably shaped and influenced by this need as they will always in some way be in service to “it” instead of the truth.

As a result, the actor continually relies more and more heavily on techniques to save them, losing trust in themselves, and slowly but surely replaces their own inherent humanity with concepts of it. Paradoxically the need makes its own aims less likely to be fulfilled.

As such, much of what I spend my time doing as a teacher is to help guide the student in realizing they are good enough as they are in who they are. To leave themselves alone and trust their humanity. You may be surprised at how great a challenge this can present. As this begins to take root however, the work takes on extraordinary qualities — incredible attention, presence, and profound responsiveness to the truth of what is happening. The actor begins to connect and trust in their own inherent humanity and so it can emerge fully — which is perhaps the essential ingredient. It is from this point where the actor is now free to explore character, story, and performance in a way that is actually meaningful, and technique is assigned its proper place.

And so I say once more, the actors greatest challenge isn’t a technical one it’s a human one.

Evan C. Schulte

 My early years of training as an actor were met with moderate and humble successes.  I was considered for many great roles, my peers and teachers were active admirers of my work and I would even dare say I was a ‘pretty good’ actor among many talented individuals.  Still there was something that was missing. I often struggled to find who or what I was as an artist in this medium we call acting.  I wanted to, as they say, “lose myself” in a role.  The problem was that I never really knew what that was or what that meant.  Perhaps for a brief moment I would touch upon it only for it to disappear just as quickly.

 Again and again I would come up against this invisible wall, frustrated, angry and ever doubtful that I might never know true meaning in my craft.

Meisner was that missing piece.  A training that was often marginalized in my education up to that point and even ridiculed.  I discovered through my own experience that the technique was and is still greatly misunderstood.  To know Meisner is to experience it, which is where much of the confusion comes from.  All I can say is that it freed me -- took me beyond myself and everything I thought I knew about acting and in that space I discovered what might be considered a true act of creation and maybe even art.

Evan has been engaged in the art and craft of acting for over twenty years.  A former graduate of SchoolCreative and The True Acting Institute, he is an insightful and passionate teacher of the Meisner Technique which he learned under the instruction and guidance from renowned teacher, Larry Silverberg.

Evan believes in teaching through collaboration, inspiration and joy above all else, and in helping actors discover who they are as artists and creators.

I invite you to join us.


Evan C. Schulte
Founder & Instructor
Evan C. Schulte

Evan has been engaged in the art and craft of acting for over twenty years.  A former graduate of SchoolCreative and The True Acting Institute, he is an insightful and passionate teacher of the Meisner Technique which he learned under the instruction and guidance from renowned teacher, Larry Silverberg.

Evan believes in teaching through collaboration, inspiration and joy above all else, and in helping actors discover who they are as artists and creators.
The Players Creative Company believes that great acting is more than applied techniques and intellectual concepts.  We believe that great acting can be a transcendent experience, that can take us beyond ourselves, enriching all of our lives.

 This goes beyond technique.  This goes into the deepest part of ourselves.  A part that we rarely peer into.  A part that is full, alive and present.  A part that we seek to awaken.
    
 Journey into an experience of acting that is unlike anything you’ve ever engaged with, and will change your perceptions of what it is you do as an artist.

Actors Trained In Meisner:
Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, Sam Rockwell, Alec Baldwin, Christoph Waltz, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Meloni, David Duchovny, Diane Keaton, Eli Wallach, Grace Kelly, James Caan, James Franco, James Gandolfini, Jeff Bridges, Jeff Goldblum, John Turturro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Naomi Watts, Stephen Colbert, Steve McQueen, Sydney Pollack, Tina Fey
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The Actor’s Awakening


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