explore & enjoy.

#1 The 1976 production of The Three Sisters at The Williamstown Theater Festival.
photo: C.G. Wolfson

#2 The one & only Nikos Psacharopoulos.
photo: WTF archives

#3 Two WTF Chekhov posters.

#4 The Seagull at the Matrix Theater, directed by Milton Katseles. I'm Masha, on the left. With Robert Foxworth, Penny Fuller, Richard Kind, Charles Hallohan, Jeffery Tambor & Lorna Raver.
photo: Ed Krieger

#5 Verve Magazine, my inspiration for this site, was a Parisian quarterly review of arts & letters published from 1937 - 1960. Lavish in design & challenging in content, it featured covers & interior art by Bonnard, Matisse, Chagall & Picasso; photographs by Dora Maar, Mathhew Brady, Brassai, Blumenfeld among others & accompaning articles, fiction & poetry by John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemmingway, Jean Paul Sartre, James Joyce, Albert Camus & others of note.

The magazine was published in both French & English; today a complete collection would be priceless. I love the idea of a gathering of pure art across a variety of genres. And the scribble & color of Bonnard's first cover mirrors how I have always imagined the walls of my Workroom.

 

 

     it was under the keen guidance & expertise
of Jeanie Hackett that I was able to unlock the magic of 
Chekhov. There is nothing more fulfilling for an actor than 
working on the classics, but it is often an intimidating, 
cryptic puzzle. Jeanie challenged, enlightened, & 
innovated my understanding of Chekhov & freed 
me up
so that I could play every note with 
all of my being. 

SIMON HELBERG 

 

 

Monday
Sep302013

up next: "Talent & Personality"
who you are & how that shapes your talent

Many of my posts are excerpts from a book on acting I've been working on for a while, tentatively titled Talent & Personality. I'm fascinated by how these intersect & impact on both the quality of the actor's skills & her career trajectory. To be published by Smith & Kraus in print & as an ebook. Follow The Workroom Project on tumblr for more.

Thursday
Sep052013

The Actor's Chekhov

by JEANIE HACKETT

Interviews with Nikos Psacharopoulos
and the Company of the
Williamstown Theater Festival

 I can think of no better book for the actor/director of Chekhov to have on his nightstand. I think the book offers good advice for everyone regardless of what they are playing or directing. Nikos' observations of the human condition are of the same level that we find in Chekhov's plays. The compassion, the innermost subtle workings of human nature are illustrated in his comments and commentary and those of the actors he worked with.
PERFORMING JOURNAL

 The title succinctly expresses the inseparability of modern acting practice and the art of the mature Chekhov. The descriptions of actual performance situation are vivid and provide satisfactions for both the beginning and the advanced reader of Chekhov. Blythe Danner, Olympia Dukakis, Lee Grant, Christopher Walken and Frank Langella are the names that the general public will recognize, but all the 18 interviews, skillfully conducted by Jean Hackett, herself an actor in the company, are insightful. The book above all is a tribute to the work of Nikos Psacharopoulos whose leadership made possibly the Williamstown experience -- and this written record of moments of "breakthroughs" in the art of acting.
AMERICAN LIBRARY JOURNAL

 

Tuesday
Sep032013

Toward Mastery

by JEANIE HACKETT

 An Acting Class with
Nikos Psacharopoulos

If it's an in-depth approach to acting you want, look no farther than "Toward Mastery." Based on a series of classes at Yale and NYU, led by Psacharopoulos (the late artistic director of the Williamstown Theater Festival) this volume is essentially a dialogue between the acting teacher and his students, covering the gamut of experience and issues.
AMERICAN THEATER MAGAZINE 

This is an incisive, witty and inspiring tutorial under the formidable acting teacher, director and famed founder of the Williamstown Theater Festival. Hackett sets the scene with vivid descriptions of Psacharopoulos' classes, methods and teaching style as the book follows the actor's journey from first-year courses to advanced workshops. Highlights include Psacharopoulos' outstanding exigencies of Shaw and Chekhov, his emphasis on process over performance (getting there is all the fun) and his oft-repeated conviction that actors are most interesting and alive when their portrayals seem 'unfinished'. For upper-division graduates through professionals."
AMERICAN LIBRARY JOURNAL

 

Monday
Jan022012

READ ~ on acting chekhov: interview w/jh

Text & Longing
 performing chekhov requires
its own set of special considerations

by JEAN SCHIFFMAN May 29, 2003


I’ve always thought that acting in plays by late-19th/early 20th-century Russian playwright Anton Chekhov tests your mettle as an actor. You need to be filled to the brim with confused internal life every single second, and painfully truthful, too.

So what, specifically, are the elements of a Chekhovian role?

Click to read more ...