20 Feb Strasberg Talks with Vincent D’Onofrio
This week the incredible Vincent D’Onofrio, actor and frequent guest teacher at LSTFI came and spoke to current students and alumni. This talk was part of a series called Strasberg Talks.
“Strasberg Talks is a forum for both Strasberg students, alumni, and invited audiences to interact with Strasberg trained actors. These special events connect the Strasberg community of accomplished actors, directors and writers who share a bond of training and artistic integrity. The roots of the Strasberg Talks Series actually date back to the summer of 1965. Fred Stewart, an active member of the Actors Studio, had an idea; he proposed that Lee Strasberg conduct an educational program entitled “Special Evenings” for invited supporters of the organization. The program was intended to expand the scope of the Actors Studio by offering one-night-only lectures, productions, and readings. Strasberg agreed and with modest means “Special Evenings” was an instant hit and it ran for six 6 years (1966-1972). Today, at the Institute, this valuable tradition continues and is proudly presented in its bright new incarnation.”
Mr. D’Onofrio’s talk this week was no less than brilliant. The first point he emphasized in his lecture is the importance of relaxation. He said “relaxation is everything” because without it “you can’t get to the work.” He showed us the way he relaxes; from the toes to the head with an emphasis on the hips. He explained to us “you do not learn by watching other actors performances” but by learning about the way the actors work and by learning about his/her process. He challenged everyone in the audience, as people living with the internet, to always stay curious. He said as actors “you want to know everything.” He said “it is your job as actors to be pushed and pulled by…different techniques” and take “every bodies lessons as gold.”
He then walked us through his work. Sharing stories from his life and career. Some very funny, some very moving. He said “when I act. I’m me. 100%.” As actors “we rely on us. We put ourselves in the circumstance of the character we don’t pretend to be the character” He then explained the difference between internal and external choice and gave multiple examples of each. He explained that with choices “think about the literal circumstances” relax and “be brave.” He even brought in students from his a one week-intensive class to help demonstrate his points.
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