by Sarah Browning, Contributing Writer
This past summer, Vindicated class members Mackenzie Mason, Delaney Hart and Rosebelle Easthom spent ten weeks studying at the Stella Adler acting studio in New York City, learning how to embody and refine their craft.
When asked how they would apply what they learned at Stella Adler to their careers, they all said that they would “bring the humanity” to their work. According to Easthom, “We learn how to grow. We learn to be better humans. This is the task of learning to act well.”
All three young women are majoring in Theater & Cinema Performance at Asbury University and have been involved in school productions and student films over the years. In the spring of 2016, the trio auditioned at the New England Theater Conference in Boston. It was because of these auditions that they were invited to Stella Adler.
The Stella Adler program included nine different courses: Shakespeare, Ensemble, Voice and Speech, Scene Study, Adler Technique, Film and TV, Practicum, Improv and Movement.
Mason felt she grew the most from Scene Study, because it required her to spend multiple weeks on one scene, constantly discerning where she could improve and change, even when she had already spent so much time on such a small space of acting.
Mason said, “My teacher could trace his acting instructor lineage all the way back to a member in Shakespeare’s own company, which means that I can now do the same!”
Hart said she benefited the most from Movement. “We had exercises like Embodying a Painting as an Ensemble, and I was like, ‘I can’t do this!” she said. “But it ended up being a really great experience. I felt liberated.”
Hart said she learned the importance of both pushing her boundaries and respecting them. This paradox stimulates growth as an actor.
“Technique taught us a lot about being believable, [such as] how to create a character, analyze your character and how to justify what your character does, both physically and psychologically,” Easthom said.
Not only is this essential for elevating the art of acting, but Mason added that the technique was also important because talent can only get an actor so far.
“Actors and actresses always have off-days, but they can rely on their technique when they have one,” she said. In this way, actors can still do their job because they know the theory behind creating and justifying characters.
According to Hart, great acting demands both technique and the soul of the actor or actress. “What I take most from the experience is this dichotomy of bringing yourself to it and of bringing character to it,” she said.
Acting can have the connotation of being fake, but acting is all about being human and touching on the human condition. During their summer at Stella Alder, these young women endeavored to learn how to bring their humanity to their acting so they can complete the humanity of their character.
“What attracted me most to Stella Adler,” explained Mason, “was their motto, ‘Growth as a human is synonymous with growth as an actor.’”
Easthom elaborated by quoting her Voice and Speech instructor: “Be content at empty, and your body will take a breath when it needs it.”