Charles Stransky
Charles Stransky


There is nothing an actor acts that is richer than who and what the actor is. The work is about the actor knowing that the character will become whatever the actor brings to it. The more actors can open up and be psychologically available to themselves, the more surprises they will offer audiences.

Yet, “the opening up” process is a delicate one. It must be handled with extreme sensitivity; with enough care for the actor that he or she comes to class with a trust and willingness to do the work. A teacher creates a safe environment. It must be a non-judgemental place, where actors can take risks but where they aren’t forced to. We employ various exercises to encourage actors to get in touch with themselves, to work deeply and with inner conviction, and to validate, ultimately, that the source for each character exists within the actor. The more actors understand what comprises their total being, the more energy they can put into their work and their instrument.

We concentrate on developing “as if” techniques, asking actors to create realities by imagining themselves in given circumstances. Whatever techniques an actor uses, what’s important is that an actor uses only experiences he or she has resolved psychologically and emotionally. Drawing on unresolved issues is apt to create a very unhealthy personal life for the actor; nine times out of ten, there’s a direct line from such acting to neuroses.

In over thirty years experience as a working actor, teacher and acting coach, I have encountered too many actors who have been emotionally hurt by teachers and mentors who feel they must strip actors of their ego and rebuild them–or worse, prey upon their neuroses. The truth is it’s very difficult to rebuild an actor’s ego–their self-esteem, their self-image–when others have deliberately sought to destroy it. Teachers should NOT function as therapists or surrogate parents. Exploring the craft of acting is not a process of mining neuroses as a creative tool.

Good actors reach us by giving of themselves. They fill us with feelings and responses because they have generously and honestly connected with their own rich instrument. They accomplish this communication from a disciplined, organic center, not by presenting a psychodrama of neuroses. Acting can be wonderfully rewarding. But it should be a healthy journey, never a self-destructive one.