Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jean Shelton Actors Lab

Jean Shelton Actors Lab
May 3, 2006:

OK. I am going to committ to blogging at least once a month. For now here's the latest. So much has happened since the last blog. Master Director Oleg Liptsin arrived from Russia to direct his avant-garde production of the Elephant Man. Masterful, sad, beautiful. Oleg is the strongest director in our midst and he will arrive again in september to direct another play. He will offer a "Character Analysis" course which will offer the greater community a chance to interact with an excellent European/Russian Director of the highest caliber. His dedication to the art form is immense. The comedy Private Wars was performed by Alex Conde, Matt Martinez, and Dave Stewart last summer and truly you could not have had a better cast for this show. They were deep, funny, and everlasting. A triumph of acting. Big news on the film scene at the Lab. We are bridging with local filmmakers via the prestigous San Francisco Art Institute and through our new film teacher Joe Graham whose recent feature film, Vanilla, was released by TLA. We will have a screening of the film on May 11th at 8pm(free). All are welcome. Our film program is taking off with Joe at the helm. Movement with Julie Dimas-Lockfeld is happening again. This course challenges all to address acting from the body's perspective. She is a master teacher. Scene night for the Spring Quarter's work is happening on May 16th and 17th at 7pm(free). Always a powerful experience for anybody in the theater that night. We are continuing to train those persons interested in the true art of acting. Come see the work. Regards.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fall Scene night 05'

After a long and dramatic year we are winding down here at the lab and theater. Beyond Therapy rocked and could have played all year, we did a exotic world premeire of Indigo Don't Vote, an excellent avant-garde The Elephant Man directed by the genius Oleg Liptsin, a well acted PVT. Wars just closed in addition we have had a great year at the Lab with the film wing continuing to blossom with two well filmed courses with independent filmmaker Dave Janssen on the lens and myself and Felecia directing the actors. Next year should be even bigger. Each year we continue to bring notable artists into the building to inspire and create.

Fall Scene Night 05'
Monday night was flat out amazing. Some heroic acting going on starting with a clip from Pvt. Wars and then into the students work. In the audience that night was Lab Alumni, Rob Epstein, an Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker who is now head of the film department at the college of the arts in Oakland. He brought his entire class and they were all looking for talent as we continue to bridge with the film community at large. The energy in the room was great. The Technique I class went first and we witnessed some fine work from the newcomers. Specifically Clint Ward who owned Roy in Lonestar and set the room on fire. Adrian Flores did Stanley in Streetcar and used his physical body to such power and precision that it reminded everybody in the room the majesty and grace of the body. He was communicating volumes just using is body language and I noted that it was the strongest use of the body on that stage, possibly the highwater mark. Scene Study 3 went next and of course Jennifer Bareilles and Andrew Oliveri killed it. Anybody that acts with Jennifer is suddenly lifted to a higher creative place. Michael Carlisi and Abby Eletz did a committed Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, they made it look easy, which everyone knows it is a difficult scene to act tough. All the scenes were acted with power, creative will, honesty and integrity. It was simply a beautiful night of acting. Stunning. Rob Epstein was elated and said he missed this place. This night was magic.
Alas, Tuesday the full moon night had a totally different feel. The nerves were up in everybody's throat and fear seemed to penetrate the room and this causes a weird vibe. Individual performances stood out, but the connection between actors seemed to be tough to come by. Except for Golden Boy and Barefoot in The Park which first year students made come alive. Chris Walsh stepped it up huge in his monologue about a whacked out little league coach. Mary Powelson raged in her Macbeth and Speed the Plow still needs to be produced. Felecia's Begining Acting class was on Wednesday and their was plenty of hope for the future. Kuo-Ling stripped to her undies and was not the least bit self-conscious, a feat you do not see often on the stage. Raj and Robert did the Odd Couple and were alive, spontaneous, and funny. A full evening of in earnest acting, nothing to lose, everything to gain attitude. Positive and hopeful was this night.

Winter is coming. New goals, new courses, new plays, new films. We all need to focus on our aspirations and begin a march toward them. Marley says, "only ourselves can free our minds"
Time marches on and we must secure our place in the future by creating the necessary path to it. Where will you be in 2006? Onward and Upward as the legendary Bruce Mackey use to say.
Peace,
Matthew Shelton

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Summer Scene Night 05'

August 15th and 16th,

Monday night was a full expressive evening. Plenty of good acting going on. The pressure in the room was intense as usual and this required a superior focus. With this in mind a great job was done by all. Anytime I can listen to Williams, O'Neil, or Shepard I consider the evening a win.
Fool for Love is a play only to be performed with gusto. To see first year students Tracey and Costas going at it was inspiring. Strong imaginative work by Amanda opened up Home Free and Good Night Gracie absolutely brought the house down with Josh and Jim as the comedic dream team for that scene for this night for eternity. It was bust out funny.
On Tuesday night Howard O'Dell portrayed a hilarious drunk in True West as the Ivy League Austin roasting his brother. And Rick Daniels and Eryka Fraczek had an absolutely alive and spontaneous experience with Mamet's Speed the Plow. Rick should produce the play and put himself in the lead asap. This is his part. Wow. Both nights were elegant as usual. What could be better than real life human beings coming togethar as part of a community dedicated to perfecting the art of acting. Hope resides each time we witness these scene nights. Hope for the new artists willing to explore the mystery of becoming a better human being through the vision of the writers. Don't forget the Elephant Man, last two weekends. Onward and Upwards as the legendary Bruce Mackey use to say. Peace, Matthew

Spring Scene Night 05'

The art of acting is alive and well on Sutter St. as demonstrated by some stunning performances from Cowboy Mouth by Sam Shepard on Tuesday May 17th, 2005. Dave Stewart and Otcai Sailor reminded us about the elation of living fully, the folly of being human, and the passion to become actualized. The Shelton Theater became one big living flower as witnessed by those in the house. Jeanette Sarmiento's monologue, No Smoking, was high art camp and a total delight and Howard O'Dell and Todd O'Connor created a hysterical and poignant Lone Star. It was a marvelous night of intelligence. On Monday night we witnessed a wonderful performance of Graceland as performed with exhuberance and committment by Windy Barnhardt and Nanrisa Lee. And Joshua Klein played Murray in A Thousand Clowns with somber grace and aplomb. A vaudeville Zoo Story was funny and entertaining, due to the casting of big Ed Giles and Greg Young, for those that have worked on the play over the years, this was indeed an eye opener. Bravo to all participants and viewers. Both nights were a total success. I talked to much on Monday night I was told, after all i did spontaneously call Richard Harder wonderfully arrogant and a fine actor and our lead for Oleg's direction of the Elephant Man . Luis burst into a spontaneous cheer over Graceland. and the night was alive with Jean Shelton in the house both nights. We look forward to tonights work with the newcomers as taught by Julie Dimas-Lockfeld.We are prepping for the arrival of Oleg Liptsin the master Russian Director who came to us and directed Chekov's Cherry Orchard and Gogol's The Marriage. Workshop to accompany his vist. Stay tuned. Jean Shelton will be offering Script Analysis, this once yearly lecture course is mandatory for studying with Ms. Shelton and all students are encouraged to attend this lecture course.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jean Shelton Actors Lab

We are now up and blogging.