Enjoy an amazing and unforgettable feeling!
Discover the tools that will teach you to use your imagination to live the life and emotions of your character with as much truth and intensity as if it was your own life.
Acting real is not playing a character; it’s actually living someone else’s life.
When this occurs, we witness a moment of pure grace; it is an unforgettable experience, for the artist and spectators alike.
"The best thing that can happen to an actor is to be completely absorbed by his part; unwittingly, he then starts to live the life of his character without even knowing what he feels, without thinking about what he’s doing, guided by his intuition and subconscious, and everything happens automatically."
- Constantin Stanislavski, in An Actor Prepares
- Kirk Douglas, in The Ragman’s Son
My work is based on these words of Stanislavsky and Kirk Douglas, describing exactly what you will live.
The work is individual and allows each actor to develop a unique and personal interpretation of his character thanks to his own qualities.
Actors work on scenes from films, plays, television series, or original material.
"In four hours of workshop, Charles Mayer summed up almost everything I learned in five years of theatre." Brigitte Laniel
"Charles Mayer is an outstanding teacher. " Nathalie Berndsen
"At last, a true educationalist for actors. Charles possesses the art to make the actor discover the truths that lay within him. For an actor really conscientious to keep in shape, regular visits to Charles' workshop are a must. Hope to see you there!"
"It is essential for an actor to meet a teacher like Charles Mayer. Thanks to him your character reaches a disarming reality." Stéphane Brodeur
"Everything you need to advance in this art.Highly recommended."
‘’Charles Mayer did an excellent job and it’s in his workshop I had the most fun to act." Josée Fugère
"Charles Mayer is an intelligent teacher with a gentleness and a patience next to none." Fabrice Milich
Charles Mayer has helped me to "be" the character instead of "playing it."
"At last a class where one is led to discover the true reaction of the present moment." Patrick Delisle
"Thank you Charles for being such a good guide and for your respect for the actor."
"With Charles Mayer, I have been able to reach a large realm of emotions and learn to master my acting," Micheline Saint-Jean
"Charles has a deep understanding of human nature. Beautiful present moments in an intimate relationship with ourselves and our acting partner "
"Charles Mayer is a good teacher, respectful of the creative process of each actor and actress, while suggesting different acting avenues." Jeanne Ostiguy
Pushkin, Russia's original literary hero and the father of the native realist tradition, wrote that the goal of the artist was to supply truthful feelings under given circumstances, which Stanislavski adopted as his lifelong artistic motto.
"No one knows what will move his soul, and open the treasure house of his creative gifts," Stanislavski was to write in My Life In Art. "The creativeness of an actor must come from within."
How does an actor act? In simplest terms, that was the question that haunted Stanislavski. Actors before Stanislavski had of course thought about how they work but it was the rare actor, then as now, who could be articulate about it: the actor's art, after all, is in speaking other people's words. Admiring the work of the great actors he had seen and eager to learn their secrets, the young Stanislavski discovered that for the most part the great actors carried their secrets to their graves. How can the actor learn to inspire himself? What can he do to impel himself toward that necessary yet maddeningly elusive creative mood? These were the simple, awesome riddles Stanislavski dedicated his life to exploring.
- Foster Hirsch,
in A Method to their Madness
Stanislavsky devoted to a relentless search to find a realistic approach to acting that could essentially solve the mystery of "creative inspiration". The work of the Moscow Art Theatre, company founded by Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, brings new meaning to the term "life on stage", developed over years of experimentation and discovery.
When the Moscow Art Theatre visited America in 1923, its work literally stunned the theatre world. Here is an excerpt from the critique of New York American: "The Moscow Art Theatre may have proved for the first time in America that culture can be as exciting a football game.’’, Two of its members, Maria Ouspenskaya and Richard Boleslavski defected, choosing to remain in America, and began teaching at the American Laboratory Theatre. Eventually, driven by a burning desire to weave this revolutionary approach to the actors' art intrinsically into the fabric of the American Theatre Experience, Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford founded the Group Theatre (1931-1941), still considered the best of all of American theatre companies. The Group Theatre was the first American company fully trained to perform as an ensemble. Among members invited to join this remarkable company were Robert Lewis and Elia Kazan. The Group Theatre finally dissolved in 1941, for reasons ranging from finances to "artistic differences". It wasn't until six years later that the original founders of the Actors Studio decided it was time to "fan the spark" before the fire died out completely. Fifty young professional actors were invited to become members. Robert Lewis conducted meetings for the advanced members, and Elia Kazan held sessions for beginners. By the end of the first year, Lewis resigned. During 1948 and 1949 several teachers kept the classes going, among them Sanford Meisner, Daniel Mann and Elia Kazan. It is not surprising, then, that the longstanding association between Strasberg, Crawford, Kazan and Lewis, would lead to Strasberg's invitation to join at the Actors Studio in 1949. Before long, he became the sole teacher of actors there. By 1951 Strasberg was appointed Artistic Director of the Actors Studio, a position he retained until his death in 1982.
So, in other words, the people that started the Actors Studio started it out of a feeling that there was something that they had been part of in the Group Theatre which they wanted to maintain, wanted to continue. Because they felt that created an ambience, an environment... a spirit... an influence... which had affected their work. And it made them constantly seek to be better, not to settle for whatever, you know, the critics would say, you know, the good work that the people were doing by that time, but that would stimulate them somehow as they felt they had been stimulated in the Group Theatre. That's what they started the Group Theatre for. It was not started to give people who were not actors an opportunity to learn to act. It wasn't started for people who were not yet known to become known. It wasn't started for people who might become stars to become stars, you see, or anything like that. Obviously the directors of the Actors Studio at that time in their choice [of whom to invite in] showed very fine awareness, very fine taste, and chose people whose talent they admired. And they felt that if the talent of these people, which was already apparent, they didn't need them to see it... but if the talent of these people was somehow stimulated and nurtured, many of these people would become the outstanding theatre people, from the acting point of view, in America. Actually, their vision, and their hopes and their intentions has been proven right.
But the purpose of the Actors Studio never was just to give a place for people to act, and to learn how to act. It was always for people who already were actors, and were acting not only quite satisfactorily, but in some instances with outstanding accomplishments, you see. To provide a place where these accomplishments would become the basis only for better work, never accepted as the final end of the work no matter how good it may be.
Three members of the Group Theatre have created these prestigious schools: Stella Adler the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Sanford Meisner The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and Lee Strasberg the Lee Strasberg Institute.
At the Actors Studio Lee Strasberg led the sessions, he was the moderator. He taught at his school, the Lee Strasberg Institute.
Two urban legends:
The Actors Studio is not a school, but a "gym" for actors wishing to continue working on their craft.
Marlon Brando never studied with Lee Strasberg, but with Stella Adler.
Ask anyone if they could paint a large canvas at once, or write a good novel or sing a great aria with Pavarotti, or dance with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens; they would probably say you’re crazy. Now ask them if they would want to act in a movie, they would probably answer yes. Most people think that acting is easy because unlike the painter, the writer, the singer or the dancer, the actor's work is not noticeable. An actor giving a great performance does not look like an artist at work, but like a human being living his life.
Here is the testimony of Bobby Lewis, a former member of the Group Theatre, on the performance of Marlon Brando, who played a minor part on Broadway in the play I Remember Mama: "The curtain rose, Mady Christians and Oscar Homolka were unleashed. Suddenly, coming down the stairs appeared a young man eating an apple; he seemed to really live in that house. He started to say his lines, and I could not help thinking: It’s a technician; a guy hanging around the stage, or a stand-in perhaps. The actor who is supposed to play this part has not yet arrived at the theatre, and this kid, he does not act. "
- Richard Schickel, in Brando : A Life in Our Times