Back in February this year I took an ongoing class (see blog here) at Margie Haber’s studio with Eden Bernardy, a truly terrific coach! While I was waiting seated in the main area of the studio I crossed the path of the one and only Margie Haber, the head and founder of her renowned studio. It felt like a crocodile was looking at me. Her blue piercing eyes are inquisitive. 2015 has been a busy year shooting films, hosting videos with Visit The USA and performing on stage so I finally just now got back to experience her Master Intensive 3 day program.
I was extremely excited as she is one of the gurus of this industry and I’ve been feeling « stuck » for the past 3 weeks sort of asking myself why am I really doing this? The day prior I auditioned for an amazing Guest Star role that totally fits me and what my demo reel showcases of my range. I’m glad and thankful I got this opportunity through my manager who acts like a theatrical agent. I can’t say more about the role nor the show as it’s protected. It would just have been so right on… Oh well! Another day, another life. Thanks to everyone who thought of me for it, putting that beautiful energy out there!
So I guess Margie’s class came to me during a time I needed to let go, and the year for me has had a theme about letting go.
First day of the Master Intensive weekend
Here we arrive at 10am and one of the eight people were missing, but luckily an additional person joined us an hour later so the class could pair people for exercises. One of the students in the class called one of her pals who wanted to take the class but couldn’t find a spot available. Lucky guy! Margie is not only a very fierce teacher but also a very strong minded business woman and doesn’t like for someone or herself to miss on an opportunity. I guess you don’t make it in this industry unless you have a strong ethic on how to rule it.
Margie kept talking about her pedicure that she had the previous day (I thought, it had to lead to something). We did a series of exercises, mostly slices of life as she calls them, but in a cold way. The writing was very particular and I believe the reason is because it’s up for each actor to find the right rhythm even when doing a cold read and implementing the elements of what’s happening in that slice of life and thus living the life of the person/character. Margie has an app that helps navigate through scripts and it’s right on. It talks about many interesting topics such as the 5 ego states.
At the end of the day we repeated the scene, incorporating her valuable input. She played our counter part and insisted we massage one of her feet while running the scene! Sort of glad I went first!!! Ahah. I don’t mind she is clean but talking about the art of letting go, seriously?! And she kept saying stronger! The 8 of us massaged her feet despite some reticence from some of us. She is funny, but I think it was a surprisingly effective technique to get us all out of the “acting” of the scene and into the reality of the moment.
As I walk to the class from our apartment in West Hollywood I see at Kitson’s store a card saying : Thanks you’re so dope ! I enter the store and buy it. Why ?! I forgot to tell you that Margie likes to smoke out of an imaginary joint that she takes out of her pocket ! Of course, it’s imaginary! The reason is because exhaling or breathing air helps release stress and that’s a funny way to do it while not being an addict. She also encourages 10-minute mindfulness meditation to help center you everyday. It works (we did it with a few other students and Margie during lunch break) and I knew how helpful it can be after taking a mindfulness class a couple years ago. Now it’s about making it a priority in my life. The day went by and we worked on slices of life, technique, sung and moved in a jazzy way to help with rhythm and connected with my classmates. Margie kept making it interesting and playful. And I kept being open to her teaching.
Oh my ! It’s the last day. Margie has a major migraine and her team, Diane, Emeth, and Kevin are cherishing her as much as possible. We start the class a bit delayed as she is laying on a couch trying to feel better but she powered through and taught a great class, teaching slices of life partly with her sunglasses on, poor thing. As I go through these cold readings I feel like I’m numb. I understand what’s happening while reading the scene, can break it down, and can feel it but yet the writing has no rhythm to me and I believe it’s intentional to mess with us (part of the text we were working on was saying: People either want something from you or they want to f*** you or you never hear from them again – everyone can probably relate to that). It’s super challenging as I don’t like it and don’t feel free yet. I really needed to let go of anything that is holding me back and just say fuck it. As it happens while walking home on Melrose, I encountered a store selling a mug that says Fuck and I bought it ! Ahaha ! I’m really not for swearing, I find it hurtful for the ears but when it feels good to say it, it feels good. I’m for honesty and the beauty of it.
Then came the time of the closing of the weekend where we all had to give our insights about what we learned and say thank you, I love you Margie, yes, that was the thing to say and it wasn’t that hard. She is great! Yet it’s funny when people tell you the words you have to say. Let it go as they say in Frozen and as one of my friends keeps saying lately! I told everyone in a very concise way what I learned and volunteered to be the first one to say it. I guess I should have gone for more of an Oscar speech when talking as everyone went through tears and laughter to say how life changing their weekend was.
For me this weekend has been about connection, rhythm, phrasing, and letting go! And good laughter too!
I’m looking forward to taking an other class from Margie in 2016 and master it ! How does it feel to be human to you? Caroline