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Maggie Flanigan Studio Alumni: James Fauvell

meisner - acting studio - james fauvellJames Fauvell is a graduate of the two year program at Maggie Flanigan studio. James was born in New York City and grew up in Queens.

Q: What specific issue in your acting brought you to the studio?

I didn’t know exactly what my problem was and until I got to the studio. I knew I was kind of hitting my head against the wall, trying to create these characters and to find a way to do it organically. The truth is, I didn’t really know how to build a character. I had no idea what character work really was. That turned out to be my problem along with a lot of other things. That was that was kind of stood out.

I met all these great actors who came from the studio. Anytime I saw someone do a reading, mostly at the Labyrinth Theater I would ask them “What do you guys train in? It seemed like across the board every one said “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. Go see Maggie.” So I went and saw Maggie.

Q: How was the first year for you?

The first year was very enlightening. Once you get past dealing with kind of the frustration. You know, I had this weird thing where I’d love to know everything. I’d like to know what’s going on and how to do it, Coming to the studio was kind of starting over. I had been an actor for four or five years thinking I knew something about acting and then coming here, I was totally blown away.

So the first year just exercises really opened me up. It really changed the way I listened and responded. You know I thought acting was something I was really good at it. It’s interesting what you think and what you actually know.

Q: What were you hoping to get from the two year acting program?

Personally my life is in a completely different place than it was when I got here. I really wanted to find a place where I could take responsibility for the artistry in my life. I figured the one thing that would be in my control, is how good of an artist I would be and how hard I could work towards that goal. This turned out to be the place where I could actually do that.

The business is so kind of, as you know, insane. The one thing that I felt like I could control is how good the work I was doing as an actor. So that is how I ended up here. I guess that’s what was happening to me personally. I don’t think the work I was doing was good enough. I was really struggling with finding any kind of direction.

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Q: What is different about you now
after training at the studio?

I think there’s a certain clarity and direction that I have now that was not there before. I can see it in the work that I am doing, and also in my life. Being able to attack the work and attack life with a new angle and with a new kind of clarity. When I say clarity, I mean that I am totally aware of what’s going on with me, how I feel and what I want. These are the questions that we kind of ask ourselves and these basic questions that Maggie has us ask ourselves from the very beginning. So, after the training at the studio I have direction, which is a crazy thing. I am almost a grown up now and kind of more clear on the work that I can do and want to be doing.

Q: How do you like voice and movement classes?

I just started with movement, so I am kind of a little out of order. It’s really great. It was necessary for me just to stay in my body especially when those emotions come in. I start screaming and go blank. I just started the movement and the idea is to go through all of the classes.

Q: How have the teachers at the studio helped you?

It’s one of this things that is really hard to describe. With Maggie, I would say that it is just her generosity. The only thing I knew when I got here was that I would work hard and that I really wanted to be or to have an understanding of the work. Maggie really set me up to succeed. I got a play in the middle of my first year. The part was this character that is nothing like me. He is a freestyle rapper from the street. I am in the middle of the first year and I didn’t know what to do. I went to Maggie and she took the time to just figure it out with me. Maggie gave me a bit of second year work to clear up my understanding and give me direction so I didn’t go completely crazy.

The teachers at the studio also helped me with just the gifts of the work. The studio is really committed to that. Maggie and Charlie are the teachers who I have had the most experience with. They are always open and available for you if you bust your ass. If you are working really hard they are there for you. They have saved my ass in many ways, mostly artistically.

Q: What do you specifically like about the Meisner Technique?

Just how personal, it is. I know that probably sounds redundant but it just becomes a hundred percent from from me and kind of having the faith to create in that direction. So, I didn’t know I had never really had any idea what it was before besides the fact that I knew all these actors who really came really alive when they were doing it enough. So the fact that I can kind of go through a script with respect and make everything incredibly personal, was the first thing that really blew my mind for sure.

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