The First Year – Gabrielle Hespe
The Two Year Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio trains actors based on the teaching and exercises of Sanford Meisner and the Meisner Technique. In this interview with Katie, Gabrielle Hespe discusses her first year in the acting program.
Acting Program Interview – Gabrielle Hespe
Q: Gabrielle, why did you decide to study at Maggie Flanigan Studio?
A: Well, I was really resistant when I came to the city because I was fortunate enough to have representation. It’s hard to find an acting studio that is really worth the money. It’s something where you actually are rehearsing in between classes, and you’re not watching a bunch of people just BS their way through it. It’s something where when you come to the studio, there’s a standard that has to be met, and you know what you have to do, the directions are very clear.
You have to really give it your all and that’s what everyone else around you is doing. It’s exciting because you’re in it together with your class, and you’re actually doing what you came here to do. I chose Maggie Flanigan out of a suggestion from my manager, and I really trust her. I came and I tried that.
Q: What did you think Meisner technique was before you came to the studio?
A: I knew it was going to be repetition-based. I didn’t know much about the actual process of Meisner, but I knew that Meisner is all about listening for everything and putting your attention on someone else. I knew that’s what it should be.
Q: Now that you’ve completed your first year of training, what do you think it is now?
A: Well, it’s not too far from what I thought. It’s really about doing truthfully under imaginary circumstances, which is what acting is. It’s about really listening and putting your attention on the other person, and giving yourself a set of tools that you’re able to do that with. Really understanding what it feels like when you’re lost in the chaos of the moment. Understanding the difference and knowing when you’re there after the fact because when you’re there you know it.
It’s just invaluable. Being able to do three hours twice a week really working. Then, in between each of those classes, getting a good rehearsal in with your acting partner. It’s just incredible. You’re really doing the work, you’re really getting your money’s worth, and you’re putting the time in. It’s putting yourself and giving yourself a set of standards that you thought you had before, but really being put to it and really being challenged as an artist.
There’s no laziness here and there’s no room for it. There is no room for it professionally. You come out of here, especially out of the first year for me, really understanding what it is that you need to work on and how to challenge yourself. You just have such a better idea of how to do it.
Q: What happened during this first year of actor training for you that was a surprise or that changed you about yourself?
A: There are so many things. It’s playing with all of these different temperaments, and being able to access them artistically and understanding the emotional work, because it’s not about emotion, it’s about creating behavior. Recognizing what was more of a challenge for me, because some of the things that I thought would be challenging weren’t challenging and vice versa. Getting to know myself better and know what I take personally, and understanding who I am more as a person and also as an artist is incredible.
Q: What’s it like to have a bad day in class?
A: It’s like a bad day at work. It’s bad but it’s something where no matter what happens leaving class, I’d call my significant other and I’d say, “Well, I grew”. That’s the point, is that you’re going to take acting classes. If you’re going to give your money to someone to study what you want to do professionally, you better be growing every second of the way. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be like you’re stuck in the mud but that’s the point.
Q: What’s it like to have a breakthrough in class?
A: Oh my God, it’s amazing. The highs and lows are pretty incredible here. It’s like a roller coaster. Your adrenaline is pumping, and you’re so excited to just do something where you know it’s running, and you’re able to really hit that. It’s something where you’re learning that you can’t recreate things. One class goes really well and the next class may go well, may not go well, you can’t recreate it. That’s how living moment to moment is when you’re doing the work. You can’t recreate that.
The Acting Programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio
Learn more about the acting programs and acting classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio by visiting the acting programs and acting classes page on the acting studio website http://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com or by calling the front desk during studio hours at (917) 794-3878.