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How To Stay Creative and Inspired While Sheltering in Place

The need to practice self-quarantine during the global pandemic has forced us all to learn new ways of coping, new ways of being, and new ways of staying sharp. While there’s a strong impetus to eat too much and spend way too much time on the couch, there are things we – as actors and theatre professionals – can do with this unexpected windfall of free time to hone our skills and explore new horizons.

1. Read New Material

Take advantage of this time at home to read new plays and screenplays. In constantly consuming material, you are bound to discover new monologues and audition pieces that suit you. If you are searching for material to work on in class, take a look at LSTFI’s new scene database. The database is filtered by genre and character breakdown to help help students find quality scenes for classwork. All the plays included have been reviewed and recommenced by the LSTFI faculty.

Depending on your location’s COVID status, you may be looking to avoid unnecessary outings to bookstores or libraries. Luckily, Dramatist Play Service and Concord Theatricals have hundreds of plays available for download electronically. The New Play Exchange is the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers. And, if you’re looking for something classical, remember that the complete works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen and more are in the public domain.

If you’re getting tired of scripts but still looking for new reading material, try getting back to basics. Below is a short reading list of books on acting that can help you further your Method Acting technique:

  • An Actor Prepares by Stanislavsky
  • Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslavsky
  • Strasberg at the Actors Studio by Robert H. Hethmon
  • The Lee Strasberg Notes by Lola Cohen
  • The Method Acting Exercises Handbook by Lola Cohen
  • A Dream of Passion by Lee Strasberg

2. Watch LSTFI Alumni & Faculty in Action

marriage story

If you’re in need of a quarantine watchlist, check out these works starring LSTFI alumni and faculty. For the actor, keeping up-to-date on great films is both educational and inspiring.

  • Marriage Story on Netflix starring alumni Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson
  • The Discovery on Netflix with LA Method Acting instructor M.J. Karmi
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 with alumna Uma Thurman
  • Daredevil and Full Metal Jacket with Method Actor Vincent D’Onofrio
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime starring alumna Rachel Brosnahan in the titular role
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai with NYC Method Acting instructor Geoffrey Horne
  • The Sopranos on HBO with NYC teacher George Loros, alumnus Michael Imperioli, and LA teacher Sharon Angela

Still looking for for more? Check out LSTFI’s Notable Alumni and look up their work!

3. Check in with Your Favorite Actors

If you’re feeling stuck in quarantine, take a look at how other actors and celebrities are spending their time. Countless Broadway and movie stars have been doing live streams from their homes. In the wake of COVID-19, The Actors Fund founded Stars in the House, a daily live-streamed series with stars like Jessie Mueller, Kristen Chenoweth, and Judy Kuhn. Some actors, casting directors, and writers have taken to social media platforms to live stream master classes, often free of charge. America’s most-produced playwright, Lauren Gunderson, has been teaching free classes via Facebook Live. Look up your favorite actors and writers on social media and see what they’re up to!

4. Keep Yourself Moving

“If you can put on music and dance around, if you can walk or march in place, teach standing up where you might normally sit, or if you can get outside to nature safely, point being: doing something every hour or so to shake up our physical being.”

LSTFI dance and movement instructor, Madeline Jaye

Since the onset of the pandemic, the world has been spending far more time indoors than usual. With individuals in every field suddenly adapting to remote work schedules and home offices, we are bound to lose some of the natural physical activity that usually comes with day-to-day life. However, it is important for actors to stay active and take care of their instrument. In a recent blog interview, LSTFI instructors Madeline Jaye and Ron Navarre speak to this loss of daily, transitional movement and share how they have adapted their movement classes to work online.

5. Continue to Hone Your Craft

Actors in theatre, film and television alike are dealing with this crisis in their own ways. That said, all seem to agree that now is not the time to lose focus. It can be tempting to dwell on worst-case scenarios and give in to fear and worry. However, honing your craft through through continued education, even while in quarantine, is possible.

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute maintains committed to its students during this uncertain time, transitioning all of its classes to be held remotely. The switch to remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how effectively The Method can be taught and applied in online class. In addition to transitioning from in-person to remote learning, LSTFI has also founded a brand new Online Acting platform. This new program will remain entirely online, even after the New York and Los Angeles campuses reopen post-pandemic. The Online Acting platform will allow new students to join LSTFI and study Method Acting from anywhere in the world.