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IN THE CHAIR: LADY GAGA & THE #METOO MOVEMENT

Listen to Episode One on Apple Podcasts

Listen to Episode One on Spotify

In the Chair : A Podcast on Acting

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute is proud to present a new podcast on acting: In the Chair, founded by NYU at Strasberg alumni Will Brockman and Samantha Vita. A round table discussion between students, faculty, and alumni, In the Chair will tackle current events, alumni news, and The Method – and give listeners a peek behind the famous red doors of Lee Strasberg’s acclaimed school for Method Acting.

The Evolution of Lady Gaga

In this premiere episode, Will and Samantha are joined by Method Acting instructor Tim Martin Crouse and NYU Tisch at Strasberg student Jenna Fink. The group sits down to discuss the career and evolution of Young Actors at Strasberg alumna Lady Gaga, including her role in activism and the #MeToo movement. Tim, who taught Stefani Germanotta when she was a student at Strasberg, recalls her deliberate creation of the Lady Gaga persona. He cites her 2015 Oscars performance of The Sound of Music, describing how – for many – it was the first time hearing Stefani’s true voice. Her former teacher recounts how, in the face of Gaga’s meat dresses and spectacle, so many fans “didn’t know the depths of what she’s got to offer.”

The character of Lady Gaga has not only helped Stefani defy expectations but also given her a platform on which to speak out. Tim speaks to how the misogyny of the music industry and Stefani’s underdog disposition propel her activism. He explains that, in an industry riddled with figures like Harvey Weinstein, the lesson to learn is “protect yourself”. He implores actors to set boundaries and hold their network – including their agents and managers – responsible when those boundaries are broken.

Establishing Boundaries

“It’s your audition. It’s not theirs, it’s yours. So, who cares what they want out of you in your first reading? You show them what you want to show them.”

Tim Martin Crouse

Both Tim and Jenna emphasize the importance of an actor feeling safe and in control of a situation, whether in a scene or an audition room. Tim explains that an actor feeling safe is what allows them to go deep into their work. If an actor feels uncomfortable – with what they are being asked to do, with the people in the room, or with the situation at large – they lose their willingness to be vulnerable. Jenna adds that, in the face of the #MeToo movement, communication and boundaries are key, especially when dealing with intimacy in scenes.

Does The Method leave you vulnerable?

The basis of Lee Strasberg’s Method is relaxation and sense memory exercises – drawing upon sensorial experiences from your own past to give life to a character. Looking to tackle a misconception about the technique, our hosts ask Tim if he feels that using The Method leaves an actor more vulnerable in a potentially uncomfortable situation. Tim’s answer? No. He explains that Method Acting gives you tools with which to approach your work, and that those tools serve to protect you:

“If you know you’re doing this or this or this to get to something, not only can you repeat it – which is going to help you when you’re working – but also you know how to get to it. You don’t need to be manipulated. You’re not giving your power away to someone else to get to something. You have the power.”

Tim Martin Crouse

Want more? In The Chair can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and Listen Notes!

TRANSCRIPT

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