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StrasbergTALKS: Vincent D’Onofrio

After teaching a week long masterclass, Vincent D’Onofrio gave a StrasbergTALK on February 10, 2017. Although a successful working actor, Vincent explains that he still uses The Method. “I still use a straight back chair to relax in, I do it on television sets, on movie sets, in my dressing room at theatres,” he says. He explains and often demonstrates his own processes for accessing emotion, building a character, creating a voice, and more.

As a strong character actor, Vincent has much experience creating characters on his own, without guidance from a director. Using his experience of preparing for Men in Black as an example, he brings the audience through the steps of applying Lee Strasberg’s Method and the creative imagination to build a character. Through research and careful examination of the script, he is able to form characters that are grounded in the text, connected to his own emotional life, and solidified by The Method. On juggling the jobs of an actor, he says, “There is a technical side and an emotional side and you have to be able to do both simultaneously”.

After discussing his own process, he uses students to demonstrate some of the techniques he uses when he teaches. With his students, he suggests using dissonant choices – potentially unrelated to the text – in order to create a unique and compelling performance. He also emphasizes the importance of vulnerability. He says, “If you don’t have the guts to put yourself out there, you’re never going to be considered a good actor”. Vincent reminds his students to always remain connected to your heart and tummy, and to – first and foremost – allow your performance to grow from what exists in you already. He explains that the craft of acting requires a willingness to be vulnerable and the discipline to remind yourself after: “I am an actor. This is my job.”

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