Interviewer subpage 01

Ellen Burstyn
Actress
“How do we remove our masks to bear the soul?”

“There are many approaches to that work of looking in the mirror. There is psychotherapy, Buddhism, acting class….”

“Acting class? How does acting class do that?”

“When I say acting class, I don’t mean acting class that teaches you how to pretend. I mean acting class where the teacher’s intention is for you to get to your truth, where you begin chipping away at your false face. I was so lucky to get to Lee Strasberg because that’s what he did. It was work. And it took me a long time because I kept trying to be charming and cute and sexy and pretty and funny and dramatic, all those things I thought an actor should be. It didn’t occur to me that what I was really striving for was to be real. It was at The Actor’s Studio that I came in contact with the process of soul development and the culture of my own essence.”

“Is it necessary for actors to engage in their craft even when they’re not working in a movie, play or television show?”

“Well, a pianist wouldn’t think of only playing piano when he’s giving a concert. He practices every day. The painter can go paint, the pianist can go play, and the dancer can dance. For the actor, acting classes and workshops are essential. It’s where one can go to keep their muscles tuned. And there are many different kinds of muscles. There are the muscles of memory that need to be exercised all the time. There are the muscles of voice and of body, and the muscles of being present.”