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Watching “Inside the Actors Studio”


I’ve recently been watching this show which airs on Bravo cable network. The only way Herman and I could find listings for the show was by going on the Internet since it doesn’t seem to have a weekly air time.

We also searched “James Lipton,” the creator/host of the show who interviews well-known actors in front of graduate acting students. The show is filmed at Pace University where Lipton teaches method acting, which is something I’ve talked about with you guys in the past. I’ve studied “the method,” as it is called, in my own training as an actress.

Here’s a bit of what I found about Lipton:

In the early 1990s, James Lipton sought to create a three year educational program for actors that would be a distillation of what he had learned in the twelve years of his own intensive studies. In 1994, he arranged for the Actors Studio—the home base of "method acting" in the USA for some sixty years now—to join with New York City's New School University and form the Actors Studio Drama School, a formal degree-granting program at the graduate level.

Lipton created a project within the Actors Studio drama school: a non-credit class called Inside the Actors Studio, where successful and accomplished actors, directors and writers would be interviewed and would answer questions from acting students. These sessions are also taped and broadcast on television for the general public to see. The episodes are viewed in 89,000,000 homes throughout 125 countries. Lipton himself hosts the show and conducts the main interview.”

One such interview I watched last weekend was with Angelina Jolie. I love that Lipton is able to draw out little known facts and stories from the actors he interviews. Jolie’s father is actor Jon Voight and her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand studied with Lee Strasberg, the “father” of method acting whose tennants I studies in my own acting training.

Jolie spoke almost reverently about “being in the now” when acting in order to honestly convey emotion.

I recently happened to be looking at some old video tapes of auditions I had gone on, where I and another actor had to “look into each other’s eyes” aan do a prepared audition scene. That was part of being “in the moment” of method acting.

Before I started writing this column, Herman and I went to the  Netflicks Web site to see if we could order any additional DVDs and have some coming with the likes of Paul Newman, who was the first guest of the show in 1994.

I look forward to getting these shows and I highly recommend this Bravo telecast if you can only find it in your local listings.

About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site

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