“Act for celebration, for search, for grieving, for worship, to express that desolate sensation of wandering through the howling wilderness. Don’t worry about Art. Do these things and it will be Art. … Theatre is a safe place to do the unsafe things that must be done.”
The Mathew Corozine Studio has been that “place” and home to me for over 10 years. When I first started with Matthew, MCS had about 10 students. I immediately found Matthew’s method of teaching Meisner to be attainable and purposeful in fully developing my craft as an actor. To allow oneself to truly listen and respond from instinct to what one receives from another scene partner solves so many problems most actors struggle with.
I was looking for a studio where I could practice my craft but also grow artistically and do shows with. After ten years I’ve gotten more than I ever desired. I worked closely with Matthew as an assistant and set designer for his show, “And Miss Reardon drinks, a little.” Soon after I was fortunate to star in two different shows the studio produced, “The Big Funk” and “Incoming.” All the while Matthew had been encouraging me to start teaching as MCS was continuing to grow. I started by assisting and subbing and eventually co-teaching in some of his evening classes. With the help and encouragement of another student, Kathy Deitch, Matthew opened a day class for actors who worked nights. Quickly MCS moved from a small rental room at Shetler Studios, to it’s own black box theatre in the Times Square Arts Center, with over 50 students currently enrolled—from beginning actors to Broadway and film professionals, along with aspiring directors, writers and dancers…
Oscar Wilde wrote, “To influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. … He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him.” Matthew is constantly influencing and giving a piece of his soul to all his students. Without his “echoes” of inspiration and support I may not have found my desire to teach the Meisner work as well. Currently I am training a group of actors in a new Wednesday night class and will soon be expanding to Monday nights as well. As a teacher I am able to understand the Meisner discipline even deeper. Learning that it is not teaching someone how you want them to be, but merely guiding and coaching them to respond to the “music” that is already going on.
Wilde also wrote, “The future is what artists are,” the people who advance evolution are the ones who express the truest, utmost of their hearts. The atmosphere at MCS is always encouraging and inspiring. The classes are never guided by competition or pressure to be a certain way. There are no invitations to advance classes, favoritism or a certain amount of time to prove oneself as an artist. MCS has always been a space to allow the actor to learn and make mistakes and not be focused on what they might think they need to do or become. This approach is what I believe has helped Matthew and now myself to enable the studio to continue to grow in a positive and successful direction.
MCS also has allowed me to work and collaborate with another student, Gina Kim to write her story into a full-length show, which was directed by Matthew and critically acclaimed and produced through FringeNYC 2010. This year I’m writing a new play to be produced through MCS, “Leviticus in Love” based on the life of Randy Roberts Potts, the gay grandson of famous televangelist Oral Roberts. I mention these shows because they are birthed and inspired out of the work we teach at MCS. All the original shows and scene nights would not have been imagined or possible without the talents of all the students who study at MCS. The family of actors, writers, directors and dreamers are all who have allowed MCS to grow into what it is today. I believe one day MCS will be a full theatrical academy for actors—offering dance, diction, etc… everything an actor needs to fully become a well rounded, talented performer—on Broadway, film or even if just for oneself—to be the true artist a person wishes to be. A studio driven to allow and create an environment that focuses not on the ‘fame’ aspect of being an artist but more so as a humanitarian, for “celebration, for search, for grieving, for worship…” and truly express the “unsafe things that must be done…”
–Ryan Tofil, MCS Acting Teacher/Coach/Writer/Actor