Ray Z studied acting for over 7 years in New York with Austin Pendleton, Michael Beckett, George Bartenieff, Geoffrey Owens, Mark Blum, Rasa Allan Kazlas, Aleksey Burago, Reed Birney, George Morfogen and Snezhana Chernova, among many others. He studied directing with Jack Hofsiss, Aleksey Burago and Austin Pendleton. He is currently directing a film version of Jean Paul Sartre’s play Huis Clos.
The course combines Michael Chekhov’s Method with later Stanislavsky teachings (post 1929). The course is optimal for actors seeking both spontaneity and expressiveness in their performance. The training is “exercise based” rather than theoretical discussions, with participants mostly “on their feet” for the majority of the class. Comfortable attire and footwear are highly recommended. The last portion of each class will be dedicated to implementing what had been learned by working on scenes from the established theatrical repertoire. The main goal of the exercises is: establishing the Psychological/Physical connection (“Conductivity”) within the actor, allowing them to act out of their Creative Impulses rather than playing out preconceived, contrived behaviors. Other goals are: How to develop the actor’s Concentration, how to Internalize Character’s Circumstances, the Psychological Gesture, the use of Guided Improvisation to work on the role, etc.
Michael Chekhov was known as Stanislavsky's most brilliant student at the Moscow Art Theater in the 1920s. He later developed his own method while adhering to many of Stanislavsky’s concepts. He was also the nephew of the great playwright Anton Chekhov. Stanislavsky’s method in itself underwent its own evolution, resulting in his last years in what is known as the Method of Physical Action. This later method, together with Chekhov’s are what this course is based on.