Actor. Director. Writer.
Who is Mark Shanahan?
You pick up the play. There it is, lying on the page. The writer’s work is done. Yours is just beginning. Hidden in that text is a road map. It leads to moments of wild laughter, communal gasps and heart rending, shattering silence. But you’ve got to know how to read that map and unlock those secrets. After all, that’s the gig, right?
The great plays test us, they ask us if we’re up to the task of interpreting them successfully. We find out who we are when we interpret a play. Great story tellers know how to work with their text. They know how to read the plays, to ask questions of themselves, and then go on to ask even better questions.
Actors must tend to many practices - to the use of the body, to the use of time and space, to intellectual and emotional availability. In so doing, we must each develop a unique process which allows us to decipher the text and bring it to life. So, I ask you, what’s your process? How does it work for you? How can you incorporate even better questions in your work?
I love class. Here, we can talk openly about our process so that when we enter a rehearsal room we can put it to the test. We can discuss how to be technically proficient, how to be honest, how to become better readers, better interpreters, better collaborators, better artists, better actors.
My goal in teaching is to help you become that rare and wonderful (and eminently sought after) beast- “the self directing actor.” I want you to know that you have the power to come into an audition, rehearsal or performance knowing you are asking the best questions of yourself within your work. In doing so, you are offering something valuable and hard won.
You’re a storyteller. Learning how to tell a story with specificity and passion is the goal and it is a lifelong practice. It’s my great joy to help you in your journey to become the best storyteller you can possibly be.