Stebos Studio

Stebos Studio

In my studio I empower performers to exist on stage in intense connection with their monologue, scene, or play, and in vibrant dialogue with their partners, the ensemble, and the audience.

My teaching of acting and directing stems from the Russian school initiated by Stanislavsky and is specifically based on his latest method of “active analysis,” further developed by pedagogue Maria Knebel and director Anatoly Vassiliev among others. I learnt this technique when I studied at the GITIS in Moscow with master teacher Jurij Alschitz, whose training exercises I found invaluable for an actor’s ongoing preparation and fine-tuning. I then specialized with him in acting pedagogy during several sessions of The New Face of Acting Teachers, a course held at the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City.

My classes always start with training specifically aimed at establishing the necessary physical and mental focus to allow the actor’s creative engines to be at full speed once the play text is approached. As in the Stanislavskian tradition, I don’t work directly on pursuing emotions, but rather build a journey for the actor to be free to express them when they arise in performance.

We then proceed to engage the text through a series of études, provisional phases of the work that are first discussed, then tried out on stage, and finally either expanded or steered in a more fruitful direction. In this recursive process, each étude provides a concentrated experience of a particular aspect of the play or scene at hand and all études eventually converge to create multiple interacting layers and potentially unlimited depth for the performers. Keeping these layers active simultaneously is an art in itself.

The beauty of active analysis is that, while the director and performers can fairly quickly sketch a draft of a scene or even a whole play to get a sense of their general direction, they can later return to specific aspects to deepen their analysis and obtain more profound insights and more grounded physical presence on the stage. Indeed, the work needs to continue for the performance to stay fresh through several performances over time.

An example I like to show to my students is a set of three versions of the same scene in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard that illustrates how just a few lines of written text can be actively analyzed to produce a “blossoming” of richer and richer material, in this case by deepening the analysis of the “pauses” between the lines, which Chekhov so carefully indicates. You can watch the three scenes in sequence here.

Below are the courses I currently offer:

Please note: Stebos Studio courses are currently on hiatus due to the Covid-19 restrictions and will restart in the Fall at
Playwrights Rehearsal Studios (440 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003)