About

Bobby Soto, Shelley Mitchell, Shia LaBeouf
Shia talks ‘Secret Acting Classes’ with Shelley

DUSE STUDIO OF DRAMATIC ART

Duse Studio is named after the great Italian actress, Eleonora Duse. She is considered by many to be the first modern actor and the mother of Method Acting.

Duse was such a powerful influencer that during her 1894 tour of the USA, the word “doozy” was adopted into the English language to describe something that was exceptional and life-changing.  Twenty years later she became the first women to be on the cover of Time Magazine. Duse is unknown to many modern actors yet Stanislavsky and Strasberg both stand on her shoulders.

Eleonora Duse was the innovator of an acting technique she described as “the elimination of self”.  Akin to the ideas associated with Zen Buddhism and Mindfulness, she said that her technique allowed her to internally connect with the character she was portraying and free her spirit from mind and ego so that emotional expression could take over.

THE METHODOLOGY10410

I believe that overemphasizing one technique over another diverts your attention from the thrill of taking responsibility for own talent. Some of the key points of my teaching are:

  • Not outsourcing your authority.
  • Understanding the left/right brain discoveries in neuroscience.
  • Seeing the universal in the personal.

These three things can immediately help you ‘get out of your own way’ and open paths of creativity and insight.

Like anyone else, my methodology reflects my taste, the times we are living in and what I think is beautiful;  it is deeply feminine, intuitive and progressive.  I work individually with performers because there’s an invisible something that’s passed on from one artist to another. 

Not outsourcing your authority, left/right brain awareness, and mindfulness  answer a lot of questions that were unanswerable 70 years ago when Method Acting became a ‘thing’.  I take the smoke and mirrors out of acting training and replace it with groundedness and clarity. My techniques to endow my students with the ability to stay centered, focused and emotionally balanced; even in the most harrowing situations. Developing your leading edge as a performer regardless of where you’re currently at is at is at the core of my approach. I’m a creative midwife helping my students take a deep dive into their individual essence,  their individual truth and their individual life experience. -Serious beginners are welcome .                         

Each three hour class is divided in two parts:

Part 1  is focused on the the actor’s instrument.

  • Sense/Memory
  • Laban Work
  • Meisner Work
  • Comedy Method Acting
  • Dramatic Imorov

Part 2 is focused on shared work:

  • Scene Study
  • Script Analysis
  • Monologues
  • Stand-up
  • Auditions

METHOD ACTING

Watch this video where Elia Kazan,  founder of the Actors Studio, explains how Method Acting shifted our consciousness and paved the way to dramatic film acting as we experience it today.

SHELLEY MITCHELL

My approach is rooted in my early training with Lee Strasberg and my experience as a performing artist and teacher.  In the 1970s I lived in New York City and trained at The Circle in the Square Theater School.   Some of the notable teachers there were: Estelle Parsons (Oscar winner, Bonnie and Clyde), Irene Papas (Zorba the Greek), David Margulies (The Sopranos) and  Nikos Psacharopoulos (founder of the Williamstown Theater Festival).  I also worked privately with Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist and Oscar winner for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and Al Pacino schooled me on analyzing a script while working with him on the production of Brecht’s Arturo Ui, at The Public Theater.

As a performer I’m best known for my critically acclaimed performance of TALKING WITH ANGELS: BUDAPEST, 1943, and can be seen on the big screen in SORRY TO BOTHER YOUwritten and directed by my student, Boots Riley, and GREEN IS GOLD, also written, directed by and starring my student Ryon Baxter.

In 2018, I co-founded Slauson Rec. Theater School  with Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto, and produced the 2019 Sacred Spectacle event in DTLA, featuring the Slauson Rec. players.

I began teaching in Venice, Italy where I lived off the grid throughout the 1980s. Surprised by the extremely positive and life-changing effect my coaching had on both actors and non-actors, I developed an approach integrating mindfulness, philosophy, art and science. In 2014, I moved to LA from the Bay Area where I’d been teaching at my private studio, The Actors Center of San Francisco, for 20 years.  In San Francisco my students ranged from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Adam Smith (seed investor of Drop Box and founder of Kite),  to world class performing artists like Tom Waits (Seven Psychopaths) and Eamonn Walker (Lord of War, Chicago Fire). Once I got to LA I founded Duse Studio of Dramatic Art.  Sean Penn, Shia LaBeouf,  Eamonn Walker, Jill Eikenberry and Joseph Cross have all been guest teachers .  My current and past students and clients include: AlunaGeorge, Bobby Soto, Nick Baga, Noemi Gonzalez, Tom Waits, Mimi Davila, Aaron Glenane, Mojean Aria, Cinthya Carmona, Ryon Baxter, Boots Riley, Tony Do, and Sandra Guttiez. 

(For a more detailed bio read Demystifying the Method)

 

Demystifying the Method…

Demystifying the Method…

   Salvador Dali politely asks me if I would put my hand between my legs, turn my gaze towards the ceiling and show him what my face looks like after a climax from pleasuring myself. I go along with his request and hold this pose for about half an hour (minus the...

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Duse Studio

Dorie Theater
Wednesdays: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

6476 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90036

Call us at (424) 209-9822
email:  DuseStudio (at) gmail (dot) com

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