Duse Studio Newsletters: Creating a Sacred Space Within
October, 2019
October 6, 2019
Drama is exposure; it is confrontation; it is contradiction and it leads to analysis, construction, recognition and eventually to an awakening of understanding.” ~ Peter Brook
Greetings everyone,
Just a reminder that you’re invited to read  Chekhov’s The Three Sister’s at my house this Friday, October 11,  at 7pm.  Please send an email or text to let me know if you’ll be coming.
Once again, we’ll dive into youth, romance, class and changing times.
When I speak to you guys individually I hear the yearning and searching in your voice for the type of theatrical experience Peter Brook has dedicated his life to.  I hope this interview gives you perspective and strength to continue to be true to yourself as you go forward here in LA.
I couldn’t find the Variety interview with Joaquin Phoenix but I really enjoyed this one.
Onward in the Art!
X Shelley
October 27, 2019
“Each action of the actor on the stage 
should be the visible concomitant of his thoughts.”
Sarah Bernhardt 1844-1923
Deprogram Your Life
Audra Lorde – Exploring the Erotic
Greetings to everyone!
Ciao brought this article to class last week and we were all galvanized by it.  He’s making it into a performance piece. Here it is in it’s rawness.  Deprogram Your Life
For an at home acting class experience and delicious thought experiment, I would follow the this article with an Audra Lorde chaser by listening to her hold forth about Celebrating the Feminine Erotic.  Both pieces deal with the same existential crisis in vastly different ways.
There are a couple of exceptional live performances going on now and coming up in November: Tim Robbins in 1984 and Andy Garcia in Key Largo. You can see details at  – I also recommend seeing Buried Child and The New One.  Don’t be put off by the ticket prices!  Most venues have rush tickets or some other form of discount for young people.  (Sometimes you can also offer to usher to see free performances!)
TV:  I just discovered the series POSE. Billy Porter recently won an Emmy for his performance in the show.  It has a broad reach and is a fountain of inspiration for any artist, seeker or misfit looking up their game and find their place in the world.
I hope you have a beautiful Sunday.
Onward in the art-
X Shelley
September 2019
anonymous quote from an L.A. actor
Art. Greatness and “Turning”: A Convo with Russell Brand and Richard Ayoade
Seymour: An Introduction by Ethan Hawke
What Inspires You?
Greetings everyone!
Can’t think of a more delightful and entertaining way to amplify the points I was trying to make in class last Wednesday than listening to Russell Brand and Richard Ayoade talk about life, performing and fame.  Free podcast.
Scene work is meant to be a direct expression of what’s meaningful to you.   It’s an opportunity to develop your homework, your performing skills, and your social and self-awareness.  
As a guideline you’ll need at least four or five rehearsals with your scene partner.  You  don’t need to memorize the lines,  you need to understand the lines.  Pick your scene first and then find the ideal scene partner.  Please don’t ask someone in class to do a scene and then shop around to find something that suits the two of you. Pick your own scene. Read the whole play or see the film where the scene originates from. …If you simply want to hang out and have a coffee, that’s a beautiful thing! Really! …Human contact is the greatest antidote to screen addiction. 
A couple of years ago a student turned me on to Seymour: An Introduction by Ethan Hawke.
She said it instantly clarified what acting class was supposed to be. Enjoy.
The Brain Candy page of my web site is full of ideas for scene work. I share films, plays, books, thinkers and artists that have kept me sane for the last half century.  I offer them to help you on your path.  If you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself what art or performance experience has moved you! I welcome new tips and insights so let me know if you have any leading edge suggestions to add to the Brain Candy page.
Have a wonderful Sunday.
X Shelley
August 2019

If we allow our self-congratulatory adoration of technology to distract us from our own contact with each other, then somehow the original agenda has been lost. 

Jaron Lanier, 
musician and one of the original developers of virtual reality
I want to share these Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jaron Lanier TED talks with you because they highlight a very important dramatic question of our times, in fact, I would say the dramatic question of our times: can we, as a species, hang on to our humanity?   I was deeply affected by the insights shared by these two artists and thought you would be, too. ( I’ve had Jaron Lanier’s book, YOU ARE NOT A GADGET, on my reading list for years. It’s a little dense, but worth the journey.)
On a completely different note yet equally exciting to me is this new Round Table discussion with Claire Foy (‘The Crown’), Angela Bassett (‘9-1-1’), Thandie Newton (‘Westworld’), Elisabeth Moss (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’), Maggie Gyllenhaal (‘The Deuce’), and Sandra Oh (‘Killing Eve’).  I hope you have a chance to listen to all three of these talks and bring your thoughts to class.
And here’s a fantastic site that brings great theater to your doorstep, LA THEATER WORKS. It ‘s a great way to familiarize yourself with classic plays and attune yourself to great writing.
As summer winds down I’ll be holding forth in my classes , as usual, throughout the fall season on Wednesdays from 3:00pm-6:30pm. Am looking forward to seeing all the new scene work in development! We will continue with the Chekhov series at my home in September. Stay tuned…
X Shelley
July 2019
July 15, 2019
“Performance is the precipice on which fear, anticipation and joy meet, a unique experience between audience and performer which loses all potency when pressed into permanence.”  Kate Morton
Greetings everyone!
Mercury is retrograde until the end of the month; time to reflect, re-think, rehearse, regroup, remember, restore, re-do and reconnect. Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time do anything that begins with re.
On that note, I’ve rediscovered The National Theatre Live screenings at UCLA . Seeing the mastery of stage actors in their element was a chiropractic adjustment to the soul! The National Theater’s current production of Small Island completely transported me. Their next live screening is another live-changer called The Lehman Trilogy. It will be screened at UCLA on July 25 and 26. I encourage you to experience the magic of flawless live theater for yourself.
Re: my classes and private coaching sessions; they will be on-going full throttle throughout the summer. You can get details on the website and inspirational updates on twitter @shelleymitchell, FB @methodactingclass and  instagram @shelleymitchell360.
We’ll be continuing our exploration of the godfather of modern acting and master of finding the universal in the personal, Anton Chekhov. In addition to sense-memory and scene work, we’ll continue to read one act from each of his plays every session.  As we enter Chekhov’s mind I’m hoping that it will embolden some of you to develop scenes from his work. So far we’ve done The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. The Cherry Orchard is next.
Questions? …You know where to find me.
Wishing you all well,
X Shelley
July 22, 2019
“To help, to continually help and share, that is the sum of all knowledge; 
that is the meaning of art.” –ELEONORA DUSE
Greetings everyone,
This week’s update is also a request; I’d like everyone who can, to watch the newly released award winning documentary THE DIVIDED BRAIN by Dr. Iain McGilchrist. I’ve talked about him a lot in class and this documentary really unpacks the importance of this knowledge to 21st century artists and free spirits.  It’s  on Venmo now, you can get the link to see it here. ($5)  There’s actually an insightful segment that takes place at London’s Guildhall School of Drama that should warm your heart.  -Am looking forward to your thoughts and questions.
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY will be playing at UCLA this Saturday and Sunday and again on August 4th and 25th.  It’s directed by Sam Mendes and after having spoken to a number of people who’ve seen it, it’s sure to be one of those life-changing moments of theater for you.  Details are here.   I’ll be attending the August 4th screening.
I hope you’re having a rousing start to your week and look forward to seeing you Wednesday.
X Shelley