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  • Writer's pictureMichigan Actors Studio

The Gift of Listening

Acting is reacting.

In fact, in acting, we try to avoid ACTING anything. We need to respond truthfully; inventing nothing and denying nothing. We don’t “act” mad. We don’t “act” anything. We need to actually feel it. We need to behave truthfully in imaginary circumstances.

Actors at every level struggle with the desire to control the outcome. We think “if I just do it like this – if I’m angry here, or put my head down here” then I will be good! That’s not how any of this works. That’s acting. And also indicating. (Showing how we feel rather than simply feeling it).

All we ever have is this moment right now.

And in acting, all we need to do in that moment is listen and respond.

Our scene partner might not give us what we think they should. The script might not go in the direction that we prefer.

Your director might have an entirely different idea of what the scene is about than you do.

When things seem overwhelming, or you’re not sure what to do; this is when to LISTEN.

We often feel the desire to take action. “If things aren’t working, I will swoop in and save the day! I will make it right!”

I think you already know what I’m going to tell you – that isn’t how this works.

The more confusing/frustrating/stuck things are, the more we need to listen. Deep listening. ACTIVE listening. Active listening asks you to hold your truth close, and filter what you are hearing through that truth. If I win the lottery, my reaction is going to be a lot different than if I got engaged earlier that day or if I just found out I have a terminal illness. In each scenario, the same thing happens (winning the lottery), but the filter is different.

The good news is that listening is a skill that can be learned and practiced. We can become better listeners. There are so many benefits to learning how to listen that go way beyond acting. Active listening allows us to hear what is actually happening instead of what we want to happen. What we think should happen.

It allows us to be in conversation with what is.

Listening gives us the gift of truth. It’s up to us what we do with it from there.


Congratulations to Care Nagel, current certificate student who was cast in the virtual production “Eyes to the Stars” with the Second Hand Rose Players, directed by alum Heather Hudson.

Certificate student Alyssa Lambardo was cast as the lead in the film “Ruby”. Congratulations, Alyssa!


The Bagley Street Film Festival is accepting submissions! A celebration of Metro Detroit filmmakers and talent. The submission deadline is Jul 31, 2022.

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is now accepting virtual submissions for their 2022 summer season.

Audition for “Blossoming”- a new playwriting series from The Vagrancy

If you fit any of the roles below, please contact the Director, Asia Mark at

Character Breakdown:

1. Obie Walton, 70, Black” Recently retired from GM, lives with wife of 50 years. Resides in the LaSalle Gardens home purchased by his father in 1949. Currently in charge of his grandson while his wife is in Atlanta. Works part-time as a Standardized Patient at Wayne State University's medical school.

2. Trey Walton, 18, Black: recent high school graduate, currently living with his grandparents because of friction with his own parents. Trey recently began working as a Standardized Patient with grandfather Obie and Sean at Wayne State University's medical school. Trey is unsure of his path in life.

3. Sean O'Neil. 80, White: Originally from Canada. divorced three times, recently moved to Detroit from Chicago where he retired from teaching. Now fiving with his son and his life partner Paul. Sean has been working as a Standardized Patient at Wayne State University's medical school.

4. Dr. Brian O'Neil, 36, White: Urologist at Henry Ford Hospital, raised In Chicago, has lived in LaSalle Gardens for a few years with his life and business partner Paul with whom he

recently opened a pastry shoppe in the neighborhood.


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