Bringing My Soul Forward

byTashimah Evans

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The Maggie Flanigan Studio Meisner Intensive trains professional actors based on the teaching and work of Sanford Meisner. In this interview, Tashima Evans discusses with Katie how the Meisner Intensive was different than she expected and how she has redefined for herself what it means to be real and authentic.

Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans 01 - Maggie Flanigan Studio

Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans Interview – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: Tashima, what did you think training as an actor before you started the six-week Meisner intensive?

A: Well, to be very honest, I’m just going to talk about my introduction into the studio and what my anticipation was in coming into studying here for the summer. I looked at it as it would be another class that I would take. I would learn a little something, add it to my resume, and then move forward. That’s kind of how I looked coming into, studying at the studio, that’s how I looked at my experience. I was like, “I’ll do this. I’ll study a little bit, I’ll add it to my resume and boom, I’ll be good.”

fall meisner intensive begins - fall meisner intensive program - (917) 789-1599

The Fall Meisner Intensive Begins – Fall Meisner Intensive Program – Call (917) 789-1599

Q: What do you think actor training is now that you’re in your last week of the six-week program?

A: It’s been, for me, incredibly life-changing. I’ve seen it help me grow as far as my artistry, and I feel like coming into it, I had the respect for acting as an art. I’m an artist. I always say, “I’m not just an actor, I’m an artist.” I’ve had a profound respect for artistry, but I don’t think I saw how deeply flawed I was in my view of my art and how I put limitations on what I did with my art.

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I thought that this would just be another acting class that I would take. I would learn a little something, add it to my resume, and then move forward. It's completely transformed how I view actor training. There is no way now for me to go back to what I was doing before as an actor. My life has changed.

Tashimah EvansStudent, Meisner Intensive

I feel like being in the class with Charlie has been mind-blowing. It’s impacted my personal life. I find myself hearing Charlie’s voice in my head when I’m out and about. If something is going on that I want to do, I’m thinking, “What’s more important, what this person is doing or what you need and want?” It’s helped me to be more clear about what I wanted in my life, and there’s no turning back, I feel like now. It is no way for me to go back to whatever I was doing before as an actor. It’s completely transformed how I view training.

Q: Was there something specific that happened over the course of the six weeks that changed your point of view on the training?

A: Wow. There were so many moments, not even just for myself, but watching other people work, but I’ll say there was one moment where I was doing an activity, and I used a very personal experience. I wept in a way that I’ve never wept in front of anyone. No one in my life, my family, friends that I’m close to that I know has ever seen that part of me. I was choosing to use that as my motivation. It was something I’ve done privately by myself, but never in front of people.

To me, that feeling is very addicting. It also it showed me that’s what I want to share more as an actor. I want to expose more of my private moments. When I’m by myself, when I’m my thoughts, when I’m in the car, whatever that is, I want to showcase that. I feel like that opened my eyes to what I’ve been– a wall that’s been up for myself. It’s been like, “I can be strong, and I’ll do this little part of myself but this private moment, feelings, and emotions that I share, I don’t want to share that.” I feel like that was the moment where it opened it up for me, and I was like, “Hey, just do whatever you feel what’s real.”

Q: What did you learn over the course of the six weeks that was a surprise or that changed you?

A: That I needed training. I came into it thinking, “Well, I’m going to do this class and then I’m just going to put it on my resume. I don’t even need to move forward in anyway.” Just how much I needed to unlearn and grow as an actor and how I had emotional blocks in places I wasn’t even aware of. I feel like that was a big thing for me, but then also to be more of myself and be real and authentic.

Q: How has your experience at Maggie Flanigan Studio been different from other classes and other studios where you have studied?

A: I will say that I did take away things that were good from other situations or experiences that I had because it can to where I am, but I feel before, I was playing at acting. I wasn’t tried and right coming from my heart and my soul more. I feel like being here and studying at Maggie and studying with Charlie has taught me how to bring my soul forward, and it is not a thing that I’m playing at but being real and being authentic. I feel like that’s the difference, not being– also, about Charlie, is Charlie’s not trying to sugarcoat anything. He’s keeping it all the way real.

fall meisner intensive begins - fall meisner intensive program - (917) 789-1599

The Fall Meisner Intensive Begins – Fall Meisner Intensive Program – Call (917) 789-1599

I even tell people that the thing that he’s noticed about me and about things that I’ll do and how it materializes in class, I’m not even aware. He’s been so on point and accurate in a way that no other acting coach has done with me before. I feel like this is where it’s about the artistry, it’s about the craft. It’s about respecting it, and it’s not about, “Let’s see what jobs you’re going to book.” No, it’s like, “No. Where’s your heart? Where’s your soul? Where’s the feeling?”

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: Well, he’s rough. There were moments in the beginning, as I was getting to know him, that he doesn’t even know this, but I was p***** off at him. I could think in my head like, “I’m going to walk out.” I’m telling myself, calming myself down and turning, “I’m going to walk out,” but I realized I need his teaching style. It’s not going to be about making you feel good, it’s going to be about the truth, and sometimes, the truth hurts. It doesn’t always feel good. I feel like Charlie has a respect for the craft, respect for the art, and he’s not about making people feel good. It can be rough sometimes. I’ve seen people and myself cry because of that.

Q: What would you say to someone who says, “I don’t need the training.”  Or, “I’m 24, I’m too old, or I don’t have the time.”?

A: We all need to grow. As anyone has learned it was myself that there was so much in me that needed to come out. I hadn’t even at all touched my maximum potential. I don’t even feel like that I’ve reached that in six weeks. It’s been like grazing the surface of what I’m capable of doing. It’s worth the investment; it’s worth the time. Who cares what anyone else is doing? What do you see yourself needing to do? What do you know that you need to bring forth? What about yourself needs to shape and change?

If someone’s even inquiring about it, then there’s a part of you that knows you need it. Don’t sell yourself short and think, “No, I’m good because I’ve done that before.” I did that part with this, doing the summer intensive. It’s like, “No, you need it. You need to grow.” If you want to be great at anything, it requires training.

meisner intensive - meisner intensive acting program - 917-789-1599

Meisner Intensive – Meisner Intensive Acting Program New York – Call 917-789-1599

Q: There are a lot of Meisner intensives in New York, so why would you tell someone that Maggie Flanigan Studio is the best place to train?

A: Before coming here, I looked at some other places. From what I’ve seen, from the people that have studied here, this was a tried and true like, “This is where you need to be.” I came to a movement performance, it was their final movement performance, and I was moved to tears. Not even just because, “Oh my gosh, these are great looking people and they’re perfect,” but every single person’s soul was infused in what they were doing.

I feel like studying at Maggie has shown me what everyone is. It sets a standard for every person in the class, professionally and as far as artistically. I just have not experienced that anywhere else. I am tough– What is it, like a tough egg to crack? It’s the truth for me, and it’s opened me up in so many other ways. I feel like there’s no other place for me to train.


Meisner Acting Programs in New York

Meisner Acting Programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

To learn more about the acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, including the Meisner Intensive, visit the acting programs and registration pages on the studio website https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com. Interested students should contact the studio during business hours to schedule an admissions interview. Call (917) 789-1599.

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