Restoring the Sanity of My Humanity

byChett DAngelo

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Professional actors choose Maggie Flanigan studio for Meisner Training. In this video, Katie talks with Chett D’Angelo about how training at the studio has affected his work as an actor and his relationships.

Two-Year Acting Program Interview with Chett D’Angelo

Interview with Chett D'Angelo about the Two-Year Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Interview with Chett D’Angelo about the Two-Year Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Katie: Before we get into some questions about the Meisner technique and training at the studio, I have some general questions. What did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started classes at Maggie Flanigan studio?

A: I think that before coming to Maggie’s, I felt that acting was this crazy thing where you like have to lose yourself to become like a character almost, I guess, that’s similar to method acting, and doing this work here has had me realize how much of my self, my authentic self has to be present to be an influential actor and successful with acting.

Q: Now that you are about halfway through the first year, what do you think it means to train now, aside from being open and available?

A: I think that it’s really about discovering more and more about myself. Being willing to try new things and go places I would never go before plays a massive part in this work, which I’ve realized up until now with Maggie. So just putting myself out there more and being, I guess, courageous in some ways.

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It feels like a playground to see how far my mind goes when crafting a scene. I don't think I would have been able to experience that if there wasn't the intimacy and vulnerability that was allowed, with Charlie and with the class in this space.

Chett D'AngeloActor, Two-Year Program

Q: What about the Meisner technique resonates with you so much as an actor and person?

A: I feel like the Meisner technique is like– What I love about it is that it’s had me recognize truthfully what I’m OK with, what I’m not with within my personal life. It has improved how I communicate in my relationships. I think it’s great to have, even navigating through life with the Meisner technique and training.

Q: What have you learned about yourself this year that has surprised you?

A: I realize that I don’t speak up a lot for myself, and I let things go even when something is offensive to me or if I’m not OK with something. Much of this work has had me speak up more when I’m not OK with something or when I am OK with it too—just speaking up and expressing how I truly feel about things.

Q: What led you to commit to a training program like our two-year program here at the studio?

A: I was looking to get training for acting, but I also did not want to– I think there was a lot of resistance around having to live through some traumatic experiences I’ve had in the past. This is not about that; it’s more about what is happening now that we share. It’s not about re-experiencing those past events that were traumatic. So I feel that’s what’s coming up for me now.

Q: What about the studio allows you to go to those places in class that you need to– you’re using your imagination.

A: Yes.

Q: Is it your class? Is it the space Charlie’s cultivating? It could be many things, but what about it resonates with you that makes you feel safe enough to explore those vulnerable parts of yourself?

A: I think the fact that there’s no judgment. There’s something that Charlie said that resonated with me about how we can accept our demons in this space, all parts of ourselves. The fact that there’s just so much freedom. There’s so much freedom when there’s no judgment; it feels like a playground to see how far my mind goes when crafting a scene is dope. It’s so cool. I don’t think I would have been able to experience that if there wasn’t a space like this, if there wasn’t the intimacy, the vulnerability that was allowed, I guess, with Charlie, with the class, even in this space.

Chett D'Angelo talking about the two year acting program in New York at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Two Year Acting Program for Professional Actors in New York – Call (817) 789-1599

Q: Were you specifically looking for Meisner programs? What led you to pick this program specifically?

A: What led me to pick this program was, well, a friend of mine had taken this program, and she was like, this is a good program. That people are great. Charlie is an excellent teacher. I was contemplating different ideas about being a regular, just going to an acting class or going to classes, going to a school. I think that this place resonated with me because it just seemed more intimate and cozier. I appreciated that.

Q: You also took movement one this past fall. How do you feel your work in action contributed to what was happening in the acting classroom?

A: I think that until recently, I’ve intellectually processed my emotions, thought about different things that have happened in my life, the fantastic things, the sad things, everything, really the range of everything. I found that because of taking movement, I’ve been able to process things I’ve gone through physically. So there are different parts to processing emotions, including the intellectual aspect. We can conceptualize all of that, and that’s great, but to physically experience what emotion– how something made me feel like was just a whole another level.

It opened a door in so many ways in the acting class. First, it is being able to feel more connected. It also made me more present and on the ball with what was happening around me and how I think about different situations.

2022 summer acting program begins in New York, NY

Q: I know we’re all in our way shell-shocked to be back in the real world, but what does it feel to come to this space at least twice a week? How has that transition been for you?

A: I feel like it’s bringing my sanity back, honestly, to be in-person. To have that human connection means a lot to me. I feel like with the pandemic, everything being virtual, there are benefits to it, and I think for me, being in-person makes it so much better, but yes, it’s been a fantastic experience.

Q: You mentioned a little about Charlie and the freedom he encourages in the classroom, but can you talk a little bit more about Charlie as a teacher in general?

A: OK. Charlie is like, if you want to, I think that he’s been an incredible role model, I would say. He’s had me see things from so many different places. I feel like a lot of the reason I’m able to open up is that he is pretty much open to anything. Also, as a teacher, he’s really, he’s no joke. If you want to become an actor, he will turn you into an actor, which is necessary, especially in this industry. If you want to work seriously in this industry, you need an act9ing teacher like him—just my opinion.  I think he’s incredible with that, being honest.

Also, he’s been pretty sweet as far as just talking about if something is a very vulnerable experience; I feel like he’s very aware of what is– He’s very familiar. He’s very knowledgeable about everything. So even if there have been times where I felt like I was following the motions but not being, he has like a detector that he knows how to– That’s all I really could say about him. He’s perfect. He’s a great teacher.

Chett D'Angelo on vacation. In this interview zchett is talking about the acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Chett D/Angelo on Training at Maggie Flanigan Studio – Two Year Acting Program – Call (917) 789-1599

Q: How has the sense of community amongst your classmates contributed to your experience and willingness to show up?

A: I think much of what this work has brought up is taking the time to commit to myself. I think the teachers are very, very good at having you recognize how important you are and how important it is to take care of yourself when you’re doing this work because it can be taxing. Still, it could be the most beautiful experience ever. It is also crucial with whatever knowledge you have, and it’s essential to take the time to take care of yourself and nurture all that with yourself during this time.

Q: What would you say to a prospective student considering our Summer Intensive or two-year program?

A: I’d say that when we want something, we make the time for it. I think it’s essential to make time for anything you want for yourself, even for other people around you. This work will benefit you in all aspects of your life. It’s not even just, “Oh, I want to become an actor.” It’s like, “Yes, if I want to just function in this world more alive if I want to be more alive walking through this world, if I want to be more myself, this work is so important.” It’s it. What would it have to commit? What would it have? What would it take for like you to save yourself in that way to make that time for yourself?

Q: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want to share?

A: I don’t know if you might have asked me this, but I didn’t think of this if you have. I believe a massive part of why I even wanted to go into acting is like the push representation. I was born female and am a trans man, but I think the media teaches people how to treat people. A dream of mine would be to portray somebody, a character who’s pretty much an accurate representation of what being a trans man.

I think that would be a dream for me to have, even if it’s just one person, understand or gain a new perspective. That’s what means a lot to me.

Q: How do you feel about the Meisner work and the work being done here with your teachers and classmates?

A: I think it’s helping me redefine my identity as a man. When I started transitioning, a part of me felt like I couldn’t be entirely vulnerable. So to have the space to be vulnerable and express my masculinity in a vulnerable way is essential for all men, or anybody who’s transmat, or just masc presenting, understanding what masculinity is, and then expressing, being able to experience my femininity as well.

People think, “Oh, my gosh, I got to be this.” I guess I had this idea that if I’m transitioning to a man, I got to be this masculine, hyper-masculine person. Then this is just like, “Oh, no, you can be feminine.” It’s pretty hot too. Like, it’s a pretty sexy thing to be when there’s so much to explore within my identity, and I’ve felt so safe doing that here. Yes.

Q: How do you feel about this program? Aside from just preparing you to be the actor you want to be, how do you feel like it’s preparing you to be the person you want to be?

A: I think it’s having me be more in touch with reality, what’s going on in my life, rather than what I think is going on, what I think the potential of something can be is going on. Even in my relationships, I feel like up until recently, I was like seeing people for their potential but not seeing them for them. I’ve made massive progress in my relationships with communication. All relationships, family, romantic friendships, all that. Yes.

Learn More About the Professional Acting Program

Learn more about why the Maggie Flanigan Studio is the best choice for actors who want to study the Meisner Technique by visiting the studio website (https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com)and reading online reviews. Actors who have questions about the programs and classes at the studio can call (917) 789-1599.

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