Aspiring actors have a rare opportunity to learn from two top instructors as award-winning and world-renowned acting
teachers Kari Margolis and Tony Brown visit Fort Lewis College on Saturday.
The two will teach a three-hour workshop on the Margolis Method, a comprehensive program that explores the vital
connections between physical and vocal expression.
The universal principles of Margolis Method are applicable to any theatrical style or aesthetic, ranging from abstract
experimental to linear text-based plays.
Musicians have instruments - trumpets, pianos and violins; visual artists have instruments - paintbrushes, sculpting
tools and cameras; dancers have instruments - their bodies.
"If you trace theater back to its ritualistic roots, you will find a performer who embodies both the actor and the
dancer. ... Only modern Western theater has so drastically separated the expressive human instrument into what we now
call the actor-mind, and the dancer-body," said acting teacher, director, writer and actor Margolis.
Margolis has developed an organic process that creatively links the training of the actor's body with the voice and
puts that union in a dramatic context.
Margolis believes that training actors must go beyond the idea that acting is only about exposing one's vulnerable
Her method encompasses exercises for the actor to develop a skill she calls "muscular physics" as well as structured
Margolis and Brown train actors to be actor, director, playwright and audience.
She empowers them to own and hone their craft through a series of exercises they can do over and over in the same way
musicians practice scales or dancers their rond de jambe. These physical and practical exercises help make acting less
esoteric and ego-based.
Margolis is a living billboard for her method. She inhabits her body, her movements and her physical being with
expression, emotion and psychology.
Her inner and outer being seem to dance in perfect union.
"Theater is transformed by the actor. The actor is the vessel for change," Margolis said Tuesday morning at the FLC
Theater. "They are not only interpreters, but generators."
Margolis and Brown have been together for 32 years since meeting in Paris in the 1970s at the school of Étienne
Decroux, the father of modern mime.
Street performers for 3½ years in Paris before moving to Montreal, the pair returned to the U.S. in 1982.
They opened a school and built their first ensemble of actors, many who continue to perform with Margolis and Brown in
New York and Minneapolis. Perhaps, someday, a new Margolis-Brown ensemble will form in Durango. At least that's an idea
the pair are exploring with the director of the theater program at Fort Lewis College, Katherine Moller.
"We are looking for satellite homes for the company," Margolis said. "We want to be where we feel the support and sense
that we can really have a major impact."
The two have been in Durango for several weeks working with students on a production of "Déjà Vu," which opens next
month on campus. Brown is also working on a one-man show and writing music for "Déjà Vu."
"The community has been so supportive," Brown said, adding that he and Margolis are both inspired by the natural beauty
and the flowing creativity they've found here in Southwest Colorado.
For Margolis, the ultimate mission is to make a difference. Through her method she teaches actors to become the
marionette of their own bodies. And in the end, she hopes we all become the marionette of our own life.
Leanne Goebel is a freelance writer and member of the International Association of
Art Critics. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.