I got the chance to sit down with the very talented, award winning Jeffrey Tambor and ask him about his upcoming Monologue Workshop at The Ridgefield Playhouse.
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor you know him from“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Transparent” is bringing his 6-week creative workshop, Performing Your Life: The Art of the Personal Monologue to The Ridgefield Playhouse, Tuesdays, 7-10pm, October 15 – November 19. Over the past four decades, Tambor has been an inspiration both on and off-screen, bringing many iconic characters to life while cultivating a uniquely personal approach to his craft. Tambor’s workshop guides actors, writers and directors through the art of the personal monologue in a hands-on exploration of process. This empowering class focuses on identifying and conquering the fears that keep us from trusting our own creative voices. The class culminates with a performance on November 22 on The Playhouse stage, starring some of the students of the class showcasing the monologues they have worked on. Students will walk away from this workshop with a five-minute monologue – perfect for an audition — as they move on with more courage, confidence and creativity in their career.
Are you originally from Westchester? How did you end up in Katonah?
I can’t take credit for that one; my wife Kat checked out the area and we fell in love with it. Can’t say enough about the schools. I have four kids so we are in every school –elementary to high school now…and they are flourishing. There is such great beauty in this place; even the most rudimentary chore like driving the kids to school and you find yourself just stunned by the sheer beauty.
My son Gabriel and I are literally addicted to the avocado toast. The soups are magnificent and I always ask for more bread.
Why do I need to take a monologue class and do I have to want to be an actor?
Well this is actually a creative workshop; we are using the monologue as a tool rather than using scene work. They are not taken from books or previous monologues. You will create your own. It’s about authenticity. It’s about play and being personal. Not about perfection…getting back to the basics. Not everyone has to do a personal monologue nor does everyone have to perform. I want the room to be full of actors, writers, producers, musicians, cooks—yes, cooks.
Once I select my monologue, what techniques would you use to coach me?
I will ask the students to bring in a personal monologue. The more ordinary the better. It can be as banal as making their lunch in the morning. I’m using it as a tool rather than using a scene from a movie or a play. Again, its about play and being personal and finding your “voice”—that’s why I have called it Performing Your Life.
Do you have a favorite monologue that you have performed?
No but I have an 8 minute audition. That I put together in college by Chekhov and Bertolt Brecht. I first did it at the 11th Street Theatre in Chicago too many years ago and have used it many times in my life. I still know it by heart.
You have been teaching acting for over 50 years. Why a monologue class rather than a straight acting class or an improv class?
It is a creative workshop – what I’m also trying to do to is help people who are a bit stuck. They have the play in their desk drawer sitting there gathering dust or the actor sitting in his “worry chair” waiting for his agent to call about 6 lines in a pilot. It’s not about that. It’ about getting back to basics and the “fun” and play of creativity.
Any reason you chose doing the workshop here rather than NYC?
I was invited to do it at Ridgefield and I want to get back into teaching. Teaching is not teaching. Teaching is learning. My father told my brother and I before he died: “Be useful.” And this is how I believe can do just that.
What can I expect to learn from your class? What can people who take it, get from it?
I want people to walk away feeling more authentic and enjoying play and freedom in their work—whether it be acting, writing, or directing.
And hopefully kicking fear and worry out of the building. This is why we started as artists because it was so enjoyable, freeing, and well—exhilarating.
The class will be about discovering how to be more personal in our work and having fun doing it. Plus perhaps walking away with a five minute audition piece in our back pocket, as you move on with more courage and confidence in your career.