as Serebryakov in Uncle Vanya
as Charlie in Bethany byLaura Marks
as Jack in Uncle Jack by Michael Hammond
In this modern-day retelling of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Uncle Jack, his niece Sonya, and his British brother-in-law Derek struggle to save their small summer theatre company in the Berkshires…and the company’s looming demise causes old wounds to bleed afresh. Jack fires a keepsake pistol, Derek runs for cover, and hearts are broken. A comedy of Chekhovian proportions!
The Acting Lesson: A Broad Theory for the Theatre
A video adaptation of my book, The Existential Actor: Life and Death, Onstage and Off
The book and the video draw on ideas developed by Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death) who wrote that awareness of mortality is a powerful motivator of human behavior. His work inspired me to think in a new way about how we - theater and film artists - create and interpret character. In the video I cover a variety of approaches to the art and craft of the actor, including those developed by Aristotle, Diderot, Stanislavski, Grotowski, Strasberg, Meisner, Mary Overlie, Anne Bogart and others. My synthesis focuses on the elements, ACTION, TRANSACTION, SHAPE, and SURRENDER.
I've been using these ideas as touchstones in my own work as a director, actor, and teacher. I hope you enjoy the video and welcome your comments.
Liviu Ciulei – A Day in the Life
video documentary - 43 minutes
By Jeff Zinn
In the late fall of 1988, as a student in the directing program at the ART Institute, I was fortunate to be assigned the task of assisting the great Romanian director, Liviu Ciulei. Liviu had been engaged to both adapt and direct "Platonov," Anton Chekhov’s unproduced, first rambling effort at a major play. (Michael Frayn’s 1984 adaptation of "Platonov" is "Wild Honey.") As part of my curriculum at the ART I was also encouraged to audit any Harvard courses I might fit into my schedule, and I somehow managed to find a slot in an under-enrolled film production course. One of our assignments was to shoot a “day in the life” documentary.
Combining the two obligations, I obtained permission from Liviu to record him over the course of one day as he hammered out the "Platonov" adaptation with translator Mark Leib. The video was recorded on VHS tape using a consumer grade camcorder (the picture quality is pretty bad.) I recently had the raw footage digitized and I re-edited it using Final Cut Pro X.
Roslyn Zinn: A Life in Art
This is a video I compiled as a tribute to my mom.
How to Build a Theater in 26 minutes
For almost exactly one year, from June 2006 till July 2007, I had the pleasure of watching the construction of the Julie Harris Stage from the window of my office, above the Wellfleet Post Office. Starting in September, 2006 I trained a camera on the action and captured thousands of images which I transformed into this time-lapse movie. Enjoy the show!