Because of Milton and the Beverly Hill Playhouse, you see, I am enjoying my work now. I look forward to what I’m doing. So, it was that I just needed to get the jobs and I get the jobs and then be miserable. Now, I’m enjoying work again, like I used to.
The rawness has come back to my work, that there’s a part of my work that had dried up, that’s back now, but it’s, I mean, I mean, Milton even says himself in his writing that, you know, it takes a couple of years before you really start to become, understand what he’s talking about. So, there’s this patience that I’ve, I’ve been studying here now for seven years and I, you know, the changes start to happen gradually and, I mean, he even talks about how you don’t need to change all at once, you just start adding things. So, as these, you know, the months and the years have gone on, I find that, well, it’s the seven-year itch, right? Every seven years we’re a different person.
So, I’m a different person now after seven years so I’m not the same person I was when I started, even biologically. A lot of that’s because of the Playhouse so I can’t specifically say what it is. I just know how to attack a role, I’m more patient, my attitude’s better, I’m a happy person, I play again. It used to talk about acting was playing, you know? To play with people on stage and I’d stopped doing that, but I’m back to playing again.
Penny Fuller is the person that introduced me to Milton, back in the seventies, actually, that’s when I first met him. He was, he was and still is, I just was like, “Who is that?” For years, when I’d known Penny, when she started studying with Milton, she would talk about class and I’ve never studied with anybody. When I got out of school, I just started acting and I didn’t think I needed to. I thought I knew everything. But I’ve known Penny since 70-something so she used to talk about Milton when she started studying with him about class and she had worked with that. I knew other people who studied with him so I’d known about him for a long time.
But about seven years ago, I started realizing how unhappy I was doing the only thing I knew how to do, which was to act, and I saw Rick Podell, we work out at the same gym. So, I just said, “Could I come to see a class?” It just popped into my head. So, I came to see a class and realized that something was going on that was very powerful. So, I came to another class which was a lot of scenes that Milton Katselas had directed here at the Skylight Theater and saw how exciting that was and then I got a job and went away. When that job was over and I came back to class again, I just knew that there was something exciting here that could get me out of this funk that I was in about to where I was with my work.
Milton’s got an insight into people. He’s a very wise sage and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, and he seems to know with each student. I mean, I watch him deal with all of us in this wonderful, big classroom and each student, he can kind of intuit where, what’s up, what kind of a moo this person’s in. I see him just look around the room and say, “Are you all right?” and somebody will look, “Yeah.” So, it’s how he deals with each one of us, he seems to know what we personally need. But, of course, every class I feel like he’s talking directly to me. But then I think we all do. He’s an amazing teacher.
But the one regret I have is that I didn’t find him sooner, find the Beverly Hill Playhouse sooner, because I’ve gotten into a lot of habits that, as he put it, he’s not deprogramming me. So, that’s what I’m learning how to try and cut out the restrictions of what I put on myself.