CC Courtney is the most empowering acting teacher I have ever had. I arrived to CC's class at the Playhouse looking for truth in my acting and from the start I could trust him to be brutally honest with me. He never compromised my experience of learning by spoon-feeding me his own ideas and answers. Instead he empowered me as an actress by letting me struggle and by challenging me to expand my talent and push through my fears and blocks. Such generosity is rare in a teacher. In his commitment to demanding that I learn truth and the tools of acting by experiencing them, I found daily inspiration to bring my gut instincts and personal experience to the table. I quickly grew sharper and more confident as an actress.

CC helped me break the boundaries of my imagination in interpreting and envisioning a role for a script. I didn't always like the material, the process or the immediate result, but CC always chose my material and exercises according to what he felt would allow me to grow. As a result, class was exhilarating, like standing on the edge of fear and daring to leap everyday. I fell flat on my face, and I experienced heart-wrenching breakthroughs and triumph. I came up with plenty of creative ideas that didn't work for a scene, and plenty that did. And I owned every one of them.

With CC as my teacher I learned how to listen and be present with other artists. How to be alive with another actor in a scene. And how to work with others. This is often our struggle, but in CC's class, I learned that what I put into my work with another artist is why what I get out of it, and that is ESSENTIAL to an ensemble form of art. CC taught me that the artists I work with are my greatest treasure.

CC's way of teaching prepared me for a professional career by offering a guided environment that simulates what it's like to work in this business... On the set and in rehearsal, I can rarely look to someone else for the answers. It's up to ME to follow my instincts and find my way through a scene; and when a director says "Do it differently," it's up to me to come up with creative, specific and original actions, to bring the director's needs to life. It's what I'm hired to do. It's what CC demanded of us everyday in class? to create freely and independently. And to me it is the most fulfilling way to work.

After studying at the Playhouse, I've been told that I have great instincts, courage in my choices, natural presence and tremendous range, great ability to work in a group and connect with fellow artists, and most importantly, truth in my performance. I owe that in very large part, to CC Courtney.

Carla Tassara
 

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