Friday, June 23, 2006

Learn to embrace authenticity

Actor offers class, heads to San Francisco

Express Staff Writer

Jim Jarrett, actor and Ketchum resident, poses a few questions: "Would you like to change? Would you like to grow? Most importantly, "Would you like to have fun while doing it?"

Jarrett figures enough people might possibly say yes to the above queries. He's certainly had positive responses before. In Sonoma, Calif., for instance, he offered a class for non-actors to address just such subjects, and it succeeded so well he is offering the same opportunity in Ketchum later this summer.

The class, he explains, is for "Realtors, bankers, architects, lawyers, teachers, administrators, salespeople, graphic artists, Web developers—anyone whose job it is to sell themselves, to help them get up in front of people and not just survive, but actually enjoy themselves."

To accomplish this, he is first offering two free introductory classes at 6 p.m., Sunday, June 25, at nexStage Theatre in Ketchum, and on Monday, June 26, at another locale yet to be named. It will give a taste of what a more intensive class will be like. At that time he will also discuss a monthlong class to be begin in early July, for which only 20 students will be accepted.

The class is a toned-down version of a master acting class in the Sanford Meisner Technique. Jarrett, who was a student and protégé of the famous "Sandy," has been teaching the technique to actors in Ketchum and elsewhere. But he saw that everyday people could also benefit from the teachings.

In the past, Jarrett has offered several classes at nexStage, including "Manners Matters" for children.

"Why should kids have all the fun?" he asked. "Participants will really learn Meisner and his principles through exercises. It gets you to be an incredible listener. You learn to work from instincts."

The late Meisner famously taught for more than 60 years at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Among his former (and devoted) students are Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Mary Steenburgen, Steve McQueen, James Woods, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jon Voigt, Robert Duval and playwright David Mamet.

Jarrett has other big plans in the works as well. His own production company, Jarrett Productions, and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco are presenting the world premiere of "Talk is Cheap ... Dreams are Priceless," a one-man show about Meisner, which Jarrett wrote based on his own extensive notes from his time with the master.

Though Jarrett has had abundant success touring with the Vincent van Gogh play "Vincent," and with a different version of the Meisner piece, he says, "This is huge opportunity for me."

Located at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, the Magic is well known as actor-playwright Sam Shepard's theatrical launching point in 1971.

Jarrett's three-week run there, from Aug. 8 through Aug. 27, is also a precursor to his opening The Meisner Technique School of Acting in San Francisco.

For more information on the Mesiner class for non-actors and other Jarrett Production projects, contact Jarrett at 720-7888 or

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