Actor Matthew Glass on the talent and aspirations of South Florida’s theater scene

Arts / Article

Matthew Glass

It’s not easy being an actor in South Florida and Matthew Glass isn’t afraid to do something about it. His love of acting and theater sparked an idea in him that may, just may, revitalize the community. He plans to host a weekly Michael Chekhov Physical Actor’s Training Intensive every Monday. The intensive will focus on the Chekhov “system” of acting in which the body is viewed as an internal hard drive of memory that needs a constant “tune-up”  to express what’s locked (or recorded) inside.

Neil de la Flor: Why is the Michael Chekhov Physical Actor’s Training Intensive important for the community?

Matthew Glass: I think South Florida has a huge amount of talent, but I do not think visiting South Americans and Europeans come here to see theater. I don’t know why? Actually I could venture with several guesses. We need more diversity, I can count at least three theaters that want to be GableStage. Where are the La Mama’s, the Public’s, the Living Theatre’s?

ND: What’s it like being an actor down here?

MG: In South Florida, we “normally” rehearse for as little as 10 days and then open. That’s insanity! I can think of one theater that doesn’t. One. It’s like yelling at a bottle of wine trying to get it to hurry up and ferment. I can’t do that. It’s why I barely act, and greatly admire the ones that can transform in such a short amount of time. I am continually amazed at what the Gregg Weiner and Todd Durkins of the world create in an amazingly small amount of rehearsal time. They work all the time. The rest of us do not.

ND: Are South Florida actors invested in the acting community?

MG: I have sensed an aversion to training down here. I want to create a totally safe space for a “drop-in Monday Night FreeTune up for actors. Not just to exercise; go to Bally’s for that. But highly rehearsed methods grounded in the work of Michael Chekhov with the hopes of creating, increasing and empowering the finer sensitivities of the actors’ bodies and all … of their senses, which is why I’m leading the Michael Chekhov Physical Actor’s Training Intensive.

ND: What’s it about?

MG: I am overwhelmed by the number of response to this project. Young actors to veterans have contacted me expressing their desire to be a part of it. I am in contact with at least five institutions willing to give/rent space for us. We are searching for a place that is fun to go to and is centrally located with parking and has all the amenities we need. My hopes are that a core company will grow out of this. I am in no hurry to produce a production unless we can see that a company is forming. The idea is that it is free for everyone. You attend regardless of your ability to pay. I am passionate about this work and love sharing it.

If you’re as passionate as Matthew Glass, join the workshop by contacting him at matthewglass [at], call 954-260-6291 or join the Facebook page here: Matthew Glass will perform “Hitler, Pastries, the Perfect Sex Act and Something About God” by the late Iranian playwright Assurbanipal Babilla at the 2014 United Solo, the world’s largest solo theater festival. All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 W. 42nd St., New York. Tickets: $19.25 available at the Theatre Row box office and online through Telecharge or 212-239-6200. For more information, visit the United Solo website.