Welcome!

Welcome to Wren’s Audio Theater Student Showcase where you’ll enjoy films and plays for your ears performed by members of Wren’s Acting classes.

Let yourself to be transported into the world of each story and enjoy!!

wren-2229A Note from Wren:

I love acting because it is the art of behavior that teaches us who we are and why we do what we do as human beings. I encourage my students to think of themselves as “behavior detectives” searching for specific clues about what makes a character tick – fueled by curiosity that prompts questions about who this person is: What’s their background? What influences in their lives contribute to their choices and actions? What do they love, hate, fear?

When investigating and taking on these questions they can step into the character’s shoes, see the world through their eyes and they stop “performing.” The result is that their acting becomes more authentic, dynamic and memorable.

If you are interested in working with me, click here for information about upcoming classes and workshops or email me at wren@wrenross.com.

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The Art of the Monologue

wren_pink_sweaterOnce, when I was teaching Acting to a group of precocious eleven year old girls, I asked what a “Monologue” is.  One young woman rolled her eyes, sighed, and said:” It’s a dialogue where one person is talking.”  Brilliant!

When preparing for an audition or one-person show, Monologues are opportunities for actors to practice making relationships and connections to their listeners using their imagination.  They challenge the actor to find specifics and active choices rather than just talking and telling stories.  As a musician does scales to achieve excellence, monologues are the way an actor can practice their craft.

In the “Art of the Monologue class,” the actors explore their character’s “back story” by recreating scenes from the past using group improvisations, research and creative exercises.  It’s an exhilarating experience that brings forth multi-dimensional, vibrant and authentic performances that are memorable.

And besides being an extremely creative and satisfying challenge for an actor, working on a Monologue is also useful:  In the end, you have another excellent piece to use at auditions to showcase your unique talent.

If you are interested in working with me, click here for information about upcoming classes and workshops or email me at wren@wrenross.com.

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The Iceman Cometh

John Haag plays Theodore Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Iceman Cometh.

johnhaaghead2John Haag started acting in New York in off-off Broadway and regional theaters. Since moving to Massachusetts, John has done theater, industrial films, and voiceovers, and has recorded 15 audiobooks for commercial production and over 200 titles for the Library of Congress.  He started studying with Wren two years ago. You can find samples of his work on Audible.com, Audiofile Magazine, and on his website, http://johnhaag.biz/.

From John: “Hickey is a complex character. I struggled to understand why he would regale his fellow drunks with the story of his lifelong struggle with the bottle and marital infidelity, the cause of all the guilt he feels at having inflicted so much pain upon his wife. Hickey, whose unspeakable act of self-destruction frees him from his own “pipe dreams,” finds his own redemption in an attempt to free his friends from the same fate. I began to realize that Hickey uses his salesman’s charm in a last desperate attempt to convince his fellow sufferers to give up their own “pipe dreams” which have enslaved them to the bottle. Alcoholic that he is, his moods shift instantly from self-loathing to grandiosity, from self-pity to righteous anger, often in the space of a few lines. Wren encouraged me to find all the colors, to try it in ways I would have never considered, and I’ve continued to do that each time I’ve gone back to it. I found working on this piece at once daunting and exhilarating.”

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Love, Loss and What I Wore

Holly Miller performs “I Hate My Purse” from Nora and Delia Ephron’s play Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

__Holly Miller 2252 copyHolly Miller has been a voice actress for four years.  She is active in Community Theater and has a weekly radio program width Audio Journal, a service that broadcasts printed material to the blind and visually impaired.

From Holly: “I initially chose to do “I Hate My Purse” from Nora Ephron’s play Love, Loss and What I Wore because I loved the humor in the piece. It wasn’t until Wren had me physically unpack my own purse that I went past the humor and began to understand the frustration and even shame associated with the disorganization. Once I incorporated these different facets of emotion into the scene, the piece became much more alive.”

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The Guys

Steve McGarry plays Nick in Anne Nelson’s play The Guys, a story about the aftermath of 9/11.

SteveMcGarrySteve McGarry is a Boston-area voice talent and singer, as well as a software engineer. One of his fondest performance memories was being part of a quartet which sang both the USA and Canada national anthems for a packed TD Boston Garden, before a Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors NBA game.

From Steve: “In the play The Guys, a New York Fire Department captain, Nick, is struggling to write eulogies for his men who were lost in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. He enlists the help of Joan, an editor, and, through a series of interviews, they collaborate to properly eulogize each man.

The monologue I selected is Nick’s description of his best friend, Patrick. In this character study, Wren brought me along a lengthy, emotional journey, which revealed Nick’s pain, sorrow, loss, guilt, and humor, in what I feel has been my most-engaging acting performance, to date.”

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All the King’s Men

Chuck Holleman plays Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the King’s Men.

_Chuck Holleman 1865Chuck Holleman is a Boston area voice talent, part-time home renovator, and part-time actor who has appeared on stages throughout Central Northeastern Massachusetts – and once in Boston itself! (that was in 1776 – the musical, not the year).

From Chuck: “Worried that today’s hyper politicized public discourse means the country is coming apart? Well I take heart in reading Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize winning “All the King’s Men.” There always have been, and probably always will be demagogues across the entire political spectrum.  Truly “Everything old is new again.” That is what drew me to wanting to explore the play’s character of Willie Stark, based upon the real life Governor Huey “The Kingfish” Long of Louisiana. To try to imitate the way folks behaved in news reels of the 1930’s, or to play Willie as the cartoon of a corrupt southern politician doesn’t get you anywhere near the essence of what he was all about. Of why half the electorate thought he could do no wrong, while the other half wished he would be assassinated. What could it be that drives this man, what is his “will to power,”  that has him overcome enormous political odds, and his own tragic human flaws to achieve absolute control of his state? Wren’s guidance and coaching was instrumental in having me think about the man in ways that had never occurred to me. It had me see that Willie’s story is an all to human one that we have seen before, and will undoubtedly see again, and I think helped  me give a performance that I thought rang true to what the character was about.”

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Mystic River

Andy Hupprich plays Val from the mystery crime drama film Mystic River.

PictureAndyHupprich Andy Hupprich is a Boston area voice talent. Along with 25 years in the newspaper industry, he has performed on stage in a garage band and in studio as an EJ for an internet radio station.

From Andy: “When I read Mystic River, the character of Val Savage didn’t seem to have much depth to him – he seemed to be just a local tough guy, a hood.  But when you “peek behind the curtain,” you discover that he’s a fiercely loyal person who has a great deal of admiration and respect for those that he feels have done right by him. Val’s past life on the streets has shaped his sense of morality to where murder is an acceptable form of street justice and yet he still seeks empathy from Dave Boyle as a type of moral justification for what he’s about to do. Working with Wren to discover these traits really helped me to understand and develop the character in a way that made him more like a real person, and not just a simple, one dimensional character.”

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The Actor’s Nightmare

Tim Corbett plays George Spelvin from Christopher Durang’s comic play The Actor’s Nightmare.

tim-corbettTim Corbett has been involved in performing, acting and voice-over work for several years.  Since 2013, he has been portraying historical characters at Boston’s Old State House for visitors from all over the world.  In these roles, he opens a window into life in the 1760’s, when Boston was a restive colonial capital of the British Empire, and the town’s inhabitants were subjects of young King George III.  He has performed in local community theatre, appearing as Howie Newsome in Theatre to Go’s production of Our Town in Melrose, MA.  Also, Tim recently performed the role of Chief Inspector in the Facing Exclusion program presented at the Paramount Theatre in Boston, MA.

Before coming to the performing arts, Tim worked with large global clients as a professional in the Information Industry.

From Tim: “Thirty minutes before the curtain goes up, George Spelvin finds himself unexpectedly cast in a play, and then goes on stage not knowing what play he is appearing in.   In this scene, he has been left alone on stage, facing the audience, still with only a vague idea of what might be going on. 

Working on this scene came to feel like stepping from rock to rock across a wide, flowing creek.  Some of the rocks are flat and dry, some tilted, and some loose and slippery.  When George is left standing in the middle of the creek, he chooses to keep going, hoping that he will find the rocks he needs to make it.  To complete this “crossing” he tries to court the audience’s favor with a mix of remembered bits of dialogue and personal details.  Forced to rely on only his own wits, I believe that George comes to understand that the audience is truly rooting for him to reach safety.”

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The Kentucky Cycle

John Haag plays Michael from Robert Schenkkan’s epic The Kentucky Cycle.

johnhaaghead2John Haag started acting in New York in off-off Broadway and regional theaters. Since moving to Massachusetts, John has done theater, industrial films, and voice overs, and has recorded 15 audio-books for commercial production and over 200 titles for the Library of Congress.  He started studying with Wren two years ago. You can find samples of his work on Audible.com, Audiofile Magazine, and on his website, http://johnhaag.biz/.

From John:  “A brutish, violent man, hardened by the oppression he suffered as a boy in his native Ireland, Michael Rowen comes to this country as an indentured servant, penniless and landless, and proceeds to murder his way into ownership of his own land, then kidnaps and rapes a native woman to give him sons who, he hopes, will give him what he’s never had before – security and prosperity on his own land – and to whom he hopes to bequeath the land to establish the Rowens as landed gentry in the new country.  It would have been easy to play the brute with this character, but my work with Wren went deeper, to that vulnerable, wounded child in Michael, who in spite of his cruelty, tries to find in Morning Star some small measure of understanding, empathy, and even love.  The Kentucky Cycle traces our violent, myth-ridden history in this country from one generation to the next, and no character in the play embodies that history more then Michael Rowen.  I loved embodying this character.”

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August: Osage County

Cindy Newell plays Violet Weston in August: Osage County by Tracy Letts.

cindyCindy Newell is a recently retired massage and neuromuscular therapist with a passion for voice over acting. She is an organic farmer and outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, kayaking, travel and adventure.   Cindy and her partner support environmental and wildlife conservation efforts in the US and in Costa Rica where they have property.

 

From Cindy: “The Art of the Monologue class was a unique opportunity for concentrated, intimate, character exploration. The journey of discovering the depth and breadth of a character, I have learned, is an equal journey of self-discovery as you become the character and the character becomes you; as you probe the emotions, motivations and back story of the character. Wren’s skillful guidance is invaluable in this process. She has a sixth sense about how to connect each actor with his or her character, how to help each of us reach deeply inside ourselves and pull out our best work. Her instincts are impeccable and she helps us all stretch and grow in the practice of our craft.”

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The Shawshank Redemption

Richard Congelosi plays Red Foley in The Shawshank Redemption.

richardRichard Congelosi is an actor with film and TV credits. He also had his own radio program “American Jukebox” on a Boston network that ran 12 years. Working with Wren has brought full circle the art and craft of acting, both physically and vocally which helps to color the character of Red Foley. I can relate to Red on many levels, denying your own truth is self inflicted damage, don’t we learn that lesson a little too late sometimes?

From Richard: “Red Foley is a convicted felon serving his time in prison without any real hope of gaining his parole. His life tells him this everyday, but he knows that in his mind and in his heart freedom from his past can only be realized through the wisdom of his conscience. He must speak it. Accepted or denied by his parole board , after 3 attempts, he finally allows his heart to speak his truth, and in doing so finds his freedom.”

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