“I know the work….. I just didn’t know your name.”
That’s all we heard over and over again from actors, teachers, students, interpreters, even taxi-drivers all along in Madrid the week we were there to teach our Workshop to Spanish Actors July 6th through 10th 2015. It was truly interesting to hear this when Juan Carlos Corazza, a fellow acting student of Susana’s in Buenos Aires back in the day, knew ‘Eric’s name’, and ‘Eric’s work’ very well.
In 1988, when Eric visited Buenos Aires, the city went wild. Everybody knew about Stanislavsky, Strasberg’s Method and Morris’s System. They were all in love with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, and Jack Nicolson, so when they heard that Morris was in town they couldn’t wait to have a chance to meet him, listen to him, and see him work. Actors and students had been introduced to Eric Morris by Carlos Gandolfo and Augusto Fernandes, two of Susana’s most adored, well known, and respected acting teachers in Buenos Aires, and in Europe. They had taught, talked about, and praised his work endlessly. Everybody carried “No Acting Please” around in their purses, in their back-packs, or in their bags. “No Acting Please” was their Bible and “How do I feel?” was their creed. At Gandolfo’s they couldn’t get enough of Sense Memory, and at Fernandes they couldn’t get enough of “Eric’s Round” and “How do I feel?” The week Eric visited, teachers cancelled their classes to either go with their students to Eric’s lecture, or to invite him to their own studios. Dora Baret, one of the finest actresses in Buenos Aires, wife of Carlos Gandolfo, told Eric when she met him “I would learn English just to have a chance to study with you.” Since his visit Eric has stayed in touch with Matias Gandolfo, son of the late Carlos Gandolfo. That is how impacting his visit was. It was a historical, and a memorable week that brought everybody all so close together. Corazza, and Susana were part of that week as were all the rest of their fellow actors and students.
We were told shortly after we arrived in Madrid for our Workshop, that not only ‘Eric’s System’ was in fact being taught, but that it was being taught with an incredible specificity, and success at Juan Carlos Corazza’s studio in Madrid, and for the last twenty five years; Relaxation, Sensitizing, Personal Inventory, Instrumental Work in its totality, Getting ready to get ready, Sense Memory, Obligation, Choice, and Choice Approach, Externals, and Subpersonalities. Corazza’s students had been consistently handed paperwork that details Eric’s Instrumental work, and Craft work, and had been, and are being trained in his system with no mention at all of ‘Eric’s name’ whatsoever. ‘Eric’s name’ does not even appear in the list of references. Furthermore, when over the years, teachers that new of ‘Eric’s work’ tried to talk Corazza into inviting Eric to his studio, he would always reply, “He lives too far away” or “maybe some other time”, and they were lead to feel that it would be best not to mention ‘Eric’s name’ to the students. Well, needless is to say, Corazza’s students never learned ‘Eric’s name’ and that the time to visit never came along until Lorena Bayonas, who teaches ‘Eric’s work’ at her own studio in Madrid, invited us to come over. It was a very small group because very few people knew ‘Eric’s name’ but we decided to go regardless because there is nothing that we would rather do nowadays than take the work to all those actors that want to work with us, and can not afford to come to Los Angeles. The group was absolutely lovely, powerful, talented, incredibly appreciative, and took to ‘Eric’s work’ beautifully. It was worth the profound sense of disappointment and betrayal, the sleeplessness, the anger, and even the tears. In spite of it all, we are looking forward to going back to Spain soon to work with Spanish Actors once again.
Susana had a fascinating encounter with a taxi driver one morning on her way to the workshop. The taxi driver happened to be an Italian Actor who had been training at Corazza’s Studio, so she dared ask what he had been learning, and he replied that he had been doing a lot of Instrumental Work such as “Go Crazy” and “Disconnected Impulsivity”, and quite some “Subpersonality Work.” Susana asked him who the author of those exercises was, to what the taxi driver responded without hesitation “Corazza”. Susana told him she was an Acting Teacher herself, and that in fact he was talking to the wife of the man who had created all those “Instrumental Exercises”, and that in fact he was as well the one who had adapted Hal and Sidra Stone “Subpersonality Work” to Acting after having asked them for their permission. She introduced herself “Nice to meet you, my name is Susana Morris, and my husband happens to be the man that created the work that you have been learning. He has written eight books on Acting. His name is not ‘Corazza’. His name is ‘Eric Morris’.” It felt like a scene taken straight out of Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”.
Since we left we have learned that Corazza claims now that he studied with ‘Eric Morris’. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has never studied with me. I don’t even remember meeting him at all. All we ever have is our integrity, and we build our lives, and our careers slowly, based on our passion, honesty, and our sense of ethics, truth, and morality, mentioning everybody that has come before us, our sources, and everyone that has shaped us into the people we have become. We do not build our careers on somebody else’s success, or we falsely lead people to believe that somebody else’s work is our own. We have two movies to recommend “Words” and “Big Eyes”. They are a must see. Juan Carlos Corazza should be able to play the lead in both movies very successfully. When Johnny Depp was interviewed at “Inside the Actors Studio” he was asked who he owed his training to, and he answered “Stanislavsky, Strasberg, and Eric Morris. When I read ‘No Acting Please’ it put it altogether for me.”
We hope you embrace your careers, and your lives on and off stage, and on and off camera, with the utmost respect, and love for honesty. We should always come from a place of truth.