Show Business review by John Rowell:
As every good actor knows, a successful performance begins with preparation, and each actor has his or her own method-- usually a combination of methods culled from various teachers and acting classes. In New York acting teacher Jim Bonney's new CD, Bonney puts the influence on "emotional preparation"--a step-by-step process that helps the actor to get an emotional life going before the scene begins or the camera starts to roll, or even before he or she walks into the audition room.
Using a variety of guided imagery paired with subtle music, Bonney, with his patented, calming "acting teacher" voice, leads students through exercises to connect them to what he calls "the four main emotional lines": anger, sadness (including pain and loss), fear and happiness. The process is simple enough to follow, and seems sensible and practical in its application--those really are, it would seem, the primary emotional states for an actor to be able to access. Bonney doesn't push a wacky revolutionary approach; his exercises and imagery are basic and elemental, and that's a good thing. Good actors are aware that simplicity and an emotional connection to the life of a character and a scene are what is called for in the most fundamental sense--and is often the most difficult thing to achieve.
And even though, while listening to all of this objectively, it's somtimes hard not to think about the famous/infamous song "Nothing" from A Chorus Line in which acting exercises are mercilessly ridiculed, it doesn't detract from the CD's overall effectiveness. (I'm convinced that number must still be the bane of serious-minded acting teachers everywhere.) Bonney's exercises, as demonstrated here, are free of pretension and pure in concept, and this CD should prove to be helpful and instructive to actors looking to fine-tune their approach to emotional preparation.
"Jim has helped me make major emotional breakthroughs. He teaches with great sensitivity and has assisted me in gaining the confidence neccesary to sustain success in the business."
Dan Cooney, Yale Drama School, Les Miserables on
Broadway, Evita National Tour
"Jim is guiding me into rooms inside myself which I have kept locked for years or forgotten completely. He has brought my work to a whole new level of authenticity."
John Hickok, Aida on Broadway
"Jim Bonney is a dedicated, caring artist who challenges his students to become more than they are. My connection to character became deep. I became honest, going deep in my work. I became the actor I always wanted to be."
Jeff Denman, Producers and How to Succeed in
Business on Broadway
"I found Jim Bonney's Emotional/Instrument Workshop wonderfully effective in helping actors develop spontaneity, emotional freedom and a heightened sensitivity to others. He is a dynamic and invigoratig teacher."
Jack Poggi, Actor/Author-the best selling book:The
"Since working with Jim Bonney I have found my voice both professionally and personally. He is helping me to become the actress I was born to be."
Ruthie Henshall, "Chicago" on Broadway
"Absolutely Works" I used it before my audition. It really works! Andrea Reese/Star/Creator "Cirque Jacqueline"One woman " In ten minutes I was into my emotional life fully" Jim Mckee/actor