map-marker Brooklyn, New York

Grossed out by Barrow Group Acting School and "Theater"

The theater, which only produces a few plays per year that usually star its founder, Seth Barrish, primarily makes money off its acting classes. Fine. But their pitch is that it's a safe environment--professional, but laid back and encouraging. One of the teachers, Lorrel Manning, targeted me personally in class, making inappropriate comments almost every week. He also spent a lot of class time talking about his personal life and the things that were bothering him at any given moment. I'd guess about a quarter of each class was spent on Lorrel's "me time". The various classes themselves were irregular in their helpfulness. Sometimes I learned something great. Other times I thought, "What is this stuff?" FYI, that stuff--some useful, some not--is all written down in a book by the theater founder, and they highly encourage you to buy it. You'll see Seth around the building a lot. He will avoid making eye contact with you, even if you have actually met and talked. There are some nice people. I had a very nice, but inexperienced teacher, and Lee Brock is a lovely person. But no matter how lovely Lee is, a lot of students--and even teachers and other employees--are nasty and competitive, despite the "safe place" mantra. Overall my experience with them was neither positive nor safe: getting harassed as a student, and working with one of their "productions". I put it in quotes because it was the most unprofessional, amateurish theater disaster I've ever had. Horrifying doesn't begin to describe it. I've worked with more professional people in a warehouse, or any hole-in-the-wall theater. Their environment as a "theater" company is pretty standard. People who hang around and kiss butt are the ones working with the productions, but ultimately they end up being teachers (again, since they only do a few plays a year, and they're not working as actors). And despite making *bank* off their classes, there's a lot of sighing and "oh well"-ing about how the company can't pay people who work on their few productions, even if the hours required are insane. In short, don't drink the kool aid. They're not perfect. They're just a hit or miss acting school with a small number of irregularly working actors and one success story (Anne Hathaway--they bring her up a lot). If you're going to do the classes, try to work with Lee. And if you get into one of their shows, keep your expectations very low.
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1 comment

I an believe this. And this is all part of the phoniness of New York Acting, Playwriting, schools.

Every student should be instructed to use constructive criticism only. These orgs

take your money and then try to tear you down, all in the so called good name of trying

to make you a better artist, when only appeasing their own egos.!

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