From the Archives
images, videos and stories from our past
Roger was a founding member at Yale Repertory Theatre in the 60's and instead of going "west" to Hollywood, which would have been commercially profitable, he went to England! At Yale, he had the extraordinary opportunity to listen to amazingly vibrant directors including Stella Adler, Bobby Lewis, and Jonathan Miller, to experience theatre companies like the Living Theatre, the Open Theatre, and meet and work with actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, who came to perform. When he was invited to teach in London for a summer, he leapt at the chance and directed a play by Megan Terry called “Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place.” When flags were used as bed spreads, we were promptly arrested. (England still had a censor in 1967.) Suddenly, Roger was invited to direct throughout Europe, principally at the Royal Court Theatre (London), state theatres in Denmark, Nancy Festival, Du Monde, at the Abbey Theatre, and Edinburgh Festival. The world became much smaller. The Simon Studio is a direct result of his years directing. Actors don't have to create in a room all by themselves, directors, and writers should be there too. The arts should be a common language, an inter-active experience.
Last of the Red Hot Lovers
A Streetcar Named Desire
Bard at the Lake
Henry VI, Part 2
Bard at the Lake
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Putting contemporary writers side by side with the classics, as well as matching actors with directors. The best training to help the artist grow is doing Pinter one night, or Williams, the next night a piece from Shakespeare. New works loosen the language of the classics. The continual work on the classics also gives you a discipline and through that, respect, which reinforces your respect for contemporary works.
Having just completed a run in Oona O'Leary's Please Go Gentle Into That Good Night at the American Theatre of Actors in Manhattan, Roger Hendricks Simon, with Blue Horse Director Lora Lee Ecobelli, brings Bard back to Arts on the Lake in Carmel, NY. Now an annual event, Bard at the Lake is composed of scenes, stories and music from plays of the world's greatest playwright woven into an evening that develops anew each time - a theatrical collage. Seeing the performers from the Simon Studio and Ms. Ecobelli's classes for the first time two years ago, Kent Highway Superintendent Richard Othmer, who participated as "Bottom" in Midsummer Night's Dream, proclaimed "These actors are serious."
(SAM SHEPARD LAB WITH SHOWCASE) Artistic Director ROGER HENDRICKS SIMON announces a new On Camera Professional Lab and Showcase for Fall 2017 (Sept./Oct.) honoring the work of the recently deceased celebrated writer SAM SHEPARD. AUDIT AUDITIONS NOW and discover the best on camera theatre and film lab in NYC! A unique mix of selected actors, directors, writers, agent/casting personnel for theatre and on camera film training and showcase of developing new work and Shakespeare since 1978!
You are cordially invited to Bard @ the Bar, in honor of William Shakespeare and THE SIMON STUDIO's 39th Anniversary
Roger Hendricks Simon
Friday, June 30th 2017, 8:00 P.M.
THE PLAYERS CLUB
16 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY
(Business casual attire required to enter the club.)
This annual SIMON STUDIO celebration event is an environmental performance collage - scenes, songs, music and dance from plays by William Shakespeare, featuring current studio members, alumni & special guests from The Players Club, film, Broadway and London stage worlds.
"... an impressive group of scenes, using every inch of the expansive room, as well as audience members, as part of the ambiance... a ‘60’s style street theatre environment, (where) audience members wandered in and out and photographers documented the performance. Strict homage was paid to the Bard’s language, with vivid, highly physicalized portrayals by all. Actors of all shapes, sizes and ages were encouraged to share their talents, eschewing the youth-oriented look of many recent Shakespearean productions. Director Roger Hendricks Simon is to be congratulated for his dedication to the inclusion of all types of talented actors, and the large, enthusiastic crowd obviously agreed."
- Off-Off Broadway Review
With scenes from THE GLASS MENAGERIE, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH and NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
Review from www.stagebuddy.com
The renowned and industry-respected actor and teacher, Roger Hendricks Simon, brings the best of his students to the stage in his regular Simon Studio Performance Lab events. The evening featured excerpts of scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as Clifford Odets' Golden Boy, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. and Christopher Hampton’s Total Eclipse. Some of Mr. Simon’s famous alumni include John Lithgow, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, James Earl Jones, and James Woods, and Mr. Simon is deserving of every accolade ever received with the proof being in the naturalistic performances by his actors. They each possessed a very clear relationship awareness, which is no doubt is a result of Mr. Simon’s astute training. The students had a masterful grasp and very real understanding of the texts they were working with. They each brought their natural selves to the being of the character they were portraying with their own up-to-date mannerisms and reactions thus making the experience not only enjoyable, but accessible for an audience who might otherwise feel uncomfortable with the likes of Shakespeare. There were many stand-out performances. Robert S. Gregory as King Lear was flawless, completely embodying the role of the king, both in his power-hungry moments, and later when Lear unravels into madness. An excerpt from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet between the Nurse (Suzanne DuCharme) and Juliet (Nasreen Rahman) was a delight to watch with both actresses capturing the true essence of Shakespeare’s intention for this scene giving realistic performances. New works performed included C.J. Gelfand's Assault and Battery Park, a heartwarming story about an unlikely friendship between an older New York-born-and-raised white woman (played by Gelfand) and a young black man (played by Adrain Washington) who is struggling to pay his rent. The play takes place in Battery Park as the two neighbors discuss the shocking murder of their landlord. Gelfand also directs this very relatable and commercially viable play. Orlando Dances by Peter Casanave begins with the spirit of a dead transsexual dancer, Orlando (played with magnetic perfection by Adrain Washington), reflecting on his own death, and then transitions into the difficult situation and the complicated after effects of the women he left behind. Casanave’s writing is sublime and director Vincent Scott manages to create an easily accepted state between reality and fantasy. The acting is on par with the best of any off-Broadway production and is a wonderful opportunity to see excerpts of both classical and modern plays, as well as original offerings, performed in a casual environment that is both entertaining and intoxicating, and where “art” is the true star. Anyone wishing to hone their craft, or continue to nurture their acting skills, or are just simply in need of watching the highest level of acting the way it’s supposed to be done, should make every effort to attend these regular Performance Lab production events at Simon Studio.
For more information visit: www.thesimonstudio.com
Images below from “Bard at the Lake,” November, 2017
Photos and video from Bard at the Bar, June, 2015