Maya Massar Actress Poet Artist

About Maya & her acting

 

First of all, I know its not politically correct to say "Actress" these days, I just like the word.  Well, I like "Actor" too.  In fact, I use both depending on my mood. So don't give me a hard time about it, thank you.  I'm also an artist and write poems...

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Please read the "News" section for most recent updates about Maya's work. Thanks!

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 MGM released THE CABIN IN THE WOODS - Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard's new film with yours truly as Mother Buckner, the 'red neck torture zombie'!!

There was an episode of Caprica a while back, in which I actually wasn't covered in creepy make up, but it seems, based at first on my willingness to weather the sometimes grueling, always exciting prosthetic process, that I have become a bit of a creepy movie player (in spite of the fact that the only horror film Ive ever seen is "The Uninvited")!  Between "Outer Limits", the unfinished short "Hand", DreamWork's "The Uninvited" and the new Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard MGM film in which I play a Zombie (...scary films seem to have become my thing.  I'm hoping that isn't ALL I get to do from now on, but its fun, too - kind of like having Halloween all year long)

The secret - though becoming less secret all the time - about me is that my deepest love when it comes to acting is SHAKESPEARE.  To me,  Shakespeare is the God of directing actors - in fact, even from the grave, so many hundreds of years behind us, I say with no qualms that I have never worked with a director who has given me as much as old William does.  As an actor's writer, Shakespeare offers actors moment by moment notes (via his punctuation, capitalization, phraseology and meter) on every aspect of our performance from thoughts, to emotional state, to actions to take.  I am deeply and enthusiastically grateful to my many teachers and mentors over the years* who have helped me to understand the Bard's directive notes and have no words for Mr. W.S. himself other than to call you my God of Performance. I have no delusions that I am doing justice to the Bard's words, but it is ever my intention and passion to do so!

 (*Specifically, you are:  Donald Adams, Gary Davies, Scott Bellis, Christine Willes, Diego Matamoros, Brian Stirner, Nick Hutchison, Tim Hardy, Jessica Turner, Greg DePolnay, Darren Royston, Adrienne Thomas, Andrew Cuthbert, Andrew Charity.  And recently the lovely Kelly McEvenue & Nancy Benjamin of Ontario's Stratford - I adore you all and if I ever do anything right for Shakespeare, its your fault).

Maya's note: if you are one of the many who studied Shakespeare in English class and found this boring, I say:  GO SEE LIVE SHAKESPEARE!  Great performances, mediocre performances, terrible ones!!  Even if its not the most brilliant production - it will not be boring - Shakespeare wrote for actors - not to be read - but to be played and seen. . .remember your teacher talking about the "bad" punctuation in old versions of Shakespeare's printed pays? . . .and how in newer versions this has been "corrected"?  Well, guess what?  Teacher was WRONG.  (Ok, ok, - just my opinion, but you're here now, so try it on and see what you think). . . Shakespeare's punctuation was NOT for grammatical correctness. Nor was it "bad" because he didn't understand punctuation.   Shakespeare uses grammar TO DIRECT ACTORS!!  When we understand this, we may be guided in the most brilliant way by this master director.   Therefore, I say if you find the Bard boring, don't read him - GO TO A PLAY. Or better yet, DO A PLAY!!  

I am not a Shakespeare expert - far from it.  But I am a Shakespeare LOVER.  (Thus this little love-rant comes under the heading "About Maya" - please take it as such).

 Love to all, 

Maya

 

 ...more to come in this space.....thanks for your patience!

 

 

 

 

 

Acting

 

Because early attempts at writing, directing and starring in my own plays from the age of six or seven (having 3 younger siblings provided a pre-made theater troupe) were not particularly well received by audiences (parents), my secret love of acting fell into the shadows until much later in life...

I appeared in my first television role in the Unsolved Mysteries episode, “Miriam’s Memory”, in 1993, thanks to the break from and perseverance of David Massar, my first on-screen director.   Some other roles ensued and in 2002, I co-stared with Hrothgar Mathews in David’s short film “Death’s Dream” which was nominated for 7 Leo Awards, winning five, including Best Short (Producers Richard Bullock, Sarah Rodgers), Best Director (David Massar), Best Cinematography (Brian Pearson), Best performance, Male (Hrothgar) and Best Performance, Female: Maya Massar. 

L to R: Brian, Maya, Hrothgar, David, Sarah

 Of course, the award did not make me any better of an actor than I was before I won the award, but you might think it did as some people began treating me differently - and it helped me to get an agent I liked better than my old one.  The award itself – a lovely glass Lion head on a granite stand - was a joy and an honor to receive.

Though my Leo statuette burned up (along with most of my other stuff) in a house fire, you can see a picture of one that isn't mine, up close, here:



Some Film & T.V. Info

Maya is most excited about her role of Michael's Mom in fabulously intense and present Eion Bailey and wonderfully kind and deeply seeing Weyni Mengesha's short "Dragonfly" (2014) about whistleblowers Michael Hastings, Chelsea Manning & Edward Snowden, partially shot at Maya's place in Joshua tree, CA!

Other stuff. . .

You can see Maya as the upset "window woman" in an episode of the TV show "CAPRICA"  Some other film and television appearances include episodes of “Millennium”, “Outer Limits”, “Dead man’s Gun”, one of Lynn Stopkowitch’s episode of “The L Word”, Bryan Singers’ pilot for the hit show “House”,  "Supernatural" (2009 episode "Death Takes  A Holiday", 2013 episode "Slumber Party") and various short films, independent films, and yes, a commercial or two.   Farther back, I play  “Mom”  in Dreamworks’ remake of the beautiful Korean psychological horror film “A Tale of Two Sisters”. - renamed THE UNINVITED.  The US film stars DAVID STRATHAIRN, ELIZABETH BANKSARIELLE KEBBEL and EMILY BROWNING of “Lemony Snickets”.

 

You can see Maya in an other scary picture . . . for dark, shady seconds at a time, as Mother Buckner, the Redneck Torture Zombie Family's mother, in...

Cabin In The Woods

 

 

Shorts, Student Films and Other SAG/AFTRA Love Projects. ..

Maya is a fan of shorts and student work.  Whenever possible, she will say YES to these projects!  Why, you may ask?  A few reasons:  First up is that Maya loves to act and the more often she is doing it, the happier she is.   Most student projects Maya has worked on are wildly fun and creative - new directors are often wide open to ideas and can be wonderfully co-creative with actors - this is an exciting way to get to work.  Also, short films give actors the opportunity to fully flesh out important (or centra) characters in small chunks - in other words, lots of main characters in a short amount of time.  It is the creation and embodiment of characters that most excites Maya!  And hey, one of you new directors is gonna be a big wig someday and it'll be fun to say "I knew him/her when. . ."

 

List of recent student films upon request.

 


Theater 

I love working on camera, but am also a huge fan of the live audience.  On and off from 1988-2006, I participated in the creation and performance of “Shamanic Theater” – drama combined with sacred ritual, in Southern California at a yearly womens' retreat.  I have done a small amount of theater in Vancouver, BC, and was very pleased to have been a part of a production of  North Vancouver Women's Centers “The Vagina Monologues”.  I was also thrilled to play “Gloucester” in the 2008 RADA production of “Queen Lear”, London, UK. In the summer of 2010 I played the role of Titania, the Fairy Queen in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" directed by Al Thain, with Bard in The Valley - I am always thrilled to get to speak the words of the best writer in the English language.

 

Studies

I have studied On Camera acting , Improvisation, Stand-up Comedy, a fair bit of Shakespeare, Voice work, Scene work, and a pile of other stuff. Some of my instructors in Vancouver and Los Angeles:

Risa Bramon Garcia, Rob Adler, Anthony Gilardi (and his amazing HIPPOS!), Aaron Speiser, Dough Warhit, Molly Benson, The William Davis Center, John Milton Branton, Gary Davies, Gastown Actor’s Studio, Mark High, Andrew McIlroy, Alex Bruhanski Theatre Studio, Christine Willes, The Shakespeare Center (Scott Bellis, Donald Adams), Andrew MacIlroy, voice tune-up with David Smuckler, Diego Matomoros of Toronto’s Soul Pepper, and in London (UK): Brian Stirner, Nick Hutchison, Katya Benjamin, Lorna Marshall, Adrienne Thomas, Chris Heimann, Andrew Charity, Tim Hardy and the inimitable Gregory DePolnay. A brief but delightful course with Kelly McEnvue and Nancy Benjamin of Ontario's Stratford fame warmed my heart and hopefully my acting chops as well.  Aaron Speiser & Anthony Gilardi - you guys ROCK it and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for ongoing inspriation & prodding! 

I believe that continuing to study throughout my acting career gives me a good shot at keeping my work as fresh, transformative and hopefully GREAT TO WATCH as possible! But I also believe that life experience gives an actor breadth and depth and to this end, and also just because I like to live life ALIVE;  I travel, study humanity and continue to hone my other skills and pleasures in life.

Some Skills & Interests

Alternative Healing (you can visit my healing sites if curious - see links page)

Animals
Archery
Art (teacher, painting, drawing, sculpture, weaving, Shamanic art…)
Crystal Healing, Priestess of

Dance (West African, ballet, Free-style, others)
Dialects

Drasft Horses

Drive stick shift
Drumming (West African, Shamanic)
Gardening
Horseback riding
Improv (Acting, dance)                                                                                              Kids
Mask maker
Meditation teacher
Natural Childbirth at home

Natural & Shamanic healing
Poet

Prosthetics

Performance Capture

Crystal Healing

Sailing
Sexual Abuse Support Group Facilitator                                                           Shakespeare

Shamanism

Skiing
Spiritual retreat organizer

Stage fighting

Swimming (was certified Life Guard)
Solitary travel (Africa, West Indies, Mexico, Italy, USA, etc.)
Visual Artist


Voiceover

WitchCraft&Women'sCircles                                                                                                    Writing



...ok, you get the picture...I like lotsa stuff.

STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES, I'll write more when I can!