13th July 2017

The LIAR #002 – London International Actors Recommend

Daniel Anderson recommends an app called Blinkist to keep learning and satiate his curiosity.

Blinkist in an app that captures big ideas and delivers them in small digestible packages. Dan says about the app that it changed his life:  “In essence, the Blinkist team reads non-fiction books and sums up the key points in an easy-to-understand format (blinks), enabling you to get the gist from each of the books on their data base in under 15 minutes. All the books you save work immediately offline. I tend to use the app on the tube when there are no lines to learn, or to have something to think about before I go to bed. Do the trial and decide for yourself”

The app is free to download. It gives you a free trial for 24 hours, with unlimited blinks. After that you get one free blink a day, or you can pay 50GBP for a year and get unlimited blinks.

Where to find it : https://www.blinkist.com

Marta Da Silva recommends the Anatomy of a Suicide at the Royal Court

Alice Birch’s stunning, Katie Mitchell-directed new play is about three generations of women struggling with their predecessors’ legacies. Alice Birch describes it as “choose your very own bleak adventure, basically”.  Anatomy of a Suicide’ is essentially three dramas set in different time periods, all performed on stage at the same time. The three women whose lives are on display are Carol (Hattie Morahan) in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Anna (Kate O’Flynn) in the ’90s and ’00s, and Bonnie (Adelle Leonce) in the 2030s. We understand shortly into the play that the three women belong to the same dynasty.

In Marta’s words, it is a spectacular play with a very interesting and ambitious staging, and beautiful acted.”

Read Alice Birch humorously talking about her play here: https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/alice-birch-its-like-choose-your-very-own-bleak-adventure-basically

Where do I get tickets:

anatomy of a suicide

Calin Bleau recommends the book  How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

According to this book, You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you!

Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

The book offers to teach you: the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
Calin heartily recommends the book “because of it’s timeless approach to people and how to get yourself out of your shell as an actor and a person in general. I wouldn’t stick to the advice in it word for word but one read may have a positive effect on how to treat with people in our industry and in our lives.”

Calin is not the only one who thinks so:

“it changed my life” (Warren Buffet)

“The most successful self-help book of all time… Carnegie has never seemed more relevant” (The Times)

“It’s helped me immeasurably in life. I think everyone should read it” (Jenny Colgan, Independent on Sunday)

Where to find it https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People-Dale-Carnegie/0091906814

Tatiana Collet Apraxine recommends the Mono Box as wonderful resource for actors and theatre makers to expand their knowledge and practice.

You probably already know about the Mono Box, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.
THE MONO BOX defines itself as “a collaborative, not-for-profit network that caters for actors and theatre-makers seeking alternative, affordable training. We are committed to empowering actors by opening the door to what can seem like a daunting industry. Over the past three years The Mono Box has become a go-to resource, creating a dialogue between the professional world and those who are emerging into it.”
Their mission is to support emerging talent in theatre

To provide access to a unique resource of play texts

To encourage the personal, professional and social development of young artists

To equip young people with practical tools for the industry

To form a collective that fosters and nurtures creative relationships

I have been astonished by the diversity and the quality of workshops offered. From Meisner, to Viewpoints, to Brecht to offering audition and speech “surgery” workshops, to comedy, you can find an astonishing range of practices taught. The faculty brought in is of incredible quality and there is a strong sense of community present.

No matter where you are in your career and craft, the Mono Box offers wonderful opportunities to refresh, expand, challenge your craft and meet wonderful, ambitious and dedicated fellow artists.

How do I take part: http://www.themonobox.co.uk/events

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23rd February 2017

I’d like to thank… – International Actors Nominate their Favorite Tools, Techniques and Breakthroughs!

SAG Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Berlinale, Césars, American Academy Awards… THAT Season is in full blast.

Throughout this period, we tend to hear critically acclaimed actors thank those who contributed the most to their artistic (and of course commercial) success as they receive a coveted trophy.

As this reminded us we all have our own path and process, we asked a few members what acting technique or acting experience proved to be the greatest tool or biggest breakthrough to date. Here are their answers below.

Judith Georgi:

“I think the one technique that made me confident on stage was Grotowski’s idea of the Poor Theatre. To me, It was really freeing to realise that actors can create worlds through their body and imagination. Then there was a teacher, Jennie Buckmann, who combines Stanislavski’s technique with a wealth of directing experience and an inquisitive nature that is simply contagious. Working with her in London, she made me look at Shakespeare’s work in a different way.”

Marta da Silva:

“I’d say that having always struggled with plays from writers such as Ibsen, where character’s motivations and actions usually convey an enormous amount of internal turmoil that isn’t immediately obvious, even when analysing the script, Graham McLaren’s actioning based directing proved to be one of the most useful and eye opening experiences for me after graduating from the Conservatoire.  Definitely gave me a method to systematically analyse and work on a script that allows a lot of detail in performance and makes sure the actor keeps it ‘in the body’. A good example of this type of work was A View from the Bridge directed by Ivo Van Hove last year.”

Tatiana Collet Apraxine:

“Clowning encourages actors to be playful, imaginative, poetic, tragic, moving ridiculous, and is by far the most exciting and liberating training I have ever done. Through clowning, I have discovered how to completely live in the moment. In my work, I now thrive to be braver, bolder, messier, more courageous, vulnerable, honest, ferocious. Through clowning, I have found moments of incredible beauty and truth, and most importantly it has allowed me to find a sense of joy and fun in my work, and to be absolutely ridiculous while ignoring the voice of the critic. The Why Not Institute is a great place to do it if that info is needed anywhere.”

Lise Aagaard Knudsen:

“Different techniques at different points – the Stanislavski Toolbox has helped me; immediate circumstances, intentions, I loved when my teacher at Central, actress and director Federay Holmes said there’s no sarcasm and only truth, or a director who said there are no characters. Asking myself: do you really mean that? And is that the first time you say/think that? (Techniques from The Factory). It all depends on the job and the situation.”

Anne-Sophie Marie

“Relearning Meisner technique with Amy Marcs (NYCDA) got me out of my head and also gave me the focus I needed to overcome  my stage fright. Suzuki was amazing for ensemble work, and gave my body the stamina needed to perform (I lost it later and could tell the difference!)

Finally, working on Maudite Machine with Catherine Ghobert back in France connected me to words on a sensory, almost sensual level, so that was another breakthrough.

Usually, anything tactile affects me greatly, be in a technique or in the rehearsal process. I’m pretty analytical and intellectual to begin with, so though I’m a big fan of script analysis and actioning, I do tend to find the magic through more sensory triggers.”

Hervé Goffings:

“My breakthrough in my acting is not necessarily due to a specific technique but to the understanding that I am not on stage to please an audience or to show off my acting skills. My job as an actor is to put a believable character to life, to be true to that character and most importantly to enjoy being that character. If you don’t give much relevance to what people may think of you when you are acting and focus on your character’s objectives you will most likely to do one of your best performances!”

Eva-Marie Becker:

“My acting heavily relies on the techniques developed by Sanford Meisner and Ivana Chubbuck, added to by sensory and physical tools.

Though nothing groundbreakingly new to someone gone through classical drama training and having worked with Stanislavsky’s methods before, Ivana Chubbuck’s comprehensive way of giving you 11 tools to prepare a scene has given me a more structured way to approach my preparation. Now I am not using random tools anymore but a well thought through set of tools, giving me the peace of mind I need to ‘let go’.

This is where Meisner’s technique comes into play. Working in London with Scott Williams and The Impulse Company was when I truly understood what kind of actress I wanted to be: the one that does the preparation and then lives the scene moment to moment being in the room and with the partner.”

Marilii Saar:

“My acting breakthrough was working with Bathsheba Garnett for the first time. She’s in her 90s, scary as anything, and runs a course in London called “Simplicity” which is all about being simple and truthful and in the moment. It was the first time I ever cried whilst acting and it caught even myself off guard. I did, however, finally understand what so many acting teachers had been telling me in the past – that it’s not my responsibility to cry, it should happen naturally and it’s actually up to the other person to make me cry. After this instance I realised that it was up to me to be open and available to react however I happen to react in the moment. I think it’s honestly made me a much better actor and I’ll forever cherish that insight.”

Ingvild Deila:

“My most useful acting tool so far has been a combination of Meisner exercises to ground me in the moment and keep my focus on the other person, combined with Stanislavsky-like preparations on my own. I usually ask myself a series of questions that I’ve collated over the years to get to know the character, after having read the script many times. After looking into the intellectual and emotional aspects, I try to find the physicality and voice. I find Dee Cannon’s book In-Depth Acting quite useful. But overall, my approach to finding a character is rather pragmatic; different techniques works for different roles and I am always on the lookout for new tools to try out.”

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