Whitney Boyd and Rebecca Barbera, Actors in Simon Stephen’s ‘Port’ at NIDA, where Kristine directs

“Kristine’s process has reminded me of some of the essential elements to being a performer: to be open, alive, playful and receptive. It is so easy as a performer to slave away over the mechanics and technical elements of creating a character. By engaging in the idea of playing well and being an open and fearless actor, it gives you complete access to your senses, you become active in the scene and you start to intrigue your viewers. The trick is to be IN the scene, listening and responding and above all playing.

Then the questions start: Do I change my vocal tone? Do I create a different walk from my own? Mmm, that sounds rather laborious and traditional. In relation to the process that we are working on with Kris, the answer would be to use myself in the given circumstances of the scene. If I am committed to my own thoughts and responses, my voice, my body and this notion of “character” will organically create itself. I won’t be Whitney acting as 73-year-old woman, but rather Whitney playing and engaging with a 73-year-old version of herself.

Today we discussed the idea of recreating moments on stage once they have been discovered. We, as performers, seem to have it in our head that we either hit or miss the mark. Kristine reminds us that it is not that difficult if we remind ourselves that “hitting the mark” is more to do with tapping into our own process that makes us open and able to play well …… it is not about hitting the mark around traits of “character “. The actor knows what the structure of the scene is, they know what they want to achieve within the scene, and they know the lines, so all that is left to be done is to play moment by moment.

For me, this process is really about maintaining this subtle and naturalistic approach whilst grappling with the technical elements of the theatre. To create simple and understated work that is not diminished by over articulating or giving prescribed gestures.

This way of working is thrilling. There is something really exhilarating about performing intimately with my fellow actors. Instead of pushing a performance onto the audience, we want to draw them in, have them at the edge of their seats and listening as hard as they can.” Whitney Boyd

“These last three weeks have been challenging, but incredibly fun and exciting. I’ve been taught a way of working, which only requires me to draw from myself and have the joy to play with the other actors in the scene. Kristine’s worked with all of us on developing our own, individual ways of preparing and working that allows us to play to the best of our ability in our work. It’s been a tough learning curve at times. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve been working without the kind of roadmap that I’m used to. Often, I look inward at what I’m  doing: how I’m standing, how I’m  speaking, what I’m  thinking etc. It’s been wonderful to try and stop thinking about all that (in my case it’s been pretty hard!) and just focus on playing with the other person and what they’re giving you. The funny thing is, when you really play, you’re the best actor you can be, and everything else is taken care of.

I’ve asked my dad to fly across fromPerth and see this show. He isn’t keen on theatre, but I think he might like this show. I think that while watching it he might realise why it was worth me changing course after two degrees to study acting, because when the work is really good and has the capacity to really affect people, you remember what an honour it is to do this job.” Rebecca Barbera


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