Monthly Archives: June 2012

Days 4 & 5 on the Acting Masterclass

Day 4

Ok where do I begin? I have worked with Kristine on numerous occasions but this time I had a week whereas on the other occasions I was only really just skimming the surface of her practise. Somewhere along the way to me becoming an actor Mr Thinker came into my life. Serious training, character work, what’s my motivation, text analysis, am I good, am I doing it right, do the audience like me etc came into the melting pot in my pool of thoughts. There was a time when I wanted to become an actor because it was fun and I enjoyed it. So the evident word of the week to “play” stuck out for me like a sore thumb. I was able to play openly with the careful guidance of Kristine to bring the simplicity of acting back. But it wasn’t easy. I thought that as I had worked with Kristine’s practice before I would fly. But as soon as the first words of Claudio’s “Ay, but to die” from Measure for Measure came out of my mouth something instantly happened where I wasn’t myself which really is 90% of my strongest asset as an actor. I know what you’re thinking. You’re an actor. It’s your job to be someone else! But surely to become someone else you need to first become comfortable with yourself?  With your identity and culture!  Working this way is enabling me to see how I can use this work in the profession to become clearer and more concise when it comes to making choices and approaching work. I need to find a way in so that it works for me. An organic process where I can always go to if I find myself lost in this ridiculous 1 dimensional profession. Mr Thinker your time is up! Mr Play you are needed immediately!

Siu Hun Li

Having heard a lot about Kristine’s method of play and improvisation I was curious to understand how this practice worked and how I could use this to influence my work as an actor. I have already used the word “work” in my opening sentence twice and this idea of “working” to analyse the text, make decisions about the character and generally over think things seems to be more harmful than helpful in our journeys as actors. It’s Kristine’s emphasis on play and finding the pleasure to play and make those discoveries naturally and truthfully that unlocks the actor and opens them up to a much more free way of (dare I say) “working.”

The group is big enough to be able to learn so much from one another but small enough for Kristine to work on a very individual basis and there is a real focus on the individual incorporating all aspects of the actor including cultural background which in many other training courses is not as heavily explored.

Today I looked at a piece from Chekhov and  original writing. It’s a challenge to go straight into text and be good which is often what is required in an audition situation. Using the technique that Kristine has shown us I find that I am able to find a way in with a carefully set up improvisation that provides me with the right conditions that I need to naturally go from being off the text to on and use the totality of myself rather than an idea of who or what the character should be and just play, play, play, PLAY!

Rehana Samuel

Day 5

The last day of the Acting Masterclass has come around very fast. It has been an eye opening experience for this “wanna be” director. As someone who has never been to a workshop like this I wasn’t sure what to expect so I had started the week with some trepidation but also lots of excitement about watching how Kris works with actors. She didn’t disappointment, her commitment to her craft, her pleasure in playing and her fearlessness has been truly inspiring.  Today as the actors run through the texts that they have been working with all week I can see the big steps that they have taken under her guidance. There is more freedom in their work, an aliveness and connection with themselves, the other actors and the audience (in this case me!). The lessons I am taking away from the week are: bringing one’s culture, identity and idiosyncrasies to the fore is critical in bringing out the best in people. One has to be very serious about playing, in fact it is an art form itself and when people let themselves play they become more present to the moment, it’s as though the natural generosity that exists in us comes out to play. I have seen this time and again this week in the way that the actors have supported each other in all that we have done. Watching the way that Kristine uses and sets up the physical space and her intuition have also been fascinating, these two things seem to bring the actors to the truth of what is needed in the text.  Once they have relaxed they can turn their hand to anything from Chekov to not very well written TV scripts and engage an audience.

If I ever decide to take up directing I will pay closer attention to the set up in the rehearsal room, making it light and playful and really finding out more about the characteristics of the actor. This commitment to the actor is what will make a great piece of work. I have a feeling these lessons can be applied to any situation in life.

Deepa Patel

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Days 2 & 3 on the Acting Masterclass

Day 2

I saw the House of Bilqis Bibi three years ago and I was struck by the emphasis of geometry not just in the beautiful set, but also in the marking of the actors. Today I watched Kristine have a conversation with someone from Graeae, whilst absentmindedly arranging pots of tea, coffee and sugar on the countertop into a symmetrically imperfect, but geometrically sound formation. It made me think that when humans or animals are engaged with each other, the dynamic of space is defined, and each party is always aware of this. Yesterday when working with my text, Kristine created distance between me and Assad, who I was working with; to create a cleaner, more engaged speech. The difference was marked, and suddenly I found new urgency and purpose to the words I was speaking- incredible.

Isobel Mascarenhas-Whitman

Day 3

Here I am working with Kristine again and with a wonderful group of actors from different cultural backgrounds. It is very nice to start every session with the exciting Kristine’s warm-ups that make us feel ready and confident to start working with the texts. Kristine proposes a few games for the warm up then she joins and plays with us. According to her, games that involve some kind of competition are the best ones to get the actor ready. After having played a couple of Kristine’s games, she usually asks the actors what game would be suitable to keep going with the warm up and increasing the actors needs to feel completely ready to play the scenes. She wants to see as well how the person that chooses an appropriate game sets it up and explain how it works and the rules to the rest of the company. It is very interesting to see and analyze why some games are not a good option for the company.

To finish the warm-up we did some breathing and voice exercises that were very useful and very good material for the actors to keep for ourselves. Thanks to these very exciting warm-ups, the rehearsal room becomes a pleasant place to work and help the actors in their challenging scenes that they will be performing later. Besides, it is always very nice to start the day with a smile and with that energy that the games provide plus their function to unite the people.

After the warm-up we started working in the texts. Day 3 was quite pleasant with both classical and modern scenes but very intense as well. I worked with Anna-Maria and thanks to Kristine’s guidance and directions we achieved an excellent result. We did an improvisation from a Shakespeare’s text and it was very rewarding to see how applying Kristine’s corrections the scene got better and better.

Last November I took part in The Actor & Director Lab and I also worked with Kristine last July when she was directing our 2nd year ensemble at Circus Space. I realized how beneficial and effective Kristine’s method is and her capacity to obtain the best from every actor. Kristine analyzes and focuses in every single detail at all the levels of the performance – text, voice, breathe and movement. What I really like from Kristine is the empathy she establishes with her actors and she is very good at keeping us calm and passing on to us her support; that way the actor feels confident and achieves incredible outcomes. It is very pleasant to take part in this workshop as you can see these amazing scenes from other actors and you can learn a lot as well from them. To sum up, the Acting Masterclass is being an amazing learning experience. Thank you very much Kristine!

Marcos Tajadura

I have taken the course recommended by friend. I am so glad to be working along with Kristine who is an absolutely fantastic teacher and helps a lot in order to make sure that a sensitivity of acting can be performed naturally. I love being around her. Her pushing, criticising, understanding is brilliant. I have learned a lot. It has helped me in many ways being an actor and model. I would love to work with her again.

Laila Khalid


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