From the Inside Out
For as long as I can remember I have been involved in performance. I’ve walked the stage of pantomimes and musicals, been part of dance recitals, attended theatre camps, worked on sets, trainings, more rehearsals than I can count and lastly completing the four years of my BA in Theatre and Drama. Quite naively I thought I knew the ropes. But coming to Actors Academy Finland, I have found something here that resonates quite differently. Beyond seeing the running of the company itself, I have witnessed first hand the training that the Academy provides. I even had the fortune of joining one of the Meisner Technique workshops and I found a level of freedom in expressivity that I had not ever found before.
As an actor, we are encouraged to find within ourselves a truthful range of emotions and the freedom to explore and express that range. After-all it is the language of these emotions that breathes life into scripted text. In order to find this freedom, trust needs to be created within the space and between the persons in the space. As humans, we are all sensitive to energy and can pick up on ‘vibes’ even if it’s something we are not fully aware of. As actors, we are trained to be increasingly aware of that energy and because of this, it can be easy to pick up on that which is said beyond actual words.
There are many actor trainings I have been to where it is said that you - as a participant - have the allowance to go to the extremities of expression. And that the facility was there to support that exploration. But never have I been to one where this support is so felt. The supportive space (both physical and energetic) that was created by AAF during this workshop was so safe and secure and actually tangible that there really was no fear in exploring, and moving beyond our boundaries of expression.
Emotions (especially when they are felt on such high ends of the spectrum) can be terrifying. But it is simply because they are unknown. They are not dangerous, or bad, or actually anything to be scared of. There is undoubtedly a level of direction and protective patterning we must take with our emotions in order to function as a society, but as artists, emotions are our palette. A lot of (good) actor training is really about un-doing, and learning to navigate beyond the protective patterns that we form in order to access that palette. But even at the best of times we need a coach to guide and support us to access those seemingly scary spaces. We need to trust.
What Nita created as a coach during the workshop was a completely tangible sense of security for us actors that enabled us to trust her, each other, the space, the process, and most importantly - ourselves. It was this trust that allowed us to genuinely have freedom of expression. Without being fearful of it.
It was such an incredible and strong-felt experience. Each one of us walked away with a sense of actually having achieved something of ourselves as performers - the best part being that it came with complete authenticity which is exactly what we as artists aim for.
My understanding is that the way things are done here at Actors Academy Finland are different. I may tentatively say that I am now a part of it and understand how the Academy functions, but it took me quite some time to adjust to a new way of thinking. There is an entirely positive incentive that infiltrates every part of this company. There is no dictatorship, no hierarchy, and no forcefulness of being. There is simply a commitment to serving and benefiting the craft of acting, over all holistic wellbeing and to providing a positive, open-minded and forward thinking learning environment for all. We can be so conditioned to believe that the way things are done and the way systems are managed are the only way of them actually surviving. But at Actors Academy those models of behaviour are challenged, by the means of thought and practice. We turn things on their head, we say why not, and we find new ways of supporting old methods that benefit our students, coaches, and teams alike. And perhaps in some way too - the whole.
- Maeve p.s.: If any of this resonated with you - the next Meisner Technique workshop is taking place at the studio 23rd - 24th April. Details of which can be found here. There is also one last spot available on the Meisner Technique - based One Year Training starting 30th of March. p.p.s.: Find feedback from some of the other participants below! "I was shaken in the best way possible by Nita’s workshop. I learned so much about myself as a performer and it opened for me an entirely different way to approach the craft of acting. Even with a group of persons that I had never met before I felt safe, connected, and free to explore my capabilities as an actor. I would so recommend this workshop to anyone and everyone! Even if you are not an actor, it is a way to tap back into the humanness of the self. FIVE STARRRRZZZZ!" - Marja
"This two day Meisner technique workshop with Nita was way more eye opening- or I should say heart opening than what I had thought it would be. I only have a glimpse of the repetition method now but I already feel like I opened up as an actress - and more - also as a person. After the first day I wrote down things I realized about authentic acting through this method and after the second day I wrote about three pages about everything I learnt about my feelings and my relationships through this method. Now I want to do more Meisner to become a better actress. Thank you for the course Nita!"
"Thank you very much for the workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nita was a very patient, compassionate coach. The workshop was intensive and challenged everyone to be brave and open to the unknown depth and dynamics of our rich inner life. Nita made sure that we felt safe and supported in doing so. What I find most useful and important in the Meisner training is it's focus on the other. By being utterly present with the other, I can be free to feel the emotions that arise from the circumstances, authentic feelings, not manufactured in my head. I think this sense of inner liberation in authentic human connection is something anyone can benefit from, not just actors. I can only wish that the course like this would be available more often and for longer periods."
"The best thing about the workshop was the warm and accepting atmosphere. Nita as a coach was supportive and clear. I'd give this workshop five out of five stars, and would also be interested in to participate other workshops."
"Thank you Nita for the course. It's wonderful how it just dropped on my path and was something that I had longed for and needed, even though I wasn't yet aware of that. These few nights woke something in me that I didn't know existed. Thank you, thanks for your authenticity and for all the wonderfulness these evenings were. I learned a lot.”