A French traveler and artist currently exploring Australia. I enjoy bushwalking, discovering the local culture and arts.
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Published August 20th 2012
Step in the shoes of an actor/actress for two hours
If you ever wondered what it actually feels like to be an actor, a free two-hour workshop at the Actors College of Theatre and Television (ACTT) is a great way to find out. Rather than going through technical exercises about posture or breathing, the workshop is all about exploring the different aspects, challenges and joys of an acting career through a series of fun hands-on activities.
The main campus of the ACTT is located in a redesigned Arts Centre at 505 Pitt Street, just across the street from Central Station. Inside the beautiful brick building, some of the alumni pictures look quite familiar : Firass Dirani (John Ibrahim) from Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Leeanna Walsmann, the shape-shifting bounty hunter Zam Wesell from Star Wars Episode II : Attack of the Clones or George Houvardas (Nick Karandonis) from Packed to the Rafters.
After filling out a bit of paperwork with the smiling ACTT staff, our group of about 20 wannabe actors walked up to the top floor studio, where our mentor Sean introduced us to the College and the different courses that are offered inside its walls. Then, even without the three bangs on the floor, the performance started.
The first exercises were easy memory exercises, aimed at breaking the ice and introducing the fast-paced networking life of an actor. Meeting 20 people in a couple of minutes, then trying to remember their names and then learning a piece of information about each of them on top of everything is definitely not easy but the exercises were very progressive. After this, the ice had effectively been broken and it was time to work on group dynamics with a series of activities revolving around passing a clap around. Here too, the exercises progressively got more complex as the pace sped up and additional ways to pass the clap around were introduced. Without actually noticing, everyone made sure that no one in the group was left behind and that all got their fair share of the fun.
Understanding that there are times when even a star has to step out of the spotlight and do his best to support his teammates is the focus of the next set of activities. To understand this key concept each of us walks around the room, taking care of another student with his eyes shuts. One has to be very gentle when caring for someone in this particular way, and switching roles requires a good deal of trust in one's partner. The next activity is "Giants, Witches, Dwarves", a live-action, team version of Rock, Paper, Scissors mixed with a game of tags. One hour and a half into the workshop, it's the first real bit of acting and all about reacting quickly when the people in front of you suddenly turn into giants, sending your witches running for it!
The last part of the workshop is about imagination, creativity and expression, through a series of improvisation exercises. Cherry on the cake, everyone gets to experience the thrills of being on stage in the last couple of activities, when half the group turns into an audience while the other performs short sketches, improvised on the go.
All in all, it was a great experience, so why not experience the behind-the-scenes of an actor's life for a couple of hours? There is a workshop organized about every month and the next one will be on September 11th.