Improvisation and Acting Workshop at Højriis Castle

16th June 2015

22nd-25th May 2015

For a year I’ve been travelling back and forth between Aarhus, where I live, and a lovely castle in Northern Jutland called Højriis Slot where I’ve been working as an actor. In May I had a four day workshop with 23 fellow participants. We are split in three teams who will be working on shifts at the castle. There’s a storyline where the actors improvise for an entire day, setting the mood for the castle’s visitors who can walk freely around the castle. But before our jobs can commence preparations must be made. A role is given to each individual, clothes and makeup is tailored for every character. I’m very fond of improvised acting because it’s spontaneous and forces the actor to work with both his/her own character, developing a background and defining how the particular character speaks, thinks and reacts to the other characters in a setting. Similar to perfecting a piece of music you are creating a character from the bottom who you have to know very well. Getting acquainted with another person in real life, the same goes for a fictional character: the more time you spend with that person or character the better you’ll know it. Practicing improvisation with the other characters you get to experiment with different approaches, thus learning the limits of the characters personality when being alone or in different situations with the other characters. When we improvise at the castle we act in real time; although the year is 1929 we follow the routines of an ordinary person and all the domestic activities from that time. This means that everyone is dependant on food, water, work, sleep and even procrastinating at times. What I’ve also learned is that when you perform over an entire day is that you can’t be at a climax over the entire day. If everyone is running around all the time or constantly in conflict with the other characters — chances are that one becomes untruthful to the performance. Getting the right chemistry with the other actors can take time. With some people you feel the right thing from the beginning, other times you need to work with each other to find the right energy. A great way to find yourself in the character is also to apply the Meisner technique to the character itself.

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