Contributed in quarantine by Emma Welch
This pandemic is shedding light on the cracks that already exist in our systems and in ourselves. Similarly, the transition to online class serves to exaggerate and expose individual blocks. The resolve and passion towards the work are being put to the ultimate test.
Many students are seeking the silver linings in these challenges – how learning to adapt and do the work “anywhere, anytime” is preparing them for the future, for their life as an actor once they leave the nest – a life where you are rarely in control and never guaranteed anything.
But some remarked that they feel like they’re being pushed out of the nest too soon – that they’re in training so that they can build the confidence to one day do it on their own. Many say losing the incubator of the Studio is taking away from their fullest experience of growth.
All of these views are valid and can exist at the same time.
First: Resistance. “How is this going to work?! This sucks! There’s no way!”
Second: Exhilaration. (The ‘honeymoon period’ – as some called it.) “Wow this is going surprisingly well! It’s like an on-camera class! We’re in this, we’re doing it. Go us!”
Third: Leveling off. (“An arranged marriage” as Jihoon astutely compared it). “We’re in this for the long haul. It’s super draining and challenging, but it’s happening. It is what it is and I might as well get the most out of it.”
In every conversation, despite all the different opinions – there was a resounding sense of commitment to the work and gratitude for the community. Commitment and community were incredibly important to me in my time at TKS – and it was wonderful to see that reflected back to me.
“Personally, there’s just not really a scenario where I quit, it’s not my personality. This is my Second Year, I’ve worked so hard to get to this point……It was obvious I would continue no matter what.” Kim Fuller
“We can’t expect these things to happen, and it’s our responsibility to step up and make art if we signed up to make art……We’re actors, we have to adjust, and it’s hard to be told that. There are different types of adjustments we have to make and this is a big one. And I just think that knowing why you’re doing this is so helpful. That’s what I’ve used this time to do – really iron out why do I want to be an actor…It’s been so reassuring to find that again.” Jorge Felipe Guevara
“We’re pioneers in a way of doing this a new kind of way. We’re proof that it works. We’re proof that the work — it transcends, you know, a fucking pandemic. That’s beautiful.” Fernando Mateo Jr
“With everything that’s going on — for me to be complaining about doing two months of online classes — I’ve settled into a different perspective. I’ve definitely gone through ups and downs – love / hate relationship with it. Now I’m in a state of ‘working with what we’ve got’. Yes, it’s not ideal to do an acting class over Zoom, but it’s way better than nothing. And with everything that’s going on I’m very grateful to have that stability in my life. I find it’s a bit harder to motivate myself. But that’s also a positive thing because when we’re in the Studio, there is all this atmosphere of creativity and we need to learn how to recreate that atmosphere in any setting. Because when we leave the Studio, we’re not gonna have the Studio.” Fern Hall
“The obstacle is the way: Every time there’s something in your way, there’s an opportunity there. So I’m just trying to think that way.” George Mayer
Jihoon Im likened the experience to “an arranged marriage – ‘Ok we just have to do this.’ Somethings are ok. Somethings I’m really really hesitant about, but on the whole I feel like the anxiety around starting it was greater than the reality of actually doing it. It’s been a struggle and a joy.”
“The artist in me is saying this is actually really great because the training for me was bootcamp and this is another form of bootcamp. These are things that we’re gonna experience in the industry.” Joshua Craig
Gabe Rysdahl compared the experience to “learning to play basketball on gravel. When you then have a flat surface again, you’re gonna be that much more prepared than people that haven’t had this experience. We’re gonna be in such a better position than if we stopped. There’s so much value in just continuing to search inside you, and search in your imagination, and cultivate your imagination.”
“You just gotta make a choice. And I think for awhile after we started, I had some bad rehearsals where technology wasn’t letting me connect at all…but with that comes patience and ultimately I think the commitment is what’s gonna give you that. Being committed is what’s going to give you patience – being committed is going to give the resilience to say ‘not today, but perhaps tomorrow.’” Victoria Ré Milien
This is Part 4 of a 6 Part series. To continue reading, please visit our Blog