Acting Intensives at TKS with Onye Eme-Akwari

Ever wonder what it’s like to take a TKS Intensive? 

Meet Onye Eme-Akwari, an Associate Acting teacher here at the Terry Knickerbocker Studio!

Onye recently understudied in Jaja’s African Hair Braiding on Broadway. We asked Onye to give us the rundown on what participants can expect from an Intensive experience.



Any of the Intensives are the first 18 classes of the first 64 classes of 128. That is the Meisner curriculum. And the Intensive is awesome because it gives you a taste in a lot of ways, while still being an entire experience. There are a few folks who do the Intensive and then they do other things, and there’s a good number of folks with the Intensive and then decide, I want more of this. So they do the Two Year Program.



We’re starting from the beginning. And it’s like, how do we learn the language of this technique? Or just, acting in general so that as we advance through it, we’re not just acting sentences. We actually know what we’re saying. We know how these sentences are formed. It’s really an abstract analogy, but it’s really about getting into our authenticity and who we are in truth, which is a little bit different from who we are in reality. Meisner says that acting is living truthfully under given imaginary circumstances. So first 18 classes is like, let’s figure out what it means to live truthfully and let’s figure out what it means to live truthfully with another person and really respond to that person, and then and then and then.


One thing that’s really cool is, depending on whether you take it in the spring or the fall or the summer, you spend an extended amount of time with the same people, really. And you learn a lot about them, and you learn a lot about yourself, because so much of this technique is listening and truthfully responding. You start developing opinions about the world that maybe you weren’t allowing yourself to have before just because it might be too much or too painful or too joyful or whatever it is. But to me, what it does is it really opens your eyes and widens your perspective. And even if you’re not an actor, there’s something to be said about really being able to hear somebody and allowing that person to happen to you and then also being able to truthfully respond to that based on how you feel, not necessarily what you think you should be doing. And I think that’s a really really good skill for humans, because all we’re doing as actors and really, as artists, is holding up a mirror to humanity and going, this is who we are and what we do, we get the opportunity to do that on purpose.

Enrollment for our Summer 2024 Intensive ends soon….