In December GITIS organized “The Stanislavsky system and practice of modern actor” online course. We greatly appreciate support of the Russian Cultural Foundation for making this course happen and share reviews participants.
1. What sections of the programme were you most interested in?
I really enjoyed the script analysis as I felt that format works well on zoom. All of the subject areas covered were highly relevant and enjoyable to learn. Although we did not do much acting, I felt that was a good thing because it’s hard to perform on zoom and I wanted to hear the stories from the teachers about their work as directors and teachers, as well as their approaches to script analysis and ideas around directing.
I also enjoyed the directness of the teachers in helping us understand the broader dynamics of theatre — this often came from the stories, such as when Mikhail said if you are playing Juliet, all of the female acting students will hate you. I had never thought of that but I have seen those kinds of dynamics play out in other plays and now it’s something I’m more aware of. The teachers at GITIS have a very deep understanding of acting and directing and the impact of the work on students and actors.
I really enjoyed Mikhail’s analysis of Romeo and Juliet. I thought it was brilliant how he showed us how Romeo and Juliet had not slept much over the course of the play. I told a teacher that I’ve worked with here and he said, “wow, I’ve never heard that approach. That’s so interesting”. We are both very impressed and I think those kinds of discussions and observations that I can share with my friends and colleagues here make them interested and curious about GITIS.
2. What topics do you think should be included in the programme?
I think the topics that were included were excellent, and it would be difficult to add to the program without taking something else out.
3. Did you learn much from the lessons?
Yes, I did! I really enjoyed the individual approaches by Mikhail and Ekaterina.
4. Do you think you will be able to apply them in practice? Which ones?
Yes. I have improved my memorization skills after using Mikhail’s technique. I never thought that it would be possible in the past. I’ve never had a teacher provide a solution to poor memorization of lines before. I worked on the numbers game consistently for 30 days and my ease of memorization was automatic. It also reduced my stress.
I really enjoyed the script analysis approach used by Ekaterina. One particular part of the analysis that was interesting to me was to ask the question: what were your impressions of the script / play upon first read? I now consider that when I read a play to understand how my impression will colour my perspective in my work.
I also enjoyed the exercises we did and homework. It challenged me to work hard during my studies and opened my mind to new approaches. I liked the directing exercise given to us by Ekaterina. It was fun to imagine how I would direct the opening of The Seagull. It helps me understand my own directing styles. I also enjoyed finding paintings to describe the set design I would use.
5. What would you improve in the organisation and delivery of the programme?
I think it worked very well considering all of the different time zones that students and teachers were in. I thought the zoom format worked very well too. It makes a course like this accessible to international students.
6. Do you think that as a result of mastering the programme you will become more sought after in your profession?
When I talk about this course, my colleagues in the acting profession are curious and impressed by my commitment to the profession to train at GITIS. It is my hope that a director or casting director would consider me more seriously by having completed this training. I did land a very interesting supporting role in a film recently. The director said he really liked my resume.
I do feel that I have more to learn and would consider future short programs to continue my learning. If I was a young student and spoke Russian fluently, I think the full time training offered by your school would be very interesting to pursue as your school’s curriculum and teaching is very strong and competitive internationally.
7. Please give an overall assessment of the programme you have completed on a 5-point scale, where 1 is very low; 5 is very high.
5! I really enjoyed this opportunity. It was a sincere honour to work with the lovely staff, Irina Zhukova, the intelligent and fast translator, Alexia Mankovskaya, and amazing teachers: Ekaterina Granitova-Lavrovskaya and Mikhail Chumachenko. Thank you. I will always cherish my time in this course and I look forward to meeting you all one day!
Kara Flanagan, Canada