Posters around town advertise the Actors Intensive Weekend Workshop as “From New York to the Yukon”.
Why is “New York” in the headline?
“Classically, we think of New York as a method,” says “New York-trained” actor/instructor/director Anastasia Bandey.
“We think of Meisner and the Actors Studio.
“In the ’60s and ’70s, there was a revolution in acting. You weren’t really ‘acting’, it wasn’t showy or a sense that real life is different.
“When Meryl Streep cries in Sophie’s Choice, you participate in her agony because she is living it right there in front of you.”
Bandey is talking over the phone from her Vancouver studio, home to Actorworks, her business that coaches actors for auditions, provides professional demo reels, audition taping, web services and acting classes.
She is bringing her four-day workshop offering the “best of” from a month of classes she teaches in Vancouver.
Much of this will be based on her New York training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Rutger’s University program, The William Esper Studio.
There was also two years of intensive training in mask technique with Pierre Lafevre and Shakespeare with Daniela Veron of the Boston Shakespeare Company.
Then there was her time with the “infamous” Lloyd Williamson Movement Academy.
“He was a dancer and he made this company like I’ve never seen,” says Bandey.
“He was training you to be really attuned to your own body and your instincts, but to include the other people, too.
“We would begin with a moment of silence and he would say, ‘When you are ready, start to hum.’ So, we would. Then he would tell us to say, ‘Ahhh’.
“‘Really listen to your body and do it when it feels right’,” he’d tell us.
“Each individual hum and each individual ahhh would merge into an incredible symphony, and it happened spontaneously, but it was induced by intuitiveness and collectiveness.”
As “out there” as this may be, Bandey says she doesn’t like silly exercises.
“I remember doing theatre exercises and wondering, Why am I doing this?
“But there was one workshop where they’d throw things at you like, ‘Do it in the manner of a sit-com … now Shakespeare’.
“Then one day I’d be on set and the director would say, ‘OK, that was great, but now do it with more … or less … or really dark’.
“You learn to take what the director says, digest it, make it your own and then trust yourself to do it.”
Bandey has created theatre programs for New York inner-city high school kids and opened her first co-operative studio.
She says if Yukoners want to break into acting in New York, Toronto or Los Angeles, she can help put them in touch with agents.
If they want to come to Vancouver, she could offer even more help.
To register for her Aug. 13 to 16 workshop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Bandey can be contacted at (604) 723-1776 or through www.actorworksvancouver.com.