“This technique teaches you to just ‘be’ the character, which has been invaluable in my stage work, especially with Shakespeare.”
– Julie Kirkman, Actress
Having just finished her role in Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Long Beach Shakespeare Company, Julie Kirkman is jumping into her next stage performance, starring in Company at the Charles Stewart Howard Playhouse.
We often hear students talk about The Acting Center technique helping them with their work in film and television. We caught up with Julie and asked her just how she uses what she’s learned on the stage.
“First, I don’t have to ‘plan’ my character. I still do the research on paper but I start working on the physicality of the character right away and it helps with discovering how to perform. The technique has taken the planning out of my head, and this is especially good for comedy, where how I move is part of who the character is.
Most recently I used this technique to work on two of my solo songs for the musical I’m in. It helped me discover the pure intent of the words. It’s easy for a musician to sing lyrics but an actor has to sing them while acting and they only really come alive when you’ve broken them down. A solo is just a monologue once you take away the musical notes.”
On Stage, Julie says The Acting Center helps her create believable characters and performances by taking away the stress of manufacturing actions or reactions to dialogue, or characters around her. By just “being,” the right reaction comes to Julie naturally.
“This technique teaches you to just ‘be’ the character, which has been invaluable in my stage work, especially with Shakespeare. Being able to become my character and then go back to myself quickly and easily has been so useful in live theater.”
When asked about the difference between classes at The Acting Center and others, Julie told us about what has been so helpful to her as an artist, is that students go through the curriculum at their own pace, and are encouraged to not rely on the opinions of others, something Julie finds refreshing.
“I’m not being forced to go at the pace of the teachers or the other students. This allows me to speed up or slow down based on how well I am doing. The Acting Center lets me work at my own speed and encourages me to go back and redo or repeat things from the start of the curriculum, if I feel the need.”
Julie told us how certain drills she does in class have helped her in her ability to improvise also. She uses this ability in her work on the stage where the live performance can sometimes make things unpredictable.
“My improv skills, comedic and otherwise, have improved incredibly just by participating in certain drills in class. I have carried this ability over to my stage work, especially when lines are mixed up, or props are dropped, or light cues are missed. I’m still there, just being my character, instead of panicking as myself. I could go on and on about what I’ve learned at The Acting Center!”
Want to find out what The Acting Center is all about?
Student Spotlight – Julie Kirkman