An Actor Gives Back – Samantha Tan

SamTanworkshopIn May 2012, Outstation featured a Q&A with Samantha Tan, the first Malaysian to study at the famed Actors’ Studio Drama School in New York.

This past summer, Samantha was back visiting family in KL. She grabbed the chance to teach two free half-day acting workshops in KL July.

She was a little apprehensive. Would anyone sign up? She ended up getting about 20 participants per session, with yet others on a waiting list.

Here’s Sam’s report of how it went.

The two workshops were each 5-hour long intensives aimed at giving Malaysians a taste of Method acting. They were free and held at Sri Wilayah Ballet Centre in Taman Tun Dr Ismail after my former ballet teacher Ms Lee Yupin generously donated her space.

I got applicants ranging from 21-53 years old, from the completely green to pretty experienced thespians in the local scene.

They came with a true hunger to learn a solid technique and a a real excitement at finally getting a structured, demystified approach to what is often a badly misunderstood art form.

People often assume that acting relies solely on some mysterious talent, as if actors have a superpower that enables them to emote at will, or that the theatre is a pretentious frivolity where you play dress-up in fancy costumes.

My aim was to debunk these misconceptions and I think that by the end, the participants fully realised that REAL acting, the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and create complete reality with all the subtleties ad nuances of human behaviour and emotional truth, is a craft (like any other craft) that requires know-how and endless practice.

I was thrilled to see so much raw potential waiting to be developed, and I think many surprised even themselves at their ability to access real truthful emotions at will during the class.

I was heartwarmed by the many long letters of thanks I got afterwards, especially from those who said they were inspired to pursue acting more seriously.

I intend to make this an ongoing affair and to return whenever possible. Perhaps next time, I will introduce longer, more in-depth workshops for those who want to go further in exploring the Method.

Sam xx

Sam Tan's Acting Workshop

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