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Thin Ice and a Field of Thorns: Master Class in Acting Held at HSE University

Thin Ice and a Field of Thorns: Master Class in Acting Held at HSE University

© HSE University

On January 17, the HSE Film Institute held a master class for applicants and students of the university. The author and instructor of the class was Igor Skripko, theatre and film actor, curator and teacher of the Actor Intensive preparatory programme. Prospective students had the opportunity to find out how to apply to the Theatre and Film Actor specialist’s programme.

Among the important issues discussed during the master class were recommendations on materials for applicants’ auditions (prose, fables and poems), actor's performance preparation techniques, and more.

Igor Skripko
© HSE University

‘First, you need to choose the right material,’ said Igor Skripko. ‘It should suit the applicant. For instance, it sounds strange when a delicate, fragile girl recites Nastasia Philippovna's monologue [from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot]. The applicants should understand every word of the text they choose for the audition and make them their own.’

The instructor gave the participants some tasks and explained how to relax and prepare for a performance, how to focus when acting, and how to work in a team. They learnt to create an atmosphere of joy and utter despair on stage and play someone walking on thin ice and through a field of thorns. One of the most difficult tasks was given towards the end of the class: the participants had to speak a fictional language to declare their love or to make someone leave the room.

Master classes help applicants adjust to the environment of the Film Institute, explains Igor Skripko. ‘This is where applicants get acquainted with programmes, teachers, and the industry,’ he says. ‘This is an opportunity to better prepare for admission: learn about the criteria, requirements, and other aspects of the entrance exams.’ The actor also said that one should not forget about the human factor, which can affect the decision of the admissions committee. ‘Although our criteria and requirements are the same for all applicants, both for those who came in the first wave and for those who came in the last, you can always see whether an applicant is familiar with our approach and our programmes and how he or she thinks and acts,’ said Igor Skripko. ‘Anyone can see it—never mind the experienced members of the committee, who understand it immediately.’

For four years, the HSE Theatre and Cinema Actor programme has been training future actors for successful professional careers in theatre, cinema, and television. On top of the classical acting methods and techniques, the instructors teach unique courses that have never been offered in Russia before: Shakespeare in English, the Suzuki method, Meisner's acting technique, the Viewpoints method, Laban and Alexander's stage movement techniques. Svetlana Efremova-Reed is the Academic Supervisor and author of the actor-training programme at the HSE Film Institute.

HSE applicants and students shared their impressions of the master class with the HSE News Service.

Alexander Alyamovsky

© HSE University

‘I'm in the 11th grade. I'm 16 years old, and my ambition is to be a theatre and film actor. I played hockey for 11 years before I realised that it wasn't really my thing. I have always wanted to be an actor. I've been studying acting for two years now. I'm taking various courses, including Igor Skripko’s classes. He is training me to enter the university. I have already been to an Open Day event at the university, and the HSE Film Institute is the only place where I would like to study.

Eva Chernykh

© HSE University

‘I am a first-year student of the HSE Theatre and Film Actor programme. I really like studying here. In the first semester, we even studied economics and legal literacy! Another big advantage is that we study English, and starting from the second year, we will have the “Shakespeare in English” course.

I do recommend studying here! Make sure the texts you are going to read at the entrance audition are as varied and diverse as possible so that they can show who you really are and what you are capable of.’

Eric Rakutumavu

© HSE University

‘I am 30 years old and I have a university degree, but I am planning to enter again this year. I am only considering the HSE Film Institute. I want to become an actor because I promised this to my mum. I also want to play different characters and try my hand at different professions. It is really cool and interesting. The main thing is not to give up! Make mistakes, get bumps and bruises, and try again.’

Nadezhda Zharenkova

© HSE University

‘I have a degree in teaching. Back at school, I wanted to be an actress, and I even managed to enter a theatrical university. Unfortunately, my mum didn’t approve of my decision, and I went to a pedagogical institute instead. I'm now going to pursue a second degree. I don't want to study at any of the five most famous Russian theatrical universities. I’ve chosen to enter the HSE Film Institute or a similar institute, as I think they can give me even more. The master class was great! I realised that I should listen to my heart and I shouldn’t give up my ambition to become an actress.’

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