All of the Tier 4 acting students are super busy working away on their final production project, Tom Holloway's '100 Reasons for War', showing at Sydney's prestigious Belvoir theatre this month.
We tracked down two of the talents for a chat before the final production. Students Matt and Adam talk about their journey through AFTT and how it has lead to this amazing final production.
Tell us about your time at AFTT?
Adam: Coming up on completion of my course, I will be stepping out as a vastly different person to who I was when I first walked in the doors some two years ago. In my time at AFTT I have made some invaluable friendships and and learnt a myriad about the art of acting, being, and living. The concise curriculum has given me all the tools of being a great actor whilst helping me know how and where to challenge myself to grow and further my craft throughout the future.
Matt: I wasn’t sure what to expect, let alone from an acting school, but the teachers, faculty and students all made the place more welcoming and less intimidating for a first timer. It was always exciting to find out about what sort of subjects I would be undertaking during each Tier. It’s kind of a surreal feeling, because back in Tier 1, it seemed like it would take an eternity to do our Showreels or our Grad Play; yet here I am two years later with almost a month to go before our final show together, and two months before graduating!
You're currently in the middle of working on your graduation play, '100 Reasons for War'. Tell us a bit about the project?
Adam: The play is a commissioned piece for the centenary of the Anzacs, and is a post-dramatic work with no characters, setting, or story. It has been a challenge shaping it into a strong show relying strongly on the choices we make as actors and what world we are trying to create. We are still constantly discovering new things as we run and while it is starting to come together now, the final product will surely be completely different to where it currently sits!
Matt: Even though we call it a ‘play’, it’s essentially not a play. It’s part of a genre called ‘Postmodern Theatre’, in which the general aspect of a plot, characters and setting is thrown out, to be replaced with various scenes and one overarching theme that will hopefully make audiences argue in the foyer, as they come to their own conclusion about what they have just watched.Although the title has the word ‘War’ in it, don’t expect every scene to depict war-like themes, but a variety of ways that explores it - in more ways than you may think.
How are you finding the process so far?
Adam: As I said it has been challenging and really calls upon everything we have been taught thus far and placing the onus on us as actors to work hard and do our jobs to do the work justice and create exciting and engaging theatre. This process has tested our ability to problem solve, pan for opportunity within the rehearsal process with our partners and confront stagnation with eagerness to find deeper choices.
Matt: It’s been an interesting development from the start. We didn’t start working with a set for quite a while, so we were just performing on a completely bare stage. A lot of research had to be done as a lot of the pieces involved religious views or cultural opinions. But with such a script like Tom’s, and how he pretty much leaves everything up to the actors, it makes it a great way to come up with new and exciting offers to present to the audience for the final piece!
What excites you the most about the project?
Adam: Being given the creative license to bring different circumstances to the given text. I like facing a problem and working through with my colleagues and director Luke Rogers to find solutions that bring my scenes to a new place.
Matt: The research that I’ve done about the content in a few of the scenes I’m in. One of the best things about being an actor is that we get to accomplish and become so much in such a small amount of time. I’ve been able to learn heaps about the Bible, God, quantum physics, every single war since the 1900s.
Tell us how your time at AFTT has prepared you for your final project?
Adam: Throughout my two years, AFTT has provided tutoring in so many areas of my individual process. To name a few; voice, physical performance, devised project, creative play and script analysis. Applying these to my own approach to my work has over time helped me develop a concise and efficient way of preparation.
Matt: I reckon that the ability to work with an ensemble, different actors, as well as various directors has helped prepared me for this final show. Since we’re going to be doing that anyway once we graduate, it’s great to be able to see how we can work with people we don’t know and how different of an approach they take to what we have learnt.
What advice do you have for current students or anyone thinking about studying acting at AFTT?
Adam: Honestly, do not think twice. There’s nothing to lose but the fear of having not gone for it when it was an option for you. I had my hesitancy before giving it a crack, and I am eternally thankful for the voice that told me to give it a try. This has been one of the most rewarding periods of my life and I would not trade my time at AFTT for anything.
Matt: Never be afraid to ask questions!! I was a bit timid to ask during the first few weeks, but I soon got over that and found that asking the teachers proved very valuable. They are there to help you and they want to see you at your best, just as much as you do.
'100 Reasons for War' is being performed at the Belvoir Theatre from the 25th-29th of May.
For more information and ticketing for '100 Reasons for War', click here.
To learn more about studying acting at AFTT, click here.