Leosha and Lana have taken their acting skills to the next level and they are ready to prove it!
We caught up with these Tier 1 students ahead of their live production of '1984'. Leosha and Lana have shared the lead role of the cunning Julia. They tell us about the production, working together with their classmates and the new acting techniques they have learnt.
How has your time at AFTT been so far?
Leosha: I have had such an amazing time thus far. I have learnt so many helpful and interesting techniques, tools and exercises to assist me with my acting process now and for in the future. I have formed great working relationships with my fellow actors and film students at AFTT, such a great network of creative and fun individuals that I am honored to work with. I have grown and learnt a lot about myself in such a short time being here.
Lana: AFTT has been amazing so far! I could not have asked for better experience. The faculty and students are so welcoming and such talented, lovely people. I was so nervous my first day to meet new people and kept wondering how it was all going to be, but as soon as I stepped through those doors, I received lots of smiles and just knew that this was where I was meant to be.
You and your team will be performing ‘1984’. Tell us a bit about playing Julia and the production itself?
Leosha: Julia is a strong young woman, cunning, and very open with her sexuality. She becomes the lover of the main character, Winston, who is against Big Brother. Julia and Winston have these beliefs in common which forms into a love affair that is seriously illegal in this dark, dystopian world. This will be my very first professional live performance so every moment has been a delight. I am very lucky to work with our talented director, Sean O'Riordan. It has been an amazing overload of insightful information and has been enjoyable to get to know everyone and to get a better understanding of what it takes to make a show come alive.
Lana: Working on '1984', has been an exciting experience and continues to be, even in the final days leading up to the actual show. It is an intriguing dystopian piece derived originally from the novel by George Orwell. It focuses on the idea of a totalitarian regime and the fear and paranoia surrounding a communist society that is constantly being watched by deity like figure called "Big Brother". To play Julia has been challenging and exciting, her rebellious, cunning and bitter character is fun to portray.
With your final Tier 1 production coming up, what have been some key learning moments while putting it together?
Leosha: Lots of things! Such as: Learning and breathing my character, taking notes, stage direction & movements, blocking, stunts, working hand-in-hand with our director + light and stage management, creating real chemistry with my scene partner (Julia and Winston) and knowing there will be mistakes and being able to act quickly and learn from it and better each time round.
Lana: As my last performance in Tier 1, there have been some definite key learning moments. Working with Sean O'Riordan, our director, has been great, he has really showed us how one is expected to act around working with a crew and director, as well as the expectations that are in place within working in a theatre environment.
Do you think you have grown as a performer since you started at AFTT?
Leosha: Yes! A lot! I still have so much to learn and explore for sure but I can say for certain I have developed into a more confident performer, being able to deal with changes and direction, being able to make strong choices and not overthinking. Also being able to connect quickly with my emotions and allow myself to embody them.
Lana: Since being at AFTT I can definitely tell how different as an actor I have become. I have improved so much now that I think back to only just a couple of months ago. There is a lot more emotion behind what I do and say, and I can effectively embody the character and their story in a more realistic way. I have learnt it is not enough to just tell their story, but to live it as your own, expressing their emotional truth for the reality of the scene to play out.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about studying acting?
Leosha: If you want to do acting, or if you have ever wished to do anything in the creative arts, DO IT! Nothing is stopping you, it is your life, your thoughts, your dreams and it is in your hands. You just need to believe in yourself and take that first step. I love what I do! I know this is where I am meant to be and I am learning and gaining so much more than I ever imagined. It is hard work, but if you put everything into your profession you will succeed and be amazed with your outcome.
Lana: For anyone thinking about studying acting, I would say to go somewhere that feels right for you. I have found AFTT to be the right path for me, and I encourage others seeking further study in acting or anyone in general to choose the place that makes you feel welcome and just feels right. To study acting, although exciting, is not without its challenges. Don't be discouraged if you hit a wall, if you truly love it and are willing to fight to become better at your craft, keep pushing forward until you have that breakthrough. I know I am!