This quarter, Ebba Gendron, an ESN-LA instructor, is thrilled to be offering an acting class to the ESL student community. “As a filmmaker, it is important to not only understand what actors do, but to understand the process and the vocabulary used by actors and to experience the art form firsthand. This is what this class offers the students,” she says. Find out more about her story and how she is bridging ESN to NYFA.
by Ebba Gendron
My passion is the art of acting. It has been a vital part of my life for almost 40 years, and for the past 25 years, I have been an acting teacher. I love my work and feel blessed to have found my calling not only as a performer, but as a teacher.
Many people have a misconception about what acting is, and believe that its main focus is on “pretending to be someone else.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Indeed, the use of the imagination is a key part of the art form, but the work of the actor begins with connecting to his or her self. This includes relaxation, awareness of the body and of the feelings that live inside, and expressing all of that in movement and sound — including words.
After that, it is the job of the actor to connect to their partner by listening with not only their ears but with their entire self, and then responding in an honest and heartfelt way. That is what the initial portion of the class explores.
After that, we are focusing on how to break down a scene and discover what different elements and choices are necessary in order to bring a scene to life. Then we’re going to touch on the concept of creating character.
The students who are attending the class are doing amazing work. They are adventurous and brave, and are willing to try new things that may be a bit scary and that make them feel a bit vulnerable. They are embracing the experience and learning so much from it. I’m so impressed!
Alice, a Level 6 student, said, “The reason why I attend acting class is because I like acting, and this class gives me the chance to do pronunciation practice. I have learned some acting skills and done a lot of practice such as ‘feeling the character’ and ‘partner mirror practice.’ Also, I learned that the best way for acting is to connect with the character through my own life.”
vital (adj.) – absolutely necessary.
EX: Water is a vital resource for humanity. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive.
misconception (n.) – an incorrect opinion.
EX: Unfortunately, a common misconception is that men with big muscles are not smart.
heartfelt (adj.) – sincere.
EX: After a heartfelt talk with the instructor, the student had more confidence and felt supported.
vulnerable (adj.) – unguarded and exposed.
EX: Students feel vulnerable when they give presentations. Everyone is staring at them and carefully listening to their words.