Martin's Corner

Australia has several recognised schools of acting at a conservatory level, QUT Creative Industries Acting program being one of them. What is unique (to the best of my knowledge) is that this program is centred around a particular philosophy or approach to acting process. This move was heralded seven years ago when an American acting teacher – Leonard Meenach - was imported to re-structure the program. Leonard had studied with Jose Quintero, Arthur Lessac and Eric Morris and brought a distinct method approach to the school.

I began to work with Leonard some six years ago and in that time have moved from being an actor interested in teaching to a teacher/director passionate about acting and process. In terms of embracing a philosophical approach to acting process, personal growth over the past six years has been exponential.  Having the opportunity to explore, discover, reflect and then re-explore, re-discover and reflect in my practice as a teacher in a conservatorium and privately has been an amazing and enriching experience. The more I look the more I see ­ life it seems is infinite in every direction I gaze.

Within the microcosm of one acting issue is an infinite resource of discovery. And as I raise my head from any given investigation I see that the macrocosm of human experience is both universal and unique. I see my students as my teachers, for it is this relationship where a reciprocal transaction and negotiation reveals the power of a truly creative tension of opposites. The whole becomes infinitely greater that the sum of its parts and mystery converts to knowledge through the lived experience.

I hope in the future to reveal some of these mysteries for you ­ or in the least offer something to the shared wisdom of the tribe.

(Oh yes, a brief emotional recall, thanks to Scene4's editors. I should just say that calling this first column Martinšs Corner has a strange sense of embarrassing nostalgia for me ­ one of those things your family knows and reminds you about ­ often! The story goes: On the way to the coast for family holidays a particular young boy had a certain 'wind' problem and was asked to alleviate that problem at the side of the road. This particular young boy did just that ­ obliging the family of any further olfactory unpleasantness. And for the next 10 or more years, every holiday season as that particular family traveled down that same road for their summer vacation ­ they never failed to remind that young boy they were passing, 'martin's corner'.

So now you know the story behind the headline and share a slight sense of irony with me. In airing this story I sincerely hope the standard of the column rises way above matters scatological ­ and in a way everything from this point is up.)

©2003 Martin Challis

For more commentary and articles by Martin Challist, check the Archives.

Martin Challis is an actor and director "down under" in Australia.
He recently  commenced a coursework Doctorate in Creative Industries
developing projects such as The Raw Theatre and Training Company.
He's also the director of the Studio For Actors and Ensemble Works. 
And... he has a sailing boat!


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