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Let me tell you about these AMAZING people I've worked with. Some I've known since childhood.

Kenan Thompson, amazing talent, even at 10 years old. Always knew success was on the horizon!

Saycon Sengbloh is such a beautiful talent. Conquered Broadway, television, and movies!”

Amari Cheatom. I started working with this brilliant actor at 14.

Sahr Ngaujah is a master of the arts. He was nominated for Tony's for starring in Fela! and Moulin Rouge.

Kelly Jenrette is an Emmy Award nominee taking the world by storm.” 

Christine Horn has done Broadway, television, movies, and is the creator of The Original Booking Magnet. 

And, from across the pond...

I had read and heard about Freddie Hendricks before I joined the zoom call on Tuesday last week but I did not entirely know what to expect. We had been asked to write emotional recall monologues describing the physical sensations surrounding emotional events. 


It has been an incredible experience. Thinking across the past two weeks, it has reminded me of many of my favourite experiences in theatre as I came away from it feeling warmed and connected to the people I had been working with. I would say that I found the first week to be grounding after the long tail of the first year of the MFA program I am on. The second week I felt very comfortable and almost as though I was in the same room as the rest of the group.


Zoom demands a specific and intense degree of focus and that was easily captured in these two weeks. It was an intense, fast-moving, and loving process. Freddie stressed the importance of focus, telling an anecdote of a workshop given by someone who showed up hours after the start time and then stood on stage silently for an hour drawing the undivided attention of hundreds who had paid for the workshop. 


Freddie Hendricks provided his definition of acting as ‘doing the research and believing’ and reminded us of the openness and greater ease that could be found in ‘surrender to the process, because surrender is beautiful.’ We had a discussion of the question of how much to commit to a role, for instance whether to substitute a less intense situation, and the conclusion that was reached was the idea of living in the art, and that there is an art to coming back to who you are in transitioning in and out of character. Freddie described actors as seekers of truth who should seek out what is true.


I found that Freddie connected a lot with what I hold to be true. He expressed the idea that there is no such thing as doing something ‘wrong’ in acting, only making a different choice and that on stage you have the option of making different choices and making the play different every night. He made the point that no matter what choice you make, there will be someone who understands it. Freddie explained how seeing the possibilities of making different choices, ‘choices without limitations’ creates an openness that allows for a hunger for direction.   


Writing the monologue, I worried that perhaps I had put too much focus on visual stimulus and treated bodily sensations too metaphorically, but that fear was quickly laid to rest because it was a choice that I had made and a choice that shaped how the monologue worked.


What happened was a collaborative process. We began by discovering and telling the truth of our own monologues, sometimes leaving what was written behind and telling the story anew. This was very impactful because they were beautifully presented, complex and raw pieces on real lived moments of high emotion. There were tears all around. There were strong through lines connecting the pieces of birth, change and death.


We then exchanged monologues, calling for empathy and holding the hand of a moment of someone else’s life and opening up the question of who the character speaking the monologue would be, ‘the paradox of me/not me.’   


The choreographer Jelani Jones gave us physical warmups on many days of the two weeks incorporating the phrase ‘where did the story end’, which we felt related to the open-ended nature of our piece, and he created a movement piece for our showing at the end of the eight sessions.


Freddie redirected us on the pieces in many ways and we arranged them so that they flowed into each other and followed an emotional arc and we incorporated a piece of music created by one of the performers. The direction we ended up heading in was one of finding joy and laughter in all the pieces, even if it was cynical laughter or joy through pain. This reopened the pieces and gave them renewed energy and brightness.   


The value of emotional recall monologues comes from having ‘the emotions inside you already’ and they are a way of accessing them.


Openness and reciprocation of energy was championed as key; having the knowledge that whenever you walk into a room you gain something from it and being accepting of what directors are giving you.   


We talked about how great theatre allows you to be vulnerable with the character and how monologue is inherently duologue.


Another thing Freddie repeated to us was that ‘everything is already done, you just need to make it happen,’ which I interpreted as having an element of meaning that making work is the fulfilment of the work that you feel is meant to exist and, in a way, already exists. He returned to the image of paths in a forest, following ones that are already there or cutting your own through the vegetation.


This experience was very different from what it would have been if it had been in person and Freddie explained some of what he does in the room, including a Circle of Fire focus exercise on visualizing fire and imagining experiencing fire and a Vibe Circle of sounds. I am planning on returning next summer to partake in the full experience in the room.


We had a long discussion about drama school institutions having the concept of a “Freddie Hendricks method” and claiming to provide his teachings without him being there and wondering to what extent this was possible and what they meant.


Freddie concluded that if he does have a methodology, it is entering with love, giving yourself to the room, gratitude, affirming, and lifting people up because it gives people the confidence and surety to do better work. 


His approach to acting is that research is primary, actors should seek out the truth and respecting actors as artists creates a collaborative, productive, courageous space.                

                                                                      -Emily (Actor) London, England

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