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NYC director takes Curtin students to new heights

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Curtin’s Performance Studies students have been afforded a rare opportunity to work with accomplished New York director Aole T. Miller to perform a unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet.

As Curtin’s artist-in-residence, Miller drew on his extensive international experience to deliver six weeks of intensive 12-hour training sessions to prepare the students for the action-packed production.

Miller, who coached Michelle Williams for her Academy Award nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain, believes an actor’s creativity and inspiration comes from the body rather than the mind. He uses techniques such as archetypal mask work to teach students how to express their characters through movement.

‘With Shakespeare you need to fully embody and experience what you are saying, so the more physical you are, the deeper the experience is,’ Miller said.

After spending many years mastering his art, Miller emphasises how important it is for actors to really understand themselves and to put aside their egos.

‘By forcing the body to go outside of the normal, habitual way of movement, all the physical tensions are released and the students can fully transform into their character without their ego or their own personal stories getting in their way,’ he said.

‘I want to give the students a deeper awareness of self and theatre is a conduit to that.  As actors we are constantly evaluating ourselves; it is a deepening and holistic experience.’

The students have been thrilled to be given the opportunity to work in this unique ensemble training, which has previously only been available at Miller’s Brooklyn studio and in international training workshops held in Bali, Indonesia.

‘The training has been very intense, and a lot different to what we are used to. It has been so interesting to work with someone with such a broad range of knowledge and experience,’ said third year student Karly Pisano.

Miller said he has been very impressed with the acting abilities of the cast, who have shown they are not afraid to tackle Shakespeare.

‘Curtin’s students have a great work ethic. They have thrown themselves into this work wholly and they have put a lot of trust in me, so I know it is going to be a fantastic production,’ he said.

The production will be showing from 24-28 February and 3-7 March 2009. For bookings or further information, contact the Hayman Theatre on 08 9266 2383 or email l.brennan@curtin.edu.au

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