Category Archives: Featured actors

More Advice for Young Actors by Sebastien Heins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ariadne’s Notes: Calling into an earlier World Poetry Café Radio Show, (http://worldpoetry.ca/?)   CFRO, 100.5 FM at 1:25 PM PST, was young Jamaican , German actor Sebastien Heins stars in the Tempest opening across Canada on the big screen (Cineplex) on April 13th. Heins is now back with more advice for young actors which will be published in the Afro News. See link: http://worldpoetry.ca/?p=14263

Due to a strong response from around the world , Sebastien kindly sent additional answers to young actors, generously sharing his method and ideas below: 

“The best advice I can think of is to consider three different fronts on which you’re fighting, as an artist. Then quietly obsess over all the ways you can improve on these three fronts.

They are:

– Your Input
– Your Output
– Your Community.

Your Input is what you take in, whether you read, see plays, take classes/workshops, watch quality films, read the news, work on new skills, educate yourself, and experience life through travelling, seeing friends and family, and just living. It’s feeding the flames of your imagination, and literally nourishing the quality of the work you hope to express in your art. What you put in is what comes out…

Your Output is what you give to the world, in terms of the artistic service you provide to writers, directors, your audience, and whoever else you seek to affect with your creative energy. It’s not how good you look, or how flashy you can act. It’s how you change other people’s lives. It’s the first table read for your new cast, it’s the 45 second commercial audition for the client, it’s the script draft for your dramaturg, it’s the performance you’ve built for your opening night audience (and the performance you’ve built for your rainy Sunday matinee audience). It’s what you give that fulfills others in their lives…

Your Community is the relationship you build with all the people who make up your network. No network, no work. Your network is likely made up of people on all sides of the equation — audience members, reporters, directors, writers, other actors (lots of other actors…). When you’re down and out, your network is there for you, and when you’re riding high, you’re there for your network. The work you put into your community includes scheduling coffee dates with mentors, mentoring less experienced artists, passing along contact details to other people, going to festivals, awards shows, openings, memorials, birthdays, announcements, and basically everything that ties you to a group of people. Everything that shows them, with actions, that you’re not just in it for the money or the status, but that you’ve invested in being a part of the fabric that holds your industry together. Community is deeply important, and helps guide you to build better input and output habits.

Master one, and you’ll have something good going on. Master two, and you’ll find some real success. Master all three and you’ll find a deep trifecta that provides for you and everyone around you as you grow your career and reach for your potential in life.

2. Fresh after each performance?

This is something I’m working on, personally. So far, I’ve discovered that finishing your days at 11pm on-stage in front of a thousand people isn’t the best way to get consistent sleep at night and wake up fresh the next day. It’s challenging because I think that much of our best work is done when we first wake up, and even better so when no one else is up (so, between 5am-8am). But you’ll burn out if you’re only getting 5 hours a night.

So try this.

If you’re doing a show, and it’s taking a lot out of you, and you aren’t getting enough sleep, try thinking of your sleep quota on a weekly basis, vs on a daily basis. If you aim to get 52 hours of sleep a week (about 7.5 hours per night), then take the hours of rest where you can get them — build in a 90 minute siesta, or take a 90 minute nap after dinner before your show.

You can also use your dark day (usually Monday) to sleep in, and top up on your weekly sleep quota, as well as grabbing 30 minute cat naps around the day. Cat naps can also be useful opportunities to meditate, rest your mind, and consolidate your learning over the course of a day (I find this especially useful when I’m doing a lot of rehearsing during the day and want the work to sink in).

3. Creativity to each performance?

Every show I do demands a different pre-show ritual. Most recently on “Wedding at Aulis” in Toronto, my best pre-show habits were these:

– Work out for 1hr at the YMCA
– Shower in my dressing room
– Show up for fight call
– Get into costume
– Run all my lines, focusing on diaphragm support, and addressing self notes I’d made from the show before

Your role, your rehearsal, and your previews will best reveal what it is that you need to do your best work with your cast and crew. Sometimes what you need is to just chat, be silly, or bounce a ball with a partner. Sometimes you need to go to a dark place and prime the images that you’ll have to summon later in the show. Sometimes you need to do push ups and listen to R&B. But it’s your practice, and you’ll develop what’s best for your artistic output that day.”

Sébastien is  another up and coming Canadian actor who’s rehearsing for Wedding at Aulis at Soulpepper
The Tempest is the 12th film released by the Stratford Festival since 2014, when Executive Director Anita Gaffney embarked on an initiative to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays on film, allowing the Festival’s work to be seen internationally, while also creating an unparalleled educational resource.
Canadian distribution of The Tempest is through Cineplex, one of Canada’s
leading entertainment and media companies, which brings world classes.

Sebastien Heins is a young Jamaican actor who got his first break several years ago as a child star playing ‘Simba’ in the Toronto production of the musical The Lion King, one of the most successful theatrical productions of all time. Several years ago, Heins in New York City night wowed a large audience on Broadway with a sizzling one-man show called Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera, written and performed by him and directed by Adam Lazarus.
Heins’ performance forms part of New York City’s third annual United Solo Festival, a six-week multicultural theatrical event that presents one-person performances in the heart of the city’s theatre district.
This festival describes itself as the largest of its kind in the world.
To top things off, Heins then went on to win an award for Best Emerging Artiste at the festival.
With non-stop, high-energy dancing, miming, rapping, and singing, Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera told a compelling story in rhyme about the unlikely journey of two brothers who were deeply immersed in hip hop and R&B music, about how they were torn from each other and the circumstances that brought them back together again.
The entire show is written in rhyme with cleverly crafted lyrics utilizing the genres of hip hop and R & B as well as elements of reggae and dancehall.
The one-hour production presents like a long music video spanning 60 years, taking the audience from the present to the 1970s, then fast forwarding 30 years into the future.
Heins, of course, plays several roles and is able to successfully pull this off by drawing on all the skills acquired at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal where he studied.
Immensely helpful, too, is his impeccable dexterity at changing voices.
Heins is the son of a Jamaican mother, Shella Roye Heins from Savanna-la-Mar, and a German father.
The play was inspired by Sebastien’s two cousins in Jamaica and, as the saga unfolds, it feels very much like a love letter to his Jamaican roots. Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera is seasoned with many warm-hearted references to Jamaica. The production is an uncompromisingly bold and supremely entertaining excursion into the often perilous realm of one-man shows.
Also here is his additional bio:
Stratford Festival
January 2016 – Present 3 years 4 months
Stratford, Ontario
2018 Season:
The Tempest
The Comedy of Errors
Napoli Millionaria!
2017 Season:
The School for Scandal
Timon of Athens
2016 Season:
Breath of Kings: Rebellion
Breath of Kings: Redemption
https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/WhatsOn/PlaysAndEvents/Production/The-Tempest
Source TARO PR

World Poetry Celebrates the Talented James Berkowitz!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ariadne’s Notes: At long last World Poetry Canada International welcomes the talented poet and writer James Berkowitz to our participants around the world!

For all of you that are waiting to be featured, I have not forgotten you and will post as soon as I can.

Here are some of his poems:

TEARS FOR PEACE
Tears for peace
Run down the face of humanity
Crying wounds of hate
Seek impossible escape
When the light of the soul
Clenches the darkness of barbaric ways
Tears for peace
Run down the face of humanity
Oh sweet world
Gift of life and mind
Remove evil teachings from the eyes of humankind
Lift us from the dust of earth
Return us from the heavenly skies
Embrace the call to oneness
In the sharing of eternal life
Tears for peace
Run down the face of humanity
Down the face of humanity
Run tears for peace
Tears for peace
Peace for tears
Tears for peace
Peace or tears

THE INNER SUN
The inner sun
rises from deep
within the Soul
bringing all that
comes with the dawn

It shines brightly
through the eyes
while glowing around
the body during its peak

At sunset it
evokes a light beam
of energy that pierces
through the dusk at
an exponential power
and shimmers with ultimate
passion amidst the stars

DOWNPOUR OF THOUGHTS
A downpour of thoughts
Through sheets of rain
Puddles echo from my windowpane
Standing near the howling wind calls
An ever beating heart as gray skies fall

Obscuring the city and mountaintops too
Undressing my eyes to life in hue
Where loneliness and despair dissipate
Through a sudden break in the clouds
And the heavenly light from above
Shone radiant and proud

By James Berkowitz (C) All rights reserved by the author.

 

 

 

 

 

James Berkowitz is a poet, writer, performer, and producing artistic director for the Venice Art Crawl. Recent credits include literary and art journals “Levure Litteraire 14”, “San Francisco Peace and Hope”, and “Edgar Allan Poet Journal # 3”. Anthologies ZZyZx WriterZ “Intersections”, “The Revolutionary Poets Brigade – Los Angeles”, “Men in the Company of Women”, and ”Los Angeles Poetry Society Features” amongst several publications and media where his work is recognized. He is a human camera of observation and loves the magnificence of nature in its many settings as well as the pulse and stimulation of city streets. His greatest reward is connecting with other sentient beings.

http://www.jamesberkowitz.com
www.facebook.com/jamesberkowitzwriter

https://instagram.com/jamesberkowitz

World Poetry Celebrates Ran Blake!

 

 

Ariadne’s Notes: A wonderful  World Poetry Café radio show on April 11 at 1:30 PM, PST!

The talented Ran Blake called in and told us about his new CD and ended the show playing the piano with a piece called Memphis  that remembered the great Martin Luthor King Jr and what he wrote in his jail cell on a bit of newspaper for the world!  What a wonderful and inspiring interview! 

LISTEN THE SHOW HERE!

 

 

 

 

Ran Blake
Pianist, Composer, Educator

Ran Blake (b. 20 April 1935, Springfield, MA)
In a career that now spans five decades, pianist Ran Blake has created a unique niche in improvised music as an artist and educator. With a characteristic mix of spontaneous solos, modern classical tonalities, the great American blues and gospel traditions, and themes from classic Film Noir, Blake’s singular sound has earned a dedicated following all over the world. His dual musical legacy includes more than 40 albums on some of the world’s finest jazz labels, as well nearly 40 years as a groundbreaking educator at Boston’s New England Conservatory.
Blake first discovered the dark, image laden and complex character driven films that would so influence his music at age 12 when he first saw Robert Siodmak’s Spiral Staircase. “There were post World War II musical nuances that if occasionally banal and as clichéd as yesterday’s soap operas, were often so eerie, haunting and unforgettable,” Blake would later write. “After more than eighteen viewings during a period of twenty days, plots, scenes, and melodic and harmonic surfaces intermingled, obtruding into my day life as well as my dreams.”
Long before the invention of virtual reality, Blake began mentally placing himself inside the films and real life scenarios that inspired his original compositions like “Spiral Staircase”, “Memphis” and “The Short Life of Barbara Monk”. The influence of the Pentecostal church music he also discovered growing up in Suffield, Connecticut, combined with his musical immersion in what he terms “a Film Noir world,” laid the groundwork for his earliest musical style.
That early style would become codified when he and fellow Bard College student and vocalist Jeanne Lee became a duo in the late 1950’s. Their partnership would create the landmark cult favorite The Newest Sound Around (RCA) in 1962, introducing the world to both their unique talents and their revolutionary approach to jazz standards. This debut recording would also show the advancing synthesis of Blake’s diverse influences with its haunting version of David Raksin’s title track from the movie Laura and his original tribute to his first experience with gospel music, “The Church on Russell Street”.
The Newest Sound Around was initiated and informally supervised by the man that would be come Blake’s most significant mentor and champion, Gunther Schuller. The two began their forty-year friendship at a chance meeting at Atlantic Records’ New York studio in January 1959. Less than two years earlier, Schuller coined the term “Third Stream” at a lecture at Brandeis University. Schuller was recording on Atlantic—helping to define his term in musical practice—with future jazz giants like John Lewis, Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, and Ornette Coleman. Ran Blake came to the label to accept what he calls “a low level position” that allowed him to be near the music of inspirations like Chris Connor, Ray Charles, and Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater. Blake’s long association with Schuller, modern classical music, and Schuller’s controversial term began here, and was forged by years of friendship, collaboration and innovation.

Ran Blake, p
Photo by Justin Freed
One of the only people in the music world who could see the potential of Blake’s unorthodox sounding musical style, Schuller invited Blake to study at the Lenox School of Jazz in the summers of 1959 and 1960. While in Lenox, also home to the classical music mecca at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts, Blake studied with the jazz giants who formed the faculty of this one-of-a-kind institution—Lewis, Oscar Peterson, Bill Russo, and many others—and began formulating his style in earnest. He also studied in New York with piano legends Mary Lou Williams and Mal Waldron.
A year after Schuller became president of Boston’s New England Conservatory in 1967, Blake joined his mentor and many one-time teachers and inspirations, including George Russell, as a faculty member at NEC, the first American conservatory to offer a jazz degree. In 1973, Blake became the first Chair of the Third Stream Department, which he co-founded with Schuller at the school. He still holds this position—though the department was recently renamed the Contemporary Improvisation Department to address both its expansion from Blake’s own additions and the outdatedness of the term.
Blake’s teaching approach emphasizes what he calls “the primacy of the ear,” as he believes music is traditionally taught by the wrong sense. His innovative ear and style development process elevates the listening process to the same status as the written score. This approach compliments the stylistic synthesis of the original Third Stream concept, while also providing an open, broad based learning environment that promotes the development of innovation and individuality. Musicians of note Don Byron, Matthew Shipp, and John Medeski have studied with Blake at NEC.
Although Blake’s teaching career would soon become the second half of his dual musical legacy, his career as an influential performer and wholly individual jazz artist is his main source of fame. Following Jeanne Lee’s departure to become one of the premier vocalists in the burgeoning avant-garde, Blake recorded the prototypical Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano (ESP) in 1965. The recording showed a clear refinement of Blake’s style of reinventing popular standards by incorporating his other influences from Film Noir, gospel, his favorite pianist Thelonious Monk, and composers like Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Messaien. His reputation as the major Third Stream pianist, and later an educator, soon followed, as he could improvise just as easily on a jazz chord progression as a twelve-tone row.
From 1965 on, Blake worked primarily as a solo pianist on more than 30 albums. Although most of the music was primarily informed by his Film Noir perspective, many of his most acclaimed recordings are tributes to artists like Monk, Sarah Vaughn, Horace Silver, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. These tributes merged with his teaching career by inspiring an annual summer course he still teaches at NEC, thoroughly exploring the music of a single artist. He has also recorded with Jaki Byard, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Houston Person, Enrico Rava, Clifford Jordan, Ricky Ford, Christine Correa, David “Knife” Fabris, and others, including a 1989 reunion with Jeanne Lee.Most recently, Blake reinvented himself again for a new millennium of fans. Although solo albums like Film Noir (Arista/Novus) and Duke Dreams (Soul Note) earned five star ratings in publications like Down Beat and the All Music Guide to Jazz, 2001’s Sonic Temples (GM Recordings) is Blake’s best received and most critically acclaimed recording in several years. The recording features Schuller’s two jazz musician sons, Ed (bass) and George (drums), whom Blake has known their entire lives and worked with throughout the last 25 years. This is his first recording in the standard piano trio format, an unprecedented statistic for a jazz pianist of his stature. This collaboration, which Gunther Schuller conceived and produced as a testament to the unheard breadth of Blake’s abilities, showcases Blake performing with a rhythm section and features a repertoire of up tempo standards and group improvisations, as well as trademark Blake originals.

Ran Claps
2012 marked Blake’s fifty years as a professional recording artist, making him one of most resilient artists in jazz history. In the tradition of two of his idols, Ellington and Monk, Ran Blake has incorporated and synthesized several otherwise divergent styles and influences into a single innovative and cohesive style all his own, ranking him among the geniuses of the genre. The addition of his innovative aural based teaching approach, and the nearly thirty years he has spent influencing future generations of musicians, makes his contributions to the long tradition of jazz even more impressive.
Fifty years after his innovative duo release with Jeanne Lee, The Newest Sound Around (RCA-Victor, 1961), Ran continues to evolve his noir language on the piano and remains as active as ever with full-time teaching, recordings, touring, and writing a new book, “Storyboarding Noir.”
A recent Downbeat review said, “Ran Blake is so hip it hurts … a pianist who can make you laugh at his dry humor one second and wring a tear the next.” His music still sounds fresh and unmistakably unique.
In 2012, Ran performed in Portugal with vocalist Sara Serpa, in France with Ricky Ford’s Orchestra at the Toucy International Jazz Festival, and at the Qubec Jazz Festival where he performed solo with Hitchcock’s I Confess (1953).
by Scott Menhinick, 2002
(Updates by Aaron Hartley, 2013)

Source by Ann Braitwaite and Katz. Thank you for another wonderful guest!