SOPHIE SARDI … TEACHER / ACTOR
I have always had a keen interest in the arts. I started my exploration in the visual arts quite young completing a Bachelor of Education degree in Arts and Crafts in my early twenties. A few years later my interests steered toward the dramatic arts. Having met and studied under the tutelage and guidance of Peter Sardi for many years, I now work with him as a partner teaching actors in the craft of acting at ‘Peter Sardi’s School of Acting.’ Both working actors, Peter and I are able to closely align ourselves with our students, using our own skills to demonstrate the fundamental elements of acting. If I had to encapsulate in a few words what it is we do, I would say our main aim is to encourage students, coming from all walks of life, to fully embrace who they are. I have an enormous respect for actors and artists and the like as it takes tremendous courage to reveal one’s vulnerabilities to an audience thankfully under the protection of a character. It is what is hidden behind the mask of each character that I am most fascinated by.
A few years ago, I came up with a brief visual arts statement attempting to describe a body of work, some drawings I’d then created, “it is my hope that these drawings capture the ephemeral, the intangible and the illusive nature of the human spirit.” Little did I know that my interest in these themes would resonate in the acting realm.
The potency and strength of two people interacting and simply being with each other, being true to one another is what I find most liberating. Time stands still in the space between two people when they are fully engaged in the act of play. The truth of who they are openly expressed and intertwined on a very physical and visceral level is what draws me to the acting craft. In the end Jerzy Grotowski the famous theatre Polish director, succinctly describes the acting process with a few simple words, ‘theatre is a place where one man comes out to meet another, without playing any role he is what he is complete in himself. He only wants to meet.’
Through the exploration and process of acting exercises, developed and taught in our school over many years, it is our hope that the acting student would also come to know how valuable the art of acting is …… in fact as much as we get a kick out of actors finding work in the acting industry, we are more rewarded when we see actors growing and evolving into confident, socially aware and connected human beings. ‘I just listen more, and I feel like I’m much more aware of the present moment’ said one student very recently when speaking of the affect the classes had on his daily interactions with people.
Lastly some of the goals we strive to attain in our classes are:
creating a safe environment for students to be able to reveal a part of themselves not normally expressed in their daily life; experiencing what it is to be present and in the moment; being able to use ones body and voice to its full capacity, tuning it as you would a musical instrument; cultivating a self confidence that stand firms but possesses a humility and sensitivity that treats others with respect; connecting on a deeper level with another and other students within the confines of the class; understanding what it is to work within an ensemble of actors; explore the unknown and ‘become comfortable with being uncomfortable;’ not being afraid to fail, willing to take risks and go beyond what one has learnt so far; continuing to refine skills and being open to learning anew with a ‘beginners mind’; and ultimately enjoying the exploration and process of studying acting so much so that the sense of fun is ever present.
When I begin a drawing I’m not sure where it will take me, I somehow have to trust that in the first few strokes – this will lead me to the beginning of something … In it’s unfolding, it unveils … A light on the inner workings of the human soul. … Sophie Sardi
“The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him” — Gustave Flaubert — 1821-1880
— Frida Kahlo -1907-1954
“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” — Amedeo Modigliani –1884-1920
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
— Henry David Thoreau -1817-1862