Drama School Antics: Caroline Denis

Interview #3

 

16651590_1242667025822023_1091237699_nWhat is your name?

Caroline Denis

 

What year are you in?

2nd Year

 

How old are you?

32

 

Where are you from?

I was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens but lived all over New York (including upstate).

 

Twitter or Insta?

@reinecarolinedenis

 

Describe yourself in 3 words:

Adventurous, free-spirited and honest

 

Describe your previous acting experience:

Prior to coming to Scotland for, I worked with world renowned acting coach Susan Batson at the Susan Batson Studios in New York. I spent my early acting years working with her before moving to LA where I worked with Caroline Ducroq and Dustin Felder as well as trained vocally with Pete Cross. I also dabbled with the Ivana Chubbuck Technique whilst training in New York. Other training credits include the Labyrinth Theatre Ensemble which enabled me to create my own work and focus on internal growth. In regards to acting experience on a professional level, I table read the MotherF**ker with the Hat alongside Chris Rock, I’ve done several short films and a few feature length films. Most of my acting experience was dedicated towards training because I always felt I had room to grow.

 

What do you love about acting?

I love how much I’ve learned and healed through acting. I’ve had a really intense life and struggled a lot internally to cope with my reality. Since I became an actor, I have been able to focus and hone in on who I am and what I need to do to grow. It has been an extremely difficult process and I have challenged myself beyond words but the blessing is that I am me. I have come face to face with myself and have had to deal with the ugliest of truths and have had to dig deep to see the true beauty I possess. I think what I appreciate the most is that I have myself back and I don’t have to rely on others to define or tell me who I am. I’ve accepted all of me and I continue to encourage myself.

 

Who is your favourite actor and why?

Cecily Tyson not only because she is a fantastic actor but because she is a true definition of an artist, activist, amazing human being and phenomenal woman. At the age of 92 (which let me tell you, she looks a good 80), she still stands strong commanding the stage and screen wherever she goes. She just understands human beings and human behaviour. An activist fighting for civil rights who has paved the way for women of colour like me. It is because of her amazing contributions, efforts and work that I have a right to decide what kind of actor I want to be. Her skills on screen and on the stage are effortless and I believe it comes from years of living on this earth and experiencing different things. She has lived and has so much wisdom which many people strive for. She truly is a blessing to the acting world.

 

Why did you want to go to drama school?

I wanted to go to drama school because I knew that in order to be taken seriously and get better as an artist, I had to be formally trained. I was always told that I could naturally act but that I need training. It didn’t matter who I spoke to whether it’d be agents, managers, casting directors or even directors, I needed training. What kind of training? They never said and I spent many years searching for the right place to train. I found RCS when I was looking for training for another drama school that I had my heart set on. After training for a week, I knew that this was the place for me and that I had to spend the next 3 years of my life working towards my dreams.

 

Can you identify some of the challenges you’ve faced whilst studying acting and outline how you’ve dealt with them?

My biggest challenge whilst studying acting has been classical text. I have NEVER studied any classical text and my goal was to somewhat make it my own. My first classical piece was The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen which I found extremely difficult because Ibsen has a ton of subtext and the play is a translation from Norwegian. My character, originally a man and one of the main characters was a difficult human being to understand and even more difficult as a woman. I struggled a lot with the character development and understanding who she was and didn’t know how to apply that to what I already knew. The language was foreign and bringing it to life was impossible for me. I believe that if I revisit it now, I could totally understand and make something of it.

 

What are your dreams for the future?

Honestly, I just want to do great work. Work that inspires others to pursue and live their dreams. Work that will change people’s lives. I want to take my work as far as I can to see and experience as much as I can. I just want to do my very best and to be received well for the work that I have contributed in this lifetime. Along the way, maybe a French film or 2 and a few action films for fun. Bond films would be awesome too! Lol I’m adventurous what can I say.

 

What are your top tips for getting into drama school?

Be yourself, it is your time and have fun. So many people try to be something they aren’t. When I say be yourself, I mean who you are in that moment, not who you think you are or who you want to be but who you are in that moment. You can’t be anybody else if you can’t accept who you are in the present. It is your time so take it. Don’t give up the time you have to someone else: its precious and it’s yours so take it. So many people give their power away in the audition room which makes them seem unsure or afraid to be who they truly are. They can sense fear and uncertainty and because this process is intense and rigorous, they need people who can handle that pressure.

Have fun because honestly that’s why I do it. I love it from the moment I started at the age of 7. I was able to transform and live in a variety of worlds that I had always dreamt of. It allows me to use my imagination and to live out my dreams. It’s very therapeutic and allows me to play. So before you do anything make sure you are at least having fun because what’s the point if you’re not.

 

What do you hope to achieve during the rest of your academic year?

I hope to be able to create my own work and become a better writer which is something that we get taught to a certain degree here at the Conservatoire. Frankly, I want to be a solid, fearless actor by the end of the academic year and I think I’m well on my way.

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