Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be part of the Utkarsh Acting Workshop held at Gaabo Motho Culture Village which was further away from Johannesburg than I anticipated. The workshop was hosted by Utkarsh Projects, established by Indian-born Rajiv Tewardkar, and Gaabo Motho, and featured the expertise of Bollywood actor, Sandeep Kulkarni, Hollywood professional, Norris Preston, and local celebrity, Clint Brinks.
Although the morning started off a little shaky with the majority of attendees (including myself, half the camera crew and Clint) being delayed by over an hour due to poor directions to the venue (Google Maps had no idea!), the rest of the day was very engaging and educational.
The workshoppers present were mostly students or otherwise young in the industry so I had a decided advantage in terms of experience. There were also some non-industry folk eager to gain some presentation skills or otherwise learn more how to perform either in their current fields or branching into performance in some form. All in all, they were an eclectic and enthusiastic bunch who I enjoyed connecting and working with.
For me, the biggest lesson of the day was returning to the core basics of acting. Throughout my training and earlier days in the industry, the importance of maintaining our foundation was constantly highlighted. Over time, I’d forgotten about keeping this skill foundation sharpened. Partly, it seemed, readily available workshops seemed to be less accessible and, mostly, I was lazy or not financially able to attend regular trainings.
This day reminded me again of how much those basics feed my performance and I’m really happy to have attended. As a bonus, I did win 2nd place in the competition held at the end of the workshop, which, in all honestly was a surprise because I really felt that I’d not delivered my best in the 60 seconds of allocated recording time, and because I observed, in my opinion, so much more heart in so many of the younger performers.
Still, a happy end to the long day and I look forward to doing more with Utkarsh Projects in the future.