Students in the third Artek session are meeting with the Nikolai Skorik actors’ studio experimental theater. The tour program includes three performances at the Suuk-Su Palace and actors’ workshops at all the Artek children’s camps. Professionals help the students stage shows for a theater contest held as part of the Palmyra festival and become more confident, sociable and artistic. The contest may end, but the children will keep these qualities forever.
Nikolai Skorik’s actors’ studio started its Artek tour with the performance Dacha Delights based on stories by Anton Chekhov. However, even after the curtain goes down and the audience leaves, the communication at Artek is just beginning. When the actors are not rehearsing or performing, they meet with theater teams (a new subject activity at the camps this season) and help them prepare for the final contest.
During workshops, Artek students learn how to improvise and develop their speech and acting skills. Jumping over chairs, running with imaginary obstacles, dancing and staging short sketches… Other people might find them funny, but the students take it seriously because the results are worth it: confidence on the stage, a strong and beautiful voice and the ability to keep the audience’s attention.
“One goal is to teach the students to overcome stage fright: it is one thing to rehearse or play in front of your friends and a different thing to perform in front of an audience,” says actor Denis Davydov. “We will try to bring the team closer so they understand each other without words. The ability to listen and hear each other is necessary for good actors.”
According to the actors, it is interesting to meet so many talented children and share their expertise and their art. “When such diverse people from various regions meet, it is a great experience that will definitely have good outcome,” says actor Sergei Volkov. “Many young people who signed up for the theater teams at Artek are already working at the studios and are planning to enroll into theatre universities. We tried to show them what they will encounter during their studies. The actor’s job is not as easy and fun as many people believe. Sometimes it is difficult.”
Yekaterina Petina from Norilsk is one of those who is interested in theater and dreams of becoming an actor.
“It is important to learn how to interact; that’s why I liked the exercise called “mirror,” she said after a workshop at the Lazurny camp.
“You repeat your partner’s movement without saying a word and to try to understand and foresee them. At first I was doing it wrong, but then I realized there was a pattern to my partner’s movement: she was showing her role in our performance. Then we started moving together perfectly.”
Polina Tyuleneva from the Moscow Region chose the theatrical course because she decided to try something new.
“We made friends with the other kids during the first week,” she said.
“It is interesting to meet professional actors; we can use their example. For me, the most difficult thing in the workshop was jumping over a chair, I had some inner fear. But I have overcome this fear as I did with my shyness during the first days of the session.”
The students in the first creative meetings noted the actors’ easy way of communicate and it helped them feel more confident.
“The actors project warm and positive energy and explain everything very simply!” said Nastya Nerubenko from Moscow. “I did exercises for breath and voice during a workshop at the Morskoi camp. They will be very useful for me in the future.”
“Skoriks,” as the theater is sometimes casually called, is not only professional and open, but also honest with their young colleagues. “Sometimes an actors life is hard,” they told children. “But never boring! Be surprised, find something new each day and pay attention.” As our mentors tell us, “if you have not seen anything new today, the day was in vain.”