Week 7 | Artist 7: Created to Create 2016 | Suzana Nikolic, Actress/Professor
Suzana Nikolić (June 22, 1965) is an actress and a full-time professor at Academy of Dramatic Arts, University of Zagreb (ADA, UZ). She is a founder and Artistic Director of Performing Arts Etra and STUDIO CHEKHOV. Ms Nikolić’s organizational and producing credits include over a dozen international workshops, most of them concerning voice and speech work and Michael Chekhov acting technique. She produced the M. I. Fornes play "MUD," directed by a fellow MICHA faculty member, Scott Fielding, and staged at "ZeKaEm, Zagreb" in 2004.
Ms Nikolić has worked and taught professionally with the Michael Chekhov Technique for over 15 years and received the MICHA teaching certificate of completion in 2004. In 2004, she also edited the Croatian translation of Michael Chekhov’s “To the Actor – On the Technique of Acting.” For ADA, UZ she was Vice Dean for International Affairs from 2004-2006, and Head of Voice and Speech Department from 2006–2010. She graduated from ADA, UZ in 1988, and was a Fulbright scholar at NYU–Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program (1998/99). She is an award-winning actress with credits in theatre performance, feature films, television films & serials, as well as radio, and has over 20 years of additional acting and voice training abroad.
Where you were born?
I was born in a small city in eastern Croatia. When I was fifteen, I moved to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
Where do you work at present?
After my graduation from high school I auditioned at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, where I work at present as a full-time professor. I also perform continuously in the theatre, as well as performing on TV and in movies.
What fuels your desire to act?
I have always wanted to pretend that I am somebody else. When I was little, I did so for fun, but later on, I discovered that actually this desire fuels my need to act in order to experience different life stories-to discover another dimension of human life which goes beyond itself and increases it. In order to find empathy and compassion for people and humanity through the art of acting, as well as to give and receive. The theatre has always been a perfect place to do it. I never stop feeling awe when in theatre. The theatre has always been like a temple for me. A sacred place where you can experience the best things about being an artist - the luxury of enjoying beauty of Freedom, Creativity and Playfulness.
How did you first encounter work of Michael Chekhov? Who did you study
Since I encountered the Michael Chekhov Technique in practice in 1998 through work with Joanna Merlin, my professional life has changed completely. Even within the first few days of training, a whole new world of understanding was opened to me, about how many possibilities there are which can help me to create organically and experience pure artistic approach through it. This beautiful Chekhov acting philosophy still excites me, inspires me and feeds me.
Please describe an ideal process of preparing a role?
The ideal process of preparation for my role includes a lot of free time before and after rehearsal, so that I can explore different choices for the character, talk to my colleagues about the play and discover the atmosphere and the circumstances of the story through my dreams. I usually become engrossed in my character and am restless until I find answers, which explains this person to me. I have to understand her through my whole body, I have to sympathise and empathise with her, sometimes even through the imaginary dialogue I have with her or through finding her as a prototype in real life. Until I don't completely understand psychophysical mechanism, which makes my character breath, think, move, talk and walk, my job is not finished. It usually takes a dozen performances before I can start to play freely with having her under my skin.
When I am looking for inspiration I...
When I need inspiration, I observe nature and people, listen to the music, read books, go to exhibitions, see movies... I attend workshops, teach workshops, meditate, exercise, practice yoga... I expand and contract... and I constantly go back to Chekhov, both Anton and Michael.
The biggest challenge in working with myself is...
The biggest challenge in acting is to meet my higher self.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.