WHAT IS ACTING?
Well that’s a tough one, I mean, I was thinking about that the other night, and I was watching this program on the brain and I realised that, you know, acting itself is...you can define it in different ways, you know I mean, you can define it in the conventional way, you can say, well, it has a lot to do with action that’s why it’s called acting and that’s how they used to do it, and then, you know, acting is believing, which I believe in all that, I believe, that’s a really important thing, acting is believing, so, but what is that specifically, what is acting? I think it is a technique in order to be able to bring the unconscious to a conscious moment. I mean that’s what the skill to me is. It’s method, if you will, is, the purpose of the method is to get to the unconscious and bring that conscious up in public.
I think great acting is, is acting that can tap into the unconscious, and to the biggest percentage. I mean I don’t think it’s possible to do it on a, you know one hundred percent, I think it’s impossible, just like Stanislavsky, I think if you get sixty percent you’re a genius. So I think great acting is just a bigger percentage of the unconscious involved in what you are doing. So, as much being as you can get into you’re doing as possible, that’s great acting. Which means a lot of things, it means that it’s impulsive, it means that it’s logical to the reality of the script, it means that it’s unexpected, it means that it’s impulse, well I said that, impulsive, it means that it’s unpredictable, it means that it’s happening in the moment, as much as possible, it means all those things, all those clichés, and all those things that people don’t quite understand, like what is impulsiveness, um impulse is a real...they’re like everything in my way of thinking, learning to trust one’s own impulses and be able to release them on cue basically is a real art. It’s great acting.
Leonard Meenach's skill as a teacher is evident every time a QUT acting student or graduate steps on to a stage or in front of a camera. His ability to draw out the best in each individual student is a real gift. Some might think that his work is relatively easy, based as it is in studio work with small groups of students, but in fact it is very challenging to work for long hours in studio based learning environments - There is nowhere to hide for a teacher in an environment where students are encouraged to extend themselves beyond their comfort zone, where their weaknesses are exposed and confronted, where their failures are witnessed all too publicly. Leonard manages this deeply transformative learning with a deftness that comes from years of honing his craft, enabling him to model what he teaches his students: to do something really well takes a lot of hard work, years of practice and a truly reflective approach.
Professor Suzi Vaughan, Deputy Vice chancellor, Teaching and Learning
Leonard was my theatre director in 2013 and proved himself to be not only professional and intuitive as a mentor, but as an empathetic actor as well. The cast could explore the character’s mindsets and behaviour with him and he would be extremely involved in new discoveries and discussion about the play. We were confident in the work we were creating because of his intentional and passionate direction. He clearly loved the entire production process, from script to stage, and his incredible phrase, “now we’re cooking with gas!” gave us joy and motivation to give the show everything we had. I would work with him again on any kind of material in a heartbeat. Working with Leonard changed the way I perceive my role as an actor by empowering me with the ability to embody a character and inspired me to reach further into myself to bring truth to the performance.
Kyla Nichole Nelson