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Interview with Michael-David McKernan – Bolstoff – Smock Alley

Interview with Michael-David McKernan – Bolstoff – Smock Alley

We had the chance to ask Michael-David McKernan some questions about Bolstoff at Smock Alley, which opens on Friday the 14th of December. You can see the results below.

BOLSTOFF: A Modern Actor’s Introduction to Advanced Contemporary Performance is a rare insight into the revolutionary acting theory of Nikolai Bolstoff.

Join Wicker Socks as they share with you the secrets of “doing the acting” and fast-track you on the road to success in the world of theatre.

This electrifying ‘workshop’ will include groundbreaking warm-up technique, audition preparation and a mandatory fire announcement.”

14 + 15 Dec | 7:30pm | Main Space

Tell me about Wicker Socks? How long have you been performing together?

Wicker Socks is Fionn Foley, Michael-David McKernan and Ronan Carey.

Fionn is best known for his outright denial of the famine. Michael-David is (falsely) credited as Dublin’s tallest actor. And Ronan can be seen dressed in all white at most funerals in Cavan.

We’re also blessed to have had the incomparable Hannah Mamalis as our director since Scene & Heard 2017. This is our first live offering but we’ve existed as a writing trio for a few years since meeting at Trinity College. There, our shared love of Hungarian theatre and fictional acting masters brought us together.

This focuses on Bolstoff and his school of acting. As a young actor, how many styles of acting have you studied? Have you done many courses such as this?

We have tried and tested every methodology that exists.

The Mikel Sternhoff ‘Robo Effect’ proved stilted and useless. Riggy Mortesson’s Dance Academy was mediocre and a total waste of money. And staring at and trying to impersonate pigeons was an afternoon completely lost.

However, upon accidentally purchasing the entire Bolstoff Anthology at a police auction, our lives (and careers) changed forever.

We are now in possession of the tools and appropriate vocabulary we can use to obtain that most coveted of prizes: Paid. Acting. Work.

That said, since discovering the method we’ve been so inundated with requests for workshops that we haven’t had any time to commit to any projects.

But our headshots and CVs will be available outside in the foyer.

Tell me about Bolstoff and his techniques? Is it quite unorthodox?

There would be an argument to say his teachings are unconventional, that it’s not reasonable to expect actors to go that far in search of the truth, and that he should never have tested his ideas on orphan children.

But to that we say: what is orthodox?

The theatre is a club run for, and by, misfits.

By stepping onto the stage, actors are leaving behind their awareness of social etiquette, modern laws and basic personal hygiene.

Bolstoff releases the inner actor in all of us onto the stage, without fear or consideration of any of these.

In a world of fake news, this is truth like you’ve never wanted to experience it.

But for the love of Jesus, come wearing movement clothes.

The press release says that the audience is guided through the technique. Can we expect audience participation?

This is merely a basic introductory workshop into these methods.

To take individual participants through each technique would require Smock Alley Theatre to take out an insurance policy so complex and expensive, it would mean shutting down its beloved little school for boys.

And who wants to see those kids back out on the mean streets of Dublin?

However, we will be embracing the festive season and participants can expect a full rendering of Bolstoffian pantomime which brings with it its own call and response routine. The likes of which you’ve never experienced before…

What are your plans, as Wicker Socks, for the future?

We’re putting plans in place to bring this revolutionary theory to more eager enthusiasts in 2019.

There’s clearly a hunger for new ideas amongst actors who are tired of ‘traditional’ and ‘reliable’ methods.

We’re tapping into something special by bringing Bolstoff to those who are tired of simply playing dress-up, and want to become fully functional, procreating actors.

We can’t reveal too many specifics, but this is certainly not the last you’ll hear of Wicker Socks or, indeed, Bolstoff.

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