( 4UMF NEWS ) Marishka Phillips Presents Pandora’s Box:
Marishka Phillips is singer, actress and a renowned acting coach who challenges her students to tap into his or her spiritual connection to tell a story. She started The Marishka Phillips Theatrical Preparatory that weekly workshops for actors as well as one on one sessions.
Phillips essentially grew up surrounded by the arts. Her mother is singer/actress Sandra Reaves Phillips and as a rite of passage, she followed her into the world of entertainment. With film, television and Broadway under her belt, Phillips has years of experience that she can draw upon to help her students. But it was a chance opportunity that lead her to realize her purpose.
“I knew teaching was my calling in June of 2006,” Phillips said. “My then mentor, Susan Batson, gave me an opportunity to fill in for one of her teachers. I had been studying with her for four years by then. I was acutely aware of how the craft changes lives. I wanted to be a part of that shift in the human spirit. I fell in love with that.”
Her approach is to help actors focus internally to portray a character, a method made popular by Russian actor/director Constantin Stanislavski.
“When I teach, I use many Stanislavski’s method acting techniques, including emotional sense memory ( when I walk the storyteller through a specific time in their life), personalization (to whom your speaking) and sensorial layer (which informs behavior). As well as improvisation exercises.”
In addition to working with numerous up and coming actors as well as established veterans in the industry, Phillips has created a very special workshop specifically for singers. The “Aha moment” came as she prepared for a role herself and The Singer’s Workshop was born. It runs for six weeks and culminates in an intimate presentation that gives her students a chance to perform on stage.
“In 2007 and 2009, I played the character Ethel Waters,” the native New Yorker said. “As I was developing this character, I realized that when I’m acting and when I’m singing a song, I am using the same techniques. This is when I got excited about sharing this with other singers. I would love to coach the singers on “American Idol” with this technique!
“The Singer’s Workshop, Pandora’s Box, I teach along with music director and artist Maritri Garrett. This is a six week process. I ask the singers to bring in two contrasting songs. Once we decide on that, I begin to help them discect the lyrics. I use beats and actions. This is a very intense and tedious process, but well worth the effort. Once the story has its life and personal connection we build what we call a forth wall. The forth wall is built through the storyteller’s imagination. It answers the question, ‘What images are you relating to tell this story?’ At the end of six weeks we have a showcase, where we invite industry, family and friends to see the work.”
The workshop isn’t just for singers. Spoken word artists and rappers are welcome. Phillips is eager to work with anyone who has an important story to tell to music.
This Monday, Phillips will be presenting Pandora’s Box. Special musical guests R&B diva Monifah and acclaimed singer/actress Sandra Reaves Phillips will also take the stage.
If you’re in the NYC area next Monday, come on down to the Triad Theater to hear some great music and support the arts. The tickets are only $20 each. To purchase tickets, head over to www.BrownPaperTickets.com
For more information about Marishka Phillips and The Marishka Phillips Theatrical Preparatory, head over to her website www.marishkasphillips.com