Emma Laristan, Acting in English student now in London
- Can you tell us about your background before starting your studies in the Acting in English Department at Cours Florent in Paris?
I grew up near Paris (94). I started playing the Harp at Conservatoire de Saint-Maur from the age of 7 to 20. I think, I always knew I wanted to act, to be on stage. When I turned 16, I started the Atelier Jeunesse classes in Cours Florent and after graduating my Baccalauréat (French A level) I started the 3 year professional acting courses both in French and in English.
- How did your training at Cours Florent prepare you for your current life in London?
My training at Cours Florent helped me learn to work by myself, always come on stage with some prep done and have a strong offer for each scene. My teachers always pushed me to follow my instincts when I was afraid to. Even if it felt wrong. I also learned how to be ok with being completely wrong. I learned how to fail and not beat myself up, which, I feel, is one of the most important lessons in an actor’s training. On my first day at L.A.M.D.A. (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) one of my Acting teachers told me “failure is the best thing that could happen to you today“. And how right she was! I know now that I can really feel free in my work when I feel ready to embrace success just as much as failure.
- Why did you decide to build your career both in Paris and in London?
First of all for the adventure and my taste for challenges. I learned English at school and was not bilingual at all when I started auditioning last year for English drama schools. To act not in your mother tongue gives you a new relationship to language: how to celebrate words while discovering them. Then it’s also opening myself to a different culture, a new theatre, new authors, a different kind of humor ... In short another way of working. This summer, I'll be working on a play directed by a L.A.M.D.A. graduating Israeli director, and my acting partner is German. It’s really exiting to be a part of international productions and be actively confronting/melting cultures on stage.
Then the training techniques are very different and complementary. Finally, on a more down to earth level, it’s opening my career to another industry, so more job opportunities. And what a thrill to be able to play Molière and Shakespeare in their original languages. Breathing an Alexandrine and feeling your heart beat with the rhythm of the iambic pentameter.
- What advice would you give a future workshop participant/student at Cours Florent?
Enjoy the very safe space that Cours Florent is to explore as many characters as possible. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Stay open-minded. Work on off-center characters as much as you can. Try crazy things. Have fun. And work with as many partners as possible, don’t stick to your friends!
- Do you have any ongoing projects or upcoming ones?
I will be graduating next year from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (L.A.M.D.A.), a famous drama school in London, I am are currently working on Jacobean and Restoration plays: playing Annabella in ‘Tis pity she’s a whore by John Ford and Lady Froth in The double dealer by William Congreve.
Read Isabelle Duperray's interview, Headmistress of Acting in English Department