As much as we love to chat with people who have achieved their goals, we love talking to those who are just starting their journey. It’s nice; you feel refreshed, meet new people. New experiences, new creations, new processes, new success stories… Well let’s leave the rest to Kenan…
What is the most rewarding part of acting?
At it’s basis, this question has two answers for me. For one, experiencing new lives in each character an actor portrays and being able to be someone else is a liberating thing. I’d like to explain the other reason like this: You know how every profession requires you to specialise on something or some subject… For example, an engineer needs to focus on engineering, a farmer on land, a doctor on the human body. In acting, what you need to specialise in is your self and your body… That is why you’re actually working 24 hours… You’re constantly in contact with your subconscious, senses and emotions. You have to observe and empathise at all times because you may have to act in a situation that you’ve observed. This causes your awareness level to exceed, which I think is the main purpose in living. In short, you turn everything to your advantage from the things you read, see, and live.
Why did you want to become an actor?
I had an adventure between Istanbul and the US during college years. My origin is actually administrative sciences. I graduated from Istanbul Technical University however once I started to study acting in New York, I realised that that was what I really wanted. My enthusiasm multiplied continually. I continued by Stanislavsky education from Stella Adler with studying the Anthony Bova and Eric Morris system. Then I became Anthony’s assistant at his theatre for a while. When I came back to Turkey, I met CRAFT and graduated from there.
Considering college kids who study acting, there is such a huge gap between what is expected to happen and the reality of it. Let me ask you since you’ve been in both the “wanting” and the “having” part of it all; what are the differences between the world you want and the world you have?
There is an idol and a moment as the reason for each artist to pick their craft. However embarking on that journey, you fall between the dreams and reality as you said. You see that people have worked so hard and spent so much time for that “moment” you’ve been impressed with, and that it is hard. You don’t achieve dreams easily. In my opinion, there difficulties and disappointments are experiences and tests that prepare you for new ventures.
There are many courses in acting that encourage you to step out of your comfort zone; improv shows, provocation to do things you suck at, embarrassing yourself in a crowded setting…
We had to do so many exercises that would normally be considered as embarrassing in real life that our threshold for embarrassment got pretty high. I think this is one of the best things about a good education.
One time they asked us to communicate to one another as a monkey when it was forbidden to talk to one another or stand still. After an hour-long class spent like that, we were asked to leave the building and not come back for another hour, acting the same way we did in class! Think about it, you’re on the street acting like a monkey. Everyone had a partner. We went out to the coastline at Moda. We wrestled at the park, got involved in a basketball match, jumping around like monkeys surrounding them. When I think about it now it was fun however I was really embarrassed back then.
How were your emotions when you took the stage for the first time?
It’s different when you form relationships with people one on one, getting instant reactions, adjusting to it… As a child, I would always look up to film actors and could never get theatre. When I first acted in a play, I couldn’t stop my jaw and knees from shaking. I guess that was when I first felt “it.”
Getting into character for a project, what kind of contradictions do you feel with Kenan Acar’s character.
I start off with my sub-characteristics when I research about a character. At the end of the day, all dichotomies from a king to a slave to a woman to a man are present in one’s self. Creating the character has something to do with how willing you are to finding those attributes and releasing them. What people go through, hence interpret are different to one another of course. You’re actually trying to understand and free your character, you are not contradicting it. If you don’t empathise with it, if you judge it, the character you build my collapse.
How did your approach to acting change after starring in Çağan Irmak’s movie?
I was really impressed by how someone who holds a space for acting, is so kind and beautiful changes into a serious authority without changing his characteristics. He is a director who motivates his actors about the scene and the whole, while giving them freedom for themselves and their ideas. Meeting Çağan Irma and working with him encouraged me about my profession.
You inevitably get an ego when you’re the talk of town. Have you begun battling with that? After working with such an important director, how do you succeed at being humble?
There are many elders who have no sign of ego. Of course the meaning of ego is also important; because ego is necessary for everyone. It’s important how one uses it. Being humble is a feature that everyone must have also.
Does it get easier or harder to hear “You are not right for the part?”
I think it gets easier. It’s a part of the job. You shouldn’t take it personally. They have to look at the whole while working on a cast.
Using your observation talent that acting develops, who has been the most original character you’ve seen / read about?
Daniel Day Lewis – The Butcher (GAngs of New York). The man is in flow! There is also the fact that Scorcese is behind the camera.
Now what? How would you fictionalise the following one or two years if you were in charge?
You know there are some shows where health and money are no problem. Like Entourage where there is always a “climax.” The world is peaceful, everyone is in a good mood, problems aren’t real, all the girls are beautiful and the champagne is always cold. I’d like that kind of scenario ?
Photo by Asya Çetin