Carina Buena, actress, Romaina
Richard Listor, actor, London
Justin Younts, actor, New York
Evaluation by Specialists / Science
Peer review of VASTA member workshop "Emotion to Voice" - PEM voice work
Sarah Victoria and Kristina Heuer
The workshop, led by Sarah Victoria and Kristina Heuer, took place in the Cube theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore on 8th August 2017. The workshop lasted 75 minutes.
The presenters provided some historical background information on PEM. They described the chain of impulse from emotion to voice, and explained that this session would be practical, focusing on the biological movement of two of six emotional triggers.
With the participants standing in a circle on the stage, Victoria stated that this work was all about “feeling it and doing it”. Indeed, that is exactly what happened. She led a deep breathing exercise, moved on to the heart, and then to the experience of happiness. After some discussion the presenters led another sequence of physical experiences into the experience and vocalisation of grief. A brief discussion concluded the workshop.
The session was effectively-structured and it ran at a comfortable pace for the participants, with just the right amount of content for the timeslot. Instruction was clear, warm and informative. Victoria and Heuer’s knowledge of, and passion for the subject were apparent. They led participants expertly and confidently through the work. Participants appeared very engaged: one participant described her experience of the work as “massive”.
Today’s workshop provided a fine taste of PEM for the gathering of experienced voice teachers, actors and directors, many of whom were new to PEM work. The presenters helpfully applied the work to both screen and stage acting and offered some examples of when PEM might be most useful in our practice. They provided a fitting final workshop experience for VASTA today.
Melissa Agnew PhD, MA, BEd, Dip Teaching, LSDA
Interview with Peter McAllister, Acting Teacher / Certified PEM Instructor, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama:
How long have you taught acting at Central?
I began working at Central in 2000. I teach on the BA in Acting where my focus is on developing the actor’s creative imagination. My practice is based primarily on the work of Stanislavsky, Michael Chekhov, Richard Boleslavsky, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen and Susan Batson.
When did you first become aware of the Perdekamp Emotional Method (PEM)?
I was looking at some articles on the Internet. I happened to come across a video of a group of actors doing some emotional exercises. As a result I wrote to the Head Office in Hamburg, took part in a two-day introductory workshop in London, and signed up for the PEM Certified Instructor Training with the help of financial support from Central.
How is PEM unique in its approach to actor training?
It is a holistic process that is completely free from any memory or personal association. It is one of only two emotion techniques based on a non-psychological process.
When did you qualify as a PEM Certified Instructor and what did that process entail? My training as a PEM Certified Instructor took place over eight months. During that time I learned to access the basic emotions, to know how to clear any blocks, and to learn how to teach PEM to others. I have just completed my second year teaching an introductory course to the first and second year actors.
How has your certification in PEM influenced your teaching?
It has given me a deeper understanding of the bio-physiology of emotion, and a new language with which to discuss the emotions. It has also helped to dispel some of the mystery about how emotion actually happens in the body.
Is there a specific reason why you looked for a new approach to the emotions?
Many young actors struggle to access emotion freely. While I use a lot of imaginative, sensory and emotional work in my teaching, some people feel uncomfortable about using their own private experiences as part of their acting. I was looking for another approach to use in addition to the more traditional Stanislavsky-based techniques.
How does PEM help your actors?
It gives them an increased confidence in exploring their emotions, and it helps them to discover a wider vocabulary of dramatic expression. In addition, it’s a very safe process as it has been tested on more than 4,000 people worldwide, and it has been approved officially by „DeuZert“, the German certification agency for Education. For those actors looking for a new approach, PEM offers a secure, reliable and effective means of producing authentic emotions on stage.
30th January 2017
PEM is a quick, simple and reliable method of contacting emotions and actively expressing them. PEM produces reliable tools for the actor to connect and tap into the river of sensation and graphically express a full range of feelings. The process is organic and can be adjusted to meet the demands of a range acting genres and methods bringing into play the physiology and biology of the body as a organic source for accessing and expressing a full of range emotional temperaments and active states of being. The process opens a psychophysical connection to sensation and sound where the actor begins to make active use of the pallete of complex emotions on text and not just experience them passively.
Artistic Director Actors Movement Studio NYC
Assistant Professor, University of the Arts
P.E.M. emotional work contacts internal body parts, delivering a sure, quick, seamless flow of basic emotional life. This work is careful, original, intelligent and efficient. Actors immediately experience the satisfaction of expression and clarity of feeling.
About Sarah Victoria, PEM Master Instructor:
Sarah Victoria is an expert in this field. She is talented, highly observant, and creative, offering various adjustments for the actor. She is very gifted as a generous, supportive, kind and encouraging teacher to each individual actor. She is young, energetic and extremely passionate about her work.
Susan Grace Cohen
Acting Coach, Faculty Member of the Lee Strasberg Institute, Professor at NYU Tisch School
This unique technique defines a new movement in the acting field of education and technique. The duty of care offered to actors by this system is second to none in the world and a movement the industry has needed for 140 years!
Director of Actors Centre Australia
P.E.M. is a clearly structured method, based on a holistic approach to developing acting skills, with a strong impact on the forms of theatrical expression. This method ensures the quick, efficient and secure elaboration of emotional states, offering thus a viable solution to one of the major problems of the actor’s art and the creative process.
The Perdekamp method stands out from other methods of accessing emotional states based on physicality (Alba, Schechner, etc.) through its simplicity, accuracy, full expressive power, and last but not least ,through its amazing organic structure.
The workshop conducted by Mr. Stephan Perdekamp and Mrs. Sarah Victoria at our faculty has had amazing results. Thanks to the clarity and effectiveness of the method, the interpretative qualities of our students have shown an unexpected and fundamental development.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. habil. Bács Miklós
Faculty of Theatre and Television, Babeş- Bolyai University
To access emotions with ease and without attachment is the greatest gift you can give an actor. As both a tutor and professional actor, PEM has opened up a world for me that before now I could only dream of.
Organic and powerful, PEM can take a performance to levels rarely seen.
It forces the actor out of his head and into his body, developing his organic responses and reactions bringing spontaneity, passion and integrity with focus to his work. This technique is needed now more than ever! With digital technologies depleting our imagination and our ability to interact at a basic human-to-human level, PEM brings us back into our physiology, develops our awareness and expands our repertoire. From my experience no other technique does this so easily, cleanly and powerfully. With PEM, the actor has total control without attachment – easily slipping from one emotion to another within a matter of seconds and developing a profound focused interaction.
Maggie Tarver MA
(1st) Senior Lecturer / Course Leader BA (Hons) Performance, Southampton Solent University
I was impressed with your approach to teaching acting to actors. It will solve actors from being in their heads when they act. Your technique also applies to all level of actors. You bring out the emotion and vibration of the character by working with the human body of the actor. You have found a way to open the door for the expansion of emotions. It is a technique very different from the others.
Your dedication to each actor when you teach is also commendable.
The expansion an actor will experience is priceless!
Principal of the casting agency Alvarado Rey Agency
PEM is now officially acknowledged by science
We are pleased to announce that the written confirmation of our research results have now been officially released by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The study on PEM’s… bio-energetic process is hereby officially recognised and validated within the scientific community, and the traceability of emotions to organic impulses confirmed.
We would like to thank everybody who was involved in realizing this project!
Please find the excerpt of the original paper attached.
The Perdekamp Emotional Method PEM has been reviewed by scientific methods. Extensive research led to the creation of parameters and methodologies that served as basis for test series and the final multimedia realization. Through media-technological applications, physical changes during emotional acting processes triggered by the application of PEM have been visualized, sonified and documented. An audio-visual prototype, which was built to connect the fields of media-technology and artistic education, now validated the traceability of emotions to organic impulses on a scientific basis.
Until now, I was convinced that actors have to learn how to ‘act’ emotions by using triggers or putting up a front. These ‘acted’ emotions are cognitive constructs. Truth be told, they are ‘feigned’. They are not truly and directly experienced. As an audience, you immediately recognize ‘acted emotions’.
Stephan Perdekamp’s acting method allows the actor to learn how to utilize the primary emotional patterns – ‘true’ emotions as it were – as a reliable tool for their craft.
The demonstration of the P.E.M. was extraordinary. The portrayal of emotion was immediate and direct because the emotions were not acted but real. The emotions were actually part of the experience of the actors, their behavior as well as their movements – at no point whatsoever were they unreal, ‘acted’ or over the top. As a spectator, you cannot withdraw from the incredulous authenticity but feel yourself be drawn right in. This is an earth-shaking novelty. What a revolution for acting if emotions no longer have to be evoked or triggered by thought.
My experiences with P.E.M. prove to me that Stephan Perdekamp has made a sensational discovery.
From a psychological point of view, the Perdekamp Emotional Method is a fascinating method that allows you to create authentic emotions. The intriguing thing about this technique is the capability to switch emotions on and off as you please, without the necessity to elicit any feelings or memories from your past. After my years of experience with emotions as part of my profession, I can absolutely confirm that the P.E.M. can reliably create true and intense emotions.
PEM is the most effective method regarding the dealing with human emotion that I have encountered.