An interview with Nicole Kehrberger
Ms. Kehrberger. What is your perspective on the current situation?
I would rather not talk about this situation since I don´t know what is going on. What I mean is that I don´t trust the mainstream media that much, therefore it is hard for me to have a clear perspective as for many other people. In media everything can be twisted, also numbers, and too many things do not make any logical sense, the only thing I see is that people are scared and a scared population is so easy to manipulate. I see social distancing in families, friends, neighbors and how easy it is that fascism built itself from inside through fear and mistrust. When it comes to health, I think it could help people to get some ideas about how a human being can improve his or her immune system and I am missing this topic in the mass media. For me, life is a well-sensed risk and taking care of myself to be able to live life as fully as I can. I do trust my body, I think that the human body is an incredible machine and I believe that it is an incredible self-healing system if we put the body in a condition where it can heal itself. It is a combination of thoughts, movements, nutrition, breathing exercises like the one discovered by Wim Hof. I go swimming in the very cold water on a lake every day during winter time but I would recommend even just a cold shower to increase your immune system.
How do you translate self-care into acting?
For me, an actor is an artist. There is a big difference between an artisan and an artist. An actor can be both but I want to look at an actor as an artist who masters his craft and goes beyond. He has to take responsibility and care for his art.
As a physical artist you are used to work with your body. What do you recommend as good practices ?
Yes, you are right. My work as a performer and also as a teacher starts from the body. I am interested in Neuroscience and how we can help our bodies through our minds. I did lots of research about this process and I have discovered that Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress and boost your immune system. I have noticed that when I ask my students when stretching their muscles to smile even if physically in pain that helps them to go further in the stretch. It is as if the brain is telling the body that it is pleasurable and not painful therefore the body relaxes more. As an acrobat and aerial artist myself I have also noticed that if I can visualize the jump or the movement removing negative thoughts, I have much a better chance to do it as I want it.
Many teachers have written books about their methods . Do you also write?
I am writing my first book at the moment which will be containing some of the techniques that I use in the training. It will be some sort of a handbook focused on the topics that I teach like how to magnetize the audience, creating an emotional connection with them but its core will be how to maintain the joy of playing as an adult. Friedrich Schiller said: “People are only completely human when they play.” For me the joy of playing is the engine of fast learning for people and animals, both for children and adults. Things which are learned while playing games are deeply anchored in our physical memory and children and adults are better able to develop their potential through if playing. In the game state, many brain cells can re-network, which leads to the brain running at full speed in the game state: the imagination sprays, the creativity is stimulated, the flow state and the resulting tense joy spreads in our body, the controlling mind is on standby. Therefore in my work I focus on the play, the game and its immense pleasure, which is a feeling that originated in the early childhood.
Do you like teaching and do you have a permanent school in Berlin?
Yes, I love teaching, I love seeing people improve and assisting their personal breakthrough. Ah, what a joy !!! I teach stage professionals from all fields, such as actors, singers, dancers, musicians. I remember this woman, shy, small, fragile, a lyrical singer. She was at the beginning of her career. Within 4 weeks of working she changed completely, she became a “monster” on stage in the good sense of the word meaning that she was huge on stage full of courage and shining like a sparkling star, her personal voice coach noticed a change in her voice and for the better and she is now very well settled in the business. I had people saying to me that after attending my masterclasses they were able to get many more opportunities feeling more at ease when auditioning. In terms of my school , NK On Stage, I would say that since I teach a lot abroad I am not always able to offer classes at the Barfuss Theater which I have founded and built-in Berlin together with my partner Michele Andrei but I want to increase the workshops in Berlin, giving stage professionals or those who want to become one, the possibility to study with me in 3-4 blocks of 4 weeks. The program will be a sequence of workshops building up on each other, but students can choose also single workshops out of the program.
Can you tell us what are your next projects ?
At the moment all my projects are kind of on hold due to this “state of emergency”. Certainly, I want to do my masterclass that was scheduled to happen next week especially because I would be excited to work with the actors that applied. It is a wonderful group of professionals. I guess we have to be patient and wait. When things will go back to normal I will be traveling during the winter to teach in several countries and also in Berlin during the fall. I am also looking forward to publishing my book as well as to collaborate on other projects that I was asked to be part of as a performer and actress.
“People are only completely human when they play.”– Friedrich Schiller