On the Scene with Ben Popper at the Someone To Call My Clone 

Zen Moment?

At the Memphis Media Co-op on a recent Saturday afternoon, it was the moment of truth.

A talkative crowd sat in the screening room, nervously awaiting the delivery of the final cut of Someone To Call My Clone. Though the Media Co-op often screens small, independent films, this picture was unique.

Someone To Call My Clone was written, performed, filmed, and edited by eight members of a small class studying theMeisner technique, an approach to acting which focuses on complete and personal truth in the moment.

Sanford Meisner was one of the founding members of the group that brought method acting to prominence in America. Meisner, however, grew dissatisfied with the method.

The core of the Meisner technique is repetition. One student will say to another, "You have brown hair." The other will respond, "I have brown hair." The actors will continue to say the lines, trying to be as truthful and unaffected as possible.

It may be a bit Zen-like for some people, but local participants found the class fulfilling on both a creative and personal level. Kim Hooss, one of the stars of the film, said, "Taking the class allowed me to become more expressive, both physically and verbally. I've learned to connect more comfortably with others."

Orlando-native Amber Nicholson teaches the Meisner class and says that stripping away complications in acting can teach students to strip unnecessary complications from everyday life as well.

"Once you stop suppressing your creativity, it flows to all areas of your life," she says.

Finally, Clone author and Commercial Appeal reporter Jon Sparks entered the room. In his hand was a single DVD, the final result of eight weeks of intense training.

The basic four-week class, which has become popular among actors in the local indie-film scene, is billed as "Meisner for the Creative" and is followed by anoptional four-week intensive.

Someone To Call My Clone, the result of the four week intensive, isa futuristic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and depicts the star- crossed lovers as a human-clone couple. The film takes on science, romance, and reality TV, all through the lens of Shakespeare.

Anyone interested in the technique can attend a free workshop June 28th from 7:30 to 9 p.m., in the Media Co-Op at 1000 South Cooper. 

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