HCAC Spotlight: Ranice Tay

If you visit HCAC often enough, chances are, you’ve already bumped into Ranice Tay! Ranice plays an integral part of the HCAC family, from acting in shows such as Creation of My Body (2016-17) to stage managing Singapore Monologue Slam 2016 (both produced by Method Productions). In 2016, Ranice co-founded her own performance collective, Passerby Projects and performed in its maiden production, LEAVES (written by Lucy Caldwell), which was staged at HCAC.

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As one of HCAC’s scholar, Ranice remains in pursuit of knowledge and the practice of method acting here at HCAC. So, let’s get to know more about Ranice Tay and her experiences as we shine a light on her in this HCAC Spotlight!

Hi Ranice! Tell us more about yourself. 

I’m a second year student at the National University of Singapore, majoring in Theatre Studies. I help out around HCAC when I can and sometimes I assist Kamil Haque, HCAC’s founder, in his classes. So, I guess you could say I’m trying to juggle both my schoolwork and learning as much as I can about acting.

Tell us more about how you joined HCAC? What were the class or classes you took part in when you joined HCAC.

Well, I auditioned for Kamil and he gave me a scholarship – which essentially meant that I’d help him around the office while he’ll give me a couple of workshops to attend.When I first joined, I did the Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting (Introduction) and the Long-Form Improvisation. Those were the two workshops he felt best suited what I wanted to do. During the interview, I told him that I wanted to pursue acting as a lifelong vocation, and he felt that these two workshops would best give me the skills I needed.

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Ranice working with Kamil Haque.

Also, I’ve always been very interested in Method Acting. I remember stumbling across an article on Strasberg, Meisner and Adler when I was procrastinating during my Junior College days. The idea of being as close to a character as you possibly can (of course within safe boundaries) resonated with me.

What is the experience like participating in the workshops at HCAC?

Method Acting was the workshop that really changed not just the way I acted, but the way I lived too. I was always extremely shy and self-conscious (I wouldn’t even dare say ‘thank you’ to a waiter), but the workshop urged me to step out of my shell. I think it was something that Kamil said along the lines of, “Your life problems are your acting problems”. I thought, yes that made a lot of sense, because back then my inhibitions prevented me from being vulnerable and free on stage. And that made me practice very hard to speak my mind in daily life.

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Ranice in rehearsal for A Dramatic Reading of Siti Rubiyah at HCAC. (Photo credit: Sasha M Studios)

Long-Form Improvisation was one of the most difficult workshops back then too, but it was also the workshop that helped improve my acting skills the most, within a short period of time. After the workshop, I remember the batch I was in wanted to create an improvised show called Under the Rug, using scenes from the workshop. I could see a drastic change and improvement to my scene, from the very first day of the workshop to closing night of the show. It’s now one of my favourite workshops to be in – and I still get nervous every time I have to do it!

Is there anything you learnt from the workshops that you have applied in your real life?

In Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting (Intro), we do relaxation exercises. When we were first introduced to Relaxation, I admit I didn’t quite see how applicable it was to acting. It was only a while later that I realised – good acting is all about the ability to be relaxed on stage or on camera. Relaxation helps you to tune into yourself, and to listen to your impulses – which may seem common sensical now but its actually deceivingly hard to pull off when you’re in front of an audience.

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Ranice at The Art of Short Scripts table reading, 2016.

I try to go back and practice Relaxation with the Method Acting class and I’ve noticed that the habit of scanning my body for tension has turned into something I subconsciously do in daily life.

How much did you change from when you first joined the course to when it ended.  

I wouldn’t be able to recognise myself if I went back in time. I daresay, I’ve learnt more in these two years than I have anywhere else. Besides being less painfully self-conscious, I have also learnt to fight for the things that I believe in, to always prioritise hard work and attitude over talent, and to focus on the work.

What makes HCAC special to you?

An open support network and the chance to train consistently. Here, Kamil monitors my personal development as an actor, gives me honest feedback and challenges me to always out-do my best. The HCAC community has the openness to try, the ability to discover, and the willingness to fall in love with acting again and again. Everyone’s here to do the work – and you can really sense that.

 

You can follow Ranice’s tumblr at tendersome.tumblr.com as well as her instagram (rxnxcxtxy).

 

Take a look at more of our features under HCAC Spotlight here!