Thursday, May 31, 2012

MauiVision Summer Specials 2012


We are offering some great deals for the month of June and July 2012!  Airfares are competitive!  This is a good time for a Maui getaway!

Visit this LINK to view properties on sale, read the amenities, view pictures, and see availability calendar: 
You may click to enlarge the attached jpeg
To book any of the properties on special please contact us.

All my best,

Kathy McCartney

Friday, May 11, 2012

How do stage actors deal with stress?

Tony Grahn
I met Tony and his wife Manouk several years ago while in Europe.  We still remain long distant friends today.  I experienced several positive talks with Tony.  He is truly inspiring, calm, sensitive, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  He demonstrated some of his useful techniques on me and I found it very helpful! 

Introducing my friend Tony Grahn in his own words:

The pressures an actor experiences can be great.  An actor needs to remember many lines, sometimes up to 100 pages if you happen to be playing the main role. You need to remember when and how to react, where and when to move, and to be in character.  There is no time to take a break or stop and start again. You are “up in the air,” and you have to stay there.

As many other performers, I started my acting career as an amateur when I was around 20 years old. In the beginning, I was not really interested in theatre; I was more in it for the girls. However as time went on, I got more and more into the acting and my interest grew for the theatre, now I had both J.

After a few years, and a number of productions and workshops, one of my acting teachers told me that I should “go for it,” meaning, audition for the Swedish Acting Academy. I was inspired, and maybe for the first time felt I was good at something.  At the time, I was about age 25.  I had no real training behind me or any career that pointed to a clear future.  At this juncture of my life, I decided to become a professional actor! Now I experienced stress.  I applied to the National Acting Academy.  I was making a huge commitment. The intake or audition process was in four stages. Stage one, we were asked to give a 5 minute monolog in front of a jury of 7 prominent actors and directors. There were approximately 500 applicants applying for 12 places. In the first stage about half the candidates were dismissed.  Stage two, we were asked to do another monolog.  This test left about 50 young men and women who then went on to stage three, a weeklong workshop audition.   During this week we did many exercises working with text and scenes while always being watched by the jury who had their notebooks and pens evaluating our abilities. In the last and final phase, stage four, a group of 24 actors remained.  We took part in another two week long audition workshop. To be accepted by this academy was not easy.  It was very competitive.  I applied to this school three times over three years.  I always made it to the last stage but was only accepted on my fourth attempt.

A big part of my full-time acting training was given by Andris Blekte (1923-2007). Andris created a method for actors and performers to be able to stay relaxed and focused during performance. Participating in Andris’ studies was a life altering event for me.  I learned to become aware of unnecessary tensions in the muscles and release these tensions at discovery. Now, this may sound easy but his lessons were probably the most confronting lessons in the whole training. To really create awareness we worked three full days a week over a 6 week period, and the only thing we were taught to focus on was muscular tension/relaxation in different positions, from lying hours on a hard floor not moving, walking around in the room, and the most difficult lesson was to stand in front of a group, for maybe 30 minutes, being absolutely free from all tensions that were not needed and to keep standing with a relaxed face, chin dropped and mouth open. For the first time in my life I had the experience of being totally relaxed and at peace with myself.  I was in my power.  It was a presence I never felt before. I clearly remember saying to myself –“I will teach people this one day” it was calling me.

I completed my education at the Swedish Acting Academy and had the good fortune to have wonderful parts in a few Sweden productions.  One role was a one man show. Here I really could experience what Andris Blekte taught me. Performing a one man show is probably the most challenging an actor can take on. You are in direct contact with the audience and alone. The feeling I had sitting in the green room waiting for my start below the full restaurant can probably be compared with the feeling of sitting in an airplane waiting for the first solo parachute jump, I was very nervous and yet totally relaxed. I could feel the fear, but it was somewhere in the distance, not being able to take control over me. This was an effect of the intensive training with Andris. I had learned to respond to the situation.

Three years later, I left Sweden for London and took one year of director training at the Drama Studio London. The training included mostly practical work like directing scenes with the acting students.  Here I discovered that I loved working/coaching people to find what they could not see being able to do, to help people bring out the best in themselves.  

After school finished, I decided to stay in London as I had an offer to direct a comedy revue at the prestigious Canal Cafe Theatre.   After my success there, I continued to direct 5 more productions over a two year period and during this time, I knew that I wanted to teach actors what I learned from Andris but I never got around to doing it. Then one day I made a decision to “go for it” and I wrote a letter to the prestigious Actors Centre, a place where professional actors took classes in acting, singing, speech, movements...etc. They accepted my proposition to teach the class.  There were 10 actors enrolled for the one day workshop. This was another transforming day in my life. The class was a great success; although it was my first time, I tried to teach what I learned from my mentor. I recommitted to the decision I made 9 years before to teach Andris Blekte’s method.

I continued to give workshops to actors, and went on to help opera singers and classical musicians to perform with less tension and more presence and thereby guiding them to perform at their peak level.  Eventually I was led to take these coaching methods outside the “art” world and create workshops for business presentations, public speaking, communication...etc. The techniques worked with great success for anyone with social phobias.   

I once had a young woman as a client who had a history of mental illness.  She was in and out of hospitals and had taken many different medications.  She participated in one of my open workshops. On the first day I asked all participants to enter the room, go to their chair, and sit down while the rest of the class watched the 30 second exercise. Lena entered the room, stopped immediately and started to cry, she was absolutely terrified. To make a long story short, after three days she was standing in front of the group singing a song with a big smile.  To see this young woman get back to her power made me cry.

Another five years later, and having completed NLP training, I have developed a practical and powerful program for personal leadership, working with management teams and top executives to help them become more effective in communication, deal more powerfully with crisis and pressures, and most important, feeling happy in the midst of a turbulent business day.

I help competitive teams in golf to play more consistently and stay focused and relaxed in the stress of competition.

I specialize in helping people recover quickly from burnout and other stress related issues.

I work with teams as well as coach one-on-one.

The method is simple and very practical.  Participants learn from experience not an intellectual understanding. The amazing thing with this technique, once learned, it will continue to develop strong. It stays with the individual as a new positive habit for the rest of their lives.

The method I have developed today is an awareness tool used to coach yourself whenever you need it.

I really love the work I am doing and forever grateful to Andris Blekte and to myself for being so stubborn to get into the National Acting Academy.  The path that led to Andris, my mentor, has guided me to help so many other people cope with stress and pressure, and to feel more free and happy.

If you would like to learn more, please write:

Or Ph: +31(0)627 205 505

Website under construction

Tony Grahn, born in Sweden 1960, has been working as a coach and mental trainer for the last 15 years internationally. Tony is a specialist in helping people deal with stress and pressure of all kinds and different situations. Among his clients are corporate leaders, managers, judges, opera singers, actors, classical musicians, management teams, TV presenters, professional golfers...etc.