Interview with Nathalie Meyer

Today, I am talking to a multi talented actress about work, clown and language,

Nathalie Meyer,

[©2013 N.Meyer]


Tell us a little bit about your training and your work

I have trained at the Claude Mathieu drama school  in Paris. I worked as an actress for a few years. Then I felt I lacked in something. I thought it was something physical. So I went to study at  Jacques Lecoq school in Paris. After one year I went to London at LISPA to finish my training. I stayed four years in England, and worked as an actress over there. I worked in devising theatre and also performed in more classical plays.

Then I moved to Spain to follow the man I love.


Barcelona is a musical town. I have learned to play the accordion. I sing as well. I  go jamming in a bar in Barcelona at the Arco de la Virgen. Every Thursday there is a jam. I get the thrill of being on stage. When I sing I don’t act, but I get to bring my drama background and it works well together.


You have trained with Pilippe Gaulier in clown work. What it is that appeal to you in the clown work?

Philippe Gaulier has a very interesting approach of acting. What is only important is to “play”. Or in his words: “Actors are always beautiful when you can see, around the characters, their souls at play.” There is no trick. The actor has to be there on the moment.

It is extremely challenging, because you have to be true and cannot hide behind any technique.  In an impro you cannot come with a story, you come with a character and let the character live the present. You must welcome what your body tells you because it never lies.

What I love about clown work is that the clown has to be true, always. If he starts to lie or use tricks he will not be funny. It is extremely difficult to be funny. It is courageous to make people laugh with something that as a person you would like to hide, your quirks and little defects. Working as a clown tells a lot about yourself.

It is always the same character, but in different situations. I love the honesty of the clown. It is a different code from the acting form, but to have this honesty it is also primordial for an actor.

If I have to explain what is a clown merged with an actor I would tell people to look at Charlie Chaplin. He is this character who lives various situations. We follow the situation, not because of lots of wordy explanation but because of his physical attitude,  which grows and develops until it can’t go further and bring the character somewhere else.


What is your approach to a drama text to create your character?

My approach is to see what the situation is for my character.

When I encounter a text, it tells me a lot about my character and the situation. But I don’t concentrate on just what my character is saying. Often what is not being said is more important than what is in a text. The other characters gives indication about your character, the situation gives you an idea of your character. So in a text there is an intermingling between the characters and the situation and that creates drama.

What is behind words is what is important.

I dread to be lost in the text. An actor that tells the text well, but physically is not present, is something really boring to me.


You are a multi-lingual actress, what does this bring to your work?

Living with people talking various languages made me realise that words are interchangeable, not the body language.  Also having lived in various countries you realise there are things you cannot say in every language, every language has its particularities.

So I love to improvise in a foreign language, but at the same time, for classical texts, acting in French is truly liberating to me. In another language, I must concentrate much more on words so as not to lose the situation.  Acting in foreign languages has made me appreciate acting in French much more.

thank youNathalie for this great interview.




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