It has certainly been a busy few months for Chris Nell.
The beginning of the year saw him join the illustrious drama school of Acting stalwart Brumilda van Rensburg. Now after four months of hard work and rigorous training, Chris has concluded this exciting chapter, not only as a two-time alumni of the institution, but also with two new titles under his belt . . . Character actor and Screenwriter.
The Advanced level of Brumilda van Rensburg’s Drama Academy has certainly opened his eyes to the challenges of the South African Entertainment arena, however it has also cemented his true passion for Drama.
The Advanced Course, unlike its predecessor, the Introductory level, boasted with even more insight from the mouths of working actors and casting directors. If that weren’t enough, students were exposed to the mechanics of auditioning, as well as further training in classical acting, namely the Stanislavsky System and the Meisner Technique.
It would be during this time that his writing ability would become central as well. Thanks in part to having studied journalism as a minor subject at university as well as his penchant for storytelling, Chris wrote an experimental piece, entitled Turn Back Time, in which he performed the title role. He played David Bonnin, a young entrepreneur with a jaded past, who has to face the consequences of his actions after receiving life-threatening news. The piece was performed as a final practical exam and the performance as a whole was well-received. Chris himself received praise for his writing, as well as his portrayal of a heartsick protagonist, trying desperately to seek redemption.
His acting abilities has received outright praise from peers and veterans of the industry alike. Actor and filmmaker Jacques Gombault has been outspoken in his appreciation of Chris, who wrote in his assessment that “he emits an unmistakeable presence on-camera and that he possess a subtle-psycho quality that suit his looks very well.” Brumilda herself was astounded at how Chris has been able to completely devote himself to a character quite effectively. During an improvisation exercise in which students made use of props; he improvised a monologue in which he incorporated biblical elements, even going so far as to end with the catchphrase “Requiescat In Pace” (a reference to the popular video game franchise Assassin’s Creed). The technique was so successful that Brumilda could only respond by asking: “Are you studying theology.” Fellow student and Afrikaans singing sensation Charlize Berg who appeared with Chris in Turn Back Time has fondly referred to him as a “gifted talent with a unbelievable future ahead of him.”
Now that the course has concluded, the journey has just begun for Chris and whatever may lie ahead . . . He is ready!!!!!
“This article is dedicated to Brumilda van Rensburg – Thespian, teacher, friend. This article is also dedicated to Charlize Berg – May you rise and rise. And to the many artists I have had the privilege of being tutored with – I will miss you dearly. See you soon.” – Chris Nell