by Aria Socratous
Anna Rak is a talented, multi tasked Polish actress, whose passion for acting has lead her to London then New York and has managed to do what she really loves on the other side of the Atlantic. For Anna, New York is a cultural meeting spot, a “tough cookie” but as she says “She is living and not just surviving.”
- Your passion for acting has lead you to London and afterwards in New York, the Metropolitan of arts. How easy or hard is to pursue your goals as an aspiring actress on the other side of the Atlantic?
New York is definitely very challenging, not only for European actors but also for domestic artists. It’s a cultural melting pot and a place where all the greatest talents meet. People move here driven by their passions, full of hopes and big dreams. It was exactly the same with me! New York used to be beyond my reach and now… it is my home. My dreams are actually coming true as we speak: I do what I love- I’m a working artist, I have the most wonderful family and friends in the world who provide an insane amount of love and support on a daily basis. On top of that, I am LIVING, not surviving in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
It certainly is a tough cookie’’ for all of us but it’s still a cookie! Even though, we sometimes curse subways, long commutes, expensive costs of living etc. It seems to be in our nature to always want more! Then, still we know that this demanding city has its point. That’s what New York is about. We know its pros and cons.
It all can be summed up by Sinatra’s classic: „if you can make it here you can make it anywhere”.
- A polish actress, whose passion for acting has lead her to London then New York, You call yourself an Artist with the mission and An Actor Warrior. What is your mission and how are executing it?
At school they always reminded us that acting without ‚the message’ isn’t real and that we all need our own artistic mission. That statement has instantly found a place in my heart and felt just right. I love theatre and film because of the storytelling aspect – sharing experiences and making the audience feel less lonely.
Living in the United States, where the society is so divided, made me feel obliged to investigate it more.
Stella Adler organizes an ongoing series of theatre projects for inmates at New York’s detention centers. As the Studio states – ‘This program is designed to connect participants with the fullness of their humanity through craft.’ It is called an Outreach Division and I knew I had to join them since the day I’ve learned about the program. I was just waiting for the right moment. I started working at Manhattan Detention Complex together with Tommy Demenkoff, the artistic director of the program, and few other volunteers.. Every Thursday, I go to change lives, bring light and hope to others by organizing theatre workshops.
This experience is changing me so much I can’t even describe it. It is opening my eyes as an artist and human being. The brutality of the system breaks my heart and makes me want to fight for all those beautiful people whose choices maybe were never really ‘choices’… I came here from Poland and I struggled for the last 3 years to be able to live the way I’m living today. Being away from my family and making my ends meet makes me forget sometimes how lucky I am to be free, healthy and to have the courage to fight for what I’m passionate about.
Many actors dream of Broadway, or ‘making it’.
Performing achievements are obviously very important but to me, things I do every Thursday are equally important!
- Recently you have participated to the off Broadway production of Sophocles Antigone. We read about the success of the show. Have you been doing anything exciting ever since?
Yes! Firstly I have finally had a chance to invest some time into my private life and treat myself to vacation. A few days after the show ended I went for a week to Mexico. As soon as I got on the aircraft I realized how much I needed it.
After I returned to New York City I focused on editing the script for the show I am working on right now. I also came back to my ‚acting routine’, which means submissions, auditions and working on my craft in every possible way.
- You mentioned that you are working on your own production? What is it and do you have details about time and place we will be able to see it?
Yes! It is ‚The Story of Two Poets or ,Osiecka – Przybora Correspondency’, a theatrical adaptation of my friend’s,Adrianna Kućmierz, recital.
The story of the play is inspired by a romantic relationship of two great Polish poets – Agnieszka Osiecka and Jeremi Przybora, that we know about from the letters they exchanged between 1963-1965. This correspondence intertwines with beautiful poetry and songs giving a vivid image of what love means to an artist.
Agnieszka Osiecka and Jeremi Przybora have been inspiring not only the Polish artists, but the majority of the nation for over five decades. The artistic achievements of the these artists are treasures, permanently imprinted on the cards of Polish contemporary history giving us another reason to feel proud of where come from.
We have just started raising money for the show and we hope to start performing in the beginning of June. In anybody would like to contribute to our run – financially or verbally – please visit : https://www.gofundme.com/polish-theatre-at-its-best-anna-maks
- You have joined the Polish Radio and TV Station Radio RAMPA based in New York City. How would you describe the life of a New Yorker?
The show ‚Espresso’ which is a Live Show that goes from Monday to Friday from 10 am till noon, is the newest idea started by the Radio RAMPA NYC’s team.
As you mentioned, we talk about ‚life of a New Yorker’ or rather what is ‚the nonsense of the day’ and ‚the thing that doesn’t let us sleep at night’. We really talk about everything and on many different levels: starting from the general image and going into statistics, describing how it looks in New York City and advising how to deal with it.
To describe the life of a New Yorker, I would just say : ‚diverse, extreme, fast, hectic, unpredictable, fun, very spontaneous or extremely well planned’. However to describe the show I would just say FUN, FUN , FUN and extremely well organized.
I feel very lucky to be working with a team of great journalists with wonderful experience who are willing to share their knowledge with me.
- What are your future plans?
Future plans… I am very well organized and I am definitely a planner, but one of my 2017 resolutions is to ‚plan less and LIVE MORE’. In the near future, as I mentioned I would like to successfully run the show – ‚The Story of Two Poets’. After that I would like to focus on working on regular basis with my friends from the Troupe and organize readings of the new European plays for the public. I also would like plunge into film a bit deeper. I feel like theatre has had my whole heart for a while and recently it released a little piece for film so I would like to take advantage of that drive. Moreover I definitely would like to travel and see my family more than once a year.