A Conversation with Chloé Noble and Natalia Minasian, Founders of Artistic Resonance Collective
As Women's History Month comes to a close, we take a look at two recent alums, Chloé Noble and Natalia Minasian, who, having graduated into the confusing early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, took it upon themselves to continue the work, founding the digital theatre company Artistic Resonance Collective (ARC).
Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What got you started?
Chloé: I'm not sure I can remember exactly what got me started because I feel like I've always wanted to do this. Two things that come to mind first are TV and film, seeing those stories unfold, and realizing that people are doing this for a living and seeing the magic that came with it. The second thing was seeing my father in a theatre singing and acting when I was at a very young age. That core memory has always stuck with me.
Natalia: For me…I don't even remember when I was drawn to acting because I've been in family plays since I can remember. It's almost like when I was onstage, I knew that was what I'm supposed to be doing. It was really that simple in a lot of ways.
You're both living outside the United States. How does the industry differ in your home country from how it does in the States?
Chloé: [A pause.] French people take a lot of pride in their cinema, and how different it is from Hollywood. We don't have a lot of like action movies, we have a lot more drama. Things are slower, the plots are more about the people, and the action is very slow. It's more about the feeling than the emotion. I feel like the work here tends to be more about an internal battle: for love, for courage, for deeper things.
Natalia: I think what I'm noticing in the US is, first of all, it's quite a different budget. So they can produce work with more finesse. In terms of the stories that are being told that the stories of the underprivileged and the stories of the people like those stories need to be heard, right? I've just finished watching The Handmaid's Tale, the last season; this kind of story will never make it here in Russia because that's just a normal household story. Russian TV and film don't really talk about the important stories...and that's certainly a way things might differ.
Why did you choose The Academy?
Chloé: I feel like I was at this point in my life where I really wanted to be trained in the US after I'd been trained here in France. I was really interested in the [American] approach…it was more fun as an actor to be trained by American teachers. It felt freer; it felt more in the body. I'm a dancer as well, so it felt more like me. When I was looking for schools that were auditioning in Europe, The Academy was holding auditions in Europe. And I was like, “let's try this out.” And it worked. I ended up at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and I never looked back.
Natalia: It was such an unpredictable moment for me. I was trying to do a musical theatre program in Canada and had also heard about the New York Film Academy. I auditioned for them and got in. Then someone mentioned The Academy, and I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so grateful that the universe somehow just led me toward The Academy.
What was your post-graduation experience?
Chloé: Well, just to situate things, we graduated in 2020, so things were very…particular. I remember we switched online, and we finished up our plays online. That was a very big frustration for me. It was very...it was very weird. And I got very bitter and very angry at the situation at that time.
We were living under extraordinary circumstances, you know? Then I thought, “let’s do something big.” I didn’t care if we were online I just wanted to keep making art. And then we wanted to make our own little creative collective together and keep going artistically. I guess it gave us some kind of momentum to do our own thing.
Natalia: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. That did give momentum that was needed because we were cut off. How do we navigate this because we had so many plans, and then it was like, “goodbye!” This allowed us to create this company, to stay in New York, and to allow the full community to take us over. I know for myself, being on set with people in a very safe space allowed me to then show up on set here when I came back home. And the feeling that no one is really judging me allowed me to audition for a physical theatre company here in Moscow.
You started this company, Artistic Resonance Collective. Tell me about it.
Chloé: When we graduated and decided to stay in the US, we decided to create this Collective just to be able to create together. So it started very humbly during the pandemic, where the first project was about tales from our own country. We decided to start with tales from our own country and to have the others interpret their own rendition: what they felt, what they imagined. They retold the story either with words, with paints, with the body, with speech, and then they pass it on to the next person. The next person doesn't know the original tale; she just received that creation from that person and does her own thing, and passes it on to the third person. At the end of the circle, you hear the full tale. Then we gathered our friends, and we did this whole big opening of our company online. It was very beautiful. I remember it was very heartwarming just to gather everyone around the creation of this company.
Natalia: You said it beautifully. All the things that we've created that you're talking about still resonate. Now’s the time when people want to connect to who they are and what they believe in, and what they belong to. It's almost two and a half years later, and it still resonates. One of the most important things that we’ve done with Artistic Resonance Collective was creating a space for artists and for creative souls that just want to explore and stay sane and tell their stories. That was so needed at the time, when we were locked in our houses, just to feel that I am an artist, and to know where I belong. I still want them to have that. And if we can provide that, that would be very beautiful.
What’s next, and where can people find you?
Chloé: Oddly enough, I think it's writing. I'm currently writing my first full-length movie. I'm sending my work out there trying to like get some money to fund this project. And you can absolutely find me on Instagram.
Natalia: What's next for me? I've just left a physical theatre company that I've been with for a year or so. Now I'm on my own again, I don't have anyone calling me for rehearsal. I’ve also received a certificate for coaching, and with that, with a great physical acting experience and certification that I want to move on with, I’m going to start coaching in the coming months… and I definitely want to “re-find myself” as an actress. You can find me here.