Professor Adrianne Krstansky stands at the pinnacle of Boston theater

Brandeis' director of theater arts has been showered with awards recently and been called 'one of the great actresses of our time in Boston.'

Adrianne KrstanskyPhoto/Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures. Courtesy of New Repertory Theater.

Adrianne Krstansky.

When Adrianne Krstansky prepares for a role, she often looks to people in her surroundings for inspiration. So if you spend some time on the Brandeis campus, there's a chance the actress has borrowed something from you.

"I love to imitate when I get on stage. When I play a character, I think, 'Who do I know or that I’ve seen that they move like? Who do they sound like?" Krstansky said. "Or I’ll do a collage of different people. Sometimes I’ll see someone on the street and I’ll say, 'Oh, that’s the walk.' It’s kind of like I’m a spy.”

Krstansky is the Barbara Sherman '54 and Malcolm L. Sherman Director of Theater Arts at Brandeis, and she's also one of the most acclaimed performers currently on the Boston theater scene.

Among a list of Brandeis faculty and alumni recognized by the annual Elliot Norton Awards and Independent Reviewers of New England Awards in 2016, Krstansky led the way. She won an individual Elliot Norton Award, shared two more with ensembles, and received three additional nominations, along with winning an IRNE Award. In reviewing Krstansky's performance in "Blackberry Winter" at the New Repertory Theater in the spring, Jared Bowen, WGBH's arts critic, called her "one of the great actresses of our time in Boston."

“I’m so grateful. It’s surprising, and it’s flattering. The thing I keep thinking is 'What I did was just one part of something much bigger,'" Krstansky said. "I was fed by so many different things, it feels a little weird to be singled out."

Krstansky's introduction to acting was in high school, when she was cast for small parts with only a few lines, if any at all. An introverted person, she found comfort in the direction and dialogue provided in plays. She became certain that she wanted to act as a career while interning at Williamstown Theatre Festival one summer, where she learned about what it would take to dedicate her life to the stage from older actors.

It was never her intention to teach, but she comes from a long line of teachers in her family, and when she instructed her first course during graduate school she knew it was for her.

"It felt like falling off a log, like the most natural thing," she said.

Continuing to constantly take to the stage helps her relate to what her students are going through, Krstansky said.

"I still viscerally understand the terror of appearing in front of people and getting on stage,” she said. “I viscerally understand how brave my students are, and how the craft of acting is quite freeing and can get people through their fear.”

In the fall, her students will work along side her and the rest of the Brandeis community will have a chance to see her in action without leaving campus. Krstansky will be featured in a Brandeis Department of Theater Arts production of Marius von Mayenburg's "Martyr," to be directed by fellow faculty member Dmitry Troyanovsky.

Categories: Arts

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