“Marjo-Riikka is one of the best teachers you could hope to work with. I’ve worked on and off with her for about 7 years, working on general technique, specific auditions, and preparation for movies/TV I’ve booked. In every area, she, and her teaching of Chekhov technique, excel. She creates a wonderfully open and safe space to work, bringing the best out of actors, and helping them develop in a short period of time – whatever level they are on. Whenever I get the chance, I recommend her to others, and I can’t recommend her highly enough. Chekhov technique is incredibly accessible. I love to use it, and also see the effect it has on others’ work. It is a technique that truly helps you feel creative as an actor, which is very empowering, particularly when you have limited time to prepare, or limited stimulus in your environment. For that reason it’s invaluable on set and in auditions, to help you quickly create and commit to heightened stakes, allowing your work to shine and elevate.”
“I first begun working with Marjo-Riikka as my director, in a production of The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. I was cast as one of the lead roles – Konstantin. I began taking her classes and learning about the Michael Chekhov technique, so that I could understand her language of acting immediately in rehearsals. What I got from her was so much more! Not only are her classes a fun and pure exploration of what it is to feel and experience deeply with your whole instrument as a human being, but she also teaches you how to take those feelings and channel them in a practical way to your work as an actor. Atmosphere, Qualities of Movement, Expansion and Contraction, Psychological Gestures, Imagination… these all create a level of detail and specificity that can totally alter ones performance and how one approaches ones work. I use the tools I have learnt from her, all the time. What helps me the most, and absolutely takes my breath away, is that I am now able to connect so fast and so naturally in a scene with a scene partner I have just met!
What a powerful and amazing technique this is!”
Steve Zissis, Togetherness
“I’m in debt to Marjo for so much of my work achievements. She is an amazing teacher and actress. She is so generous and so talented. I have learnt so much from her.”
“There are those who can do, those who can teach, and those that can do both. And among those few, there are a handful of special people that inspire you to become a better human being. Marjo-Riikka is one of those people. Her infectious joy and endless goodwill will make you aware of the limitations you’ve set for yourself and give you the courage to break through to a future of possibilities. I heartily recommend her classes. The Michael Chekhov technique gave me essential tools I use everyday, on the set, in the studio, and in life. When you learn to get an objective living in your body, when you feel the atmosphere of a scene infect your being against your will, when you experience firsthand how an imaginary dagger can hurt more than a real one, you will not only be a skilled actor. You will have super powers.”
“Marjo-Riikka’s deep understanding of the actor’s craft, and her compassion as an artist, create an environment where you can be totally free and creative. She is one of my favorite acting coaches to work with. We worked extensively during my audition process for my role on True Blood and she has been an integral force in booking the part. I’m proud to call her my teacher. In a town that keeps forgetting that actors are artists, Marjo-Riikka reminds you with the most magical way. Thank you for the inspiration!”
“It was a treat to watch you work with each actor. I saw you meet each one where s/he was in process. Some are at higher levels than others; some came with greater preparation than others. You met each one with exactly what would be helpful. No judgement. No expectation. Present in the now. I believe that’s what separates master teachers from the rest.“
I have had the pleasure of working alongside Marjo-Riikka for many years. In 2005 I directed her as Medea in Medea at the California Repertory Theatre, and since then I have followed her progress as a performer and acting teacher closely. Most recently, Marjo-Riikka and I were colleagues at the International Drama Festival at the Stanislavsky Institute in São Paulo, Brazil.
Marjo-Riikka is a highly skilled, dynamic, and compassionate theatre artist with an enviable array of talents. She is an internationally regarded exponent of the Michael Chekhov Technique of acting, with her own studio ‘devoted to the investigation and practice of this most fascinating physical and imaginative approach to performance. I have witnessed her teaching on many different occasions. In the classroom, she offers the Chekhov technique to her students with great clarity, backed up by perceptive analysis of individual and group weaknesses, and empathetic yet challenging feedback. Under her tutelage, students are able not only to learn the many-faceted approaches of the Chekhov technique, but also to self-identify problems, blocks and obstacles, and move through them.
Marjo-Riikka pursues the demands of the craft of acting with admirable humility and precision, bringing small details and a larger vision into focus at one and the same time. She is rigorous, astute, and effective in all of her interactions with actors; she understands the importance of dynamism and risk in the theatrical process; she manages time and personnel with equal efficiency; and she discerns the distinction and necessary compromises between . process and product. She truly knows the field.
Finally, as a collaborator in any and all ventures, Marjo-Riikka is a delight: approachable, thoughtful, and wise. Vitally, she has a wonderful sense of humor, and she weighs her own needs as an artist and creator against the needs of her fellows with tact and integrity. I recommend her without reservation.