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Studying at KHiO 2020: the Academy of Theatre

Studying at KHiO 2020: the Academy of Theatre

Name: Khalid Mahamoud
Programme: Bachelor's in Acting

What has it been like to study at KHiO? 

I’ve received the best acting education in Norway and it’s been a delight!
We had the best instructors and the best facilities. We were allowed to work minutely and with a focus on details, or more broadly and assertively. We were given the chance to play around with concepts and genres we would otherwise never have had the opportunity to do.

The social aspect hasn’t been all that good – there hasn’t been much social activity across cohorts or programmes. For me, that’s actually worked out well. I’ve tried to separate between these two universes I live in. That’s given me a little break from an otherwise intense daily schedule at school. The work never ends, really, but it is important that you manage to go out and change your surroundings. Perhaps you can eat some good food or wear a tracksuit.

What is your key takeaway from KHiO? 

I’ve absorbed as much as possible, and time will show what has stuck and what needs some repetition. This profession is a very independent one, where you manage your own progress and learning curve. 

There are of course tools, methods and exercises that will remain with me for life, as will the memories of nice moments at school and from field trips. All the productions we’ve been through have given us insight into what professional life will be like, the level of quality that is demanded and how much work is required.

It might not be important in regard to the field, but something that has been extremely educational for me is what I have learned about myself and my psyche. I have been pressed and forced to fullfill my potential, and that’s something that in hindsight I’m very grateful for.

Tell us about your graduation project.

My graduation performance was a collaboration with the director Camilla Kold Andersen and the actor Jo Saberniak. It was called Bad Mexican Dog, which is a new short story by Jonas Eika. The story is about the love between two beach boys in Cancun, Mexico.
During the day, these two guys live to serve, massage and flirt shamelessly with the beach guests, but at night an entirely magical universe springs to life, with all the beach boys performing voodoo, animating things and morphing themselves into fish and shrimp in order to swim around in the big blue sea. Camilla reworked and adapted the short story for the stage.

The difficulty of COVID-19 first became a factor for us right before the premiere, when social distancing became a sort of new reality. We played three performances before the world ending up closing down. These beach boys were supposed to flirt with the spectators and serve them drinks. Suddenly, the whole concept of human contact became unnatural and stigmatised. The spectators were kind enough to take the drinks we served them, but it soon turned out that nobody dared to drink the fruit-infused water we were serving – which of course can be explained by the collective scepticism and fear of contagion that had developed.

And now what? 

Now I am returning to my home town of Kristiansand to make my professional debut at the Kilden Performing Arts Centre. That really suits me fine – setting course for home and hopefully staying there for a little while. It is of course psychologically demanding to study at this programme, so I think it’ll be nice to return to a city with a gentle, soothing coastline and be around people with the pleasing, soft dialect of Southern Norway. 

I’m about to start rehearsing for Knut Hamsum’s Mysteries, directed by Ole Johan Skjelbred and featuring a fabulous bunch of actors.
I dream about one day working up the courage to create my own works, to write the stories that are not being told. I dream about growing old in joy and lustre. I dream about being a person that young, multicultural boys and girls can see and understand that they can actually achieve whatever they want to. I didn’t have that when I was younger.

The Corona Cohort, final-year students from each of our six departments talk about their experiences this unusual spring and discuss their thoughts on the role of the artist. (The English version will soon be updated.)