Today, Forakis, who received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 2004, is the theater director and acting coach of Gia Forakis & Company, a theater company located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn where Forakis also resides. Her trademark technique, One-Thought-One-Action, which she founded in 2005 and continues to teach, is inspired by elements in her father’s colossal steel sculptures and her mother’s paintings.
“They influenced me greatly in understanding the artist way of life,” said Forakis, who views her path towards becoming a professional artist as a “natural inclination.”
Through her father, Forakis acquired an understanding of composition, of using space and time as methods of storytelling, which she then applied to the various productions she has directed during her decade-long career as a freelance theater director.
Forakis’ mother, Phylllis Yampolsky, was a painter and gained recognition in the early 1960's for her creation of the Hall of Issues at the Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan. Her mother also participated in Hoving’s Happenings, public events held during the 1960s at Central Park that attracted thousands of visitors.
“As a child, this massive, experimental, artist-driven event left a big impression on me,” said Forakis, whose maternal grandmother was also an actor in a Russian community theater.
One-Thought-One-Action, taught by Forakis in her intensive, two-day workshops that are offered semi-regularly, is defined as “smaller moments of thought as smaller moments of physical action.” Training is provided free-of-charge to the ten actors currently employed by her company, many of whom she previously directed.
Forakis is convinced that the technique, which can be applied to all styles of acting, is beneficial to actors, playwrights, and directors alike.
“OTOA is useful to directors because it enables you to have a unifying language,” she said. OTOA also allows playwrights to explore different styles in their scripts because “it's a language that grows out of the written word.”
While her one-year-old company has yet to release any productions, it is well on its way. In 2013, the company plans to produce their first fully produced main stage production.
Already, they showcase the Salon Series, unadvertised, experimental “social events slash works in progress” often held each spring in Greenpoint.
Within these intimate settings, actors can call lines as guests watch rehearsals and offer feedback in the dialogues that follow.
“They’ve been really fun, social, exciting ways for the company to become stronger in itself and for people to get to know us,” she said.