Suzuki & Viewpoints Training at The Gaiety School of Acting
If you watch the Viewpoint section of this video, the male student is working with his eyes closed. He was a sceptical student so I challenged him to do the exercise with his eyes closed and promised him that he wouldn't bump into anyone. (One of the female students is watching out for him.) That we were able to capture his work on film so he could see it afterwards was really remarkable.
Viewpoints at PCPA
This short video captured the PCPA Class of 2014 on the last day of our Suzuki & Viewpoints workshop. This was the first time we worked with music and all of what you see in the video is completely organic (improvised) even though it looks choreographed.
THE PACIFIC CONSERVATORY OF THE PERFORMING ARTS, USA
Suzuki & Viewpoints Instructor Annual Workshops 2011 - to date
Movement Instructor Guest Artist Full Time Conservatory 2004 - 2006
THE GAIETY SCHOOL OF ACTING, IRELAND:
Viewpoints/Composition Training Instructor Full Time Conservatory 2016
Movement for Actors Instructor Full Time Conservatory 2012 -2016
Theatre History Instructor Full Time Conservatory 2011- 2016
MA Theatre Studies Instructor National University of Ireland,
Maynooth 2012 - 2014
THE ABBEY SCHOOL OF DRAMA, IRELAND:
Shakespeare Study Instructor 2013 - 2014
Adult Scene Study Instructor/Director 2010 - 2014
Advanced Scene Study Instructor/Director 2012 –2014
Acting for Fun Instructor 2011 - 2014
Advanced Acting Guest Instrutor Spring 2011
SUZUKI, VIEWPOINTS & LABAN WORKSHOPS
Cal Poly San Lois Obispo Movement Workshop San Luis Obispo, California
King University Movement Workshop Bristol, Tennessee
Valle Christi School Movement Workshop Genova, Italy
Theatre of Changes 9TH Annual INFOMAT Athens, Greece
Dublin Institute of Technology Workshop Dublin, Ireland
California State University, Long Beach 2 Semesters Long Beach, California
DIRECTING AT UNIVERSITIES & CONSERVATORIES
Much Ado About Nothing, The Abbey School of Drama, Dublin, Ireland
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Abbey School of Drama, Dublin, Ireland
Once Upon a Time, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts Conservatory Theatre, Santa Maria, California
Oedipus Tyrannos, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts Conservatory Theatre, Santa Maria, California
Saint Joan, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts Conservatory Theatre, Santa Maria, California
Once on this Island, Walnut Hill Arts Academy, Boston, MA
The Cell, Walnut Hill Arts Academy, Boston, MA
The Marriage of Bette and Boo, University of San Francisco
Amadeus, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
The Frangipani Door, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
Orpheus Descending, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
Virginia, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
Vinegar Tom, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
Line, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Rhode Island
Those Who Can...
I began teaching in 1998 for the Regional Occupational Program at Compton and Downey High Schools. Two of the roughest schools in inner city Los Angeles. Every single student in those classes had been involved in drive-by shootings or worse. I was the only person in the room who hadn't seen someone die a violent death. (It was the first question the students asked me on my first day.) I decided to work on The Zoo Story with them. If anyone could understand the absurdities in The Zoo Story it would be 16-year-olds fighting turf wars on the streets of LA.
The next year Las Virgines High was added to my roster. It's one of the most affluent schools in Southern California. The kids drove BMW's. We worked on Much Ado About Nothing set in a high school. On the last day of term, the students chose to watch The Silence of the Lambs as a reward for the term. I panicked a bit when there was a knock at the theatre door (I was worried about letting them watch the film).
I opened the door to a huge bouquet of flowers and a tearful mom. Her son was in the class. I cast him as Don Jon. In one rehearsal, he threw a chair, which was a great choice so we figured out how to do it safely and kept it. He loved it. His mom handed me the flowers and choked back tears as she told me that her son had been withdrawn and belligerent since starting high school 2 years before. He hadn't had friends and had been wearing a trench coat since Columbine (which had only happened 2 months before) and she had been terrified for him. But since he threw the chair in rehearsal, he hadn't stopped talking about Don Jon and the play, and she wanted to thank me for making him excited about something.
It took me a long time to realise that I don't make students do or feel or be anything as an instructor. I merely make space for the work and give actors permission to do all of what they are capable. While that sounds a bit trite in writing, it can become contentious when actors want to live down to their preconceived limitations. We are all physically stronger, more determined, have untapped reserves of generosity and creativity, and we have infinite empathy and complete understanding of the human experience - we just don't often have a place to discover and play with all of it.
I create the conditions and modes of discovery (whether using Suzuki, Viewpoints, Laban, stuff I make up or plain old scene work) and I try to set students free to explore, discover and play with theatre. When students are blocked and passive (physically, intellectually, temperamentally), I address the technical and/or creative limits preventing them from their true and unique potential.