I have taught in a multitude of settings and for a variety of students. My work as a teacher ranges from mentoring a diverse group of community college students produce their own Short Play Festival, to guiding actors with professional aspirations in NYC present their first professional show, to creating a collaborative festival between Graduate and Undergraduate students at NYU to present workshops of new musicals to writing musicals about Montezuma with elementary school students in Brooklyn and even exploring ideas of "empathy" with psychiatry students in Texas. I find that my strength is my ability to adapt to any educational setting and finding ways to lead students in rigorous, compassionate, evocative explorations of the human mind and soul.
Though I don't officially subscribe to a single method most of my work is grounded in the Meisner Technique. I feel it is up to each student to use an amalgamation of several techniques to build their personal Actor Toolbox however I find that grounding work in the Meisner technique creates collaborative, healthy, and focused actors able to adapt to different types of directors and production needs.
I believe in exposing students to as much new work as possible for several reasons. First off, it is much more difficult to find a performance to mimic and forces the student to be a more creative, daring artist. Second, the material is addressing issues of today in a voice that is modern even if the material is not. Lastly, I think it is just as important to train artists that challenge the past and not just embrace it. As important as old stories are, new ones can often transcend the morals of the past.
LEARNING FROM FAILURE
Constructive failure is at the heart of my teaching model. I feel we spend far too much time in American education worrying about the right answer rather than feeling what it is to not be satisfied with your answer and feel compelled to adjust your choices. This feeling should not be external (a teacher, a textbook, someone else's choice) but should be developed and honed so that as an artist the students can contend with the rigors of the professional world with bravery, confidence, and vigor. I believe that school is the place to fail and grow stronger so that failure no longer feeds your fear.
Diversity of material is essential to effective learning. We should encounter plays by, about, and for all variety of people. I strive to challenge norms in my classwork but also acknowledge the realities of the business. There are times to play into type and times to challenge it. I like to present students with a little bit of each as they build their experience and confidence. I try to expose my students to work that is not only modern but raw. I think it is my responsibility as an educator to create not only a safe space, but a challenging space to encourage constructive discourse and growth.