There are roads
Thanks for dropping by!
This site focuses on my research and creative activities.
It has samples of my work as an actor, director, playwright, scholar, and teacher.
This first page offers a taste of my philosophy, vision, inspiration, and what you will discover as you visit.
Check out the Promotional Trailer below for my recent production of Sweeney Todd at UGA.
What Inspires Me?
I am open to allowing anything to inspire me. In reviewing my life and the construction of my worldview, I can recognize the following as definite points of inspiration:
Nancy Drew. Reading Nancy Drew books as a child developed a sense in me that everyday objects could have a mystery. The keys that unlocked adventure for Nancy included mundane things like clocks, bracelets, stairs—but there was always a deeper story to discover.
Lewis Carroll inspired me to always take the time to imagine the other side of the mirror or the underside of the earth—the double, where life was topsy turvy or reflected back on itself.
The Game of Mousetrap led me to understand that every action creates further action and that the results should be compelling, nerve wracking, unexpected, but always fun to watch.
Carol Burnett. Every Saturday night when I was a kid she proved that the promise of laughter could bring people together.
Lucille Ball. Great Comedy takes bravery and is serious business.
Howard Finster proved that the objects we throw away can be divine.
Romare Bearden demonstrated that a strong narrative could be created from odds and ends cut from various ephemera.
Edward Hopper gave exquisite lessons in the simple crystallization of images involving people, places, and the strength of solitude.
Augusto Boal showed that theatre does not need to answer questions but can raise the questions and create the dialogue.
Derek Jarman taught me that image and text can collide in erotic and political ways.
Gustav Mahler let me hear that the themes in your life never disappear completely from your art. They weave about and return in your creations; allowing you to explore them all over again in different ways.
I consider each student encounter a creative collaboration in which, as professor, I am also a mentor, a director, and, most significantly, a witness. Filling these roles on a daily basis gives me profound joy. As a teacher, I hope to create an amicable and unjudging atmosphere. Whether I am working with undergrads on fundamental technique or graduates on advanced theory; I believe in being demonstrative with praise, but also being pragmatic and prudent in pushing students toward meeting attainable goals.
With an eye towards blending theory into practice, I strive to be a model of the scholar/artist who engages in applied artistic research by building upon traditional performance history and techniques. As often as possible I seek to involve students with my creative research as collaborators. Throughout our shared experience doing research there is a detailed process, documentation, and allowance for clear moments of reflection, adjustment, and growth. My past research involving students has included deep plunging into archives to create original plays, developing performances based on personal narratives from marginalized communities, character development through historical and embodied research, community-based theatre projects involving international collaboration, and the reimagining of canonical dramatic work. The result being that students are involved in the creation of applied artistic research that is unique, compelling, audacious, and serves their growth as a theatre and film artist.
There is a definite design in the manner in which I layer my teaching, research, creative activities, and service. Each project I undertake is chosen with a specific inquiry, aesthetic, or pedagogical goal that I wish to explore with the students. I introduce more esoteric aspects of theatre and performance in ways that make them immediate and easily understandable to both majors and non-majors. I am willing to blend multiple approaches to any situation, attacking problems both logically and imaginatively. By maintaining a professional career as an actor, director, and playwright I am often able to provide opportunities for my students in professional productions and through internships. My teaching is strongly supported and enhanced by my professional work and growth as an artist.
I have found my role serving as a mentor in a student's career planning to be extremely satisfying. My work mentoring students has certainly proved to be effective by my former student’s successes as professional artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs in the theatre/film industry. I will always take a chance on helping a student in pursuing their dreams. I’m diligent in trying every angle to better understand a student’s goals and to help them create a plan to achieve them. I’m open minded and willing to break paradigms in aiding a student; but am also pragmatic and clear eyed about a student’s capabilities based on their time and resources.
My specialization as a teacher of acting is based in the technique of the master actor Michael Chekhov. I am drawn to Chekhov's work because he urges actors, when building a character, to create and embody a new person. I dare students to inhabit a new and exciting life and to use their art to explore their own definition of humanity and to discover fresh aspects of themselves. In familiar terminology, I compare acting to creating an avatar, reminding students that the word avatar comes from Hindu, signifying "the embodiment of a soul in any form."
Through a student’s synthesis of the many tools they have as actors I aim for them to reveal new modes and levels of critical thinking. An ultimate aim is that my students experience the power and transformational eloquence that can occur through performance and, most importantly, deepen their understanding of what it means to be compassionately human in the 21st century.