Missi Pyle Q & A with Drama students
Gerald Freedman, Olympia Dukakis, Mandy Patinkin and Missi Pyle question and answer session with students
Gerald Freedman and Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis Q & A with Drama Students
Mandy Patinkin and Missi Pyle Q & A with Drama students
Marcia Gay Harden Q & A with Drama students
Beth Grant Q & A with Studio IV students
Terrence Mann Q & A with Drama Students
JT Rogers and Gus Reyes with directing students
The School of Drama Class of 1986 met with current students during a class reunion held on the campus in January 2006. Among those alumni participating in the "Q&A" were, left to right, Mary-Louise Parker, Amy Bass Mohan, Todd Merrill, Christy Pleasant, and Bill McCallum.
Actors Patrick Wilson and Dagmara Dominczyk spoke to School of Drama college seniors on April 26 in preparation for the students’ upcoming “consortium” presentation for members of the industry in New York. They are both graduates of the drama school at Carnegie Mellon, which is a member school of the Consortium of Conservatory Theatre Training Programs, as is NCSA. Wilson was nominated for two Tonys for “The Full Monty” and “Oklahoma!” on Broadway, and recently has been seen in the films THE ALAMO, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and HARD CANDY. His wife, Dagmara Dominczyk, was in “Closer” on Broadway and played Mercedes in THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (opposite Jim Caveizel) and Marguerite (opposite Jon Voight) in THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, a made-for-television movie.
Theatre auditioning under professional conditions starts with mock auditions with faculty supervision and is followed by auditions with professional agents and casting directors from New York and Los Angeles.
The School of Drama is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Training Programs, which includes Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University and Purchase College. The league's primary mission is to support the preparation of gifted actors for careers in the professional theatre. It is an alliance of professional theatre training institutions that share common goals: to assert standards for training, to encourage public recognition, and to influence policy in support of the development of theatre artists. The league recognizes that its effectiveness depends upon a membership that represents high standards and demonstrated leadership in the field.
Sunshine in the Berkshires, an Ibsen epic, and Gerald Freedman making lemonade. What more could a directing student want out of his summer? Oh, there may be a few things, but four young directors got more than they could have asked for last summer when they assisted School of Drama Dean Freedman on a production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. I was one of them.
Not only did the four of us get to work in the professional theatre for a summer, but we got to live in it. Our housing arrangements put us in a tidy, four-bedroom house on the outskirts of Williamstown shared with none-other than Dean Freedman. Four twenty-somethings under the same roof as a seasoned Broadway legend may sound like a recipe for a TV pilot, but it was reality. Early on, things looked grim when Gerald laid down the law: We must make our beds every single day and keep our hair out of the drain! But we’re an adaptable bunch, and even these “radical” requests became part of our routine.
Days were spent in rehearsal witnessing the astonishing collaboration between Mandy Patinkin and a cast of Broadway veterans with Dean Freedman and his crackerjack design team. Watching Mandy throw his heart and soul into the play on a daily basis was inspiring and re-defined my definition of a committed actor. As we got to know him better, Mandy graciously allowed us access into his acting process; we peppered him with questions, not forgetting to ask one or two about his hilarious role in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. The remarkably talented cast also included two UNCSA grads: T. Scott Cunningham (Class of ‘84) and Dana Acheson (Class of ‘02).
Nights were mostly spent at the house — often with a home-cooked dinner prepared by one of our five-man rotation — discussing, and at times debating, what was happening in rehearsal, not to mention life and politics as well. Some nights one of us would head over to Mandy’s house to help him run lines. Having witnessed our dean work with students here at UNCSA, it was thrilling to see that his process, in fact, did not change when it was applied to professionals; he simply cranked it up a few notches.
The production itself was a daring yet simple take on the play, placing it in what appeared to be a modern day dress rehearsal. Actors were costumed in rehearsal garb rather than strict period dress, and the raked stage brought the action right to and even into the audience. Gerald and Company sculpted a production that enhanced the play’s all-too-relevant theme: a community suffocating an individual’s fundamental rights, in service of greed disguised as the common good. Although it certainly promotes a point of view, the play is drawn in subtle shades of gray, emphasizing every side of the kaleidoscopic issues.
As the show came into its own during the run, you could feel the buzzing energy in the audience. It was a communal experience. We seemed to be engaging in an actual town meeting, as random audience members clapped and shouted during the climactic fourth act, while others leaned into one another and whispered about how the play related to current events.
As our time in Williamstown came to a close, my classmates and I were more than ready to go back to our sloppy personal habits, but we all agreed that the household shenanigans, the late night chats, the passionate rehearsals, and the standing room-only during the run had been worth it. Theatre at its highest level is hard to come by, and we had been living it the whole time.
Eddie Kurtz is a college senior in the School of Drama’s directing program.
Theatre and television director, writer and producer
Leading actress of American stage and screen
Internationally renowned stage director
Internationally renowned stage and film actress
Broadway and regional theatre director
ABC nighttime casting director and producer
Leading lady of Broadway and London stage
Internationally renowned film and stage actor
Period and style specialist
Broadway, film and television actress
Internationally renowned stage director and associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Leading American playwright
On and off-Broadway director, artistic director of Huntington Theatre in Boston, Meisner technique specialist
Leading American Broadway, off-Broadway and musical playwright
New York theatre director and musical theatre specialist
Professional actress and theatrical movement specialist
New York theatre and television director
Broadway, musical theatre, television and film actor
Off-Broadway director, artistic associate of Goodman Theatre in Chicago
Off-Broadway and regional stage director, Meisner acting teacher
Casting director, Lincoln Center Theatre Company
Casting director, New York Shakespeare Festival
Casting director, "Ally McBeal" and "Dharma and Greg"
Broadway composer, "The Robber Bridegroom"