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Darrell - Prof acting - Billings
$30/h
1st lesson free!
Verified teacher profile
Response Time 24h
Lessons offered by Darrell
  • Individual
The lessons will be held
Taught subjects
  • Acting
  • Improvisational theater
  • Musical Theater
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Playwriting
  • Puppeteer
Levels
  • All Levels

Drama Professor with 25 years of professional experience has moved back to Billings!

Methodology

Personal Statement

Teaching
Ever since Professor James Steerman first invited me to teach at Vassar in 1997, my CEQs have been consistently excellent. They reflect my commitment to my department, to the college, and to my students. I still have every single CEQ and personal letter provided to me. I have always endeavored to find new and innovative ways to incorporate those data from my CEQs, and the more personal letters from students, directly into my teaching. I read and re-read those letters and look for ways to communicate even more clearly with my students. The result for me has been an ever-evolving landscape of teaching techniques, and the result for my students has been an increasingly vibrant and challenging learning environment.

When one sees a performance with actors who are open, truthful, vulnerable, and brave enough to let you look into them, into their souls, you will see inside yourself – and you’ll feel the truth of it. You will know the truth of it. That is the value…that is the magic of Theater.

And because Theater can be magical, thrilling, and mysterious it can also be difficult to teach. It is an extremely complex art form. There are so many different methodologies, so many different systems currently available to us.

Because of that complexity, we traditionally divide the task of actor training into discrete disciplines: acting, voice, speech, movement, combat, textual analysis, scansion, Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis Technique, history, mask, comedy, clowning, and more. Often, we don’t give the student the tools he or she needs to be able to reunite these disciplines in him/herself -- to become a whole actor -- a holistic actor. It is this lack of reunification from these seemingly disparate elements that leads to the unresolved struggle between the craft and the art of acting, between Self and Character -- between technique and spontaneity. The key to reunification is a kind of cross-fertilization of these methodologies. And I have been tireless in my efforts to find ways to reunite them.

Which leads me to my philosophy of teaching. I teach the craft of acting; I teach discipline and commitment; I teach collaboration, responsibility, and mutual respect. I foster a safe environment where I can encourage joyful play. The result sometimes -- not always, but often – is art. Commitment to the craft will free the artist. There is power and magic to theater. To reach it, the actor must commit to the craft first…the art will follow.

Because I believe there is a fundamental human need to share our stories, even if the stories are not our own, they belong to us -- as a race. The stories carry with them the potential to enrich, educate, comfort, and amuse. Even the most trivial stories, if told truthfully, are capable of helping and even guiding the listener on this journey we all share – this human journey. It is, therefore, my responsibly to teach my students how to navigate from the theoretical to the practical.

My job is to free the storyteller in my students.

I pursue this in a number of ways. Because so many of the classes I teach require prerequisites, typically, I first encounter our majors and potential majors in production (DRAMA 200). I work with every single actor in every single play we produce. During rehearsals, I stand in the wings, at the ready, to “side coach” the actors in all aspects of the actor’s craft -- from rehearsal etiquette to text analysis to acting technique. My years of practical experience working as a professional actor in New York and regional theater are never wasted in in production. But production is near the end of the process, and my primary objective is to teach the process itself. This process starts with The Actor’s Craft (DRAMA 203).

In The Actor’s Craft, I not only encourage my students to seek out the other liberal arts disciplines available to them on this campus, but I also demand it. All my students must complete a weekly “mission” – an assignment that takes them out of their heads and into their bodies, out of the theater and into Life. Some of the missions are very simple: “Spend an hour reading your favorite book by candle light.” Some take more effort: “Spend an entire day in complete silence -- with out words, or music, or friends.” Then they must write a response to the mission. I call them debriefings. The result is always as astonishing to me as it is to them. They start to think about their educations as storytellers as a continuous journey. Everywhere they look, everything they hear, every exploration of Self plants a seed, the storyteller grows, and that line between theory and practice blurs. In addition to the missions, I spend four weeks on text analysis. Text analysis is an in depth study of the structure, grammar, syntax, prosody, scansion, punctuation, semantics, and rhetoric – a skill that my students gain in no other class in or out of the department. Every year I hear from former students who state that the text analysis portion was the most valuable tool they have in their “actor’s toolbox.” And I start with text analysis, in one form or another, in every class I teach. The Actor’s Craft is aptly named. It is an exploration of acting techniques ranging from Stanislavski’s method to LeCoq’s mask and clowning technique. Because my first MFA was earned at a drama school that was run by an actor emeritus from The Royal Shakespeare Company, and my second MFA was earned at a drama school run by the former head of Juilliard, I am well versed in multiple acting disciplines.

One of the classes I teach is The Actor’s Voice (DRAMA 205). In many ways, I consider this the most important class I teach. For this reason: it is both introductory and eminently foundational. In it, I teach text analysis, anatomy, physiology, scansion of verse, and the vocal techniques of the leading authorities in voice: Linklater, Berry, Rodenberg, Lessac, Fitmaurice, and Logan. I spent almost three years as a pre-med student – studying the human body and how it works. I not only have first hand experience dichotomizing the human body through the practical examination of dissection, but my second MFA stressed the importance of understanding the mechanics of the actor’s “instrument” and how it works. My students leave the class with a newfound and intimate awareness their bodies and how to make best use of their voices and bodies both on and off the stage.

After these two foundational courses, the students are able to rise to the level of a more demanding class, The Art of Acting (DRAMA 304). In The Art of Acting, the students are introduced to intensive scene study of classic texts ranging from the Greeks to Shakespeare to Shaw, and they learn Standard American and other frequently used stage dialects. They finally get a chance to employ all that they have learned. It is because my colleagues in the department and I have so fully prepared them, that this class affords the storyteller in each of them the opportunity to blossom.

It is because I teach them acting, voice, speech, movement, combat, textual analysis, scansion, Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis Technique, history, mask, comedy, and clowning across a varied landscape of disciplines, that the line between theory and practice continues to blur. I help them reunite these elements in themselves. I help them draw the map through education, and I help them enter the territory through performance. This is never more apparent than when I am afforded the opportunity to direct students (DRAMA 200, 390, 391).

When I directed McDonough’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, or Ibsen’s GHOSTS, I was able to put my theories of reunification into practice more fully than I ever could in a typical classroom setting. I was the director, the acting coach, the dialect coach, and the combat choreographer. I had the opportunity to teach all these disciplines simultaneously. In addition, most of the set pieces came from my home, from my past; and each of those pieces was endowed with power, with the power of memory. As an anecdotal teacher, I was able to share the stories attached to the objects from my life that endowed them with the power that passion and memory can imprint on an object, or a place, or time. I believe that through directing, I am able to unite all the disparate theater disciplines into one process. It is during rehearsal and performance that theory and practice marry. This is the territory where the storyteller thrives.

I further believe that if one strives to become a more giving and honest storyteller, he or she will become a more giving and honest person. Truthful, open interaction between student and teacher, actor and audience, speaker and receiver, is the key to my teaching philosophy.
Scholarship
As a professional actor for some twenty years, my scholarship is not theoretical, but practical. I continue to act in New York and Regional theater. In fact, the New York Innovative Theater Awards recently nominated me for the Outstanding Solo Performance award for my work in the well-received production of St. Nicholas at the Workshop Theater in Manhattan. I also continue to act in the Hudson Valley’s only professional theater, Half Moon. Teaching makes me a better actor, and acting makes me a better teacher.
I never stop learning. The reason I pursued a second MFA and then returned to The Academy for Classical Acting for and additional semester of LeCoq’s mask work was because I know that in order to remain an effective teacher, I need to be a developing and maturing student of acting. I continually challenge myself, not only to keep my skills sharp, but also to feed my talent. The Carolyn Grant Foundation generously provided me with funds to pursue the scholarship, which directly benefits my students.



Service
As a long time adjunct professor, I strive to provide service to the department and the college whenever such opportunities are afforded me. In the last few years, I was able to act in the department’s productions of Twelfth Night and The Way of the World. I was also lucky enough to be asked to act in both Vassar Voices and a production of Professor Rachel Kitzinger’s (Classics) translation of Oedipus at Colonus. Acting on stage with my current and former students is a very real “put your money where your mouth is” endeavor. It is always very challenging, frightening, and thrilling. It also gives my students an opportunity to see how a professional actor comports himself.

This year, the Development Department tapped me to be the “voice of Vassar” in a multimedia presentation that went out to all graduates of the college. It was called Great Thinkers of the Western World, and as it required me to speak several phrases in Latin, it required several hours of preparation and performance. It was a lot of fun in the end and allowed me to step out of the department and meet many Vassar people heretofore unknown to me.

A very challenging and high profile opportunity presented itself when John Mihaly (Development) asked me to be the House Manager for the Sesquicentennial Celebration production of Vassar Voices at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. I was responsible for all aspects of house management, including overseeing a dozen employees and managing the theater house for over 1,200 Vassar graduates and their families.

Perhaps my most challenging service occupation to date has been my recent appointment as Co-Director of the Experimental Theater at Vassar College. Director of Theater is a position that requires tremendous discipline and organization. I was responsible for coordinating and facilitating all aspects of production, from conception to final performance; booking and liaising with guest artists; setting the agenda for all weekly department and production meetings and post show critical responses; ensuring clear interdepartmental and intercollege communication; overseeing box office marketing and house management for all theaters; running all department auditions, a system that I completely revamped and streamlined this year; mentoring all majors; and overseeing all aspects of every senior project being produced or considered by the department. It was an appointment that required me to be on campus for an average of 75 hours a week and to be available to students and my colleagues 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It was both challenging and enormously rewarding.




Background

I am a professional actor with 30 years' experience. I have taught Drama at the college level for 25 years, and I have a BA and two MFAs in Drama and Acting. I have tutored individuals from age 5 to 75, and I have taught groups and directed plays with more than 50 student actors.

Rates

Rate for online lessons : $30/h
Lessons offered by Darrell
Individual
The lessons will be held
at your home
Taught subjects
  • Acting
  • Improvisational theater
  • Musical Theater
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Playwriting
  • Puppeteer
Levels
  • All Levels

Darrell's resume

Darrell James

Box 734, Vassar College
124 Raymond Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
(concealed information)
(concealed information)
EMPLOYMENT
__________________________________________________
2013-2020 Adjunct Assistant Professor of Drama, Drama Department, Vassar College
2006-2019 Actor and Company Member,
Half Moon Theatre, Poughkeepsie, NY
2013 Guest Instructor of Drama,
New York Stage and Film, Poughkeepsie, NY
2013 Guest Instructor of Drama,
Half Moon School of Arts, Poughkeepsie, NY
2012-2013 Guest Professor of Drama,
Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY
2009-2012 Guest Professor of Drama,
SUNY, New Paltz
2003-2011 Guest Instructor of Drama,
Oakwood Friends School, Poughkeepsie, NY
1997-2013 Adjunct Assistant Professor of Drama,
Drama Department, Vassar College
1997-1998 Guest Professor of Drama,
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
1991-1992 Instructor of Drama,
Skyview High School, Billings, MT

EDUCATION
__________________________________________________
2012 INTENSIVE Neutral Mask, The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University
2009 MFA Classical Acting,
The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University; Washington, DC
1994 MFA Acting,
The National Theatre Conservatory;
Denver, CO
1991 BA Media and Theater Arts,
Montana State University;
Bozeman, MT
GRANTS AND AWARDS
__________________________________________________

2013 Vassar College Carolyn Grant grant, Vassar College

2011 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, Outstanding Solo Performance (St. Nicholas). Nominee.
1998 Best Actor, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, Drama-Logue, Best Actor (Sleuth). Winner.

1997 Best Actor, Rocky Mountain Theatre Association, Outstanding Performance (Orphans). Winner.
1997 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. Nominee.
1991 Best Actor, Drama Department, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT (Hamlet). Winner.
PUBLICATIONS
__________________________________________________

BOOKS
QUICK CHART
“International Phonetic Alphabet Quick Chart”,
Writer. Sold at The Drama Book Shop New York, NY.
2014,2015, 2016, 2020.
ARTICLES
PASSPORT MAGAZINE
“New Hope”,
Contributed Review. Published by Q Communications,
New York, NY. April 2004.
“Doing Business in Philadelphia”,
Contributed Review. Published by Q Communications,
New York, NY. April 2004.
“On the Road Again”,
Contributed Review. Published by Q Communications,
New York, NY. April 2004.
“Philadelphia”,
Contributed Review. Published by Q Communications,
New York, NY. April 2004.

TIMEOUT NY Eating and Drinking Guide
“Foodbar”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
TIMEOUT NY
“12th Street Bar & Grill”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“147”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Alva”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Askew”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Avenue”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“AZ”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“Bahn Mi So”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“Empire Diner”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York “Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“Foodbar”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“M & R Bar”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“Macks Room”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.


“Manhattan Grille”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2000.
“Marions”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Max and Moritz”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Monsoon”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Moomba”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Patroon”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Radio Perfecto”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“Superfine”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“The Independant”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
“The Viceroy”,
Contributed Review. Published by Time Out New York Partners, L.P. New York, NY. August 2003.
REVIEWS
East Bay Express
“Gore Vidal”,
Contributed Review. Published by East Bay Express, Oakland CA. August 2003.
“Gore Vidal, Sexually Speaking”,
Contributed Review. Published by East Bay Express, Oakland CA. August 2003.
FILMS
“How He Fell in Love”,
Actor, Feature Film, Directed by Marc Meyers, New York, NY
“Lightning Bugs in a Jar”,
Actor, Short Film, Admitted to Cannes Film Festival, France
“INDIANAPOLIS”,
Actor, Short Film, by Sam Shepard, New York, NY
“True Subway Stories: The Leg on the Subway”,
Wrote Film Treatment. HBO Pictures, New York, NY









PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
__________________________________________________

2015 Actor, Marriott Pavilion, A Christmas Carol, Hyde Park, NY.
2015 Actor, Half Moon Theatre, Amateur Jesus, Poughkeepsie, NY.
2015 Actor/Teacher, Arts Mid Hudson, Shakespeare, Poughkeepsie, NY
2014 Actor, New York Stage and Film, Dry Land. Poughkeepsie, NY.
2012 Neutral Mask Intensive, Academy for Classical Acting, Washington DC.
2012: Master Teacher, One Year Lease Apprentice Program, Athens and Papingo Greece
2011: Master Teacher, One Year Lease Apprentice Program, Athens and Papingo Greece
2010: Master Teacher, One Year Lease Apprentice Program, Athens and Papingo Greece

• Please see attached resume for acting credits

COLLEGE ACTIVITIES
__________________________________________________
TEACHING
Drama 100, “Introduction to Western Drama.”
Drama 200, “Production.”
Drama 203, The Actor’s Craft”
Drama 205, “The Actor’s Voice.”
Drama 304, “The Art of Acting.”
Drama 305, “The Director’s Art.” Guest Artist.
Drama 390, “Senior Production.”
Drama 391, “Senior Thesis.”
Drama 399, “Senior Production Work.”
GRST 360, “Senior Thesis.”




DIRECTING
__________________________________________________

The Flick, Martel Theater, 2020.

Drums in the Night, Taylor Theater, 2020.

The White Moth, Powerhouse Theater, 2018.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Martel Theater, 2017.

GHOSTS, Alumnae House. 2013.

The Cripple of Inishmaan, Powerhouse Theater, 2012.

Measure for Measure, Martel Theater, 2012.

Rabbit Hole, Streep Theater, 2011.


DEPARMENTAL SERVICE
__________________________________________________

Advisor to Department Majors, Drama Department, 2015,2016.
Co-Director of Theater, Drama Department. 2013.
Actor, in The Way of the World. Drama Department at Vassar College. 2013. Kim Wield, Director.

Actor, Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night. Drama Department at Vassar College. 2000. Denise Walen, Director.











COLLEGE SERVICE
__________________________________________________

Actor, Student Films, Film Department at Vassar College.
2014, 2015.
Voice-Over Artist in Great Thinkers of the Western World. Julia Van Develder, Editorial Director at Vassar College. 2013.

House Manager, the Lincoln Center performance of Vassar Voices/Sesquicentennial Celebration. John Mihaly, Cathy Baer, Development at Vassar College. 2011.

Actor, in early drafts of Vassar Voices/Sesquicentennial Celebration. John Mihaly, Cathy Baer, Development at Vassar College. 2011.

Actor, Oedipus in Oedipus at Colonus. Classics Department at Vassar College. 2007.

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