Comments from Faculty and Students

Comments from Faculty:

JAMES A. CLARK, Associate Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracsue Unviersity, Chairman, Syracuse University Drama Dept., Producing Director, Syracsue Stage: Ms. Baum has developed a unique approach to actor training that combines the awareness and freedom of the Alexander Technique with the rigorous physical work of Biomechanics. Her approach provides students with fresh perspectives on basic issues of acting and helps students to integrate the physical, emotional and vocal aspects of their study while providing them with concrete tools for addressing blocks or habits they may wish to change.

The workshops Kathleen has designed are highly flexible in their application. Her work can be geared to challenge advanced students or to help beginning or less highly trained students to become freer and to strengthen their craft.

JIM McGHEE, Director of Theatre,York College of Pennsylvania: Kathleen is a teacher of outstanding presence who was fully prepared and tied each lesson to the previous ones.

GERARDINE M CLARK, Professor, Syracuse University Drama Dept.: As a teacher, Kathleen is a formidable classroom presence with an impressive dedication to life-long learning . Her work in biomechanics reflects her extensive study with Gennadi Bogdanov who has become one of the foremost interpreters of the biomechanical principles of Vsevolod Meyerhold. Meyerhold is, with Constantin Stanislavski, his teacher and mentor, widely regarded as one of the greatest theatre innovators of the century. His death under Stalin’s tyranny put a temporary halt to the development of his principles but those have been recently reawakened by the students of his student, Bogdanov among them.

Comments from Students:

LINDSEY STERRETT, NTI, Fall 2000: Kathleen began her class by saying that everything you do on stage has a purpose, and as individuals you have choice in how to execute that purpose. This idea of choice in the workshop was key to everything we as an ensemble did. Our choice to be focused, to open our eyes, to actively engage with our environment helped me develop a deeper understanding or what it takes to be on stage, and that simply is having a conscious commitment to the work, or to yourself really. We also had to realize that it wasn’t only about us as individuals but that what we do changes everyone’s landscape.

STUDENTS at YORK COLLEGE of PENNSYLVIA (from anonymous evaluations):

  • Amazing control and energy.
  • A wonderful teacher.
  • Can we bring her back . . . soon?
  • I was doing things I never thought I could do.”
  • Taught me how to create real rapport with actors.
  • Invaluable.

JONATHAN FARMER, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: In many ways, in teaching one thing, Kathleen teaches everything (or in the words she often quotes from Meyerhold, "if the tip of the nose works, the whole body works"). She makes it very explicit that, while it is important for us to become familiarized with the exercises she teaches, it is infinitely more important to her that we grasp the philosophy behind them. . .

Not only does her attention to individual students indicate her dedication, Kathleen’s passion for her subject matter shines through in her teaching in a way that inspires all of us to invest ourselves in the class.

MOLLY KIDDER, NTI, Spring 2001: Biomechanics was quite an eye-opener for me to the world of "physical" theater. The passion and intensity Kathleen brought to our class made challenging work fun. As a group, we continually refer back to Biomechanics and I think it will always be a point of reference for me on stage.

SARA MELTON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Meyerhold has helped me connect my body to my voice and to my acting.

JENNIFER PYTLESKI, Intern, NTI: These students have learned how to use Biomechanics in every class they take!

Photos: by Gerard E Moses
Kathleen Baum's Class At the Syracuse University Drama Department

Created: March 10, 2002 -- April 07, 2002
© 2002 Kathleen Baum
All Rights Reserved - E&OE: Errors and Omissions Excepted
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