“I am a people watcher. I watch how they react in different situations and I think about their story. I teach my acting students to be people watchers and ask questions and get to know them. We don’t talk anymore, but conversation makes us who we are. I started acting because my father was an abusive alcoholic. Acting was my escape. I was 9 or 10 when my parents divorced, but divorce was uncommon in my little town in West Virginia. Parents didn’t want their kids to play with me, so I had to play by myself, make up my own stories and play all of the parts–I was all of the super heroes. I know that sounds sad, but I never saw it that way. My mother got me involved in summer theater and I was hooked. I thought I was a director, producer, and actor, but I found that teaching acting is what I love to do.
Acting is pretending. We all do it. It is letting go. There are times when the audience, lights, and stage are gone and you are that character. You are in that situation. It is miraculous when it happens and it shows how powerful the mind is. It plays along and gives you everything. You are King Henry V on the battlefield and you smell the carnage and hear the cannon fire. It is religious. I highly recommend it. Everyone should try acting at least once, but you have to know yourself completely. All you have to work with is your memories, experiences, observations, body, mind, and voice. Those are your tools. I walk around with my tool kit everywhere.”