Like most of us, my path has been circuitous. Married before I graduated university, I followed my first husband to Honolulu where I got a job as a high school teacher and also auditioned for plays at the University of Hawaii where he was a graduate student in Anthropology. The year we were there, I was cast in two productions. We then joined the newly created Peace Corps and were in the 1st group to go to Nigeria. While training at the University College Ibadan, I also auditioned and was cast in a musical version of Lysistrata. My marriage failing, I returned to the states in time to go to Columbia where I took my Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Happily, upon graduation, I was hired to teach at Columbia University’s Foreign Student Center. With a steady income and lots of free time, I began to study my real love, acting with Alice Spivak at the HB Studio and about a year later auditioned and got into Uta Hagen’s class. My job also afforded me the opportunity to do summer stock in the summer time and I spent three glorious summers playing great roles.
It was at one of those summer theaters that I met Michael Massee, my husband of 48 years. A major life gamble presented itself when I was given the honor to teach at the HB Studio, now my artistic home. I quit my job at Columbia, put all my eggs in the HB basket and have not looked back. Two of my scene partners whom I worked with in Alice’s class were responsible for my teaching. Woji Gero led to my being hired to teach in the theater department at Douglass College and Leonora Hays was responsible for my teaching for the National Theater of the Deaf.
A core member of HB Studio's acting faculty for over fifty years, I have taught hundreds of actors at all levels of experience in workshops and master classes across Canada, in London, Copenhagen, Montevideo, Melbourne, Lodz and Barcelona.
Too numerous to mention all by name, I have been indeed fortunate to have worked with Tony Goldwyn, Keanu Reeves, Lolita Davidovitch, Stephen Bogardus, Rosa Salazar, Joy Behar, Debra Monk, Luis Homar, James Saito, Kerry Armstrong, Thom Sesma, Beverly Elliot, Frances Flanagan, Marlee Matlin, David Gibson, Sandra Oh, Julie McKee, Robert McQueen, Luke Kirby, Allan Hawco, Rosemary Dunsmore, Sheila McCarthy, Anne Marie Cadieux, Carly Street, Raoul Baneja, and Severn Thompson – in their formative years.
What a gift – to do work that isn’t work. It isn’t easy and at times, I still wonder if I know what I am doing. But when I am in the room, engaged with my students and the plays we are working on – I am grateful. When people my age ask me when I am going to retire, I respond, I hope never.
INFLUENCES: My mother, my father, WWII, my husband, our son and my grandchildren, my life choices, my high school drama teacher, Sylvia Furlong, Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, my colleagues and fellow artists, my students.