“Annie Baker is a magician of a playwright. The mundane and imaginary interweave with the subtlety of candle smoke. She is known for her naturalistic dialogue, in which her characters speed breathlessly through reams of distractible thoughts punctuated by long, ruminating silences. They can, however, just as easily become declarative, poetic or abstract. For an actor, her plays present a score of unique challenges.
I’ve studied with John at the Dirt on and off for a few years now. When this course went on offer, I felt he was a perfect fit for the playwright because John is interested in process over product. His techniques for actors are very practical, and yet he gives an abundance of space for artists to experiment. You get the sense you are working with a fine collaborator who is as invested in your work as you are. He is inquisitive and empathetic, demanding but not pretentious. He seems to enjoy the bad work as much as the good work, perhaps recognizing the bad work for what it is—a starting place, a rich creative territory to mine.
We pick our own texts. There aren’t many of us, so we work a lot. It’s a relaxed and refreshing professional environment. In short, I feel I have the ability here to stretch myself in ways I don’t think another class or teacher would offer.”
Brendan Hobin (Dim the Fluorescents)