Joe is a terrific guy--totally laid back, young, full of energy and enthusiasm for his work. He's a pleasure to work with, highly creative and extraordinarily talented. Be blessed to be involved with anything he's doing.
We are lucky to have Amy here in our theatre department. Puppetry is a theatre art form not normally taught in college departments, but at Barnard-Columbia was have the opportunity to learn from one of the leaders in the field. It is a very humbling art form and it further informs all of your work as a performer. Amy teaches about finding the balance between restraint and action, and expressing an idea as simply and directly as possible. She is very good at helping students find their individual strong points and working from there, but this is provided the student-performer is willing to listen to what she has to say. Amy is indeed a character and has a very particular, if unconventional style teaching. She's not your average Ivy League professor, but the training and teachings she imparts are on a very high level. She has high expectations of her students, and this pushes them to produce quality work that they may nit have thought to produce otherwise. She has traveled around the world, having visited the Middle East, India, China. From tiny villages to larger cities. She has video taped examples of traditional theatre from these non-Western cultures, and she has brought the ideas of these other theatre forms to influence our work here at Columbia-Barnard. Amy's realm is the realm of doing. The best way to learn from her is to learn by actual practice. The value of her teaching is found in the practical work. At a school where so much of we are taught is theoretical, it is refreshing to have a professor who is so well-grounded in the practical. She uses a style of blind justice and does not play favorites. This is helpful preparation for a career in the real theatre world.
If you are looking for a positive acting, or directing experience in the Theatre Dept, look anywhere but to Denny Partridge. She is an incapable, self-centered, and small minded director *CULPA CENSOR* Denny forces inapropriate and just plain BAD decisions on her students who are forced to comply or fail. Even if her wishes are followed to a 'T' she is just as likely to give a B- as an A. Denny will come to rehearsal one night, be disgusted with what she sees (regardless of the quality) mandate that sweeping changes be made and then return a week later to ask why the director has ruined a perfectly good show. I was involved in one show that she forced the director to reconceive, rework, and reblock 4 times within a month. While the performance was stronger for it (we all KNEW every aspect of the characters and the play at that point) it was emotionally devastating and physically draining for everyone even remotely involved in the production. She is vindictive and uninspired at best in her own work and she is the only professor at this university that I have ever seen make multiple self-confident students cry. She likes to play favorites, but be aware that her favorite today might not be her favorite tomorrow.
Amy is filled with brilliant ideas. She is not the most capable person with articulating them to her students, though. And to top it off, she is completely scatter-brained; I've had her three semesters in a row and she still calls me ANYTHING BUT my name. She's very forgetful and the most mercurial person you'll ever meet. Don't be surprised if the night before a major project is due she requires to make significant changes. She also has an odd way of making "suggestions" in passing and you'll suffer the penalties if you don't catch on quickly enough to utilize them in your own work. Don't get me wrong, I think Amy is brilliant as a puppeteer and a scenic designer; however, her teaching leaves a lot to be desired. And she does a poor job of directing actors. Unless you're a mind-reader, you may never understand what it is that she is trying to express to you. Come see her plays, just don't be in them.
Someone should drop a house on this woman. She is EVIL!! E-VIL! I've never seen a professor work so hard at alienating and devastating students. Not only is she completely unprofessional, but her work is often devoid of any good ideas. If you like cliches and mean-spirited direction, than Professor Partridge is the person for you. Rather than giving direction that helps the actors/designers, she tries to ruin every person's confidence. Here's the philosophy of the Barnard/Columbia undergraduate theatre department: Break the student's spirit and then you can compel them to do the most awful theatre imaginable. I'm not kidding. There's a reason that people come running, kicking, and screaming from this department. Ask around. And I have to say, Denny is the ring leader. Regardless of the class or production you have with the Evil One, you will soon discover that she is much less interested in people's work than she is in playing power games with students. In all of my years in the theatre and all of the productions with which I have been involved, I have never had to deal with more personal attacks and puerile behavior. Please trust the advice of a theatre major; I had to learn this lesson several times over. There are SO MANY problems with this abysmal department, but Denny is at the center of them all. If you are considering a major in theatre or even just a production or a class, just work with King's Crown or BCMT or CMTS or BTE and forget about Denny and the Department from Hell. Go on auditions in the City or at the graduate school. Work with people who are TRULY avant garde and save yourself the stress and heartache.