Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Former Student: Some of us Mills folk are doing just fine, thanks!

An op-ed letter written to the Seattle Times' Online Letters to the Editor section by a former Mills student, attesting to the eventual successes of people like himself--those who entered Mills' classes and came out the other end wholly intact and ready for more!

WWU professor under fire

Many former students doing well

The article about Western Washington University drama professor Perry Mills was woefully one-sided ["Professor says he provokes, but others call it abusive." page one, June 9]. The reporter failed to interview students who are supportive of Mills, of which there are many.

Theatre is an extremely difficult business, yet WWU students have had great success in part due to Mills. Below is a short list of former students of Mills who have worked professionally in theater:

Braden Abraham, associate artistic director at Seattle Rep (and frequent director of shows there and elsewhere);

Alycia Delmore, longtime local actress who recently appeared in "Hump Day," which was an award winner at Sundance;

Barzin Akhavan, professional actor who has been featured in plays across the country including Seattle Rep, San Jose Rep and is currently starring in the play adaptation of "Kite Runner";

Galen Joe Osier, local actor who recently starred in "Crime & Punishment" at Intiman Theatre;

Jon Lutyens, local Seattle actor;

Jason Martin, published playwright.

And that's just off the top of my head. These are not English/psychology/education majors who took a theater class here and there. These are theater majors who had Mills as a professor in multiple classes. They are working professionals.

I humbly suggest you interview one of them, or myself. I spent eight years as a professional actor/director. Please do your research before defaming a professor without the whole story.

-- Jan van Amerongen, Class of 1998, BA Theatre Arts, Seattle

Read this piece in its native home and the usual ancillary blog-opinions here.

If you--or anyone you know of--has sailed on Mills' scholar ship and are doing "just fine, actually" or even better, let us know!


fyca said...

I've heard tell of a playwright in NYC who studied under Mills' watchful eye (the good one) and recently had a play put up in some fancy-pants mentor program or something.

As for me, I continue to be a disappointment for the old man.

felipemcguire said...

Well...I just finished law school, and am studying for the Bar, so I'm quite sure that Perry would me as the soulless monster I have become...

...but I feel fine.

I WAS a theatre student at WWU and will unabashedly say that he was one of two worthwhile teaches I encountered there. Of those two, only Perry was great.

I was a Perry fan then and remain so today. His detractors fear candor and the dissenting voice. That is: a vote against Perry Mills is a vote for the terrorists.


Nick said...

Mills was the only worthwhile professor I studied under at WWU, and overall the best professor of my academic career.

I am the author of a book that has seen excellent reviews in the New York Times, The Times of London, and has been optioned for a television series.

Presently I am in Afghanistan. My office is full of frag grenades and assault weapons. I live in constant fear. But I'm ready for you, Mills! Just try something!

Kardak said...

I would guess that most of us old theatre department types have been left in the ditch (I think I remember seeing us there in the real road movie.)

At any rate-while we may not be doing as well as the fancy pants blogporter in the pi or times who decided it was time for Mills to move on (really? you call yourself a friend but use your limited on-line newspaper space to detail his faults?) I contend that many of us have acquitted ourselves admirably in our chosen profession.

I don't regret leaving theatre, but I do regret not coming back and having a beer with the man...yet.

Here's to you Perry F Mills!