TDPS faculty member Margo Hall and recent alum Joseph Gonzalez are featured in the article "Investing in inspiration" in the September 2022 issue of California magazine. Among other stories of inspiring faculty members, the article highlights how Hall's acting class was a "refuge" for Gonzalez.
Read the excerpt below, and read the full article here.
As a first-year student in architecture, Joseph Gonzalez ’22 was overwhelmed by his coursework and the intense demands on his time. He auditioned for an acting class in search of relief — and instead found a refuge.
Taught by Margo Hall, an award-winning actor and director, the students explored their personal and family stories, as well as their bodies, to learn how to bring their full selves into developing characters and scenes. “Ms. Hall taught me how to check in with myself, how to regain my confidence,” says Gonzalez. “She taught me how to breathe.”
Gonzalez says that may sound “weird,” but at the time, the ability to find peace, to breathe, was an essential survival skill. Just months after COVID-19 had begun crippling the world, another upheaval was unfolding in the United States: the killing of George Floyd and the racial unrest it sparked. Hall’s prompts for students to explore their responses to these crises helped Gonzalez realize he was better suited for the arts over architecture. He changed majors and was in a virtual play directed by Hall that the cast built from the ground up using their own experiences of this unsettling time.
When reflecting on what makes an excellent teacher, Hall says she is not interested in creating superstars. She is interested in creating “human beings who can impact the world with whatever work they do. There’s always art involved in that — because you have to dig deep into your soul to find your true self.”
Originally published in the September 2022 issue of California magazine. By Amy Cranch and Blake Edgar.