Friday, July 20, 2012

Creative Team Interview #6: David Sedgwick, Dialect Coach for THE LOVER and DANNY

Welcome to our exciting series of interviews, where you can get to know the cast & creative team in our Summer Series, a double-header of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Harold Pinter's The Lover. The Summer Series is a true repertory event - both shows perform on the same evening with the same cast, creative team, and design concept.

The shows run back to back July 27 - August 12, 2012
Wed-Sat at 7pm;  Sat & Sun at 2pm, in New York City.

To donate (it's a worthy cause!), click here.
For tickets, click here.
For more info about The Seeing Place, click here.

Your Name:
David Sedgwick

Role in this Production:
Accent coach for "The Lover" and "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" / Director for the Free Reading Series

How long have you been coaching/directing?
I've been an actor for about 20 years now! Directing and accent-coaching are much newer endeavors for me; they have their own unique challenges that are very different from my work as an actor.

How long have you been in NYC?
Six-and-a-half years. The time has flown by somehow...

Where are you from originally?
Sydney, Australia.

What's been your favorite project, to date?
I always feel like I learn something new with each project, so my recent turn as Vershinin in Three Sisters for The Seeing Place is a favorite. Then there's also the 3 years I spent traveling around Japan performing for little kids, singing silly songs whilst wearing primary colors. That was pretty good fun.

What do you like about being involved with The Seeing Place?
I feel that my acting has developed in unexpected ways by being exposed to the company's rehearsal and performance style. I feel a lot freer now on stage, and more prepared to take risks. I love that as a company member I'm encouraged to explore other interests such as directing and working with dialects.

What's a fun story about an experience you've had in your field?
I had a gig at the Tokyo branch of Temple University where I directed non-acting students in short plays, just for fun. Some of the students were not overly confident in English. I remember one young 20-something Japanese girl who was absolutely terrified of the idea of people watching her perform. It was like regular stage-fright, but mixed with the fear of public speaking, plus using a second language, accent issues, etc. She kept on telling me she was quitting but then she'd change her mind, and I could see she was really fascinated by the whole idea of being an actor. So of course when the time came for the (one night only) presentation, she was great! Really funny and with very good stage presence. I like to imagine that I helped her to catch the acting "bug"...

What's your previous experience with these two plays (THE LOVER and DANNY....)?
I must have read The Lover before, and then recently a friend self-produced the play (go Anna Wood!) so I saw the play not long ago. But the thing about Pinter is that so much is unspoken that I don't expect this production to be very similar at all! As for Danny, I've read quite a few of Shanley's plays, but I'd never read or seen this one before, so I'm excited to see it on its feet.

What's been the most challenging thing about preparing for these projects?
For the mainstage shows, the challenge and general strangeness of asking two Californians to take accent suggestions about a New York dialect from an Australian is... self-evident? For the reading series, the biggest challenge has been trying to secure rights to plays that we'd like to do....

What excites you about The Summer Series?
I think it's going to be really fun seeing two actors take on such different characters, and do both plays back-to-back. It should be a real roller-coaster ride for the audience.

What is your website? - check out my reels! One of these days I'll figure out how to link it with my Facebook page and Twitter...

To donate to support this project, please click here.


  1. You are such a wonderful dialect coach, too, David! Erin and I were just remarking about it last night. You've got such a great ear, and really know how to adapt to different learning styles.

  2. David - I have been telling lots of people about your work as a dialect coach. You really have a skill that is useful to actors everywhere. Thank you for everything!

  3. I cant thank you enough I have been learning so much from you regarding accents and I love that you shared those japanese stories especially the girl you helped that had stage fright.

  4. Thanks everyone, you're all doing great work on your dialects. It's much easier to help when the actors do all their homework like you have!!


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