The following are representative quotes extracted from anonymous teaching evaluations and student reflections from courses taught at the University of Pittsburgh. The courses evaluated were: Basic Acting, Theatrical Violence, and Introduction to Performance.
I really, really enjoyed taking this class and learned so much more than I expected.
Michael was amazing! So much energy and passion for the class.
I am taking away a greater sense of confidence and creativity. I've learned the importance of taking risks in a scene, and the importance of making a clear choice. I am thankful I had you as a wonderful teacher and I wish you the best! Thanks for a great semester!
He teaches me things for this class that I can use the rest of my life.
If someone would have told me that I would have learned as much as I have from this class, I don't think I would have believed them. The Laban movements are definitely something I can come back to when I'm stuck with how I should act something out or portray emotion. I learned that it's okay to try new and crazy things because failing at something is just as good and constructive as succeeding. I learned new, constructive ways to analyze my characters I will be performing in the future. The techniques are really in-depth and quite helpful and I would have never thought of all the questions Michael made us answer on our own. Even the text analyses were great. Learning that I should dissect each beat with an objective, obstacle, and tactic is so helpful in making decisions. I'll admit that when I acted before, I sort of went with the flow and made my own choices up on the fly and they quickly began to cement themselves into place. Now I don't feel trapped with my decisions and I have so many ideas on how to make scenes more believable and real.
The course really helped me to become more confident and comfortable with myself.
The skills that I have learned will definitely be put to the everyday world and not just the world of theatre. I have learned a great deal of confidence in my abilities to speak and I have also learned a lot about emotional control which will come in handy whenever I am dealing with difficult situations with patients and other such scenarios.
Thank you for being such a great teacher. We will all miss you so much next year.
Michael is very skilled and intuitive in the field of theater. This allows the creative process to work freely. He is quick to create new ideas that inspire me to be a better actor.
This course has allowed me to think more objectively about acting choices along with being more thorough with creating a character.
This class added so much to my enjoyment of being in Pittsburgh and my love for performing. This class has helped me decide that i am going to start getting into the plays here and continue the path to developing my work ethic and be passionate about all i do.
Michael puts himself out there so you feel safe to do so too.
this was my FAVORITE CLASS this semester, and perhaps so far in college.
I learned that acting is one of the greatest passions that I have and I really don't want to drop it ever. I want to continue acting in life, even though I'm going into another field.
Michael's an amazing instructor. He's clear, thorough and stimulates my thinking. He pushes us.
I learned a lot through the analyses and was able to gain confidence through acting/feedback.
Through making the class a casual-feeling (yet structured and focused) environment, I believe I was more willing to fully learn the ideas discussed in class in order to help maintain the environment.
I feel like I learned a lot more from this class than I'm letting on right now and I truly am going to miss it, the scenes, the fun, the learning, the other students, and Michael.
Michael is very honest and is able to give criticism in a helpful and meaningful way.
Best teacher I had this semester.
He created a good learning environment; wasn't afraid to challenge us, but never made me feel attacked. Good constructive criticism and respect for students.
I've learned more from him than anyone here at Pitt.
I love his style of teaching, and I feel like I've learned so much because of it. You can tell he knows what he is talking about and is so enthusiastic in passing it on to us.
He is very supportive, explains things well, and does everything he can to get us to understand him and produce our best work.
Did a great job of asking thought provoking questions regarding scene work that allowed students to consider what their character's intentions and obstacles were.
Exuberance for course material is contagious. He established a close, comfortable learning environment for the entire class. He also asked many questions which stimulated critical and applied thinking. Fantastic instructor!
He really connects with us and makes us feel like we aren't really doing work.
He is very energetic and encouraging and kind. He ensures a safe and relaxing environment for us.
I loved everything we did (made me decide to be a theatre minor).
He was very hands on and helpful. He would meet with students after class to help them and was available at almost all times. He was very animated and was easy to work with. He understood what he taught.
I gained confidence in my abilities to present in front of large groups.
He did a great job making the classroom an environment where we could feel safe and try new things. He also did a really good job of getting people to open up and expand their performance dynamics.
He is one of the best teachers I've ever had because he gets so much out of his students.
This was my favorite class!
Incredibly personable, knowledgeable, capable, awesome, fantastic, and really good at stage combat.
Understands that different people have different levels of capability and catered to it.
I just wish he wasn't leaving so other students could take [this class] in the future.
It's hard to put into words how very much I learned and grew as a theatrical artist and a person through your class. Beyond learning stage combat techniques, class has meant a lot to me, and I know it has to some if not all of the other students. The environment you created was what I imagine the best theatrical endeavors should feel like - open, accepting, intense, goofy and fun mixed in with serious moments but always safe, challenging and rewarding. Power dynamics didn't seem to matter to you so you treated us like your equals, which is not typical of the teacher-student relationship in my experience.
your class overall was the most fun and informative of my college career
It was a safe and fun learning environment for every class, the perfect way to learn stage combat.
You've helped to make me want to learn more about stage combat and to delve into other weapons- I'm planning to keep an eye open for combat courses and certification opportunities in the future.
Enthusiasm and very knowledgeable about subject. Great listener. Very accessible in and out of class. Open communicator. Very organized. Concerned for student welfare.
This class had a great atmosphere and was very influential for me as an actor.
This has been one of the greatest classes I have ever taken at Pitt!
Michael is a wonderful teacher. Truly.
Introduction to Performance