"Melissa is an excellent director. Her passion, creativity, and insight, combined with her practical skills of research and organization make for a well-rounded and smooth production for all involved. Her recent production of In the Next Room with us was completely captivating and garnered audience praise and glowing reviews."
Comments from students:
"Melissa did a fantastic job in engaging us in the work and making it fun. She challenged us and I always felt safe and heard."
"One of the best teachers I've ever had here at VCU, it is apparent she really cares and it is no question that she is an expert in her field. I will truly miss her class."
"I had the great honor and pleasure of working with Melissa on In The Next Room, or the vibrator play and Othello. Whether she is serving as a director or fight choreographer, one thing is certain: you will learn so much about your craft and technique that you didn’t know before. I didn’t know anything about stage combat before Othello. It’s because of Melissa’s seamless choreography and instruction that I now feel prepared and empowered to take on any future stage combat challenge. As for In The Next Room, I can say that I’ve truly grown as an actor emotionally, psychologically and in terms of character development. All of this due to Melissa’s detail in her direction and her willingness to try different things. Making sure that you feel comfortable and that everyone is on the same page is a priority for her. What I’ve learned from Melissa over the course of two great experiences is invaluable and I will take it with me to incorporate into future endeavors."
"Melissa, I was just thinking about the next show that I’m going to be directing in the fall and how much the principles you spoke of in our stage combat workshop will apply... It will be a departure from my comfort zone as a director as it will be, I’m sure, for most of the... cast. It strikes me that the principles of positive consent and precise direction will make it as comfortable as possible... I just thought you might enjoy getting a little feedback from one of your students. Thanks."
"I've worked with stage combat choreography before, and Melissa is terrific. She pays a lot of attention to detail and safety, she's smart and supportive, and she's got a great sense of humor. Totally professional. Would I work with her again? In a heartbeat."
"Melissa was a wonderful instructor. Her teaching was clear and she took the utmost care to ensure that safety and technique were her students' top priorities. As an actor, I appreciated that she encouraged us to give our choreography context and motivation. Overall, I'm so happy I now have these skills to work with and have gained a confidence that I will take into every rehearsal space. Thanks Melissa!"
"Melissa is a fantastic teacher! She went above and beyond to make sure we learned all the fight choreography excellently and she always made everyone feel super comfortable so that we could do our best. She taught everything very creatively and effectively and kept it interesting and fun to be a part of. I felt really motivated to have our fights look great! I would absolutely love to work with her again."