I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of Aaron Thomas who I have had the pleasure of knowing since the fall of 2001. Aaron was a student of mine at Cal Poly in the B.A. Theatre Arts program where I am an Assistant Professor and Head of Acting. Aaron graduated in the spring of 2003 with a GPA of 3.69. 3.92 in his major and with the enormous respect of our entire faculty. Aaron is one of the finest, brightest, most dedicated students that I have taught in my 25 years of university teaching. One of the top ten students I have taught.
While at Cal Poly Aaron was in my advanced Styles class which dealt with Molière, Shakespeare and Restoration. His work was excellent. I know that you are interested in Ph. D. candidates that possess superior intellectual ability, as well as the ability to delve into research and a strong capacity for analytical thinking. Aaron is superb in all of these areas. He has a terrific understanding of language, comprehends very difficult verse and is simply fascinated by looking up historical references and what he may not know. Aaron's ability for excellence in writing, research, and analytical thinking are also reflected in his superb GRE scores. He is an outstanding student. I also had the pleasure of directing him in Othello where he was Roderigo. He is a terrific actor.
Professionally, I have had the pleasure of hiring Aaron for four projects. He directed for our Studio Theatre season at Cal Poly in the winter of 2004, The Sin Project: Four Short Plays by Thornton Wilder and again this fall, 2004, Valparaiso. His research for both projects was comprehensive and insightful and the actors commented on how much they all learned from working with him. He is a tremendously talented director. I recommended him for Taming of the Shrew this past summer at CSULB. His production was intelligent , funny and alive. In all his productions, the actors always know what they are saying and why as well as understanding the style of the particular play. He has directed two stage readings for me at Cal Poly one being The Long Christmas Dinner and the other Love's Labour's Lost. Both were superior.
In addition, Aaron has a great respect and knowledge of voice and how voice can help the actor, particularly the telling of the story. He understands how to make language work and how to work with actors. I have hired him as a voice coach for The Crucible, Othello and The Foreigner. I am a Designated Linklater Voice teacher. My standards for voice work are quite demanding in my attention to diction, precision for dialects that are required, and breathing for Shakespeare. Aaron was invaluable in all of these areas and did outstanding work with the students.
I recommend Aaron without hesitation. He will be an excellent student. Aaron is the type of colleague I will be looking to hire as a full professor at Cal Poly in the future. If I can be of any other assistance please contact me at the email or office phone below. Thank you for your time and consideration.