A soothing voice, calm persona and love of coaching others in using their true voices allows one of Mills’ dramatic arts teachers to work overtime in regional theater productions.
Deborah Sussel currently juggles her daytime job of college lecturer with her nighttime job as a conservatory theater accent and dialogue consultant. In her most recent project, “Night and Day” a play by Tom Stoppard, she worked with actors and play directors in order to fine-tune the accents the actors used in the play. “Night and Day” required that Sussel coach the actors on standard British speak or what she called, “BBC, queen speech.” The accents however, needed to also bring in an African background. Sussel found that fine tuning the African feel of the accents was difficult because, “the country he [Stoppard] writes about is a mythical country.”
Sussel has been working at Mills for more than 20 years. Through her classes she teaches students various theatrical techniques, such as voice expression and stage presence.
“You can really start to hear the difference in peoples voices after she’s been working with you,” said freshwoman Wini Wallace.
Although kept busy by her theater work, Sussel shows few signs of slowing down. She has three future projects in the works, as well as coaching the Mills play “Desdemona,” which opens this weekend in Lisser Hall.