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Wesleyan Professor Refines Craft while Enhancing Classroom Skills

Posted
Jul 13, 2018

West Virginia Wesleyan College faculty members frequently spend their summers gathering knowledge in their discipline, conducting research with students, or attending workshops and conferences.  Greg Mach spends his summers often on stage or on camera with the ultimate goal of seeking opportunities for his students while enhancing his classroom skills.

The Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts has been recently seen as the cashier on West Virginia Lottery commercials.  Last summer, he was the farmer on West Virginia Farmer’s Market’s ads.  For the past three years, Mach has worked on finding placements for local actors and Wesleyan students to gain more professional work on their resumes, while impacting economic growth in the arts on the local level.

He was the Director of The Case of the Sleepwalking Pig at the Vintage Theatre and 88 Restaurant.  He has also been involved with the popular Murder Mystery Theatre market.  “I started writing scripts for production at local professional venues like the 88 Restaurant in Buckhannon, the Gandy Dancer Theatre and Tygart Valley Railroad in Elkins, the Uptown Event Center in Clarksburg, and the Cass Scenic Railroad,” said Mach.  “These shows sometimes feature Wesleyan students exclusively as part of our season and many times have sold out.  The performances help local venues, allow performers to gain greater visibility, and stimulate the arts economy.”

Mach has enjoyed a vast range of summer dramatic experiences.  Last summer, he was a supporting cast member in a feature-length motion picture, End of the World Rocks, which was produced by Hafodgau Films. The movie premiered last April and is now available on Amazon for streaming and purchase. “This project put me in touch with filmmakers from Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. The producers and director are eager to come back to West Virginia for a sequel,” continued Mach.

In 2016, Mach participated in Maine Media Workshop classes in Cinematography. “Since we have been considering shooting more movies in the future with the help of our Communication Department, I pursued this opportunity to gain valuable insights on the mechanics of shooting, like lighting, composition, and building familiarity with the equipment,” added Mach.  “As much as I love working in front of a live audience, more lucrative financial opportunities are available in the film industry.  I want our students to be ready for all opportunities.”

What drives Mach to stay so busy?  “I believe one of my roles is to provide opportunities for students, and by studying trends and increasing contacts, I can help them grow artistically,” stated Mach.  “Learning never stops, even for college professors, and I love learning more about my craft and passing that knowledge along to my students.”

While Mach loves acting, his passion is teaching.  “I love the exchange of ideas in the classroom, learning from my students as they learn from me,” he noted.  “There are no absolutes in the arts, so we try everything to create the best performance or best interpretation to communicate the script to the audience. There is so much more to acting and directing than just pretending, and to explore the subtlety and nuance of each performance is very exciting to me.  My favorite aspect of teaching is the “Ah-hah” moments, when a student or I (or both) make a discovery in text or in technique that suddenly changes our outlook on the material or the craft, and know we have all grown as artists in the process.”

Mach joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2000 and holds a B.A. from Michigan Technological University and a M.F.A. from the University of Mississippi. Wesleyan offers majors in musical theatre, theatre arts, and pre-drama therapy as well as minors musical theatre, theatre arts, and dance.