ACTOR, DIRECTOR, TEACHER & RESIDENT DIRECTOR, NYU TISCH
Victoria Mack received her MFA in Acting from NYU’s TIsch School of the Arts and has been acting, directing and teaching professionally for 17 years. She currently teaches at Montclair, Stella Adler Studio, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design, Western Connecticut State University and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. She is a resident director at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and at the Stella Adler. As an actor she’s worked on Broadway and extensively off-Broadway. She’s also done considerable regional work, including two world premiere Theresa Rebeck plays, starring roles at Syracuse Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Denver Center, Pittsburgh Playhouse, and 14 productions at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ; and a self-produced collection of two-person, ten-minute plays that played in New York City and then traveled to Santiago, Chile, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt. Victoria has shot two pilots as well as many television shows and films, including “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Wife,” and “Orange is the New Black.” This year is all about directing: she just opened an immersive downtown theatre piece in the city (The Lacy Project) and will begin rehearsals for Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ in July. After that she’ll direct Airswimming in New York City and The Whale at the Harold Clurman Theatre Lab.
I’m not the best. But my best quality is my ability to imagine my way into someone else’s life. I developed this quality as an actor for 15 years and now I use it as a teacher and director. I use it as a friend, reading the news, I even use it as a dog mom. As an artist it’s called imagination, as a teacher and person it’s called empathy. It’s my secret weapon.
Shakespeare has a sonnet about having two voices in his head, one that pulls him towards darkness and one towards light. I would say that I have these two tendencies equally: one that tells me to despair, and one that tells me that there are great things ahead and that life is full of beauty and laughs and hope. I am a different person depending on which voice is speaking to me at any given moment. The voice of hope makes me my best self.
I want to keep teaching full-time. I want to keep directing. Lately I also want to quit it all, go back to school, and become a therapist. I’d like to learn Spanish and work with migrants, giving them a place to cry, to be angry. I want to save the world and I also want a house with a backyard. It’s a lot.
I have a disability called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Every day I get out of bed, eat, shower, work my butt off, do my best, try to contribute, try to be of service, try to love others. My heart and brain have so many plans and my body has its own ideas. But every damn day I show up for my life. That’s success.
Quitting acting. This wasn’t one particular moment, it’s been a slow weaning off. Acting was my dream, my love, my best self, my identity, everything. It became clear to me that physically it was no longer an option, and then I spent about 3 years pretending I didn’t know that. Falling in love with teaching and directing is what enabled me to let go. There are so many ways of living a beautiful life.
Want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.
Michelle Obama. Anthony Bourdain. My students. Women.
Places I frequently plan on moving include: Denver, San Diego, New Paltz, Beacon, Toronto, Montclair, Santa Fe, Melbourne.
My laptop. Books, all of them. The New Yorker. New clothes. I love and hate my phone.
I loved my time as an actor. But exploring new ways of bringing joy to my life feels like a bigger contribution. Less about myself, more about others. I want the rest of my life to be of service.