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Back Stage: What skills did you gain this time around doing Notes From the Field?

I work with a very good dialect coach named Amy Stoller and a very good movement coach named Michael Leon Thomas. In a way, the three of us have grown together, if that makes sense, in terms of each one of us understanding more about what this genre requires. We did all develop what was in many ways a piece that never got produced, a play that never got further than a staged reading, but we all made major advances in how we worked and we were able to apply that to “Notes From the Field.”

Anna Deavere Smith
interview in Back Stage

 Between takes with Anna, Notes from the Field SET (HBO)

Between takes with Anna, Notes from the Field SET (HBO)


Recent stage: Hindle Wakes, by famed “Manchester School” playwright Stanley Houghton, at the Mint. In addition to dialect design, I also did dramaturgy. My Hindle Wakes program note.

Gus Kaikkonen … has staged “Hindle Wakes” with crisp understatement … letting Houghton make his own stiletto-sharp points instead of ramming them home. His ensemble cast, led by the superlative Jonathan Hogan, acts in the same unexaggerated spirit, aided by the dialect coaching of Amy Stoller, who has gone to enormous trouble to ensure that everyone in the company nails the savory “Lankysheer” accent specified in the script.

Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal
on Hindle Wakes

The superb acting ensemble steps into early-20th-century Hindle, England accoutered with local, quaint accents. The effect charms. Through the characters’ speech, the ancient folkways and culture of this industrial center of the cotton trade becomes manifest. Houghton’s themes can then strike our hearts with searing relevance.

Carole Di Tosti, BlogCritics
on Hindle Wakes

Amy Stoller has helped the actors to achieve that rare feat of speaking in an authentic Lancashire lingo and yet being easy to understand.

Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp
on Hindle Wakes

Impressive dialect work by Amy Stoller.

Robert Sholiton, Gotham Playgoer
on Hindle Wakes

Dialects (Amy Stoller) are crisp and natural.

Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town
on Hindle Wakes

Amy Stoller has made sure the actors speak in dialects appropriate to their time and their status.

Paulanne Simmons, New York Theatre Wire
on Hindle Wakes