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I had the pleasure of working with Karen many times when I was a kid. One thing that stands out to me is that she never directed me like I was a child. I always felt as though I were being treated simply as an actor. She was the first person to ever say to me, 'Just talk to the other person, don't say the line, talk to her.' This concept of actually letting the dialogue land on the person you're in a scene with has been a necessary tool I have carried with me all these years later. I'm just lucky to have learned it at such a young age with Karen. I feel like she gave me a head start on creating more meaningful, truthful work."
Riley Costello, Actor, New York City
"I was about 10 when Karen Byrnes first began teaching me about theatre. My mother signed me up for a summer workshop at a local church. Karen taught a group of youth there about how to act on stage including blocking, stage directions, projection, movement, etc. The following year, I began Ralston School and Karen was the director for the theatre program there. I participated in every theatrical production. After leaving Ralston, I entered Carlmont High School and returned to work with her as a stage manager and lighting/sound technician. My work with Karen has allowed me to explore every aspect of the theatre. I returned home from college to participate in a theatre showcase, put on by Notre Dame de Namur University, where I was able to direct and act in my own play. Since leaving California and moving to Scotland, I joined an amateur theatre group and I'm preparing to direct a production of BrightonBeach Memoirs by Neil Simon a play I was introduced to by Karen. I have to say that she gave me my start in acting."
Heather Osborne (You) Author, Scotland
"Karen, you were the first person to cast me in a serious role, and the first to give me real positive encouragement and began my passion for acting. After Ralston School, I went to Junipero Serra and became very involved in their drama program. They continued my positive reinforcement and cast me in many exciting roles. After that, I went on to study animation at San Jose State, but changed my studies to theatre after a year abroad studying in England. After working extensively in theatre and film for a year, I decided to go for my MFA and got into the fantastic program at Rutger's Mason Gross School of the Arts. Once I graduated, I moved to New York and started working professionally. I soon thereafter got a nine month contract at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival as part of their repertory company and ended the season playing Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. I now have my equity card and living the dream all thanks to you!"
Thanks a bunch!
Josh Marx, Actor, New York City