Pamela Dubin – actress
One Week a Doctor, the next Week Rapunzel
Pamela Dubin graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and has dreamed of being an actress since she was a little girl. She continued her stage training after Bates with the New Actor’s Workshop, a two year conservatory in New York City, which included working and training with director Mike Nichols, Paul Sills (who founded Story Theatre and was a founder of Second City; directed her in”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in which she was “Helena”) and then being directed in a show by Gene Hackman (who after directing her in “University” in the role of “Susan Wright” is quoted as saying “Ms. Dubin exemplified the professional and creative attitude of a true New York trained actor. I would recommend Ms. Dubin for any acting assignments that may come her way” ) She also traveled to England with the Yale School of Drama and British American Drama Academy where she trained and worked with members of the Moscow Arts Theatre, Berliner Ensemble and Royal Shakespeare Company (including Vanessa Redgrave, Oleg Tabakov, Jeremy Irons, Clare Davidson and Paul Daneman). Pamela Dubin then studied and worked with the National Theatre of the Deaf and Shakespeare and Company. Earlier training included National Theatre Conservatory, Cleveland Playhouse, Chautauqua and Interlochen…..She continues her training today with Larry Moss (who coaching of numerous actors coveted them Academy Awards, including, Helen Hunt, Jim Carey and Michael Clarke Duncan) when in LA and Mike Nichols when in NYC…..Dubin comments, “You never stop training or learning….”
Today, Dubin is a professional actress whose list of most recent stage credentials include “Helena” in “All’s Well, that Ends Well” (One of the largest female roles in Shakespeare and one of the few that the play revolves around a female) and “Mrs. Cratchit” in “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas” at the Tony Winning Hartford Stage Company directed by Michael Wilson. A small sample of other work includes “Beatrice” in “Much ado about Nothing” and the leading role in both Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s “Flights of Fancy” and the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Winterfest production of the “Dalmatian” both premiers.
Televison work includes a recent co-staring role as a “Lactation Specialist” on “Scrubs”” as well as a co-star role in the Emmy-award winning television series, The Practice, as an E.R. doctor in the episode when Jimmy was shot and a co-star role as “Dr. Kaplow” on “Family Law”…And in Film she “continued her medical work” as “Dr. Peterson” in an independent feature film called “Last Words”…..”It seems to be a pattern of late, playing Drs”, says Dubin, “although I can’t stand the sight of blood, even fake blood, the upside is that I didn’t have to go to medical school and the outfits are really comfortable…”
Ms. Dubin has been working in a lot of other independent films lately including The title role in “Margaret”, and the leading female role in “Ozfest” and just finished filming “Continua” in New York City which is an indi short that will come out some time over the summer or fall. She comments that “because of finances and politics a lot of the best films ideas and most interesting roles and actors are still in independent films.”
When asked what a typical day is like for her, Dubin just laughs, “There’s nothing typical about an actor’s day….There are so many different things. It’s not like a more conservative profession where you take one particular route to attain your career goals.” If she is rehearsing for a show, Dubin spends a lot of her time memorizing lines and doing Character analysis and research and if applicable dialect work. She says, though, “Even when you have a job, you’re always looking for another one. You can’t rely on your agents to do your work for you unless you’re a huge name.” This requires constant networking, sending out resume after resume, postcard after postcard, updating and keeping track of industry people and working consistently with her agents.
Dubin not only acts, but also teaches acting classes to inner-city children as well as adult actors and non-actors (She says “I’d call them normal people, but…who’s normal?”) in both New York City and California. Another professional activity to which she devotes her time is performing as part of an improvisational group that is based in New York City.
Dubin got her foot in the door of the acting world by apprenticing at different theater companies. This gave her the opportunity to earn Equity points with (theatre) the Actors’ Equity Association (also known as the Union as are (film and most tv) SAG (the Screen Actor’s Guild) and (video and radio) AFTRA (The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists) all three of which she is a member. After gathering enough Equity points to become a Union member, Dubin started auditioning at open calls. In New York City, auditioning required getting in line at five o’clock in the morning, on countless mornings and waiting until eight o’clock when the union building opened its doors giving each Equity actor a time slot ranging from two to five minutes. Then, each actor had to return twenty minutes prior to their time slot. This is how Dubin got her first Equity position as “Shelby” in “Steel Magnolias” with Valerie Perrine. She does say, however, that getting a job especially if it’s not in musical theatre, through an open call is very rare.
According to Dubin, there are many wonderful and not-so-wonderful aspects of being an actress. She dislikes the extreme competitive nature of the theater business and finds it difficult to tolerate rude disrespectful and untrustworthy people. (don’t get me wrong…there are wonderful and generous people as well….) “ it’s so frustrating during an interview to be misquoted….. or even worse is when things are just entirely fabricated. It’s a tough part of the business and sometimes all you can do is let it go and live your best truth.” She also advises, “You have to learn to rely on yourself – there are many harsh people that you’re going to have to deal with….and it’s very hard not to let people discourage you. Especially since in acting your emotions are right there on the surface. You must learn (and I am still doing it….) how to protect yourself. One very important thing is to get a service number. Never give out your home phone number on a card! Although there are many terrific and professional people there are also many quite the opposite with not such honorable intentions.” Dubin also finds it frustrating not to have a lot of job stability and working in a field that is so “looks oriented.”
Although there are some negatives that come along with her career, the pluses seem to outweigh those negatives for Dubin. She lists having flexible hours, meeting creative and sensitive people, and constantly running into new experiences, as some of the pluses. She also says, “It’s fun. Who doesn’t want to be a professional pretender?” and “I love making people laugh.” Dubin also claims that even though acting isn’t always quite as glamorous as everyone perceives it to be, it does supply her with constant exciting circumstances and many diverse challenges.
Dubin feels that many of her experiences at Bates, both on-stage and off-stage, were helpful in her pursuit of an acting career. “All of it…the joyous times as well as the heartaches….” Her theater classes and her involvement in a number of plays were all good preparations for the acting business. In particular, she mentions Theater Professor, Martin Andrucki, as being very supportive and encouraging of her endeavors. Dubin also praises Bates for giving her many life experiences outside of the stage and making her into a more well-rounded individual. “In theater, you need to draw on things from life. You can’t just take acting classes.”
For all of you aspiring actors, Dubin suggests enrolling in a lot of acting classes, but not just restricting yourself to the theater department. She suggests calling alumni already involved in the industry for useful advice. Dubin also prompts actors to read as many plays as possible, especially those by Shakespeare and other classics, and actually just delve in and get hands on experience…. if you’re interested in professional theatre which is the best training for any other type of acting she claims that a very important step is to become a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. She suggests, “Find something unique about yourself and market that.” As a final piece of advice, Dubin remarks, “Keep your sense of humor and your heart and soul as well as your perspective” and “Remember that the more you practice, the better you get. There are a lot of people who have made it because they stuck it out. Don’t forget to live your life as well along the way.”
by Julie Pelan ’01