Obituary: The Most Abusive Teacher at Your Conservatory Died, Now You Have to Pretend to Be Sad
by Elanna White. @Ewelannawhite.
NEW YORK, NY - Jimmy Clayton, 78, an acting teacher at NYC’s leading conservatory passed away on Wednesday morning - leaving his students with their biggest challenge yet: acting sad about his death.
“When I heard the news of Jimmy’s death, it hit me just like the pen he threw at me the second week of freshman year,” Surviving TA Madeline May viscerally recalled while preparing Clayton’s next class for its tableau exercise. “It was during a repetition drill, so I threw it right back at him. He didn’t like that so he ‘yes and’-ed me right out of the room. I can’t believe Jimmy will 'yes and' no more.”
Aside from teaching, Clayton created the acting technique, “Toi, Destroy, Employ.” Penning a book of the same name, Clayton believed one needs to destroy their inner self and experience full ego death to become employable as an actor. Students confirm the technique lives up to its name.
A notorious stickler for time, he would loathe to know that it was upon realizing he was late to his early class that his students started to joke about his untimely demise, claiming that Clayton could only be late if he was dead.
Cory Jensen, an alumni of the late professor, was asked to perform at Clayton’s service.
“When I was asked, I thought of what Jimmy said to me when he found out that I was cast as Willy Loman in our mainstage production,” Jensen shared, mid roll-down. “He said in front of the entire class, ‘Wow. I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would trust you with such a task.’ - and yeah, that’s kind of how I’m feeling right now.”
Friends, colleagues and students are invited to attend Jimmy’s funeral on Friday, where they’re urged to show up five minutes early lest they find they’re locked out upon arrival. Vicki Warner, a student in Clayton’s early class that fateful morning, shared her feelings.
“I just feel like he’s going to be judging everyone’s entrances,” Warner sighed with a Linklater ‘hu-humuh’, releasing four years of jaw tension. “He’ll pull himself up from his casket in liquid slow, tell us he didn’t buy it, and have us re-enter with more intention.”
All attendees of the service will receive a signed copy of Clayton’s book. Dress code will of course be all black.