Professor of Theater
Chair of the Theater Department
Joined Connecticut College: 2011
National Theater Institute, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
Actors Theater of Louisville Apprentice Company
M.F.A., Yale University School of Drama
David Jaffe's courses include Acting I: Preparation; Acting II; Directing I: Coaching the Actor; and the Advanced Acting rotation of Heightened Text, Shakespeare, and The Realists: Chekhov & Ibsen.
A 1977 alumnus, Jaffe was a faculty member in the theater department from 1989-1997. He returned to Connecticut College in 2011 as an associate professor and chair of theater, and was promoted to full professor in 2016.
After earning his bachelor's degree in theater studies at Connecticut College, he attended the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the Actors Theater of Louisville Apprentice Company before earning his M.F.A. in acting at Yale University School of Drama.
During his training he was deeply influenced by his work with Morris Carnovsky, Estelle Parsons, Jon Jory, Earle Gister and Lloyd Richards. As an actor, Jaffe worked in New York City and in regional theaters such as the American Shakespeare Theater at Stratford under the direction of Zoe Caldwell, the Long Wharf Theater, the Yale Repertory Theater and the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Center. He had the honor of narrating the Jerome Robbins' ballet "Fanfare" with the New York City Ballet for three seasons at the New York State Theater and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
During his first appointment at Connecticut College, Jaffe's directorial efforts included Jim Cartwright's "ROAD," Howard Korder's "Boys' Life," OyamO's "The Resurrection of Lady Lester," and Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa." After obtaining permission from Elie Wiesel, Jaffe received support from the Jew Hatred: Paradigm for Racism Symposium for his stage adaptation and direction of Wiesel's first novel "Dawn."
Jaffe then served as Director of the O'Neill Center's National Theater Institute for eight years, establishing collaborative relationships with the SITI Company, The Wooster Group, Theater Complicite and The St. Petersburg State Theater Academy. He created the O'Neill Theatermakers Summer Intensive, a six-week program for young actors, directors and playwrights that parallels the O'Neill Center's professional programs. At NTI he taught advanced acting classes, audition technique, improvisation, ensemble process, mentored the directing lab, and directed the NTI Final Project in thirteen of his sixteen semesters. Jaffe led the student companies in adaptations of such material as Homer's "Odyssey"; Ted Hughes' "Tales from Ovid"; Clifford Odets' "Waiting for Lefty"; and with Maria Goyanes, Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel "Persepolis." In addition to these adaptations, he led the companies in the collective creation process, developing and performing the original works "Civil/War" and "The Dream Project."
Here in Connecticut, Jaffe has served as stage director for "Otello," "La Boheme" and "Le Nozze di Figaro" at the Connecticut Lyric Opera and served as Artistic Director of Interpretive Programs & Performance at the Mystic Seaport. He is currently president of the Board of Directors of the Mystic Paper Beasts/Dragon's Egg.
Prior to his return to Connecticut College, Jaffe served as the Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of Theater at Wesleyan University where he taught the full arc of acting classes, including Acting I, Improvisation, Acting II and advanced classes in Shakespeare and Heightened Text. He directed Charles Mee's "Big Love," Shakespeare's "Richard III," as well as "The Vanya Project," and a senior thesis production "Our Day Will Come," an adaptation of Seamus Heaney's "Burial at Thebes," his version of Sophocles' "Antigone."
Here at Connecticut College, most recently he directed Wendy Wasserstein's "Uncommon Women and Others" on the 40th anniversary of its first workshop at the O'Neill Center's National Playwrights Conference. He has directed a multi-departmental production of the classic musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel." This collaboration between faculty and students from the theater, music and dance departments brought this musical to the College and local community with fresh perspectives, and slight adjustments to the text by arrangement with Ted Chapin '72, Executive Director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. In the fall of 2012 he directed "Four Dead in Ohio: Antigone at Kent State," an adaptation collectively created with a student ensemble, meshing Sophocles' tragedy and the Kent State massacre of 1970. In the classroom, he created the sophomore research seminar Art of Protest: Occupy_______, as part of the Mellon Undergraduate Research Program.
Follow this link for an interview with Jaffe on the Broadway World website.
Follow this link for Jaffe's talk during the 2017 TedX Conference at Connecticut College.
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320
301B Palmer Auditorium