Jay Freyman gives students a taste of Greek, and that's no...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

October 24, 1993|By Stephanie Shapiro

Jay Freyman gives students a taste of Greek, and that's no 0) tragedy

Every weekday at 8 a.m. sharp, nine students gather for associate professor Jay Freyman's intensive beginning course in ancient Greek at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

"They are an amazing group," Dr. Freyman says.

The feeling, undoubtedly, is mutual.

"Seeing others learn is one of his greatest loves," says formestudent Chris Murphy, a Latin teacher at Randallstown High School.

Recently named 1993 Maryland Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Dr. Freyman, 50, is widely praised for the immediacy he brings to the works of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and other classical writers.

When first performed in the heyday of ancient Athens, Greek drama was "more than just stories and amusement," Dr. Freyman says. "It embodied the public morality."

These works still speak to us, says Dr. Freyman, also director of the Honors College at UMBC. The psychological issues addressed by mythical figures such as Medea (a sorceress who murdered her two children) and Oedipus (who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother) are "commonly human," he says.

As one can imagine, these stories could lend themselves to a lively teaching style. "I tend to do a lot of walking around. I'm very frenetic. [It keeps] students focused on you."

Dr. Freyman, who arrived at UMBC in 1968, has been instrumental in recruiting students to the university's ancient studies program, which boasts one of the largest undergraduate enrollments of any classics department in the country. He tells potential students, "It's interesting stuff. . . . It's sort of like being at a smorgasbord. You should try everything on the table once."

In the audio din that persuades and informs Marylanders, the Lewmans stand out as the First Family of voice-over performers. It's a profession Lary Lewman calls the "high yield, low effort end of the performing business."

Husband and wife Lary and Nancy Lewman began working as actors in Baltimore/Washington in the early 1960s. Lary played Pete the Pirate on a local children's television program and performed in dinner theaters. His voice-over career gained momentum in 1976 when he narrated the re-election ads for President Carter in 1980.

And now the Lewman's son, Lance, and his wife, Kristan King, also are working full time on narrations and voice overs for the family business, Town Crier, Inc., based in Clarksville.

The Lewmans have a variety of clients, including hospitals, resorts and the National Park Service. (After New York and Los Angeles, Baltimore/Washington is the nation's largest market for industrial and educational films, Mr. Lewman says.)

Another of his current projects is recording poetry. During the late 1970s, he performed as Poetry Man, a roaming bard who declaimed classics on the streets of Baltimore. Now 33-year-old Lance has picked up the role.

Lance says his father helped with his acting career only after he graduated from college. While he was growing up, Lary tried to steer his son and daughter, Lori, away from the field.

"He always used to say, 'If you were meant to be an actor, there's nothing I could have done that would have stopped you,' " Lance says. " 'And if you weren't meant to be an actor, it's my responsibility to stop you.' " Lori's in sales.

Linell Smith

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