Theatre is something I found on my own. My high school drama teacher, Mr. Beerman, was the first person who sparked my thespian interests, opening my eyes to the art of theatre. I learned how to love others through theatre because of him.
Whenever I reflect back on my journey to SPU’s Theatre Department, I always laugh at my stupidity and God’s awesomeness. When it came time to apply for colleges, I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know what I wanted. I’m originally from Los Angeles, but I had the urge to go out of state.
When I first got to SPU, I tried to distance myself from theatre, but because of special circumstances I found myself enrolled in only theatre classes for my first quarter. After that, I just couldn’t get away from it. By Winter Quarter of my freshman year, I had declared myself a Theatre major with an emphasis in Production. In retrospect, I see a lot of God in my journey to SPU, because everything worked out perfectly.
Honestly, most of my favorite SPU memories have all happened in the Theatre Department. I will never forget my first day of “USEM: Page to Stage,” with Dr. George Scranton. He opened a Bible, read Genesis 1:1, and told us that God is a creative being, which means that humans are as well.
My mind was blown. Previously, I had been struggling with reconciling theatre and my faith. I didn’t think that I could call myself both a Christian and a thespian, but Dr. Scranton completely changed my point of view. The idea that we are creative beings and that we can use theatre to serve others is, in my opinion, the core of SPU’s Theatre Department.
Professor Don Yanik is my Theatre major advisor. I can’t thank him enough for all the help and guidance he’s given me over the years. There was this moment on opening night for Letters to Sala when Professor Yanik sat me down to have a chat.
First he went through all the business stuff about the show and then he gave me a sort of fatherly-advice-and-encouragement talk. He has advised me not only throughout the Theatre program but also with my applications for internships and the like. Oftentimes, I have had no clue what I was doing, but Professor Yanik always calms me down and steers me in the right direction. He is so good at what he does, and is just brilliant. I really respect and look up to him. He’s also the funniest professor I have ever met.