Today’s blog post is about our newest contributor, Ethan Baez. You may recognize his name from recent posts, where he led the interviews of some cast and crew from Our Town. Today we get to know him!
Ethan, tell us all about yourself.
On February 13th 2001, in Kissimmee, Florida a beautiful baby was born in Kissimmee General Hospital. A couple doors down, I was being pulled out via plunger because I wanted ten more minutes and already my mother had enough of my antics. When I was a toddler, I looked like something a bakery you would call a roll, and yet I wanted to dance when I got older. If you ask me, it’s because I knew my dad would have hated it and even as a toddler, I lived to spite. As I mentioned though, I was in the shape of a circle, not a Zendaya, so that dream quickly died. Then, in middle school, I learned you could be so good at something people would bully you for it. In my case, I’d get pushed around and called a nerd on the basketball court, because I was really good at writing history essays for Mrs. Andrews. I soon learned my designated bullies were not so good at those things, which began to explain a lot. It also explained the origins of my own sarcasm, because I quickly went from coming home with hurt feelings to coming home with vindicated feelings but black eyes.
In eighth grade, I remember having to recite a poem for English class called “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. I got a B just for attempting it, and although I couldn’t memorize the whole thing, Mrs. J praised my delivery. Then I started writing my own poetry, which I knew was bad, but I also knew I wanted it to be better. I then went to an arts school for my high school years where I learned how writing poetry is painful, so I wanted it more. What I didn’t want was to worry about academics and grades, so in my sophomore year when I was told I needed to fill an elective credit, I chose theater. At that point I had already shown a successful inkling towards performance poetry, and monologues didn’t feel much different than that, so I was allowed to take some acting classes. I also auditioned for Peter and The Starcatcher, in which I used Reuben’s monologue from Oceans 11. This was a rookie move that my teacher told me not to do ever again, but he liked my energy so I played Alf.
The show was funny, a technical marvel, and I made friends. I also got to witness enough behind the scenes drama to last me until my final moments, but the draw of the stage had its hold on me. I played Lt. Shrank in West Side Story, General Hammond in M.A.S.H., Eurydice’s father in Eurydice, performed in a number of director showcases, and did enough actor work to rival the work I was doing to better myself as a writer. When it came time to start thinking about what I was going to do in college, I stressed over whether I’d pursue writing or theatre. I knew I could only do those two things for the rest of my life, but my family could only afford for me to pursue higher education in one of them. This is when I found out about GTA, and when I had an honest conversation with my high school teachers who felt I was a better writer than I was an actor. I made a choice that I do not regret for a second. I still do not know if I agree with them.
Some years later, I am now twenty-one. I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, and I’ve joined the GTA Marketing Team to help fulfill my writing itch. You may have seen me as Gonzalo in The Tempest, or in the audience of every GTA show since Legally Blonde. I was the one laughing like a hyena. I still write poetry, but unless you frequent open-mic nights in Atlanta then you have not heard or seen any of it. I also write plays and sketches, one of which will be performed in the GTA New Works Festival along with some other really amazing scenes done by amazing people. I’m extremely happy to be working with the marketing team for the foreseeable future, and I look forward to giving you all the GTA updates all the time.