My name is Louel, and since you're here, I figure I should tell you more about myself.
I graduated from South Tahoe High School in 2005. I decided to pursue Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. I mean, I thought I was good at chemistry, UCB's College of Chemistry had an incredible reputation, and they accepted me. So why not?
Well, 3 semesters into the Chemical Engineering program, I decided that it wasn't for me. I was legitimately trying... To keep up with my work load, to make new friends, to be interested in my classes and to take advantage of the wealth of resources available to me at one of the most prestigious public universities in the nation, but... it just didn't feel right. I discovered I wasn't quite as chemically curious about the world as I had hoped I'd be if I were to dedicate my life to that field of study. I didn't know what I should do. Meanwhile, my GPA was suffering, I was on Academic Probation, and I was faced with the possibility of being forced to withdraw from the university. Plus, lots of my scholarships were cut off. And with all the time spent at the lab, my social life did not exist.
With only a few semesters remaining to finish a major--Financial Aid doesn't last forever, after all. Especially for those who fall into Academic Probation--and no actual idea about what I should do, I decided instead to forget about what I should do and try instead to focus on what I wanted to do.
Performance was something that always interested me. I've always liked to sing, dance, pretend, imagine, and create... and no, I didn't have any formal training in any of that. (My high school didn't even have a Drama Department at the time of my attendance, and even if it did, I was so far in the closet at the time that I would never have set foot in it.) But what else was there to do, but try? Telling a few floormates of my situation and my considerations, I decided I would switch to Theater and Performance Studies. It was something completely different. A lot of the courses I've already taken wouldn't count for anything. But I had nothing to lose. I made the necessary appointments with my undergraduate advisors, filled out the necessary paperwork, neglected to tell my mom (until the deed was already done, anyway)... and since then, life has been amazing.
For a while, I worked as the Production Stage Manager for Central Works Theatre in Berkeley--my first real-world theatre gig! I cannot thank them enough--They took a chance on a fresh-out-of-college SM like me, encouraged me to apply for and become a recipient of the Landisman Fellowship for emerging technicians, and basically allowed me to survive in the area long enough to get settled. These days, I stage manage only rarely, but am in a fortunate position of having to turn down gigs.
I also had an adequately long 6.5 year stint as a House Manager at two theaters right here in Berkeley-- The Marsh: A Breeding Ground for New Performance, and The Aurora Theatre: The Ultimate Intimate Theatre Experience. Thanks to that, I've been able to see lots of wonderful theatre here in the Bay Area, that I would otherwise have been unable to comfortably and/or willingly afford.
So what am I doing now? Well, by day, I'm the manager of a small, local, mom-and-pop owned frozen yogurt shop that is all kinds of adorable! It's called As You Wish Frozen Yogurt and is located in Albany on Solano (at Cornell). And by night--or any other time really--I continue to work as the resident playwright / script developer for Berkeley Interactive Theater, a company that specializes in creating customizable diversity training workshops for small groups or corporations using an interactive theater model.
When I'm not working or doing theater, you can likely find me at Cordornices Park, LARPing my little heart out playing Amtgard as Endol, a tri-polar Paragon Bard who fights with sword, shield, and song! OR getting my cardio on while playing Jugger on Memorial Glade with Ursae Majoris--UC Berkeley's Jugger student organization. OR singing my heart out using the Smule Karaoke app. OR still playing Pokemon Go. Really. (Team Instinct!)
So basically, what I'm saying is: Life is incredibly busy... especially considering how little income all of this makes... (and considering all of my medical bills... Did I mention I'm a former ileostomate? That deserves a shout-out as my first big life-threatening / life-altering medical experience.) But I wouldn't have it any other way. Because honestly, life is pretty fantastic!
Now that you've read all that (thanks by the way!), please feel free to take a look around!
Come watch me in...
The Engine of Our Disruption
written by Patricia Milton
directed by Gary Graves
Oct 14th -November 12th, 2023
Now EXTENDED thru Nov 19th
at the Berkeley City Club