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Scotlight: Carlos Desantiago

Carlos Desantiago ’21 talks about his involvement on campus with OLAS, the theatre department and Delta Chi Delta.

What are the activities you are involved in on campus?

I’m involved in the theatre department, [and] I’m involved in Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS). I’m the treasurer for OLAS, and I do a lot of things with the theatre department — stage managing, a lot of other things. Acting. You know, the usual.

Have you always done acting and theatre?

I’m part of Albany Park Theater Project back home in Chicago. I’ve done theatre, I would say professionally, since I was 13. Since seventh grade, I’ve been doing theatre. I’ve performed at the Goodman Theater, I’ve done multiple productions with Albany Park Theater Project, I’ve gotten one of my journal entries published for “Theatre” —  it’s that big book with a lot of other theatre companies and productions that they do. So, we were doing an immersive performance, and it was a big hit in Chicago, because nobody really does immersive performances. We were doing the stories of the big CPS [Chicago Public Schools] closings down in Chicago. We performed in a school and each scene was very immersive -— it was like you were going through a Chicago public school and you dealt with the issues of their teacher being laid off, bullying    just things that, high school students go through, especially in Chicago. So they interviewed me for my scene, and what that was like, and all the research I did, as an actor and things like that. They also interviewed me in The New Yorker, which was really nice. They haven’t interviewed an actor for the The New Yorker for a very long time, so they were like “this is the first time!” I was like, “Wow! That’s pretty cool.” So, the article is still there, it’s up, just look up anything with “Learning Curve” and you can see it. The show I did at the Goodman Theater was filmed and broadcast on PBS. You can still see it today; it’s called “Feast.” We went out and collected stories from our neighborhood, and we just talked about food and how food brings a community together. There’s a story behind every dish that we eat, culturally. That’s the work that I like to do.

What has your experience with Wooster theatre been?

It’s been really good. I came from a private theatre school back in Chicago, so I had a big theatre background. Wooster has helped to learn a lot of the basics and a lot of what a theatre artist needs to know for my work later on in the future, and I’m thankful for that. I really like Wooster, a lot of the professors here are amazing, especially Shirley [Huston-Findley]. She’s taught me so much in such a little amount of time.

What’s your favorite production that you’ve been a part of here on campus, or anywhere?

I haven’t acted in any production here  on campus. Mainly, there’s this big thing of — a lot of the productions here are white casting, which is very true; we feel that that’s why a lot of people of color don’t really audition here. They’ll have that one black person you know, and it’s like that’s their statistic. They’re like “Well, we’re not just an all-white cast, we put in this one black person.” Well, you did that for a reason, we all know why. And once that black person is cast, they put them as the stereotype roles. I really don’t agree with the casting here on campus. It’s not very welcoming. It feels like we don’t have a chance here. That’s my opinion. A lot of people agree with me. But I go back home, I do work there with my theatre company. We have something new coming up, I can’t really say, but it involves our friends back in New York Third Rail Projects.

How has being a member of all of these communities shaped your experience at Wooster?

So with OLAS, I’m really happy with where we took the group this year. As treasurer, I helped earn more money than we’d ever gotten before — that was a big fight and struggle. I don’t see why they make it so hard for us to prove we need these funds when other groups get more than what we do, and OLAS is a place where us Latinos can come together and have a safe place. We’re in the middle of nowhere, and it’s hard when we don’t have home with us. OLAS is a place for us Latinos and other students to come together and for us to show them our culture and for us to share our culture together. Now with Delta, we’ve come very far with the group. I’m very proud of what we do on campus, like when we did the MLK Justice Dialogue. We told stories of resilience, immigrant stories and migrant stories, so I talked about my grandfather’s story. My grandfather is Cuban. I talked about how he came here from Cuba to the United States, — he actually swam here. So I told that story. I talked about the uprising of Castro, his communist views [and] how that affected my grandfather and his family, one of the main reasons he came to the United States.

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