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I started ‘arting’ at around age three, drawing all the time, and then got into writing at around age seven. I had dreams of becoming the most talented painter/writer in the world, making a difference, and tons of cash. It wasn’t until around age twelve that performing arts came into my life.You see, I was dreadfully shy (still am, on some days). We had to give presentations in front of the class and I sped through my three minute speech in under sixty seconds. My knees were shaking, my palms were sweaty… you know the song. That was me. It was awful. I couldn’t wait to try it again. Next time, I breathed a little slower, and, surprisingly, people actually understood what I was saying.

By the time I was in grade seven, I participated in a Shakespeare presentation playing Romeo in Act 2 Scene 2 (“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?) and Puck in Act 2 Scene 1 of his play (“Thou speakest aright!” And so on.) At age sixteen I met a very talented man who taught me how to recite poetry for a paying audience, and gave me one of the nicest compliments I’d ever heard. “You act without a mask,” he said. What he meant, of course, was that I only worked from my own feelings, instead of trying to put on a character at the outset. I didn’t realize there was any other way of doing it. (Incidentally, using a literal mask is one of the best ways to free up a performance. Art is full of ironies.)

As years have taken their toll, that ‘mask’ I never knew I had has crept up, sometimes to protect my fragile and shattered heart after a major traumatic event, and sometimes to let me get off the hook. I have nearly eliminated its spectre, but what is life if not a work in progress? I teach acting at Go Studios currently, still write, still draw, do the odd tv gig, but nothing gets me going quite like the thrill of the stage. Come watch one of my shows. I don’t know when, I don’t know where, but soon.

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IMDB: Victor Ayala