Angel Flores’s home away from home is the Yulman Theater. Since making his entrance on campus, Angel has been spending most of his class and free time there, setting the stage for a career as a theater director.
That means learning it all. He took acting and stagecraft classes and worked in the costume shop. He observed directors in rehearsals and performed in the annual Queer Monologues.
“In my first acting class, during one assignment, Bill (William Finlay, department chair) told me, ‘You have a good eye for directing.’ That was very exciting. He recognizes that directing lets me explore aspects of myself in a different way.”
Sophomore year, Angel was stage manager for the Theater Department’s spring production of Henrik Ibsen’s classic, “The Enemy of the People.”
“It’s amazing how talented and supportive our theater faculty and staff are,” he says.
He remembers one distinct moment after acting in ‘The Laramie Project,” a drama about prejudice toward the LGBTQ+ community, when Professor Patricia (Patsy) Culbert reached out to him after an informal discussion with the audience.
“At the talk-back, I came out to a crowd of 30 people about being bisexual and how this production was meaningful to me. Patsy knew that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Afterward, she hugged me and said, ‘I am here for you no matter what.’”
Angel embraces the demanding teaching style of Robert Bovard, technical director.
“If you make a mistake in the scene shop, he will be the first to say, ‘Fix it.’ He would rather we grow on our own by making mistakes and correcting them rather than fix things himself and tell us it’s OK.”
And he cherishes his chats with costume designer Brittney Belz “about everything. We talk about the current theater production and the significance of her costume choices, but I also ask her advice about study abroad, scholarships, courses, even drag tips.”
Angel has reached out to recent Union theater majors, too. He sends his former AOP mentor, Cassandra Padilla ’16, videos of what he’s working on. “She always gives me good directing advice to make my scenes or monologues better.”
After his first year at Union, Angel landed an internship with Jasmine Roth ’14 at the Arizona Theatre Company, in his home state. He helped Jasmine, a program coordinator at the teen conservatory program Summer on Stage, direct a Shakespearean play and a musical. He reprised his role at the company this past summer.
“It’s 100 percent true that alumni connections are super strong,” Angel says. “Alumni are everywhere. There’s always someone to help you and give you opportunities.”
Ever looking forward, he says, “I want work that really pushes and challenges me. Someday, I’d like to direct Latino playwrights and stories about our struggles in America. Theater is a good venue for talking to people about political and social issues. My purpose as a director is to make you think.”