Emerging Voices is a series of profiles following writers, artists, actors and directors who are either currently studying or have studied at UNO. The profiles cover the personalities of these various writers and the projects they’re currently working on. For this installment, Gateway Contributor Jeff Turner spoke to UNO senior Aaron Thomas.
Aaron Thomas is studying Theater and Journalism and Media Communication at UNO. He graduates at the end of the 2020 spring semester.
“Getting casted in this play has been a dream come true,” said Aaron Thomas. “It still doesn’t feel real.”
Thomas has been working in theatre for over two years now, working in a variety of positions in various theatre productions over the years.
“Front of house is easy. I’ve also done “lines” at the Orpheum, where you have to pull on the ropes that connect to the backdrop of the set.”
But, despite his varied experience, when it comes to possibly directing productions further down the line, Thomas isn’t interested. “It seems like too much stress.”
Thomas is informed by a wide range of experiences, including several years as a staff member at Mavradio.
“Radio is the thing that taught me that I wanted to do more with my voice. I took Radio II and Voice for the Actor, which led to me taking more theatre classes.”
Thomas names “Mr.” from the stage adaptation of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” as a role he’d love to play.
“It has a ton of raw emotion. It’s real and that’s what draws me in.”
Thomas has several projects he wants to write, as well.
“I’m writing something right now based off of the culture of the ‘hood’ in Japan. It’s partially influenced by works such as the anime “Samurai Champloo.” It would sort of fall under the genre of ‘magical realism.’”
Samurai Champloo is an episodic series following the relationship of its three leads Jin, Mugen and Fuu. It operates in an anachronistic, hip-hop setting with a soundtrack and vibe that reflect that.
“It’s about growing up in Japan and the hardships of that, but with an aesthetic akin to an uncolonized Era where samurai and their lords still rule. It would be cool to do that because lots of people are really into Korean dramas now and that’s the same tone I’m going for.”
Thomas is a voracious reader and student of media. His favorite plays include “Fences” and “The Wiz.”
“I do prefer the film version of “The Wiz” from the 70’s. It’s got Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, who couldn’t love that?”
He has also been reading several comics by Junji Ito, author of “Uzumaki.”
“I got so excited when I heard Adult Swim was bringing Uzumaki back.”
Thomas is completely invested and focused on “Blood at the Root.”
“I have worked so hard for this.”
Aaron Thomas can be seen in “Blood at the Root,” playing at the UNO Theatre from Feb. 19-March 8. Tickets are free for UNO Students.