CYT program proves a perfect for Olympian High grad

Phillip Brents

Thu January 16, 2014 9:07am

Olympian High School graduate Loren Fernandez began performing with Christian Youth Theater in 2006. South County CYT’s November production of “Willy Wonka” was his eighth with the youth musical theater company, making him one of CYT’s veteran performers at the tender age of 18.
He is currently attending San Diego State University and Southwestern College where he’s working toward a B.A. double majoring in psychology and Spanih. He said he would like someday to make a living either in theater or film.
“Right now, my main priority is school,” he said. “The classes are manageable so far and I plan to audition for the next two CYT shows.”
So, exactly how did the acting bug bite? 
“Before I got involved with CYT, I was really shy and it was difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone,” he explained. “My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Alvaro Alvarez, recognized this in me and recommended to my parents that I try acting, since he had already witnessed the growth in his own daughter once she had joined CYT.
“So I auditioned to see what it was like, and I ended up finding a family there; I built experience through every show that I participated in and I began to find out more about how to be a good actor. It was really addicting and I didn’t want to leave my friends or forget all the skills I had picked up.”
Fernandez said CYT is the place to start for those wishing for an acting career without necessarily having an extensive background in either acting, singing or dancing.
“The environment is so friendly and inviting,” he said. “The people there all want to learn and just be better at what they do. I’ll never forget how, in my first production, I started crying during a show because I didn’t really feel close to anybody and Michelle Manibusan, who was one of the older, more experienced girls, sat down next to me and told me to cheer up and that she’d be my friend. It’s just a testament to how the older kids aren’t ashamed to sit down with the younger cast members and help them out.”
Fernandez had dual roles in CYT’s production of “Willy Wonka” — that of reporter Phineous Trout and the narrator. The EHS grad said he was interested to see how the dynamics worked out between the character of Phineous Trout and the ticket winners.
“Phineous is a quirky guy and the ticket winners are all very eccentric, and something I really didn’t want to do is push the comedic nature of my role too hard,” Fernandez explained. “But it all depended on the way the cast members carried out their roles, which was something really exciting because it involved some improvisation.”
Fernandez said he prefers comedic roles over more dramatic roles or those skewed toward farce.
“I really enjoy comedic roles,” he said. “They allow more room for improvisation than the other types of roles. However, I think it’s a lot easier to create a background for your character if they’re anything other than comedic. But I’m definitely willing to try out any types of characters for the sake of gathering knowledge and new acting techniques.”
Fernandez said the favorite part of acting for him is the development of the characters he is assigned to bring to life.
“You have to create the back-story for your character and then relate to them and find a way to get into that character with ease so that you turn into him or her whenever you need to during a performance or rehearsal,” he explained. “I take it seriously and I think it really helps me get better at my stage presence.
“I do sing, though I don’t really consider myself to be that great. I prefer R&B and jazz music, so when that’s featured in shows, I get excited. I’ve never been given a big singing role, but I am definitely curious to experience what it’s like.”
Looking back on his own start and what has unfolded in his acting career, Fernandez feels it is very important for parents to know that the simple act of taking a child to a theater performance could potentially be what sets off the spark inside the child for them to want to be involved with the performing arts.
And, if they do end up having a passion for musical theater, then those children will have all the resources they need at places like CYT.