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Bell Library Banned Books Week/Open House 2018: Banned Book Actor Bios

Banned Book Actor Bios

From the auditions to performance day, read below to learn more about the talented actors who bring banned book characters to life during the Bell Library's Open House.

Sydney Aviles Bio/Q&A

Image of Sydney AvilesSydney Aviles || Freshman from Dallas || Major: Theatre

Sydney Aviles (Dorothy Gale) is a Freshman Theatre Major from Dallas. She's been in many types of productions, but her favorite role is Suzanne Turpin from Dearly Departed. Although being an actor, Sydney was accepted to go to State for Theatrical Design this past summer. She is very excited to be here at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, and is eager to continue her acting journey here.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

I will be playing Dorothy Gale from the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

I found it fascinating how young Dorothy is in the original novel. I've only see the film, so I always thought she was a teenager, but she is actually suppose to be around the age of 10. 

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I learned that it is banned in many states and countries because of the strong leading role Dorothy portrays. People believe women shouldn't have a strong role in a novel. Also, because of the novel's depiction of witchcraft and the existence of witches.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging aspect of the assignment is to learn about why this novel is banned. I believe it is ridiculous how this beautiful novel is unknown to children all around the world because of a strong leading role portrayed by innocent girl who is just trying to find her way back to home.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part has to be the process of becoming Dorothy. She is such a caring and heartfelt character, whom I've looked up to since I was a child. To be given the opportunity to play this classic character is a dream come true.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I believe that people should be able to read the things they find interesting. Banning books does not seem practical. A section for mature audiences could be an alternative option. 

Birdie Bird Bio/Q&A

Image of Helen (Birdie) BirdBirdie Bird || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Acting/Directing with Teacher's Certification

My favorite roles have been the Narrator (She Kills Monsters), Ann (Cheating Death), and Nori (The Hobbit). I want to start my voice acting career before I teach Theatre at the High School level.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

I will be playing the esteemed professor, Minerva McGonagall from one of the most well-known book series, “Harry Potter”.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Professor McGonagall, as strict as she is, turns out to be softer and kinder than her hard-exterior presents.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

My character’s series was banned for three reasons: it promotes the use of witchcraft, it’s too dark for kids, and (surprisingly) it sets a bad example.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

For me, the best part of this assignment is being able to play one of my favorite book characters and being able to perform in general.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Personally, I believe it’s absurd to ban literature because it doesn’t coincide with society’s standards. It’s a form of art and I think that all should be appreciated, as well as thoroughly discussed.

Diego Camero Bio/Q&A

Image of Diego CameroDiego Camero || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Theatre

Diego Camero is a freshman from San Antonio majoring in Theatre. His favorite roles include Ebenezer Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol," J. M. Barrie from "A Lost Boy," and Jesus from "Godspell."


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

Ponyboy from The Outsiders

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

He's sort of reminds me of myself because he is very book smart but not street smart. He also loves to help people in any way he can which also reminds me of myself.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

Many religious people don't like the book because of how it portrays drugs, alcohol, and violence, arguing that the book uplifts these practices and almost praises them.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Embodiment of the character

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The challenge of embodying this character

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I really love this book

Miranda Dean Bio/Q&A

Image of Miranda DeanMiranda Dean || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Theatre: Acting and Directing Teacher Certificate

Miranda is a freshman from San Antonio, majoring in Theatre with an emphasis on acting and directing. Her favorite roles include Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Olive Ostrovsky in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Vera in She Kills Monsters. After TAMUCC, Miranda hopes to pursue her directing career and teach Theatre at a high school level.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

I was assigned Gone with the Wind and I will be playing Scarlett O’Hara.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Scarlett is strong and hard-headed. She represents both the classic Southern Belle and also the more modern Southern Businesswoman. She works angels in both aspects by using her charm, beauty and creativity.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

While researching why Scarlett’s story was banned, I found numerous things that shocked me. Within the text many readers are offended by the racial insensitivity throughout the novel. The story depicts the American Civil War and Restoration Era, where the use of the “n” word was used quite nonchalantly. However today, this word is unacceptable in most people’s vocabulary.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most difficult part of this assignment is reading the articles with a negative perspective on the novel as it is a beautifully written story when you remove the controversial issues.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment is getting to go back and research more about one of my favorite female characters.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I believe censorship is a sensitive topic for most people. However, it is extremely important that schools provide novels that each student can enjoy without making anyone feel uncomfortable with the content.

Mercedes Deleon Bio/Q&A

Image of Mercedes DeleonMercedes Deleon || Freshman from Three Rivers || Major: Theatre

Mercedes Deleon (Grand Witch) is a freshman majoring in theatre pursuing a degree in acting and directing with a teaching certification. She aspires to learn as much as she can about her craft while on the island. After graduation she plans to teach high school.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The title of the book I was assigned is The Witches by Roald Dahl, and I will be portraying the Grand Witch.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

My character is the type of person to take charge in any situation.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I learned that Dahl made the book seem sexist when he made the comment about women only being witches.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging aspect of this assignment was probably seeing the reason behind a banned book.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment is getting to stand up for what you believe in while doing something you absolutely love acting

Chad Fontenot Bio/Q&A

Image of Chad FontenotChad Fontenot || Junior transfer from Deer Park || Major: Theatre

Chad Fontenot is a Junior transfer student from San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. Having completed his Fine Arts Associate's Degree with emphasis in music and film he is tremendously excited to get an additional Acting and Directing Bachelor's Degree here at TAMU-CC. Some of his favorite roles include Leopold Bloom in "The Producers", Robert Conklin in "The Rimers of Eldritch", Actor 5 in "Das Barbequ", and music director for Carrie: The Musical.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Great Gatsby - Jay Gatsby

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Jay Gatsby's allegorical implications strike a chord for me, not just in American Dream but especially in relation to party lifestyle. In college, if ever I find myself at a party I begin to wonder who the hosts are and what their motives for having said party are. In an idiosyncratic way, all parties are like Gatsby's are essentially to either bring people together or a person. I've questioned the nature of party life specifically because of The Great Gatsby.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

In typical fashion, the judgement of the face value "vulgar content" is protested by parents who do not want their children subjugated to those themes on school grounds. Additionally, I found it quite shocking that since Gatsby representing the American Dream has some worst case scenarios and is unhappy even with his riches and notoriety is anti-capitalistic; and naturally that makes the capitalists upset.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Finding a scene to truly capture to feeling and nature of the novel.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Getting to be reminded of a favorite novel of mine I read in High School and coming back to it in college and realizing more about the book and my life.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Some people require censorship because they fear we may begin to admire or pick up on toxic traits or attitudes of the things we read about. Learning why something was/is censored or banned is certainly eye opening to the fear people have for the future generations. However, I believe it is essential to read about flawed humans. Whether or not we agree with people's lifestyle choices or not, we will be confronted in someway with people that are enigmas. If by reading or watching something we grow to better understand the world and empathize. Hopefully, through means of the arts and media we will be able to have experiences we otherwise would not be exposed to, and understand each other's worlds better to build our better collective.

Noah Fraleigh Bio/Q&A

Image of Noah FraleighNoah Fraleigh || Junior from Sugar Land, TX || Major: Theatre

Noah Fraleigh (The Wild Thing) is a Junior theatre major and marketing minor at TAMUCC. His theatrical focuses are lighting design and stage management, and he hopes to one day use his theatrical talents at Walt Disney Imagineering.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The book I was assigned is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. And I will be portraying The Wild Thing.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

One thing I love about The Wild Thing is his loyalty to Max. At first he is scared of Max, but then learns to love him and honors him as King of the Wild Things, and even after Max breaks away from the group he still wants Max to stay instead of leave. 

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I was initially shocked to find out this was a banned book when assigned it, since I remember reading it growing up. But then after doing some research on why it was banned, I came across reasonings on why is was banned, such as it being traumatizing for children due to scary creatures, supernatural elements, Max's rebellion, and punishment of going to dinner without dinner. I was mainly shocked because as I child I never thought of any of these concepts, more just as it being part of his story, not influencing me very much, so I'm surprised it was banned for those reasons, since children most likely wouldn't see the deeper concepts, more just a story with creative drawings. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

There really hasn't been a challenging aspect of this assignment, if I had to choose one thing though it probably be figuring out how my acting partner and I will act out our scene. I say this because the book is mainly narrated in third person, with very little character dialogue for Max and my character will not speak only animate in our performance, but luckily my acting partner and I have figured out a way to tell the story where even with little dialogue, the story being told will be easy for audiences to understand and enjoy.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

My favorite part of the assignment has been the research and learning more about who The Wild Thing is. I am extremely excited for the day I get to help tell his story and bring him to life for the day we do scenes from our books at the library.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I understand why books are at times banned or censored, and I agree that not all content is age appropriate for every audience, and that's why censorship is an outcome, but I think it's also important that when one is at the right age they are able to evaluate that higher content of work. Therefore, while Where The Wild Things Are was a banned book at one point, and I understand the reasons why, I am glad it was eventually unbanned and audiences today get to read about Max's adventures, as much of it is inspired by Max's imagination, which I believe is our driving force for creativity and an adventurous outgoing outlook on life.

Raeann Grigsby Bio/Q&A

Image of Raeann GrigsbyRaeann Grigsby || Freshman from Roby, TX || Major: Theatre

I am Freshman theatre major with a focus in Acting/Directing teacher certification from Roby, TX. Some of my favorite past roles include Niobe from The Love of the Nightingale, Ginger from Book of days, and Hetty from Overtones. After graduating from TAMUCC, I plan on teaching both Theatre and Special education to high school students.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

My book is To Kill a Mockingbird and I will be playing Scout.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

What I find fascinating about Scout is that even though she is such a young girl her maturity is beyond her years. She has such an old soul and is not afraid to speak her mind about what she thinks is right. Her opinions on the world she lives in are so developed and thoughtful its insane that the book ends and she is only eight years old.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

One of the major reasons To kill a Mockingbird was banned was for the racial content that is inside the book. It shocks me that schools have banned the book for this reason. Yes, the language may be explicit, but this shelters students from the fact that people used to be this awful to others just because of their skin color. I think this should be taught since there are still sadly cases of racism happening now. Ignoring it in our schools does not help the situation. This book has also been banned because sexual assault is one of the major conflicts. I think students should be aware of how common this happens now. Bringing this issue to light in schools, even through a book, may help the future generation change the ways of the past.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Breaking down Scout as a character and revealing her hidden layers. Also examining the text to reveal the emotion behind the words. Another challenge for me was breaking through my prior opinion of this books meaning.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Diving into such a joyful, kind character. Scout has such a heart of gold and being able to bring her to life has been amazing.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I believe that all stories should be told even if they have questionable material in them. I think people should not be sheltered from the true problems of today's world. People need to realize that the future generations need to know what's wrong in the world and grow from it. There are countless books banned with valuable themes and lessons that everyone should experience even if it is only words on pages, but they are not given the opportunity because of the restriction.

Emma Guerra Bio/Q&A

Image of Emma GuerraEmma Guerra || Sophomore from Edinburg, TX || Theatre - Acting/Directing with Teacher Certification

I have been acting for four years with some of the more notable characters being Miss. Prism from "The Importance of Being Earnest" and Cookie from Neil Simon's "Rumors". I choreographed my high school's production of "Aladdin Jr." I hope to one day become a theatre teacher and eventually get my Master's Degree in Drama Therapy.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The book I was assigned was The Hunger Games and I will become the Character Katniss Everdeen.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

I have learned that she is a very strong willed character who while even in the face of death, will continue to fight for what she feels is right and protect her friends at all costs. She might come off as mean to strangers, but she is only protecting herself and her family. She is a strong woman, and that is something to be admired.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

One reason for the banning of this book that shocked me the most was that it was considered "anti-family". This did not make sense to me because of the fact that in the beginning of the book, Katniss sacrificed herself by taking her sister's spot in participating in the games. From then on Katniss just wanted to survive for her sister and family.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The biggest challenge would have to be my process in becoming the character by doing more research on Katniss and the motives behind her actions in the book, something I didn't think too much about when I had read it when I was younger.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

I was able to learn more about one of my favorite book series as a kid and get to understand it from a more grown up perspective.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Censorship has no place in any form of art. Them more we censor art, the more the real feelings and messages of people get lost. While some subject matter might come off as being "too harsh", it reflects on how some people view the world. The world is not always happiness or happy endings, and that is what art shows sometimes. It might not be pleasant, but that's life.

Kallie Hudson Bio/Q&A

Image of Kallie HudsonKallie Hudson || Freshman from Rogers || Major: Theatre

Kallie Hudson is a Freshman Theatre major with a focus in Acting/Directing from Rogers, Tx. Some of her favorite past roles include, Fiona from Shrek the Musical, Wednesday from The Addams Family Musical, and Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream. After college she intends to attend a graduate program in Musical Theatre.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The title of the book I was assigned is The Grapes of Wrath, and I will be playing Ma Joad.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

My character is fascinating in the sense of how strong she is. She is the backbone of the family and silently carries many burdens with her. She remains calm in the face of great stress and makes strong choices throughout the book to keep her family together.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

The Grapes of Wrath was banned for many reasons, but the one reason that shocked me was the political implications of the book. Many called Steinbeck a communist after the book was released, as they weren't happy with the way he depicted some of the conditions of the poor. They claimed he did this as a way to make a political stance. These days almost everything you read or watch is somewhat politically charged, therefore it didn't cross my mind that that would be a reasonable excuse to ban something.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging aspect of this assignment was really trying to get to know my character. She's a very diverse and unique character that has many levels and layers to unpack. I have never played a character quite like her before, so it was a new experience trying to get into Ma Joad's headspace.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of the assignment is getting to portray such a strong woman. It is also a great opportunity to spread awareness about censorship in our educational system and community.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Most books that are banned have material that the author intended the reader to learn from. Therefore I think that educational systems have no right to ban a book that students can gain knowledge from.

Tyler Lewos Bio/Q&A

Image of Tyler LewosTyler Lewos || Freshman from New Deal || Major: Acting and Directing

Some of his favorite roles include Dr. Andrew McFarland in Mrs.Packard and Joe in The Shadow Box. After college Tyler plans on moving to New York and attending NYU for his Masters.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Wizard Of Oz and I will be playing The Scarecrow

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

The Scarecrow has that attitude that just keeps going! He does not give up and he’s very optimistic.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

Well it was banned for the use of witchcraft and also some schools banned it because it had a little girl as a leading lady.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging aspect of this assignment was really trying to understand why this book was banned. The reasoning behind why some schools and libraries did ban this book were very odd.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Being able to recreate one of my favorite childhood characters! Ive watched this movie with my grandmother and my mom ever since I was little! This book was also one of the first books I read going into middle school and I read it at least 10 times.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I think censorship on books is limiting a child’s mind. Stories like Wizard Of Oz have messages in them that I think every child should hear. It tells a story of someone setting a goal to reach and not being afraid of the obstacles in their way.

Juan P. Madrid Bio/Q&A

Image of Juan (JayJay) MadridJuan P. Madrid || From Penitas, TX || Major: Acting and Directing


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

I will be playing Harry Potter, from the Harry Potter series.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Harry is tied to Voldemort which makes It impossible for them to defeat each other.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

People believed that the series promoted the Wiccan religion.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

For me, portraying Harry as a young student exploring the wonders of magic.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment is getting to play Harry Potter, who else can say that?

Cristin Martin Bio/Q&A

Cristin Martin || Freshman from Electra, Texas || Major: Theatre

Cristin Martin is a freshman Theatre Major from Electra, Texas. She plans are pursuing a double major in Mass Communications. Her favorite roles include Charolette in Moon Over Buffalo, Emma in ...And the Rain Came to Mayfield and Ms. Wilson in Passing Through. Cristin is hoping to use all every opportunity at TAMU-CC to grow as an actress and carry that into graduate school in the future.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

For the 2018 Banned Books Project I have been assigned to role of The Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

One of her hobbies (other than beheading subjects) is croquet.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I was shocked to learn that this book was banned in the U.S. for drug use. I firmly believe that this was taken way out of context and should not have ever been banned in general.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

I would say the research of this character has been the hardest part. There is not a ton of information about this character because she is from the story of Alice in Wonderland and she is a minor character. It was a lot of fun researching this character though.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment was learning more about my potential type cast. I like the idea of having a "woman in power" type cast. It makes me very excited to see what the future holds for me at the university because I am all about women empowerment.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I think censorship is the reason that art is being held back from what it could evolve to. If we look at history, Tennessee Williams received large amounts of backlash from the public for his play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". When the show was reproduced, it was censored due to the homosexual relationships in the script. When we look at art now, it is a huge part of the LGBT community and it has evolved in to a great way for people in the LGBT community to express themselves and their beliefs.

Davis McDaniel Bio/Q&A

Davis McDaniel || Freshmen from Dallas || Major: Theatre

Davis McDaniel (Max) is a Freshmen at TAMUCC, where his focus is on Acting/Directing with Teacher Certification. His favorite rolls have been Prince Eric in "The Little Mermaid", Doody in" Grease", Quincy Morris in "Dracula", and Dr. Strauss in "Flowers for Algernon". After college he will move to LA pursue a career in acting.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The book I was assigned to is named Where the Wild Things Are and the character I'm playing is Max.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Max is very rebellious and only does what he wants. He also likes to dress up in costumes.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

One of the most shocking facts about why my book was banned, was how traumatizing it was for kids.I never noticed this as a child, but reading it now showed me how different it was.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging part of this assignment was trying to find the perfect scene to perform, because there is not a lot of dialogue in this book.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment is that I get to play a character I remembered liking from my childhood.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Books should only be banned if they actually affect the kids, and not just cause the adults don't like them.

Dusty Merrell Bio/Q&A

Image of Dusty Merrell

Dusty Merrell || Freshman from Sulfur Springs || Major: Theatre


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Grapes of Wrath – Tom Joad.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

I find it very interesting that even though Tom is in the middle of a huge drought and economical depression, he is still a kind hearted man. 

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I find it shocking that parents burned the book and made a huge deal because there was adult content and sexual situations.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The research and finding a scene.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Working with an amazing partner!

Rosbel Morales Bio/Q&A

Image of Rosbel MoralesRosbel Morales || Freshman from the Rio Grande Valley || Theatre: Acting and Directing Teacher Certification

Rosbel Morales is a Freshman Theatre major with an emphasis on acting and directing with a teacher certification. He was nominated for best leading role in a musical at the 2018 Palm Awards in McAllen, Texas. His favorite roles include John W. Booth from Assassins and Ferris Layman from The Diviners. After graduation, he hopes to use his experience and skills in the art of theatre to further encourage young thespians to pursue their dreams in the world of theatre.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

A Clockwork Orange: Alex

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Alex is unlike any other protagonist in the world of literature. He is a 15 year old boy, obsessed with the enchanting music of Ludwig Van Beethoven, especially the 9th symphony in D minor. He is an expert in the Nadsat language and empowered by the adrenaline of gang violence, along side his "droogies", Dim, Jim and Georgie. With his high education and violent ways, Alex servers as a great depiction of a modern anti-hero.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

The book's objectionable language and violent themes lead to its censorship in schools and public libraries. However, the main reason that lead to this book's censorship was its intense sexual themes and the recurrent acts of rape throughout the novel.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Trying to make time to read the book was quite a struggle. Reading and tight schedules don't really go hand-and-hand. Other than that, everything else was a walk at a the park.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Watching the film adaptation of the book was a real treat. It truly emphasizes the reason why the book was banned and gives a great visual representation of Alex's character and his environment. I recommend watching the movie after reading the book. It is rated R for language and nudity so be careful where you watch it.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I believe that censoring any form of art is censoring all forms of ideas. I understand the public's concern of their children being influenced through any sort of media or the rise of danger in their community because such influence. But we, as a society, have the power to choose whether to become influenced or to ignore unwanted advice without the need to encourage censorship. "When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man" - A Clockwork Orange.

Terry Murphy Bio/Q&A

Image of Terry MurphyTerry Murphy || Freshman from Waco || Major: Theatre

Terry Murphy (Georgie) is a freshman Theatre major at TAMUCC; some of his favorite roles include Hal in “Picnic” and Brighella in the play “Bamboozled”. When he graduates he plans on becoming a professional actor and after that he plans to move to his home town and teach theatre


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

A Clockwork Orange, I will be portraying Georgie

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Even though when his leader put him in his place; he cowered in fear. But then stood up to his boss and took up for his brothers.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

The book isn’t the reason it got banned. The book was out for a while before it got banned. But when the movie came out, both the book and the movie got banned.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Understanding the dialogue and trying to figure out why Alex and his crew did what they did.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Developing the character using the little information given to be about my character.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I don’t believe that books of any kind should be banned. We have freedom of speech and everything but a book can be banned. A book is a form of art and all art should be displayed for all to see.

Aven Noronha Bio/Q&A

Aven Noronha || Junior from Corpus Christi || Major: Accounting

I like making friends, making money, and making coffee!


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

Gone with the Wind - Rhett Butler

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

I found that the confidence my character has has helped me with my own confidence.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I was surprised to find that it was pulled from theaters even though it won several Oscars.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The book was long, and the movie is a 4 hr long film.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The character is kind of a jerk but super fun to portray as well.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I've found that books are a lot easier banned than I thought. Even though the books are banned for multiple reasons, I am glad that most are lauded for their authenticity and strength.

Clarissa Ramos Bio/Q&A

Image of Clarissa RamosClarissa Ramos || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Theatre

Clarissa Ramos is a Freshman Theatre major with an emphasis in Acting/Directing. Her favorite roles include Kattrin in Mother Courage, Emma in Over the River and Through the Woods, and Alice in You Can't Take It With You. After graduating, she hopes to continue her education in a graduate program in New York City.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The title of the book I was assigned to is Harry Potter, and I will be playing Hermione Granger.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

The most fascinating thing I learned about Hermione was that she is very much the hero of her own story, she doesn't wait for someone to rescue her. She is very strong willed and independent, which leads her to act a very strong individual.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I was very shocked that a parent tried to get the Harry Potter series banned from her child's school library on the grounds that Harry Potter promotes the religion, Wicca. The mother believed that Harry Potter was promoting a religion, which would go against separation of church and state.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging part of this assignment was that I had no prior knowledge of the Harry Potter series because I was not aloud to watch or read them when I was a child, but I have had so much fun researching Hermione.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment was getting to experience the fandom that the Harry Potter series has, watching all the movies, and taking an unhealthy amount of quizzes on which house I would be in.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

I understand why some books are banned, but I think there are serious themes that people need to be educated about, and what better way to educate yourself than seeing through the eyes of particular characters in books.

Nestor Salamanca Bio/Q&A

Image of Nestor SalamancaNestor Salamanca || Freshman from Dallas, TX || Major: Theatre arts


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Invisible Man and I will be playing Jack Griffin

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

That he’s a mad scientist who let greed consume him.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

That it was banned because it didn’t have literary values.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Trying to talk with bandages on my face.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Wearing the cool costume and memorizing a real cool monologue.

Gracyn Scholz Bio/Q&A

Image of Gracyn ScholzGracyn Scholz || Freshman from Katy, TX  || Major: Theater-Acting and Directing

Gracyn Scholz is a freshman from Katy, Texas. She is and Acting and Directing Major with a teacher certification. Some of her favorite roles to portray were The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice, and Banzai from the Lion King. After graduating college, Gracyn plans to head to Los Angeles and start her professional acting career.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Witches by Roald Dhal and I play the witch.

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

I find fascinating how creepy she is.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

I was shocked to find that it is banned for underlying vibes of misogyny.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

I have found that getting in the children hating mind set quite difficult.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

I love that I get to expand my knowledge on banned books.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Censorship does not belong in the arts.

River Thompson Bio/Q&A

Image of River ThompsonRiver Thompson || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Theatre

River Thompson is a Freshman Theatre major from San Antonio who is focusing on Acting/Directing with Teacher Certification. While at TAMUCC, he plans to take on both acting and technical positions in shows in order to become as well rounded as possible. Some of his favorite roles include Harry Brown in Man From Nebraska, Dad in Distracted, and George Smith in Twentieth Century, as well as assistant directing Romeo and Juliet. After college he intends to teach at a high school in Texas and then pursue a M.F.A in Directing.


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

Where’s Waldo? (The original version, which was published in the United Kingdom, was named Where’s Wally? but the name was localized in international editions.) I will be playing Waldo. 

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

Due to the name of the main character being changed depending on the country, there is sometimes confusion among readers about the title of the series. Often, it is some variation of Wally (the original name) but in France, for example, he is known as Charlie and the book is Où est Charlie? or “Where is Charlie?”

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

The book was banned due to the illustration depicting a beach scene. In the picture there is a woman sunbathing topless and the side of her breast is exposed when she lifts her body from her towel due to a boy throwing ice cream on her back. I was shocked by this because what you can see of the woman’s breast is equivalent to what can be seen on red carpets at awards shows today. It shows how conservative people were at the time the book was published and how much things have changed since 1987.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

Creating the scene to perform and writing the monologue about why Where’s Waldo? was banned. This was because there is little to no dialogue in the books but it also allows for creative freedom with the character which is really fun!

What has been the best part of this assignment?

Getting to hide in the library and have people find me. As well as getting to read the books and find Waldo in the pictures!

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Censorship and the banning of books limits our understanding of the past and rids us of a chance to learn from it. Books open our eyes to different ways of life and help create a sense of commonality between people who may seem complete opposites. Banning books only has a negative impact and any inappropriate or violent material should be turned into a learning opportunity instead of just hiding it away.

Lauren Valdez Bio/Q&A

Image of Lauren VeldezLauren Valdez || Freshman from San Antonio || Major: Theatre


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

Alice in Wonderland, portraying Alice

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

The character Alice was inspired by a real person. Alice Pleasance Liddell is who the story of Alice in Wonderland is about. A close family friend, Lewis Carroll wanted to keep Alice and her sisters entertained so he began by telling them a story about this young girl named Alice, going on amazing adventures. Alice loved the story so much, she begged Lewis Carroll to write it down and it somehow became a huge sensation.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

What shocked me the most was how adults interpreted this children's book. It was first banned in China because people didn't like how the animals in the story could talk. It offended many people and it was "disrespectful" how animals were brought to the same level as humans. It was also said that the book had sexual content, derogatory characterization and drug use. Which is great reasons to ban a book, however, this content would be really hard for a child to understand in the first place.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The most challenging part of this assignment was finding good reasons on why it was banned.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

The best part of this assignment was dressing up and playing Alice.

Raya Wright Bio/Q&A

Image of Raya WrightRaya Wright || Freshman from Houston || Major: Acting and Directing

I graduated from barbers hill. I have been acting since I was nine and I have attended the circle in the square theater school. I am currently cast in Jocasta (the fall studio project.)


What is the title of the book you were assigned, and what character will you be playing?

The Great Gatsby. Daisy Buchanan

What have you learned about your character that you find most fascinating?

She is beautiful and she is troubled. She doesn’t live a wonderful life even though she seems that she does.

What have you learned about why your character's book was banned that shocked you?

It was banned from some high schools for having adulterous content and drug reference.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this assignment?

The hardest part of this assignment was finding out why it was banned and learning the characters traits and goals.

What has been the best part of this assignment?

It is a good story and I enjoyed learning about the history of it.

Would you like to make any comments about banned books or censorship?

Books are a way to express, and inform people. They should never be banned. How can people believe in freedom when they block litterateur from others?