By Miguel Barragan
Christopher Barajas, a student actor at East Los Angeles College, is striving to become a professional.
He was recently accepted into the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, a professional theater company. He auditioned on Skype and was scared the internet connection would cut out.
The theater company cast Barajas in two productions, “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Richard II.”
The company has not yet disclosed which roles he will play.
He was also a finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Barajas grew up in Ramona Gardens projects in Boyle Heights.
He said that living there helped shape his outlook on life.
“Money is a huge challenge. My car would be fixed with money,” Barajas said.
Barajas said he experienced living around drug abuse, gangbanging, violence and other unhealthy situations.
He said that his experience being scared he’ll get robbed or hurt by someone while walking home, without a car, makes him appreciate life.
Barajas was part of the Recruit Training Command, a program of the military that prepares people for the army for six years.
This taught him discipline.
However, he decided not to join the military.
He also said being homeless with his father for a few months gave him discipline.
Barajas was inspired to do theater about three years ago, after someone from the theater department spontaneously asked him to read the lines of a military character for a particular play.
He said he’s been hooked ever since then.
Barajas said he does theater for others, rather than himself.
He said plays can help people get through life.
He also said he’s planning on working with adjunct faculty and theater professor James Buglewicz to bring theater to the Boys and Girls Club in May.
“I do it for people. I like to see them happy. Hopefully, they learn and are entertained,” Barajas said.
“When you only do things for yourself, you crash.”
“I don’t want to die one day knowing I died doing something I didn’t love, rather than doing something I did love,” Barajas said.
Barajas is planning on transferring to whichever school gives him a full ride.
His top schools are The Juilliard School and California State University Fullerton.