Eatmon applies finishing touches to theater world
November 21, 1997
photo by Alen Zilic
In his senior year as an undergraduate student at the University of
La Verne, S. Baker Eatmon, majoring in theater, is taking part in the new
ULV musical "Company." Eatmon makes last-minute preparations and
adds a touch of makeup just before the preview show Tuesday night.
"What causes me the greatest stress in the world is boredom and
in theater, you are never bored," said S. Baker Eatmon, senior theater
major at the University of La Verne.
After doing various theater shows in elementary school in Colorado and
being asked to play the leading role of Doctor Keller in the show "The
Miracle Worker" in middle school, Eatmon has fallen in love with theater.
"I never left it and as soon as I came to California, I went to
the theater department at Dana Hills High School," said Eatmon.
The first play performed in high school by Eatmon was Shakespeare's
"Twelfth Night." This is where he found theater to be important
because it was transitional and he became more dedicated.
"It [Shakespeare] clicked with me in high school, but here at La
Verne, people put their hand to the grindstone and do the work of Shakespeare,"
The 21-year-old Eatmon recalled an incident in high school where he
was the only character on stage in front of an audience performing "Dames
"The plugs were kicked out and the theater went pitch black,"
said Eatmon. "It (the dark) went with what I was talking about at the
time so I kept acting and when the lights finally came on, I received a
Since then, awards have been handed to him including two consecutive
Best Supporting Actor for playing Hennessey in the play "Dames at Sea"
as an out-of-work New York director, and Colonel Gilweather from the musical
Other awards include the International Thespian Award for first place
best improvisation in 1993 where Eatmon was in a competition with 1,500
"They put four people in a group and we do a series of games after
given who and where we are," said Eatmon. "The judges see who
masterminds the game."
"If I had an analogy, I would say high school theater was a hobby
and college theater is a life," said Eatmon. "I thought theater
was bright but sometimes it is dark, which is not bad, and I realized that
my first year at La Verne."
After dealing with his parent's divorce in 1988, their remarriage this
year and residing back to Colorado, Eatmon feels that his family has been
closer this past year than ever before.
"My dad is my best friend, my mentor," Eatmon said. "He
opened my eyes to things I failed to see."
Eatmon was raised with two older brothers, Lance, residing in Arkansas,
and Jamie, residing in Missouri, while his father, J.D. is a plumbing contractor
and his mother, Carol is a professional photographer.
"I'm convinced, if you keep your life full of new experience, you'll
live infinitely longer," said Eatmon.
His first year at ULV, Eatmon won the Best Supporting Actor Award for
his part as Ross the carnival worker in the production of "Elephant
"Eatmon is an important part of the theater community at La Verne,"
said Dr. David Flaten, professor of theater arts. "There has been maturing
commitment on his part."
In the fall of 1996, the program of the play "The Nerd," directed
by Sean Dillon, was designed and played by Eatmon.
"That was the funniest show I did," said Eatmon. "I love
making people laugh through character."
Making the decision to come to ULV on a theater scholarship was the
wisest choice Eatmon feels he has made. He was offered scholarships to major
universities but turned them down.
"I was looking for something more raw, but I did not want to be
a number in the crowd," he said. "I did not want to look at the
mud and imagine how it felt."
Through the four years at ULV and preparing to walk in May 1998, Eatmon
feels that Flaten, Steven Kent, adjunct professor and Georgij Paro, director
of National Theater of Croatia and adjunct professor has helped him along
the way to become successful.
"David, because of his brilliance, a new piece of knowledge or
experience comes from him," said Eatmon. "Kent gave me access
ability to things I could not find in myself. After taking his interterm
class, I came up with new innovations, and Paro showed me brilliance of
life on the stage and dignity of being somebody on stage."
As a result, Eatmon was selected to spend this past summer in Split,
Croatia competing in Split Theater International Festival interacting with
professional Croatian actors.
"That was the most life-learning experience I learned while at
La Verne," said Eatmon.
"His experience in Europe was transformative," said Dr. Flaten.
"He was changed by the demands of that and working with actors of a
Working on the current production "Company," Eatmon plays
David, who is best friends with the leading character.
"David is an overbearing meathead with a heart of gold," said
Eatmon of his character.
"Baker is a talented actor and designer," said Dr. Flaten.
"He is working on these multi-image murals for each scene in "Company"
using video and computer technology."
Through the busy life at ULV, Eatmon thanks God that his friends support
"Every year I seem to make more friends, and they all are precious
to me," said Eatmon.
As far as the future, Eatmon plans to resume his improvisational interests
before attending graduate school.
"I will probably travel and see what I can find in terms of theatrical
experience," he said. "If I come to it, I can always start a company
in Colorado. My overall dream is to build by own fortress that I plan to
design and build myself, and live in the state of constant and new experience."
Whatever his plans are, Eatmon will stick with theater.
"I couldn't possibly imagine being anywhere else," he said.