It’s refreshing to meet someone who has nothing but passion and joy for his job. Dylan George, a 2015 theatre graduate who moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation to be a working actor, adores acting and performance.
Originally from Dublin, Ohio, George grew up wanting to be a videogame designer. That all changed in elementary school when a teacher asked him to join the school musical. He was unsure at first, but his mom convinced him to do it.
“Little did she know,” George explained, “that she was about to unlock a lifelong passion that I may have never explored if not for her.” He fell in love with theatre while playing Tin Soldier #2 in The Velveteen Rabbit and saying his “one and only epic line: ‘What’s that?’”
“I said the line, people laughed, and the rest is history.”
An active member of Wittmen Crew, Beta Theta Pi, The Wittenberg Choir, and the theatre department, George had praised Wittenberg, even though he initially did not plan to attend.
In fact, Wittenberg had not been on his radar in high school. But, once again, his mom made a major impact on his acting career when she sent his Common App to Wittenberg. Not wanting to “just be another number” in his classes, he decided to give Wittenberg a chance – one he felt was vindicated because Wittenberg “felt like less of a school, and more of a town we were all building together. And for that, I will forever be grateful.”
At Wittenberg, George played the “Man” in Neil Labute’s This Is How It Goes, a role that had a powerful impact on him.
“I played the main character, a man with a dark past and an even more twisted plan,” he said. “He conspires with a Black man to steal his wife away from him. The whole show, ‘Man’ is a deeply racist man. However, this is not revealed until about halfway throughout the show. The first half of the show, he is incredibly likeable, very charismatic, and caring. You begin to really like and sympathize with him. Even root for his success. But then he switches. The problem is he really believes everything he is saying, which meant I had to believe it, too. I don’t know what was harder for me, saying the words on stage, or watching the audience and seeing some of them nod their heads along with me as I said them.
“This Is How It Goes is an incredibly written show,” he continued. “At the end of the day, after I got off the stage, I knew that I was an actor, and I was simply performing what was written. But to know that those terrible things I said were not always met with disgust and rejection by every member of that audience was terrifying. As a white male, it opened my eyes to the horrifying reality that racism hides beneath the surface and even those that we think we know can fall victim to its influences.”
In his five years in L.A., George has been on a web series, appeared in one of his favorite shows, American Horror Story, and worked as a professional magician, a type of theatre in its own right. He takes every chance he can to perform. He also studies with The Groundings, a comedy troupe and school that is one of the main pipelines for getting on NBC’s long-running Saturday Night Live.
Would a call from SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels be enough to call him back from L.A.? He answered, “If someone were to offer me a role on SNL right now, and I had to be in New York City by the end of the day, and I couldn’t take anything with me, I would leave my apartment within seconds and start heading to the airport.
“I will continue to create in any means possible and chase my dreams, even if it means I never reach them. I would rather try a million times and never succeed than to have to look at my childhood self, and all the passion, hope, joy, and love he had for performance and art, and tell him that we gave up. And if I am being quite honest with you, that’s truly the hardest part about this industry. It’s not getting the auditions, and it's not finding money to survive -- you can always do that. It’s standing up to those who don’t believe in you or try to make you settle down and try something more steady. They don’t understand. They will never understand.”
With that much passion and joy for his work, George just might see his name in lights on a theatre marquee, whether that be for SNL main titles, a local movie palace, or the coveted Broadway stage.
-By Emma Seibert ’21