Name: Brent Laing ’83
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio (although my father is retired military, and – while I was born in Dayton at Wright Patterson AFB – I lived in Bangor, Maine; Wiesbaden, West Germany; Lompoc, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio, before moving with my family to Summerville, South Carolina, at 20 years old.)
Education: B.A. in fine arts from the College of Charleston and M.F.A. in acting/directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Job title: Senior Instructor, Department of Theatre and Dance
How long have you worked at the College? This semester will complete 30 years.
What are your job responsibilities? I teach Introduction to Theatre and Acting I.
What do you like most about your job? I’ve always loved interacting with students. The nice thing about my job is that I’ve had a great number of opportunities to work with our students outside of class. Whether it’s the 28 plays I’ve acted in here at the College (since graduate school), the eight plays I’ve directed here at the College (again, since graduate school), the numerous shows I’ve helped paint and construct, the seven times taking shows on the road, acting in Center Stage productions and advising Center Stage directors: All of this involved working with students outside of the classroom. This allows me to get to know them and for the majors to get to know me. And maybe we learn something along the way that may be useful further on down the line.
What question do you get asked most in your job, and what’s your typical answer? “Where’s room 316?” And my reply is, “What are you looking for?” And their response is, “Music Appreciation.” And then I say, “That’s in the Simons Center. This is the Cato Center. … Follow me,” and I lead them to the head of the stairs connecting the two buildings. And I make another friend!
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? I’m an actor and, like most actors, I’m a people watcher. Until Starbucks [on Calhoun Street] closed, I liked to sit on the benches on Calhoun Street coming out of Cougar Mall and watch folks interacting while having a cup o’ coffee. Now I think it’s one of the benches in front of Sottile House. Plus, it’s a cool building.
What are your hobbies? I love to play golf. I’ve played since I was 17 and started working at the Brooks Air Force Base Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas. However, it’s become so expensive and time consuming. A round of golf shouldn’t take more than four hours to play!
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? Hearing from former students about my having had a hand in their recognition of and their appreciation for all of the work that goes into presenting a play. Also, I was lucky enough to be involved in a production of the play Art with three fellow faculty members and friends; that was fun for us and well received by audiences. I was the “rookie” of the bunch.
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why? My wife and I recently watched The Notebook. Can you say, “Hot mess!”? Me … not her.
What was your favorite TV show growing up? I greatly enjoyed The Carol Burnett Show. I especially liked watching Tim Conway. Falling down stairs in slow motion isn’t as easy as it looks! I know. I tried.
What’s next on your bucket list? I always wanted to learn how to weld.
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? In my third year here as a student at the College, I worked for Sears selling sporting goods. That Christmas, I took a part-time job selling women’s clothing at Foxmoor Casuals in Northwoods Mall. I was the top salesperson that Christmas!
What was your first job? I delivered newspapers (Lompoc Record) at 14 years old. Thank goodness it was an evening paper!
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? My wife and I love us some Melvin’s Barbecue.
Describe your perfect day: I-26 coming in from Summerville is easy. I meet with an Intro to Theatre class and talk about acting or scenic design (no quizzes, tests or papers!). I meet with an Acting I class and work a couple of scenes with the students. I get to sneak out for a round of golf (I break 80) and then head back to school for play rehearsal (I’m an actor working with students and my lines are already memorized!). I don’t think it could get much better than that!
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