Teacher by day, actor by night

Teacher Michael Folse explains his experience on being new to the theater community


Braylen Garren

Folse delivers his portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Tiger Theater Company’s fall play, “Annie.”

Story by Liberty Maldonado Cowan, Staff Writer

Teaching high school students can be a challenge. Working with the students all day and then grading papers and preparing for the next class can be exhausting and time-consuming. Then try adding in a new hobby that takes up even more of your time. This is something biology teacher Michael Folse has had to adjust to since becoming a part of the Tiger Theatre Company’s latest productions.

Folse has been seen participating in two Tiger Theatre Company shows since last year, one being “Bright Star” and the other being their latest show “Annie.” Despite Folse’s short history in acting, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the audience’s perspective.

“Acting is a relatively recent hobby for me. My high school did not have a drama department, so there was not an avenue for me to be on stage,” Folse said. “Mrs. Newton came to me two years ago and voluntold me that I was cast in Bright Star. That is where I realized I enjoyed being on stage with the kids.”

It was a change of pace for Folse considering he is a teacher and many of these kids are his students or former students and they would inevitably be teaching him instead of him teaching them.

“[That] is what made it fun for me. I got to see them in a different light, not as students but as performers. They do not do theater because they have to but because they want to,” Folse said. “It was refreshing to see them in the environment that they choose to be in rather than one that they are forced to be in, like core classes.”

With Folse being so new to acting he would have to learn the ins and outs of the theater community and what techniques could make his acting go from average to exceptional. Any new activity has things the learner must pick up on so with theater, Folse had a lot of lingo he had to learn quickly in order to understand what was going on.

“Each program has its own vocabulary, and theater is no different. I had to learn the language and the routines. There are some that are easy and then there are some that are difficult,” Folse said. “I still get mixed up when someone says ‘stage left’ or ‘stage right.’”

Considering Folse went from teaching to acting, there is some wondering as to what would make him want to do it in the first place. Preparing for performances can be time-consuming, but with rehearsals and classroom work having to get done it could get real stressful at times.

“The director usually has a plan of schedule but some scene rehearsals may take longer than planned. Some may go really well and they may move on to the next scene, so being at the PAC is important,” said Folse. “That said, as a teacher, I had to bring my work there. There were nights that I would have to grade assignments and plan my week out in between being on stage rehearsing. However, it is no different than the students that are also super busy and have to plan homework and study time in between rehearsals as well.”

Despite Folse’s short acting history, a bystander could never tell. His great personality and empowering voice make him exceptional to watch on stage and he plays every role he is given with what looks like ease.

“Being voluntold by Mrs. Newton was the spark,” Folse said. “It was like walking into a whole new world. As time went on and I immersed myself in it, it got easier.”