SBCC Theatre Alum Returns to the Garvin Mainstage

SBCC Theatre Alum Returns to the Garvin Mainstage
Oren Skoog
August 03, 2020

SBCC Theatre Alum Returns to the Garvin Mainstage

by Alex Das

Oren Skoog, '98

Oren Micheal Skoog came to Santa Barbara from Evanston, Illinois in hope of attending UCSB for their theatre program. “My decision came down to the University of Colorado, the University of Montana and UCSB. UCSB had the best Ultimate Frisbee team at the time - something I was really into; and the UC system provided the quickest avenue to in-state tuition,” says Skoog. That avenue was SBCC’s transfer program, which guarantees students who complete a particular list of requirements admission to a University of California. “It was [at SBCC] that I learned to find the truth in my work as well as craftsmanship and pride.  I still lean on the techniques taught in Pope Friedman and Rick Mokler's classes ...  20 years later.” Skoog later graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre.

Skoog’s career as an actor and producer has met pleasant success, giving him the opportunity to play roles in Legit, Gilmore Girls, and Bones, as well as a producer credit for Law and Order True Crimes. He even just announced that he is the voice director of a brand new docuseries, Emergency Call, coming soon to ABC. However, Skoog still prefers theatre projects: “My all time favorite project was a little one-act play I did shortly after leaving SBCC called, ‘A Gaggle of Saints,’ by Neil LaBute. It was performed at UCSB, and it was part of the graduate directed, one-acts bill that my friend, Marc E. Shaw, directed. The play, itself, is a terrifying story; and it was the first time I came to understand the potential power of theater; and the responsibility that comes with that, and the fun of being on stage when everything clicks. Anytime my confidence is low, I try to think about that project.”

Oren Skoog - Scuba DivingYou may also recognize Mr. Skoog from a recent production in the Garvin Theatre in 2019, in which he played a principal role. “I also had an absolute hoot coming back and doing Blithe Spirit. I would love to mention, too, that if it hadn't been for the generosity of Loren and Clarice Hillebrand  who opened up their Airbnb to me for part of the production, and Katie Laris who was kind enough to let me stay at her house, I never would have been able to pull it off. There are hundreds of talented actors in LA, if not thousands, who would kill for the opportunity to come up to Santa Barbara and perform in a theater like the Garvin. The only thing standing in the way is housing.” says Skoog. “If you have a guest house, or a guest room that you can offer an LA actor for a few months, it would  go a long way in supporting the theater.”

Out of costume, Skoog is a self-described “Activities Guy,” with a SCUBA certification, over 500 completed dives, and most recently, a profound interest in gardening. “There’s a community garden not too far from my apartment in Santa Monica that I tend to. It took me 5 years to secure a plot there.  Manure, compost, no dig, propagating, direct sowing ... I’m hooked.”

Finally, as we always do in alumnus interviews, we asked Oren Skoog what advice he would pass along to young folk choosing to follow the same path he did: “I think it’s important to get to know and understand the different voices in your head.  Know the difference between the one that says, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ and the one that says, ‘I’m feeling discomfort.’ If you are feeling discomfort, I think it's a good thing,” he said “It means you have an opportunity to grow. If, however, the voice says, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ then honor yourself and walk away ... or, maybe, run.”

Learn More

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Photo Gallery

See what our students are up to in our Production Gallery

Student Actors

Stay Connected

Are you an SBCC Theatre Arts Alumni and want to stay connected?