Dr. Rick St. Peter - Assistant Professor
SymplyEbony: Dr. St. Peter, you are one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever cyber met. We connected through a love of film and theater, but it wasn’t until we conversed on a different level that I really saw your multitude of layers. You wrote a short article on the 30seconds.com website that resonated in my soul. Your message was, “Get up. Everyday.” First of all, thank you for that. Although my struggle didn’t match yours, the message was given at a time when I needed it most. I guess this is turning into less of a question and more of a gush fest, huh? LOL.
DrRickStPeter: Gush away, I don’t mind!!
SymplyEbony: How has forcing yourself to get up every day impacted your two children?
DrRickStPeter: That is a good question. I hope if I’ve shown them anything it is that we have to keep moving forward. It hasn’t been easy, even now almost 3 years since losing my wife, there are days when I feel like I can’t get out of bed. But I have to. So maybe my house isn’t as clean as it could be, but I still make the effort. Even if it’s not a great effort! So I hope they understand that we have to keep living and that their mother would have wanted them to keep moving forward as well. But it’s hard.
SymplyEbony: How has it impacted your professional interactions with your students and actors?
DrRickStPeter: I think I am more empathetic to issues my students are facing. I am certainly more patient. Losing someone as important as your wife unfortunately gives you a tremendous sense of perspective and you learn that maybe it is not as important to sweat the small stuff as you might have thought it was.
SymplyEbony: Your work takes you all over the place. You actually spent the 2016/2017 academic year in Romania as a Fulbright Scholar. How in the world did that come about?
DrRickStPeter: I have been interested in Eastern European theatre since my college days. When I arrived at Clemson, one of the first people I met was a Romanian scholar named Lucian Ghita. Lucian arranged for us to attend a Shakespeare conference in Romania and while I was there, I was approached about the possibility of doing a Fulbright. I am so glad I did it. It was a great year both for me and my son. (My daughter was a senior at a residential performing arts high school so unfortunately she didn’t get to come with us.) So in addition to teaching and directing in Romania, I got to spend a lot of time traveling around Europe. I was invited to guest lecture on Shakespeare at Trinity College in Dublin, I went to Serbia, Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary and Greece. It was an amazing experience!!
SymplyEbony: I feel like I have to ask at least one clichéd question or this isn’t a real interview. What’s your favorite Shakespearean line and why?
DrRickStPeter: Hamlet (it always comes back to Hamlet!): "Not a whit. We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all."
Everything happens for a reason and will happen in its own time and place. I dig that philosophy. It has taught me that I am always where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there.
SymplyEbony: Your children have the acting bug. What advice do you give them...that you wish you’d received when you were their ages?
DrRickStPeter: I didn’t even know theatre was a thing when I was their age. My advice to them is the same advice I give my students. Having a career in the theatre is a terrible and beautiful thing. I have been rejected far more times than not, I have never made a lot of money and I never will. My livelihood depends way too much on other people BUT I have seen the world, I have been involved in the telling of amazing and important stories. I have made audiences laugh and cry and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. But know going in, it is a damn hard way to go.
SymplyEbony: Your theatre credits are numerous. What productions are you looking forward to directing in the future?
DrRickStPeter: The smartass answer is I am always looking forward to whatever the next production is. I have a list of plays and musicals I would love to do but again, they will all get done in their correct time and place…if it’s meant to be!!
SymplyEbony: Dr. St. Peter, thank you so much for SymplyConversating with me today!
DrRickStPeter: Thank you for wanting to interview me!
If you'd like to read the 30seconds.com piece Dr. Rick St. Peter wrote, please click the button below.