Diverse roles foster actor’s commitment


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Mayor Arnsen played by Diego Loza raises his fist as he yells “yeeha” during a scene of the play “Zombie Town” during its opening night on Oct. 13.

By Xavier Johnson, Scene Editor

When faced with a major setback there comes a crossroad where one can settle or make the best of their situation and grow, while finding a direction and progressing.

That choice came for Diego Loza when his grades began to slip further and further into emergency territory at Pinole Valley High School.

Over two years ago Loza entered Contra Costa College as a graduate from Gateway to College.

“Going (to Gateway to College) was a big kick in the ass,” Loza said.

Gateway to College is a program for students struggling to finish high school and looking to restructure their education after struggling to take full advantage of it.

When Loza enrolled at CCC he started on a path that would give him a passion to drive his education forward by taking the Acting 1 class, taught by drama professor Tara Blau.

Quickly developing an interest in acting during that class, now a couple years later, he closed his third drama department production “Zombie Town” on Saturday.

Blau, director of “Zombie Town,” said Loza is the kind of actor any director would want to work with because of his versatility.

And he is versatile not just in acting ability but in his willingness to adapt to his situation and make the best out of whatever role or issue he is given.

In Loza’s three recent plays he played roles of various levels of stage time with wildly different levels of personality and age groups. Loza’s most recent role in “Zombie Town” involved portraying a variety of characters, changing characters scene-by-scene or even in the same scene.

Loza said it was challenging making sure every character was unique and he took the same amount of attention to detail with each character.

From portraying a zombie, a wild Texan mayor and a common town member, he said he wanted to make the most of his screen time and have his performance enhance the play when he was on stage.

Blau said many actors have a hard time transitioning from big parts, like his role as Lieutenant Portuondo in last spring semester’s play “Two Sisters and a Piano.”

Even when taking on a part that’s smaller he approached the roles with energy.

Blau said while directing him in “Two Sisters and a Piano” and “Zombie Town” she noticed his preparation in both plays.

Kamau played Maria-Celia Obispo and was castmates with Loza.  She said when they were castmates in “Achilles in Sparta” they didn’t have scenes together.

During “Two Sisters and a Piano” they had more intimate scenes and time to get to know each other. “We just vibe. We have a good vibe.”

Loza said he is a lot more motivated since he starting acting and that reflects in how he prepares for a show. 

Kamau said, “With four people in ‘Two Sisters’ we got to work together more in close contact. He would help me run my lines and call me up all the time.”

Loza said he still is trying to decide what to pursue after CCC.

Blau said if he wants to pursue acting as a career he will be the kind of person who will continue to get jobs.

“He’s a great kid,” she said.