Class of 1991

Photo of Randall David Cook

Randall David Cook

Graduate with a Business degree; currently a playwright

“I came to Furman on a music scholarship (for tuba, boom boom boom) so was in marching band in the fall and symphonic band in the spring my first two years of college. Unsurprisingly, I hated having to sit through all the football games in an ugly wool uniform under a raging sun while carrying a heavy brass instrument on my left shoulder, so at the end of my sophomore year I said goodbye to all that. I’d made a lot of friends in the band, many of whom I have to this day, but I still felt dissatisfied and was wanting something more. When not enough males auditioned for All’s Well That Ends Well in the fall of my junior year, there was a second call for men, and Courtney Sullivan talked me into trying out. Because Phil Hill must have been desperate, I was cast as a solider and the king’s gentleman. And as awkward and unnatural as I felt every time I had to actually enter a scene, much less speak, from the moment rehearsals began I knew I’d finally found my place and my people. I loved the rehearsal process – even the growling, full-throated arguments between various members of the creative team during tech – and the camaraderie that developed between most everyone involved in the production, particularly my friendships with Courtney, Carl Sullivan and my eventual mentor in college, Nick Radel. Costume mishaps, the waiting in the green room, pre-show rituals, all of it: I was hooked. I didn’t act in another show at Furman, and I spent a lot of years and energy afterwards avoiding what I knew deep down was my calling, but my love for theater and the people who created it never abated. The All’s Well experience transformed me from a person who liked to watch theater into one who wanted to make it. In short, it was in this Playhouse that I had my life awakening.”

“I’m gonna cheat this question a bit, as my favorite personal memory in The Playhouse came after my days as a student. When I had the great privilege of returning to Furman as a guest artist in 2013 to do Pomp & Circumstance here, it was the truest kind of homecoming I could have ever had, a correction of sorts to what had been a few misguided decisions from my past. The fact that Rhett Bryson and Margaret Caterisano were designers on P&C only made the experience that much more special, as they’d been such a major part of the All’s Well experience. Then, merging past and present, I got to work with Jay Oney and so many wonderfully talented theater students on a brand new play, and for a few special months I was reminded daily of why and how I fell so deeply in love with the process of making theater. And to gild that lily, I discovered how much I enjoyed working with college students who are at the start of their own life and artistic journeys. Theater folk are a special lot, and though the tribe is always changing and moving, it fills my heart to know it exists, and makes me feel less alone.”