DVC drama professor of 25 years retires


Shane Louis

Ed Trujillo directs his actors after a tech rehearsal for “Oedipus El Rey” in the DVC Arena Theater on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Shane Louis, Co-editor-in-chief

Anyone talented enough to find the Diablo Valley College green room hidden behind the Performing Arts Center will know that it almost feels like you’ve discovered a secret passageway into a new world.

The adventure continues as you walk in, look around and discover the sliding glass office door covered in posters and “Cha Cha, Who loves ya babe!” written in paint pen.

This is, and has been, the office of drama professor Ed Trujillo.

Trujillo has been teaching higher education for the last 32 years, half of his 64-year-old life. The past 25 years have been at DVC, and after the spring 2015 semester, Trujillo will retire.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Mary’s College, Trujillo then went on to the University of Massachusetts in Amhurst to work on his masters degree before transferring to the University of Washington in Seattle. From there, he graduated with an emphasis in children’s theater, directing and multi-cultural theater.

Upon graduation, Trujillo worked a variety of jobs from DJing at a jazz radio station to art and music therapy, and even selling wine. His career in higher education began at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he managed the performing arts facilities and acted as adjunct faculty for seven years.

Trujillo later came to work at DVC after managing to secure the full-time position he had been searching for. Here he has taught all levels of acting, directing, multicultural perspectives, introduction to theater, theater literature, theater history, auditioning techniques and Shakespeare.

Although he is interested in other art forms like music and photography, Trujillo finds something special in theater. He explains how in high school he was not at all a theatre geek, and how his love for theatre didn’t really emerge until his junior year of college.

“I went to England and I saw 26 plays in six weeks,” he says. “And that just kinda got the bug into me, and I thought, ‘wow, I really like this stuff. Theater is a great art medium that allows you to really connect with people on a really visceral level. And that’s what really turned me on: that you could really change people.”

Growing up in Oakland, Trujillo says he was aware of civil rights issues and social conditions that affected his close friends and family. He explains how social change is a very important part of his work. He says he likes doing plays that deal with major issues that affect us as humans.

“Whether it’s race or gender or class or those things, most of my plays have had something to do with those issues,” he says.

Trujillo has directed close to 30 shows at DVC. Among those, he has had some favorites:

“‘West Side Story’ was really an amazing event because we had a full orchestra, we had an amazing choreographer and vocal coach and conductor,” he says. “It was a big cast, and it was really a dynamic show.”

Because of the scale of many of the performances, Trujillo says a lot of teamwork goes into making the shows happen and acting and tech majors get a lot of hands-on experience.

“The shows I’ve really enjoyed doing is when the students contribute and the costume designers, the lighting and sound really contribute important elements to it.” he says. “That’s when my work has been most exciting.”

DVC student Cesar Garcia played the leading role in Trujillo’s last play of the semester, “Oedipus El Rey,” and he aspires to have the same devotion to acting.

“The passion he has for this art is unbelievable,” Garcia says. “He made me challenge myself in ways I have never challenged myself before. He taught me how to keep pushing and to never give up and that anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.”

During his last semester at DVC, Trujillo didn’t teach any courses, he just directed “Oedipus El Rey.”

“I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be retired,” Trujillo says. “And it’s really a challenge because I am really a lazy lazy person. I’m not when I’m at school, I mean, I work my ass off, I mean I really work my ass off.”

After retirement, Trujillo says he will work on his music and photography as well as do some traveling with his wife. He also plans on freelance directing and visiting DVC to continue to work with the Latino Student Alliance.

“Also, I have time to drink prodigious amounts of good scotch,” he says.

Though retiring, Trujillo says he will never stop teaching completely.

“I love the students,” he says. “They come back and they share their lives with you, and their children, their marriages … Students really talk from their heart here, and that’s really inspiring when you made some kind of impact on a student.”

Throughout the years, the students, as well as the encouragement he received from other departments and administration, has kept Trujillo’s passion going.

“There are just so many people I want to thank,” he says. “My success here has been because of collaboration. DVC has been really supportive of the arts. I just wish them the best as they continue the drama legacy here.”