In 1996, Edson-the son of a screenwriter father and filmmaker mother-was fresh from southern California, having just graduated from a private school in Hollywood. At that time he said, "I am passionate about English and want to keep reading and want to keep writing and want to teach and get other people interested in it and become a friend and mentor to other students who are passionate about the same things."

At Reed, Edson bounced around a bit, first as an English major, then as a music major, and then considering philosophy, theater, and literature again, Edson took a semester off to make up his mind. "Finally I ended up where I started, what I knew I was interested in from the beginning-theater."

For his thesis he collaborated with a friend to write a play, The Idiot Machine. It was billed as a sound and light spectacle and was performed on campus in February. Edson directed it and his friend designed the set and lights.

It seemed that theater would be a natural choice for someone from Hollywood. But Edson said he would never have found his particular niche in theater without his Reed education, from which he learned about commedia dell'arte and the popular comedy of the Italian Renaissance, from which he believes his own work is a natural progression.

He said that before coming to Reed "I don't think I knew what the words commedia dell'arte meant. There's been a lot of influence from my Hum 210 class. We were reading Italian Renaissance authors, and a lot of the ideas were tying into my thesis. There's been a lot of crossover between the classes I've been taking. I don't think you'd get that at an actors' conservatory. You wouldn't get the literature or the humanities side of it, which I think is important to an education. It makes my theater better for having had that experience."

Sometimes, however, he had to remind himself of the contribution Reed was making to his development. That was during the times when he resented his busy schedule and wished he had hours to devote only to theater.

"It's very difficult to be an actor at Reed because there are so many classes that require so much of your time. But on the other hand, that's why I came to Reed. The education and the demands that have been placed on me have lived up to my expectations. When I graduate, I know that I will have earned my degree. Even if I can't get a job as an actor, I'll be able to be employed elsewhere because of the training I got."

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