Teen selected as a future Latino leader
Cy-Fair's Gabriel Gaucin is enjoying a season of nice surprises, including landing the role of the Tin Man in A.D. Players' production of The Wizard of Oz playing through Sunday, Aug. 7.
First, however, Gaucin didn't expect to be in the nation's capital last month when he celebrated his 16th birthday. The Houston-born son of Mexican immigrants, Gaucin was one of 25 high school students selected from across the country to participate in a fully paid nine-day program sponsored by the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.
Gaucin and the other students at the Future Latino Leaders Law Camp July 16-24, lived in dorms at American University in Washington, D.C., while learning leadership skills from practicing attorneys, law professors and judges, explained Christie Lewis, the Hispanic National Bar Foundation's interim executive director.
The students also enjoyed behind-the-scenes tours of the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court Building and Pentagon, she added.
On Gaucin's birthday, a big chocolate cake was served in his honor at lunch.
"That was a total surprise," he said.
For eight days, Gaucin and the other students worked in teams coached by a law student camp counselor to prepare for a moot court competition before an actual judge. Gaucin portrayed the defendant, who was found to have been unjustly accused of cyberstalking.
"I got into the character, and it felt real," said Gaucin. "One of the counselors said the tension in there would be 100 times greater in an actual courtroom, and I said, 'Whoa!' "
Gaucin recently discovered his interest in acting when he decided on a whim to try out for Macbeth at St. Thomas High School, where he will be a junior. To his surprise, he was cast as understudy to the title character as well as to the roles of a captain and Siward.
"I never got to play any of them on stage, but the process taught me a lot about finding who your character is, and it really got me into Shakespeare," said Gaucin.
"You definitely have to look past what you think the script is saying because many of the words had a different meaning when they were written," he explained.
"For example, in the line that everybody knows, 'Wherefore art thou, Romeo?,' the 'wherefore' actually means 'why.' She's asking Romeo, "'Why' art thou?"
For Gaucin's audition for the A.D. Players during its July 25-Aug. 5 theater camp, he chose a monologue by The Fool in Twelfth Night. Director Justin Cook cast Gaucin as the Tin Man.
"I don't think they were expecting a teenager to come in performing a monologue from Shakespeare," said his mother, Maria Gaucin, an admissions assistant at St. Thomas High School.
As he plans his final years in high school, Gaucin said, "I'm definitely going to stick with theater. I'm passionate about the arts. I like acting, and playing guitar, and I've started writing my own music."
Gaucin earned a superior rating, the highest honor, for his solo performance at the recent Texas Private School Music Educators Association in Arlington. He's also on his school's cross country and track teams.
Like the Tin Man, who travels the yellow brick road and discovers what he's always wanted has been inside of him all along, Gaucin said, "I am a real shy person. I'm not that social. But when I went to Washington, I was still able to make a lot of friends."
As the lone Texan, he said, "People didn't have those stereotypes (from Westerns), but I did say 'y'all' a couple of times and they thought that was funny."
Gaucin will take his final bow in The Wizard of Oz at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, at the A.D. Players; Mainstage Theater, 2710 W. Alabama in Houston. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students and children.
For more information or for tickets, call 713-526-2721.
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