By Katelyn Billings
Have you ever sat in Upperclass Dining and heard a booming laugh from across the hall? It was probably Will Balta ’16.
Known among his friends for his goofy sense of humor and outgoing personality, it’s no wonder he found his rightful place in Union’s Department of Theater. Before his life on Union’s stage, Will attended a military academy, transferring to Union at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year.
“I decided to transfer to Union for academic and social reasons. Academically, I didn’t feel like I was challenged, and I knew I could accomplish more. And as for the social atmosphere at Union, you’re able to talk to anyone about anything and you can just be yourself and have your own ideas. At a military school, you don’t get that opportunity — you’re limited in what you can say. At Union, you can fully express yourself,” said Balta.
When he arrived at Union, Will got involved right away. He declared a political science and theater double-major and is an active member of the Greek community. He is the Social Chair of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. In his free time, he works for himself in his landscaping company.
“Theater, poli-sci and DKE are all I really do, but I work whenever I get a free weekend. I work for myself, and do a lot of landscaping. I plant flowers, weed, re-do driveways, tar roofs, build vineyards, handle iPhone problems … There’s really not much I can’t do when it comes to house maintenance, and I just look it up what I don’t know,” said Handyman Balta, who said he started working at quite a young age.
“The first guy I worked for, his name was literally Mr. Geezer, and he was as old as he sounds, too!” joked Balta.
On top of being able to fix anything, Will is also training to run a half marathon this summer in Montreal, Canada, so I guess you could call him a ‘superman.’ He is also a regular laugh riot, but he is very humble. When I asked what he thought of the funny guy label, Will was a bit surprised.
“I do things that are funny, and people laugh at, but I am not a funny person! As soon as I try to be funny, I’m not funny anymore. Friends laugh at me because they think I’m funny looking or funny acting, and if you know me, you’ll know it’s only because I’m completely bonkers! I make people laugh, but that doesn’t mean I’m funny!” said Balta.
Well, I certainly laughed, so he must be doing something right!
Will expresses his many talents on the Union stage and was most recently seen in the comedy Boeing, Boeing and the student production of Urinetown. While Urinetown was his first experience singing and dancing in a musical, Will admitted that he preferred plays.
“Comedies are my favorite, but they are hard. Getting the audience to laugh at a written script is much harder than spontaneity. People that can perform comedic plays are very impressive, and I hope to do more.”
Will explained that in high school, he experienced a brilliant director, as well as the most challenging feat of his theater career.
“My favorite show that I’ve done was probably The Man Who Came To Dinner, and it was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. It was a three-hour show, and I was onstage for just about the entire thing, since my character had almost all of the lines. I had to perform monologues on top of monologues, and looking back, I have no idea how I did it,” said Balta.
He revealed that is was due in part to an extraordinary director in his high school, named Sharon Paluch. He believes she played a big part in helping him become a better actor.
“She really fostered my passion for theater and definitely helped me become the actor I am today.”
When he needs to unwind after a long day of being Will Balta, he heads to Yulman Theater, where he can relax and be alone for a while in his favorite place on campus.
“I really like to hang out in Yulman — it’s my home. I don’t feel at home in any other place. I just love Yulman. It’s the place I feel most comfortable, and sometimes I will just sit there, just to sit. It’s very relaxing.”
He also added that no one is allowed to come sit with him, because that would ruin the effect … so intruders, beware!
As he is only a sophomore, you can expect to see much more from Will Balta in the years to come.
And we can’t wait to see more of him, wowing us on and off the Union stage, with a genuine smile or, better yet, a goofy face.
Make ’em laugh, Will!