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To be a student learning theater in San Diego County is to get many chances to see — and, if you’re lucky and talented, work with — highly reputed actors and directors who work on productions at the region’s top theaters.

A University of San Diego grad school program accepts a small handful of students for two years and immerses them in The Old Globe, putting them onstage all summer for the annual tradition, the summer Shakespeare festival. One of the students graduating this year is Ben Diskant, who has minor ensemble roles in the Globe’s “Amadeus” and “Much Ado About Nothing” productions.

But he makes his biggest splash in “The Tempest” playing Ariel, the spirit of the air whom Prospero commands. For that role, Diskant wears blue body paint and a sarong and a wig made of yak and human hair dyed blue at the tips, and walks on 35-inch stilts. His wing span is 13 feet.

I met Diskant this week and brought along our friends from NBC 7 San Diego to hear more about what the theater experience on the West Coast has been like for the New York City native:

View more videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com.

Along with Diskant, there are 11 other USD students in the summer festival, playing a total of 59 roles and acting as understudies for 47 roles.

“The Tempest” runs through Sept. 25.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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