It takes incredible efficiency for Aaron Randolph III '02, '12 to squeeze everything into his day. The St. Ambrose University music graduate returned to his alma mater to earn two more degrees this year. A children's musical he wrote and composed was staged this winter. And he plans to produce a second play in the spring-all while "playing" the role of husband and father of two.
"I don't sleep a lot," Randolph joked one afternoon, having just stepped out of a rehearsal.
Randolph's playwriting started as a way to tune into his creative energies and relieve stress after long days at work. He frequently jotted down scenes and eventually amassed enough to have several full-length plays.
"I didn't have any big plans for what I was going to do with them," he said. "It was just for enjoyment."
After he decided to return to Ambrose to earn dual degrees in computer network administration and theatre, two of his plays were selected for the university's Galvin Fine Arts Center mainstage. He is honored that the university is producing his work.
"When I was looking at going back to school, I considered a number of places," he said. "I felt St. Ambrose was really my best choice if I wanted to get a lot of personal attention and help on things."
The first week of December, Randolph's new musical "Dakota Jones and the Search for Atlantis," a show he describes as an "underwater Indiana Jones," played to thousands of children at Galvin. The storyline followed a young girl on an imaginary adventure to find Atlantis. Ambrose will produce his other play, "The Plagiarists," this coming February. That script follows the life of an artist known for photographing other artists' work, and explores the idea of owning an idea.
"Can you really steal an idea or is it just inspiration?" he asks.
Randolph, who will graduate in May, plans to continue acting, writing and composing. "But I have a wife and two kids, and I need to be able to eat and put clothes on my kids' backs too," he said.
That's where the computer degree will come in handy. In the meantime, he is writing a new chapter at his old stomping grounds.
"I loved my previous experience at Ambrose, which is the reason I came back here. I have so many fond memories of that time," he said.
"The professors are very good at what they do," he added, "but more than that, they sincerely care about the students. It's great to be back in an environment where I'm studying and working on things I love and am passionate about."