Doug Peruski: The Squares

Doug Peruski is an actor who currently lives and works in Duluth, Georgia. He spends many days and evenings waiting on tables at Achilles, a Greek restaurant. But his true calling is the theatre.

With his friend Thomas Forsythe, Doug Peruski co-founded the Square Peg Players, a theatre troupe that stages several productions each year. “It’s my baby,” Doug Peruski says of the Square Peg Players. “It gives me absolute artistic freedom – the chance to do almost anything that I want to do on the stage.” He and Forsythe established the Square Peg Players after graduating from the University of Georgia.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

There are five actors involved with the Square Peg Players on a regular basis, Doug Peruski says. “That includes me and Tom.” To date, the troupe has put on five plays in three years, including several written by Thomas Forsythe. The Squares, as Doug Peruski refers to them, have also established an improv night that runs through the winter months.

The first play staged by the Square Peg Players was Not Again!, which was written by Forsythe and starred Doug Peruski as Philip, the owner of a failing bakery who starts gambling on horse races in an effort to save his business. The play, a screwball comedy, was largely panned by local critics, but Doug Peruski received praise for his performance.

Doug Peruski says that he and the Square Peg Players have already outgrown Duluth. He and Forsythe are planning to relocate to New York and continue their dramatic endeavors together. “We don’t want to be big fish in a small pond,” Doug Peruski says. “If you’re an actor, then New York or Los Angeles is where you have to be. And for me, it’s New York!”

Doug Peruski: A No-Brainer

Doug Peruski began his collegiate career at Kennesaw State University, where he studied acting and at The University of Georgia, and graduated from the latter institution with a BA in Theatre Arts. He minored in Computer Science.

Family members were surprised by Doug Peruski’s choice of Kennesaw State University, but he insisted that he wanted to go there. “My drama teacher at Peachtree Ridge recommended KSU,” Doug Peruski says, referring to his old high school. “She said it had a really good drama department.” KSU did indeed have a good drama department, and Doug Peruski says that he learned a lot while he was there. But as his sophomore year drew to a close, he realized that it wasn’t going to be enough. And so he transferred to the University of Georgia

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

“It was a no-brainer, really,” Doug Peruski recalls. “I mean, I really grew to like KSU, but sometimes situations force your hand.”

Doug Peruski enrolled in classes at UGA’s Department of Theatre and Film Studies, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Theatre and Film Studies has twenty-one faculty members, four distinguished adjunct faculty members, three full-time staff members, and 36 graduate assistants.

Doug Peruski got himself involved in everything the department had to offer – or at least, everything that he could fit into his increasingly busy schedule. He says he really grew from the experience. “That’s when a career in Theatre first seemed really viable to me,” he says today. “I could feel it. I learned so much there and internalized it all. The experience was one-of-a-kind, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Doug Peruski: Three Miserable Years

Doug Peruski is an actor from Duluth, Georgia. But he says that he is making plans to move to New York soon. “It’s the center of the Theatre world in the United States,” he says.

For now, though, Doug Peruski is working as a waiter in a Greek restaurant, and taking what acting jobs he can find. Most of what he finds are roles in regional theatre, or in small local productions.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

While he fully expects to be in New York in the near future, Doug Peruski says that he will always love Duluth and the State of Georgia. “I really love it here,” he says. He attended Peachtree Ridge High School, where he got his first real taste of the dramatic arts. “It was in an acting class I didn’t want to take, at first,” Doug Peruski says. “Miss Terrapin’s class. She gave me a scene from Flowers for Algernon. After I got over my butterflies – because I’d never been in anything like that before – well, I just came alive. I got the acting bug. And I’ve had it ever since.”

Doug Peruski went on to study acting at Kennesaw State University and at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he earned a degree in Theatre Arts, and minored in Computer Science. After college he spent three miserable years working at NCR, and then quit to devote himself to acting full time.

Since making the switch, Doug Peruski has had parts in Mirror Image and Five Actors In Search of a Cell Phone. He also played Philip in Not Again!, which he says is a screwball comedy. Not Again! turned out to be a box office flop, but Doug Peruski received excellent reviews. “We look forward to seeing more of this surprising and talented young actor,” wrote one critic.

Doug Peruski says he had no choice but to quit NCR for acting. “I had to do it,” he says. “I know it’s risky. But if I didn’t at least try, I knew that I would always regret it.”

Doug Peruski: Customer #3

Doug Peruski says that in many ways, his years as a student at the University of Georgia, Athens were the best years of his life. But he is equally sure that the best is yet to come.

Doug Peruski graduated from UGA with a degree in Theatre Arts. He minored in Computer Science. He worked at NCR for three years before deciding to quit and devote most of his energies to acting.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

For now, Doug Peruski supports himself as a waiter at Achilles, a Greek restaurant in his hometown of Duluth, Georgia. He has found a series of mostly small roles in regional theatre. He has had parts in Mirror Image and Five Actors In Search of a Cell Phone, and he played Philip in Not Again!, which Doug Peruski describes as a screwball comedy.

Not Again! did not do well with the critics, who panned the play yet praised its cast. “Doug Peruski, a UGA grad with only limited professional experience, surprises with a star turn in the role of Philip,” wrote one reviewer in The Atlanta Constitution. “We look forward to seeing more of this surprising and talented young actor.”

Doug Peruski has also appeared in several TV commercials. In his first TV commercial, he played an exasperated dog owner whose dog didn’t like his dog food. He has also had bit parts in several television programs, including the role of Customer #3 in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

“I love everything about the theatre,” Doug Peruski says, as he contemplates the future. “Believe me, I don’t want to wait on tables for the rest of my life!”

Doug Peruski: Loves Everything About Theatre

Doug Peruski studied acting at Kennesaw State University and at The University of Georgia, and graduated from the latter institution with a BA in Theatre Arts. He minored in Computer Science.

“I love everything about the theatre,” Doug Peruski says. He is an aspiring actor who has worked mostly in regional theatre in and around his home in Duluth, Georgia. In addition to his Theatre Arts degree, Doug Peruski has taken singing and dancing lessons privately for many years. As a singer, he says he possesses a fine baritone. But he admits that he is only passable as a dancer. “No one will mistake me for Fred Astaire,” he laughs. “I can do the basic steps – enough to get through a simple routine – but dancing is definitely not my strong suit!”

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski says the coursework for getting his Theatre Arts degree was rigorous, but that he loved every minute of it. The required classes included Stagecraft, Costume Technology, Performance I and Performance II, Introduction to Dramatic Literature, and Issues in Contemporary Theatre.

But he says his favorite class was Fundamentals of Play Direction. The course involved the independent production of a play of the student’s choosing, although it had to be approved by his instructor. Doug Peruski selected Fourteen Miles Home, a one-act drama by the Irish playwright, Fearchar Flan. Doug Peruski recalls it as an exhilarating time. “We rehearsed for two months. Then the curtain went up.” He received an A for that production, and says it was one of the greatest learning experiences he had in the theatre.

After college Doug Peruski worked as a systems analyst at NCR for three years, but recalls it as a difficult time of his life. “I never really got into it,” he says. “My heart wasn’t into it. I wasn’t happy. My girlfriend left me. The only reason I stayed as long as I did was because the pay was so good.” Finally, enough was enough, and Doug Peruski quit his job to try his hand at acting.

Doug Peruski: What a Systems Analyst Does

Doug Peruski is committed to a career in Theatre. He has a Theatre Arts degree from the University of Georgia, and has appeared in numerous plays in regional theatre and summer stock. He’s even had a few TV appearances. Doug Peruski is making plans to relocate to New York soon, to try breaking into acting in a big way.

But before this period of his life, he worked as a systems analyst at NCR, a position he held for three years. He says that while “systems analyst” is a familiar term for many, a lot of people have no idea what a systems analyst does.

“I didn’t really know myself, at first,” he admits. “The first few weeks there I had to do all this training – classes on COBOL and JCL. Most of the assignments after that were for support of existing systems. My first assignment was on a development team to replace the entire accounting and operating system for the company. There were a bunch of us on the project, divided into various sub-groups based on business functions, like accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory control, and stuff like that.

“I worked on the inventory control subsystem. My team consisted of another analyst with five years of experience, plus myself, and a full-time user, a guy named Ed. Ed had over twenty years with the company.

“After we started designing the inventory control system with Ed, I learned the true meaning of the words integrated system. The new system had to communicate with the other sub-systems. Anyway, to make a long story short, midway through development, the company decided not to build the system from scratch, but to buy a software package and customize it. Pulled the rug out from under us. We waited four months for the contract to be negotiated and signed.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

“I also had other duties, of course. I was the data dictionary coordinator. I was the security request coordinator. I also had to give lots of presentations to other project teams, supervisors, and users. At first I was nervous about these public speeches. But then it occurred to me, this is just acting! And it’s what I want to do more than anything else!

“And that’s when I started to think about quitting NCR.”

Doug Peruski: His Favorite Greek Foods

Doug Peruski is an aspiring actor who lives in Duluth, Georgia. He has a Theatre Arts degree from the University of Georgia, and is making plans to relocate to New York to try breaking into theatre. In the meantime, he is working as a waiter in a Greek restaurant called Achilles.

“When I first started working there, it was just a job, you know?” Doug Peruski says. He had previously been a systems analyst at NCR, but quit after three years to pursue acting. “NCR was just taking over my life. I don’t make nearly as much money now, but as a waiter I have a lot more free time.”

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski says he didn’t care all that much for Greek food when he first started working at Achilles, but has grown to love it. “We have a flatbread machine that makes the most delicious flatbread – your basic Greek flatbread, we use it for gyros – fresh out of that machine? It’s to die for!”

For those “foodies” who aren’t yet familiar with Greek food, Doug Peruski has some recommendations. “Start out with Moussaka,” he says. “It’s probably the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes. It’s an oven-baked casserole, with layered eggplant and spiced meat filling, and it’s topped with a creamy bechamel. The one we make at Achilles is outstanding.”

He also recommends a dish called pastitsio. “Pastitsio is similar to moussaka,” he says. “There are three main parts to it – pasta, meat filling, and a creamy bechamel sauce. They’re layered in a pan and baked to golden perfection.”

No Greek meal would be complete, Doug Peruski says, without baklava. “Baklava is a classic Greek pastry. It’s made with a flaky filo dough. It gets layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut mix, and covered in syrup. It’s the perfect finish to a Greek meal!”

These and other classic Greek dishes may be enough to turn anyone into a Greek food enthusiast, the way it did Doug Peruski.