Doug Peruski: He’ll Play Diesel

Doug Peruski says he is excited about the future. The next twelve months of his life, he says, may make or break him, and he acknowledges he is taking a huge risk. But he says that sometimes in life, you have to take risks in order to advance yourself or further your cause.Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski says that his cause is acting and the theatre. He is one of the founders of The Square Peg Players, a popular theatre troupe based in Duluth, Georgia. He and a group of friends founded “The Squares,” as they call it, five years ago. After a false start with a poorly-received production of “Never Again!,” written by Squares founding member Thomas Forsythe, the group hit its stride with a string of popular plays, and in particular its popular “Improv Night.”

But that is all about to change. Peruski has decided to pull up stakes and take The Square Peg Players to New York no later than next spring. At that time he will also begin rehearsals for a new production of West Side Story. He recently announced that he is realizing a lifelong dream by being cast in a New York Production of the classic musical. He has the part of Diesel, one of the members of the Jets, a street gang who do battle with another gang called the Sharks.

Before he leaves, the Square Peg Players will revive “Not Again!”, a Thomas Forsythe play the troupe first staged five years ago. That first production was a flop, and the Square Peg Players nearly did not survive it. But Doug Peruski says that this time they are going to do it right. “I know there are critics out there who are hoping it will flop this time, too – just so they can write reviews that say something like, ‘not again with this play!” But that isn’t going to happen.”

Doug Peruski: Not Again!, Again

Doug Peruski and the Square Peg Players are nearly finished with their tenure in Duluth, Georgia. In what some theatre critics are calling the end of an era, Peruski is shutting down the popular theatre group and relocating it to New York sometime early next year.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

But Doug Peruski and his cohorts says they are going to go out with a bang. They recently announced a revival of Not Again!, the first play staged by the group known affectionately as “The Squares” five years ago. While Doug Peruski received high marks from critics, the production itself was panned as an overblown farce.

“We still believe in ‘Not Again!'” Peruski said recently, in announcing the revival. “I think we rushed the whole thing into production that first time. I know Tom didn’t take it well,” meaning Thomas Forsythe, the play’s author. “He lost a lot of confidence. But I read the play again a few months ago, and was reminded of what drew me to it in the first place. I think it’s a great play that got bogged down with some bad decisions and bad luck in that first production. This time, we’re going to do it right.”

Doug Peruski says he will be reprising his role as Philip, the owner of a failing bakery who turns to gambling on horse races in an effort to raise money quickly. Square Peg Players veterans Brian Sugarman and Allyson Fielder are also reprising their roles. But the rest of the cast, says Peruski, will be all new.

Doug Peruski says he will be sharing directorial duties with Angela Forsythe, the wife of the playwright. Like Peruski, Angela Forsythe is a graduate of the University of Georgia Theatre Arts program and is also a founding member of the Square Peg Players.

Doug Peruski: Moving To New York

Doug Peruski is an actor who lives and works in Duluth, Georgia. He is in the latter stages of finalizing plans to take his improvisational theatre group, the Square Peg Players, to New York.

Doug Peruski and his friend Thomas Forsythe, the Georgia playwright, founded the troupe they affectionately call “The Squares” some five years ago, not long after Peruski graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Theatre Arts. The Square Peg Players have become a popular fixture in the Duluth arts scene, noted for its unpredictable “Improv Night” series of performances. But Peruski says the time has come for him to move on.

Doug Peruski

Doug Peruski

While he is planning on taking the Square Peg Players to New York, not all of the Square Peg Players will be making the move. Longtime members Brian Sugarman and Allyson Fielder are staying behind in Duluth: Sugarman says he is too old to make a major relocation, and Fielder is a tenured professor at UGA. Both say that they will miss Doug Peruski and the Squares.

Doug Peruski said he decided to pull up stakes and take the Square Peg Players to New York because the troupe had outlived its currency. “I need to grow as an artist,” he said, “and I can’t do that if I stay here.” He says he expects to finish shutting down the Square Peg Players after its current production, Thomas Forsythe’s No Rights Reserved, ends its current run. While no date for that has been set, it is expected to be no later than mid-November.

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!”