Benjamin Satko is a bright, energetic and interesting 14-year-old boy. He is outgoing and loves the Barn Theater, but almost more than that, he loves writing. He loves the art of writing so much so that he recently wrote the latest melodrama entitled ‘Get a Clue Sherlock?,’ and directed it at the theater November 1 and 2.
“The story was kind of nonsensical,” said Satko. “But it was a fun comedy about how an arrogant buffoon, like Sherlock, always takes the credit for other people’s crime solving abilities, to the annoyance of Dr. Watson.”
He also wrote the melodramas for the Barn in 2017 and 2018.
Satko has two brothers and a sister, Daniel, 12, Sara, 10, and Luke, 8. Their parents are Jon Satko, who teaches Astronomy and Physics at Porterville College (PC) and their mother, Shannon Satko is an adjunct professor at PC.
All of their children are home-schooled, and Satko said he wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time at the Barn Theater if he attended a regular school.
His first role at the theater was Gollum in The Hobbit in 2015, in which he excelled at getting the creepy creature’s voice just right. When asked how many shows he’s been in, Satko said, “I’ve been in a lot of shows, and can’t remember how many.”
He’s performed at the Lindsay Community Theater and the Barn and will continue to act. He’s involved in all aspects of the theater experience from directing to technical skills, like lights and sound, as well as painting sets.
Satko was Junior Assistant Director for Little Shop of Horrors and was also on the stage crew for that same production. He said it was a blast to work on and he learned a lot from the show.
“I want to learn more about the theater, anything I can,” said Satko.
He is in ninth grade in high school, and will be home-schooled until college, and said there is a lot of freedom with home-schooling.
“My education is more individually focused, than in a classroom with other students,” said Satko. “I’d like to be a writer and an actor when I grow up, either in college or after college. But I especially want to pursue writing. Dad is a professor at PC teaching physics and astronomy, and Mom works part time at PC, but mostly home-schools us.”
Satko’s mentor and director at the theater is Bob Merzoian, who was a huge help in getting the melodrama project up and running.
Satko said he reads a lot, writes and likes to make movies with his friends. He says he’s not much into sports, and that schooling and theater is what he does the most. He says he has done more theater than his siblings who were all in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Barn in 2017.
Currently Satko is rehearsing for Newsies at the Lindsay Community Theater which opens in January 2020. He says it is one of his favorite musicals and he’s enjoying the role he is playing. Some of his favorite writers include P.G. Wodehouse, with the famous characters of Jeeves and Wooster, Douglas Adams, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling.
“I encourage people to get involved with the theater,” Satko says. “But I have no advice.”
Besides the role of Gollum in The Hobbit, Satko performed two roles in Mary Poppins, Jr. The Musical in 2018. He played a Christmas Tree Elf in A Tuna Christmas at the Barn, and controlled the lights and sound for the play Drinking Habits early in 2019.