Creating characters and coefficients

Name: Jhan Harp
Major: Theater and physics (double major)
Year: Senior
Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana

Obvious choices: Purdue and physics. “Physics gives a great general understanding of everything. It's a way to learn problem solving ... Here’s the world. Go hunt down some problems and figure them out.”

Lightning strikes: Jhan’s best friend convinced him to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He thought it would be stupid, but instead he loved it; consuming all seven seasons in a couple of months. “I didn’t read before that. Didn’t listen to music. Was a boring, do my math, person.” Jhan then took an introductory theater class, Survey of Acting. “It was awesome. After that there was no question that I was going to be a theater major.”

Unexpected: “When you think of Purdue, you don’t think of theater, but the facilities they have in Pao Hall are really impressive. The best part is the faculty — everyone is 150 percent supportive.”

Unforgettable: Jhan played the Young Collector in Street Car Named Desire: During one scene he needed to pretend (for safety) to light Blanche’s cigarette. “I held the lighter down too long, or something. The cigarette starting smoking like crazy and Mariana Fernandez (who played Blanche) and I are looking at each other thinking ‘What do we do?’ I was terrified out of my mind. She eventually put the cigarette out and we started again. It turned out to be one of the best runs we had at the scene.”

Logical progression: Collaborating with his best friend, Jhan has several scripts in progress and is currently shooting a trailer for Mythos, a TV series set in a New England college featuring a professor and students who solve macabre small-town mysteries.

Unique skill set: “Physics will make me a better theater person, film person, or writer. I’ll have a basis in problem solving and some base knowledge that will set me apart. I’m not going to have to look up ‘zero-point movement’ when I write a sci-fi script. I’ll have had it in quantum last semester.”

What’s next? “The dream of working on my own TV show is so strong. I want to make Mythos so bad that I have to get out of here so I can do that. But I want to get these two degrees so I have all the tools and the building blocks I need. The plan is to go to L.A.— just do auditions—just try to sell the scripts. Whenever one or the other starts taking off, use the success in that to try and build up the other one. Directing will come in later.”

By Susan Ferringer