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Sixteen faces

Stetson Torok lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Freshman Stetson Torok has multiple personalities – and he uses them to act.

 

 

Diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder at age seven after his dad passed, Torok has sixteen ‘alters’, or alternate personalities.

A person with DID will usually isolate key parts of their own identities, or they may also adopt the personality of a  person who had an influence on them during a traumatic experience.

Torok’s alters include Alex, Thomas, Leroy, Hunter, Zach, Justin, Ethan, Sofia, Violet, Steven, Devin, Jordan, Link, Tyrone, Dylan, and Sam.

While the alters don’t help him in his day to day life, and make navigating relationships with other people difficult, Torok finds a positive way to work with them: utilizing them in his acting.

“I can in a way control it, in that I know who is switching and when, but I can’t control to what extent they switch over. With that, can come some dramatic events. But if we’re all working to a common goal then we all work together, such as during acting,” Torok said.

Torok enjoys playing quirky, comical-relief characters, but also plays characters like Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

In order to play these characters, Torok has to create and bring these characters to life through himself on stage.

“Acting can require a complete rework of how you think to play a character.” Torok said.

Here, his alters can help him be a more fluid and consistent actor. Torok gives the examples of his alters Leroy and Hunter.

“Leroy allows me to actually get angry at people on stage, and allows me to talk in an aggressive tone that I couldn’t do if it was just me.” Torok said. “Hunter loves deception, and he loves acting. He helps me stay in character, and he keeps my stage awareness high. He makes me think, ‘What would this character do? What would this character say?’”

He can then use the different viewpoints of life from his different alters to stitch together his own characters, breathing life into them when he walks on stage.

However, switching between alters can be unpredictable, according to Torok.

“It’s kind of like handing the wheel over in a car going 80 miles per hour on a blocked freeway,” Torok said.

For his role as Buddy the Elf, when he had a hard time playing a character that thought and acted so differently from himself.

“I was about thirteen then, and I had a ‘too-cool-for-rules’ attitude. Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest idea, because I had to completely do a 180 and become a gullible man-child on stage.”

Torok has been acting almost as long as he’s been dealing with alters. He was forced to play the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz by his younger sister when he was eight.

“It wasn’t my best experience acting. What made it kinda suck was that the Tin Man wasn’t supposed to be as cowardly as the Cowardly Lion, and smarter than the Scarecrow, but he doesn’t’ have heart. I don’t know how to play a character that doesn’t have heart.”

Torok discovered  the feeling of being on stage as “the best feeling ever.”

“I worked so hard on this character, and I’ve learned so much, and I’ve memorized so much, so getting out on stage and having the audience awestruck is awesome. If anyone can relate, it’s like making a basket in basketball. Or scoring a touchdown, or making that shot halfway across the field.”

Torok may use the emotions and personalities of his alters, but the passion is all his.

“There is no doubt about it. I plan on being a professional actor. I’m even trying to look into roles at Marvel and DC,” Torok said.” I’ve always loved very personified superheroes, people who help others when they’re in need. I’ve always looked up to idols. I’d really like to play Spiderman, because I’m in the age range and I love his quirks.”

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Heather Lee, Staff Writer

My writing is fueled by caffeine and self-inflicted stress, please appreciate it.

Grace McGonigle, Features Editor

Hi I’m grace. My personality is mainly comprised of a busy schedule, buzzfeed quizzes, and Jeff Buckley.

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Sixteen faces