Student Journalism at San Rafael High School

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What’s the Drama with Mr. Allen?

The SRHS alum, substitute teacher, and theater director helps unveil Mean Girls musical this weekend.
Whats the Drama with Mr. Allen?

Kevin Allen, an alumni who graduated in 2009 from San Rafael High School, has become a pillar in our community. Mr. Allen, also known as “Anime Allen,” has worked hard as a substitute teacher and a director/contributor in theater over the last few years. Many may know him from the famous “Tack That” rap that’s played every year in Ms. Healy’s sailing class. The nickname “Anime Allen” comes from his distinct fashion style, with black dress pants, a long sleeve button down shirt accompanied by a tie and a vest and black leather fingerless gloves with silver spikes on the knuckles, all covered by a long trench coat that flows behind him as he walks. Allen’s fit is topped off with Tidy black dress shoes and longish hair that comes to a point in a small ponytail, with a blonde streak in the front that falls over his glasses. 

Mr. Allen has been a substitute teacher at SR for seven years and is very loved  throughout the student base. As I was finishing my interview with him, a few students came into the class he was subbing and one of the students’ reaction was, “Mr. Allen, are you our sub today? Let’s go!” 

Mr. Allen explained his original intention was not to teach as he graduated from Chapman University with a degree in screenwriting and sound design. But as he started to help direct and consult plays here at SR in 2014, he then realized he really enjoyed teaching. After a few shows here at the school, it became obvious that I enjoyed helping students find their passions and directing them, so I began covering for other teachers as a substitute teacher,” Mr. Allen explained. He has just started working on a teaching credential to potentially teach more in the future while trying to continue his directing career. His career path has been a winding one and still unfolding but so far not one he regrets. 

My intent was never to go into teaching as a career when I began college and post-college work, but life has an interesting way of leading you to what motivates you as long as you don’t ignore a call to adventure. I have helped a great number of teachers and students that I never would have had I stayed to my singular room as a traditional instructor,” Mr. Allen said. 

Through this day job he has found passion as an educator, and enjoys the fact he can integrate storytelling in his everyday life while helping students find their path. As an alumni from San Rafael High, Allen had a strong connection to this school and staff. He explained that, especially post-pandemic, he felt the need to step in and help as much as he could. Through his life, this has been a strong personality trait he carries with him. Over the many years he’s been in our community Mr. Allen has worked hard and has been as helpful as ever, especially within our theater community. 

Mr Allen has stepped into the directing/coaching role in our after school theater for almost every play, musical, and talent shows since 2014. Even in the productions he was not listed as a director, he has stepped in as a major leadership role for many of them. “My role has always been one of support and a leader ready to take charge when circumstances feel dire,” he explained. The prime example is after the pandemic helping the program get up and running again. In last year’s spring musical production Addams Family, he was asked to come on the team as a co-director/coach. A problem with the original director caused Allen to step in and carry the first half of production until an outside hire could take over. Mr. Allen stepped up and got the show started even though he had enough on the plate to begin with. He was balancing his own play as an actor as well as Dominican University classes.

“I ended up having to cut class or be tardy due to the lack of leadership in the beginning of the production,” Allen said. 

He cared so much about getting the production up and running Allen put some of his personal life on hold. This passion and drive influences students around him and creates a great environment. Many more have seen this come out during the recent controversies with this spring musical. With Mr. Allen in the head role as director, the original idea for the musical would be Mean Girls, with the resurgence of the new movie in theaters. At first, the play was shot down due to the appropriateness of the show, which frustrated many students and the directing staff. Through many discussions and petitions backed by students and PTO, the play was greenlit. Other than the time and coaching Mr. Allen has poured into this school’s drama program he has been able to pass along his wisdom and share great memories with all students surrounding him. 

Mr. Allen has taught me that it is equally important to forge individual connections and take individuals’ input into account at all times. Although it is not possible to truly do this with every person at all times, simply asking for and taking in those opinions when possible can be the difference between a leader and those beneath them, and a supportive community,” said Cole Morris, a senior with 3 years of experience and a leader in the theater community.

Mr. Allen displays patience and has an aura of calm and collected while directing. He makes everyone feel comfortable and as confident as possible. During auditions, he would make sure anyone reading for a role or singing was fully ready to go and confident in themselves. As soon as they finished he would applaud them along with many of the other students creating a happy and comfortable feel to a nervous and anxious room. His directing style allows actors to have creative freedom while offering constructive criticisms.

 “He made sure that the people on the production understood that while the play was fun, it was also a piece of art that we were all working together to create… He really helped us embrace traits of ours that made our performances unique. He has good time management and he made sure we all felt as confident as we could when the opening night was approaching,” Tegan Mack, a senior with 2 years of experience in theater, said. 

Since 2014, Mr. Allen has stepped up in many roles and has improved greatly as a director and mentor to his students in theater. Throughout these years many have seen him grow and flourish as a director. 

I’ve noticed Mr. Allen come out of his shell a little more as the years have progressed, and as his role in the theater department has consistently grown. He’s stepped into his position as director this year with plenty of experience, but I appreciate that he continues to bring a bright, young air to the program,” Gabriela Finell, a senior in her 4th year of theater, said. Mr. Allen is a young director and coach who students find relatable.

Mr. Allen, evidently, is a big anime fan, and that in and of itself makes him pretty relatable to other students. He has an understanding of what people my age are into and his charisma makes him stand out as someone friendly and relatable, while his seriousness and efficiency when putting together a production grounds him in my head as an adult. He’s relatable, but very competent,” Tegan Mack explained. 

Throughout his time at San Rafael High as a substitute teacher, a volunteer, and a director, Mr. Allen has shown incredible dedication to his students and has become a staple within the SR community. Through his unique character and relatability with students along with strong leadership, Mr. Allen has been able to get the attention of many students leaving lasting impressions throughout the years. As he continues to progress into his career he will continue to teach and develop young students as he is pursuing his teaching credential. Hopefully, he will be able to continue working with the San Rafael community and continue his dedicated and passionate work within the theater program.

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