Kooper Baldwin and Mason Thomas

Recorded July 10, 2020 Archived July 10, 2020 39:58 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019894


Best friends Kooper Baldwin (18) and Mason Thomas (18) talk theater, their hopes and fears of getting away from home for college, and what it was like to grow up queer in a conservative town.

Subject Log / Time Code

K.B. and M.T. talk about going to Boise, ID for college, what they're looking forward to and what they're scared of.
M.T. asks K.B. what scares them about being alone. K.B. responds, "my thoughts."
K.B. and M.T. discuss their careers in High School theater and their hopes for after undergrad.
They talk about coming out and what it's like to be gay and queer in a small conservative town.
They talk about their deepest hopes for one another.


  • Kooper Baldwin
  • Mason Thomas

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type



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00:03 My name is Mason Thomas. I am 18 years old. It is Friday, July 10th 2020. I'm in Lewiston, Idaho. I am with my conversation partner kooper Baldwin and they are one of my best friends.

00:26 Do old white tattoo?

00:30 Sorry, I'm Cooper Baldwin. I am also 18 today's date is Friday, July 10th 2020.

00:38 Lewiston Idaho, this is Mason Thomas and he is also my best friend.

00:52 So, how's the weather I know?

00:58 Do you got dumped like Ryan to this? Do you feel like you're ready to go to Boise for college? I am anxious about it every single day.

01:17 Are you like?

01:20 I'm assuming you're still excited to go of course. So like what would you say you're most excited about jumping into a major that is going to put me into a path that I'm really looking forward to in my life.

01:43 What do you think that is? What is that? My hope is to eventually become a actor on Broadway and a playwright.

01:58 When we go to Boise, what are you most excited for? I'm

02:06 I mean, I'm most excited to get out of the valley I think but

02:12 Also, just getting to do theater still and I think I'm most excited about trying and getting to do a lot of poetry and I hope that I can go and do some other slam poetry of hair down there. So, that'd be cool to get involved in.

02:49 Are you excited to be living mostly on your own?

02:56 It's something very scary for me because I have dependents so much on my mother with everything that's happened in my life. But I'm also excited to become an adult and start learning how to take care of myself in a way that I definitely need to be able to do.

03:16 So when are you going to learn how to drive?

03:20 I'm taking my permit test.

03:23 2nd, okay.

03:25 I mean, I probably won't be able to drive like I actually drive and get my test and everything until we come back for like winter break, but I am excited to get my permit.

03:37 So I can practice driving and get over by car anxiety.

03:47 It's about to get serious to do. What are you most scared about going to live on your own 6 hours away from home?

04:05 I'm worried that do I know I'll have you and I'll have other friends down there though make or Delray have if I'm afraid of like 6 moving myself or like you alone being too alone. But at the same time, I'm afraid of everyone that's down there.

04:27 Like the three roommates

04:32 But yeah.

04:35 Don't want to be alone either.

04:45 What scares you about being alone?

04:49 My thoughts.

04:55 Being alone is associated with being in the dark. I don't know why but I just feel I get real paranoid real fast. And then I think the book is that as well.

05:17 It's the fear of do I am alone? And I might know that I am alone.

05:24 I might not be there could be some in the sterilizer.

05:31 How about you you won't do you fear being alone? It's a mixed thing. I

05:41 I know that if I am on my own I very easily going to depressive States and I start to exclude myself from everything even when people want me around but at the same time I'm excited for it because of specially when I lived in my father's house. It's not something I ever got and it's it's new and exciting for me, but I

06:08 I'm aware of something I need.

06:11 I need to learn to cope with it.

06:15 Looks better.

06:23 How long have you two known each other?

06:28 Sophomore year or so about three years. We met each other. We had an English class together and sophomore year and then end up doing theater together as well.

06:39 And you thought I was weird. I still think you're weird but in a very good way.

06:55 Technically I knew about you and I sprayed.

07:00 Yeah.

07:07 Oh, my greens are working.

07:14 Always know each other longer than I was really aware of. Oh, yeah, like I'm aware. It's been a few years like my brain doesn't do time very well.

07:27 Also

07:30 What's it first semester sophomore year, we had English off Lori. We had the the the really cool on right?

07:43 Turn on James James James the show.

07:53 Yeah.

07:58 Then we did drugs together. We did Andy together and then we were supposed to play Kola leads in our show this year and that didn't happen. But it was it was still important for us and our friendship playing cold leads together in a show.

08:14 It was emotional few. We met great people like Jameson Emily and the the piece we did together was for me personally, very emotional and moving.

08:39 It was very emotional afterwards cuz I I genuinely thought you hated me afterwards cuz I felt I felt like I didn't make it to State and I felt like I was being ridiculous. But in the moment, I was like she hates me. I don't I didn't and then when we looked back at the notes we learned but it was because of a lack of movement and it was slow because we didn't have a

09:17 Other songs with the lyrics I will not do that. I think you can't wait.

09:32 Mix and the song you can't have it be like one song put a little bit one song in the mail and then at but I think one of the wicked groups did that and I think I can do that with the carry stuff.

09:48 Yeah, yeah. Yes you did.

09:52 Oh, yeah.

09:56 I hope when we went to the BSU fast and they say that competition is still like something like not the high school level of course, but, we can still do something about cuz if we join like CMA theater Raiders Association, I could play. Well, I think they said that they do like Countrywide really really hope that doing that you can get like a big scholarships or will there be so nice? I don't have the money ready to be in bed for the rest of my life. So what are you planning on doing to help pay with your dad?

10:46 I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do after college, really.

10:52 Don't want no I would love to go onto Broadway or any other time figure theater company comes that my uncle brought up wouldn't be doing acting off Cruise. If you know how they do like shows on cruise for a bus fare be kind of cool to do at some point. I would like a few Circle.

11:31 Am I cool?

11:35 More like what are you planning on doing lights? Not right after college, but right up and I will finish statistics usually once in every like 18 auditions get you a call back and then you don't even get like a sad all the time. I can get a job or to rent there is expensive, but the hope is that I will eventually do well enough in an audition from how can I learn enough while we're in school to do well in auditions. And then once I get into acting I could like start doing the play right thing or if I were to do the play right thing for a little while after college and then I get it noticed then maybe move mountains New York like find and Off-Broadway venue to do a show in and then

12:35 Send acting after that it's those are kind of the two popes my biggest hope it's that I don't end up in a situation like my mother. I love my mother. Don't get me wrong, but she has two degrees. She doesn't use either of them to make money, but she works a desk job and she is still years later paying off debt has seventy thousand plus dollars in debt, and that's not what I wanted. That's better and working on Broadway. I could pay that money off pretty easily.

13:09 Do you think that like in getting to New York you would probably like to live with Ethan back to your vents or something like that? She's told me that while it's always been out like a requirement and if I figure things out if I go there with anyone else obviously need help that I can anytime reach out to Hannity and Becky and they'll help me if I need anything. They'll be there anything.

13:41 Which is nice because they're very important people in my life.

13:51 And now brain

14:11 If if you weren't going to Boise for college and you couldn't go anywhere else a state, where would you think you would have been going that was actually U of I was originally my first option school, but then when I found out about the Broadway or Broadway Theater program at BSU, that's when I kind of pushed by I get hers and decide if they have like the Broadway shows that comes like the traveling shows that come through and actually stopped at there's not Stadium campus. I can meet the people at work with that because the theater Majors get to work with those kind of things and I'm really sorry about that. I would have ended up going to you'll die cuz they are technically the number one for my art school in the northwest.

15:04 And I mean to have a serious talk to you about the Broadway coming through thing.

15:10 Like through BSU. I mean we talked about it, but I feel like I talk about something serious said that one of their husbands as well as a serious subject doing check work. Like I actually enjoy Tech I think I'll after should you pack it teaches them a level of respect for the people that work on their shows it honestly keeps actress pretty humble All actors need and it's a learning experience and you can be a better actor. If you also know how that works. I've never done backstage at I've only done light.

16:03 So

16:05 I haven't had like I've had the experience of like being on pack but I haven't had the experience of being so like it's a stop at a different experience and I haven't done anything when you're in the lights. No one knows you're there. They always forget but when your basket at either you become best friends with everyone or their root beer.

16:44 Are people ever rude to you when like during our Nest has to be helpful, which is kind of Health After the Dark web work. They were never like on the way to help really until like after shows in mail made them.

17:10 What shows did you do? I didn't do.

17:15 All of the murder show I didn't do it, but I didn't get cast.

17:24 I didn't do Folly senior year or sophomore year Junior Heroes and Senior sophomore and Senior year. I didn't participate Follies.

17:36 I think I did everything else.

17:39 And then we even did stuff for CHS like the haunted house and there's a Giant Peach.

17:50 Did you just do it our junior year, you know sophomore year. I didn't know that it was something we could participate in junior year was a lot of fun because I was like the very first segment people did not like seeing me pop out of a TV with a way gone and then Senior Year I was supposed to but I had to drop my dad's Sharon. Yeah, they made me drop it because of everything.

18:19 I didn't do it to you earlier. Then we also had this great shows going on at that time.

18:28 That was a whole awesome junior year.

18:31 In the Mets just having that in the Mets. Oh well junior year. We literally jumped from like for 6 months straight. We were busy. We had like the straight shows. We had the haunted house and then we got a very short break for like a couple weeks. We did the musical.

18:54 Call Tisha optician in in the musical the musical overlapped with the beginning of one acts. It was a lot in our sophomore year with the review was worried. We did not get a break sophomore year. We did two musicals straight Show the review.

19:20 Follis and one acts and during that time sophomore year. I was doing the show The Roxy I was doing like five shows at a time like it was right. It was in September. So right before October.

19:48 Stop timer. Wang Chicago was going on and I was up to in that doing this right shows and then I feel so sad that I never got in Chicago, even though as like Ensemble because then I never got to work at the Civic Theater and I would have loved to work with our Civic because I I don't want all of them, but I love him by George Michael and Rebecca and everything. And so I'm sad that I didn't go.

20:21 I was originally going to be backstage tech for that and then serious was like no. I want them to come up here.

20:33 Because they thought I've done my face before and that was my first time doing Spotlight. And I said after that when I said I would never do it again and then months later I was asked to come and subs for Shiba and then I was asked to come and do it for she love me again. What's the last day? What was that again? That was because of going to the Boise trip and I think Eliza, where do you think you would be without the

21:11 Spinners like such a large role in both of our lives at this point.

21:19 I don't even know.

21:21 I

21:24 Well, I don't know. I probably still wouldn't do sports like any other sports, or maybe I would finally be convinced by my parents to do football. I probably honestly I probably

21:42 Play the video games non-stop. I think I'm my brother, my brother.

21:50 Did I do all that I would.

21:56 Probably not have

22:00 I don't know.

22:02 There is a lot in my life that has been affected by theater. Yeah in the seventh grade in my second show ever. I almost dropped because of one of my friends being like, yeah, I think I want my I like told my

22:23 I told my parents about it and they're like you're committed to the show do it for my dad. He's very much you committed to this. You knew what you were doing. You've done it before he's going to be like

23:04 I wish my brother was more like in the theater cuz I don't know why but I need his validation.

23:13 Again, I don't know why but the fact that he stopped coming to shows as soon as I got to high school, maybe.

23:25 Wells

23:27 Do you want to meet your other?

23:36 I wish everyone was more in the theater not like they're still supporters of the Arts and I can't mess it up.

23:51 And if you do mess up pretend you to act like you didn't mess up.

24:03 Still you make it

24:10 What going to family reunions?

24:17 Yeah, yeah, just put on a straight face.

24:24 Bird

24:27 Are you good?

24:33 Open Voice family the family reunions. I've gone to are all on my dad's side. And on Tremont by her dad's side of the family. I don't know or see that often. So I haven't really had the chance to and a lot of them are.

24:57 I can't say that they are or I can't say that they are against it because I don't know them well enough but

25:07 By the certain people died, met

25:10 Not fair

25:17 But I'm outside the family.

25:20 Anna song

25:23 At the very least they're quiet.

25:30 Which way when I came out in the 7th grade?

25:36 My cousin Hebrew like told me that no matter what you'd love me and life was super supportive and I told my mom about it and she's like, I'm really surprised you'd be like that. Yeah, like my mom was absolutely shocked that he would think that he would be

26:05 As interesting

26:14 Would you all say that Lewiston is conservative?

26:19 Yeah, how's it like to be like gay queer identifying you and conservative town? And remember I answer this question to yourself.

26:34 I don't even know how to sing for me because I'm growing up even in like a conservative homophobic household my dad's it was hard enough. So I like took my time coming out even just to them and then seeing a lot of people in this Valley are treated and in Lewiston. Honestly, it's not as big of a deal start as in Clarkston Clarkston deals more with like it's like pretty bad homophobia over there and everything and more racism, but it's still pretty conservative Ally. So while I am a very outspoken person and I will deal with that kind of thing. It's also scary because we have a ton of conservatives in this Valley and as we learned recently,

27:29 None of them are scared to carry two fully loaded automatic weapons down the street bar town.

27:40 That was in as

27:45 People part of the trans Community. That's very scary thing because

27:50 Transgender people have a much higher rate of murders.

28:03 Like I know that.

28:05 Because we are in a very conservative Valley. There isn't a loss support for that. I I'm still surprised but really like glad said there are so many people that are out about everything like I'm so happy we have fried. I'm so happy that we

28:27 What are so many people out there that aren't afraid they're gone continue living their lives. No matter what is a little puppy and that's why I really enjoy where I work because working for Mindy. It is a very openly supportive area. They

28:54 Like enjoy hiring people that are part of the LGBT community. They are very supportive of the community. They help run Pride started pride and like it was actually working under Mindy for my senior hours is part of what gave me the courage to come out as trans.

29:18 Yes.

29:28 Head, down

29:37 You think that if you were still living with your dad and Sharon, do you think you'd be out?

29:50 I was very suicidal when I was living at my father's house + living in.

30:00 Am I allowed to ask you a question?

30:03 You can okay, cuz we're talking like my dad and stepmother and how I was treated there. What kind of language am I allowed to use?

30:16 We can store this archive under private and only you will be able to do it.

30:22 Well, it doesn't matter it. Just if I were to quote something that was said to me. Yeah.

30:30 But living in a house where I was told things like when people were like kneeling for the anthem if we were to take all those bags and put them on the front line and then he shot in the head or where I was told I was going to go to conversion therapy or literally Sharon has threatened to kill me more than once on top of that goes soon as I don't like either think that Sharon would have done something by now for being honest or I would have killed myself.

31:12 How is Psych?

31:19 Who's like a major support for you during that time?

31:25 Vince Vince was a lot of help for me. It took me a very long time to realize that he was stranded not just a man with low testosterone, but I did find out and I reached out to him and he was very supportive.

31:45 Mel is a very big one. She would always there to listen Rebecca was especially during drowsy with a very big support for me.

31:56 Ethan didn't know until months later, but you can spank my life for years. I thought about that for

32:05 Is mostly people in theater and then my mom and my cousin, but for the most part it was theater theater has saved my life.

32:22 What's something that you hope for each other? Like this is genuinely for my heart what I hope for you to each other.

32:34 I hope

32:38 I hope that you absolutely get to go visit. I hope that you absolutely make it to New York. I hope that you become an absolute star. I hope you write the best show a trick, and I know that you're capable. I hope that you

32:59 I hope that you

33:01 Make

33:03 Even better friends than you have now.

33:10 But

33:13 I hope that you find yourself and make yourself a community of just absolutely loving people that show you love and give you the love that you need deserve and I hope that you say words for forever cuz I know you what was writing poetry.

33:40 Atlanta so I hope that you make it really big as a rider and if you like pursue pursue acting obviously making that but you love riding and I hope you write a really big show that maybe one of the longest runs in Broadway history or something like that. But I also hope that throughout life because I know that like you're aware of your daddy and everything, but I hope that you come to fully accept yourself.

34:13 Yes.

34:31 Tell me if you're okay with Dalton to this.

34:35 It's a little shaky, but do you how do you think your relationship with you as God continue in Boise?

34:46 I like I can begin with deal with like pretty severe anxiety and paranoia. So I'm if we're being honest, I'm very worried that he's going to find some like cute lesbian and they're going to click but I also am aware that logically her and I care for each other very much. I have no intentions of ever doing anything to hurt her. I'm sure that she doesn't have any intention to hurt me. She's a very kind very loving person. I know that both of us have commitment fears and commitment issues, but we've been together for

35:25 Almost two years. She makes me very happy and I personally would very much like the hope that our past continues very well and we end up like married or at least like together for the rest of our lives. I really really hope that you to stay together.

35:57 They're one of the best people that ever coming to my life.

36:04 Eve is probably my longest friend currently. Yeah, but so you can't steal her away from me but

36:14 Is my wife you can't take their my partner?

36:22 Okay.

36:25 We can share.

36:39 Bring it on again.

36:52 What was your favorite part about?

37:01 It was the first lead I've ever gotten to show.

37:04 And the character I played was simultaneously very similar to me and that he was very imaginative and he cared a lot about like pretty much everything.

37:22 But it's in time. We were very different because he was very outwardly like that and that's more like what's inside of me. I tend to be a lot more stoic and try not to show how I feel and what I am doing or anything like that.

37:39 So it made me learn and step outside my comfort zone, but while also getting you something I wasn't used to.

37:48 Yeah, also playing 11 year old boy was very hard for me and basically an 11 year old boy.

38:00 With the two minutes that we have left. I would like to ask a question kind of liquor around the question, which is

38:07 If you could say something to your younger queer selves, what would it be?

38:17 For me it would be to tell myself that.

38:24 I need to know that my mother and a lot of my cousins and family on my mother's side and In My Father's Side, even though they didn't talk to us for a long time would be there to support me and that I shouldn't be so afraid of my stepmother.

38:42 I would tell my younger self to not be afraid to talk to people about it. Cuz though I was I was out to so many people I never I tried my hardest not to talk about it. I was almost ashamed of it because I didn't know how they were going to feel if I talk to them about it. And that was very big with my mom. I have a lot of things just away from her and then when I finally did it was about to release and I just wish I would have done that sooner.

39:20 Anything any last words you want to share?

39:26 This is just been a great experience for me getting to talk about these things openly and

39:33 Yeah, not being worried about it.

39:37 Feeling safe

39:40 I want to thank you Mason for doing this with me.