Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interview with Playwright Steve Sherman of "On Campus"

By Byrne Harrison

Steve Sherman is a playwright whose On Campus is currently receiving its world premiere at the LABA Theater at 14th Street Y. He received degrees in acting and theater education from Western Washington University where his original play, Brian and Joe, received an award that sent him to the Kennedy Center to study acting and playwriting. His plays have been produced and read regionally and in NYC. Find out more at www.stevesherman.com/.

I talked to Steve about On Campus and his theatre company, his charity work, and what's on tap for him in 2011.

Tell me a little bit about your charity work with Esperanza.

I went to Tijuana and worked with Esperanza during spring break for a few years in college. I took part in building houses, retaining walls, etc. The people in the communities that we helped made an even greater impact on my friends and I, inspiring us by their warmth, faith and friendship. It really makes you realize what is important in life.

How did that work inspire On Campus?

There was a two year old named Dona that I entertained while working on the foundation of a house for her family. The following year I visited them and she remembered me! I was surprised and very touched. The character I play, falls in love with an exchange student from Mexico, that I named after her. She has a few monologues that are autobiographical, and the character (played by Sarah Saunders) is a very beautiful person that, I think, gives us a sense of the people who inspired me.

Your play deals with the pressures associated with being in college. What would you recommend to a college student who is feeling overwhelmed?

Enjoy college and don't let the work overload and social drama get to you. It is a time where we think decisions are really going to decide our lives, but they really don't. College is the only time of life where we are surrounded by thousands of other young adults and have constant opportunities for new life experiences and activities. So, when things get overwhelming, just breathe, know that in the end it's not going to be a huge deal, and go play some ultimate Frisbee!

Tell me a little bit about True Light Productions.

This is the production company I started with Hana Kalinski. On Campus is our first production. Our mission statement is to produce compelling works of theater and film with uplifting messages about relevant situations and relationships that enlighten us to the commonalities we share.

What's next for the company?

My one-act play Remembering Kimberly was a finalist last year for The Network's one-act festival, and I would like to turn it into a film. I'm also working on a new screenplay, as well as turning a few other plays into screenplays, including my award-winning show Brian and Joe, which I would like to do more on the NY stage!

On Campus plays through Saturday, March 26th (Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm) at the LABA Theater at 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues, NYC).

Tickets are $18 ($12 with valid student I.D.) and are now available online at www.Theatermania.com or by calling 212-352-3101. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the theatre’s Box Office, a half-hour before the performance.

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