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Eric Eberwein


Time in Greater OC: Most of my life

Neighborhood: Huntington Beach

Hometown: Huntington Beach

What are you currently working on?

I'm polishing up a recently completed, full-length play, working on 2 one-acts in progress, running Orange County Playwrights Association. I'm also seeking new member playwrights for OCPA.

What's been inspiring you recently?

1) The clear, recent evidence that the OC theatre scene's appetite for new work has grown.

2) I don't wait for inspiration to write. My work usually comes from notes, often months or years old, reflecting past inspirations or long-held preoccupations.

Tell us a story from your childhood that illuminates who you are as an artist.

My parents fought all the time. Lots of conflict in the house, lots of drama. (They really loved their kids, just didn't like each other.) So I saw some theatre growing up.

What kind of theatre excites you?

Plays that move. Plays written with, or given, a contemporary sensibility. Plays that are inclusive. Plays that present the authentic experiences of POC and the spectrum of gender. Plays that go deep. Plays that go wild. Plays fueled by the logic of the finest and most spellbinding dreams. When I go to the theatre, I don't want to go back to a living room in 1949. Unless you can make 1949 rumble like 2019.

Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

They all write/wrote stuff. Mm, let's see, right now... Maria Irene Fornes. Thornton Wilder. Julia Cho. Inda Craig-Galvan. Qui Nguyen. Howard Korder. Chuck Mee. Donald Margulies. Caryl Churchill. Sharr White. Jose Rivera. Johnna Adams. Erica Bennett. Others. Many, many others.

What's the craziest thing you have ever needed to do for theatre?

Go on in one of my own plays after one of the actors was hauled off to jail.

Outside of a theatre, what's your favorite hot spot in Orange County?

Downtown Santa Ana, Old Towne Orange and, of course, downtown Fullerton.

What surprises you the most about your role in the theatre community?

I don't think I have a "role" per se. I just try to do my best to serve this art form and the people passionate about it.

What advice do you have for theatre artists just starting out in Orange County?

This is really all for theatre makers... Aspire. Dream big rather than small; look up rather than down. Believe you can do the risky plays. Believe you can cast the roles that seem hard or impossible to cast; the actors are out there. Work with people you have never met before, not just people you went to school with. Be inclusive. Cast people of color in leading roles; give them leading positions in your productions or your company. Reject the assumption that only 100 plays exist, 75 of them musicals. Embrace the heat and raw power of the black box aesthetic, not the tepid retrogression of twentieth-century community theatre. Do not give your audience flavorless pablum. Give them plays relevant to their hopes, fears, and dreams.

Go ahead, promote your things...

Eric Eberwein
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