Several years after graduating college, I researched acting schools. I found one in Chicago in which I was interested because one of the instructors had recently received her MFA from the same university from which I graduated. Although that was not the ultimate reason to attend that school, I thought it fun to have that kind of a connection as I prepared to throw myself into a world with which I had very little to no experience. I made an appointment to meet with one of the artistic directors and instructors, Ted Hoerl, but before the date arrived, I happened to attend a party where I had a conversation with one of the then CEOs of the school, Dave Lewis. Dave said he noticed I was to have an interview with Ted the following week and wanted to talk to me about my goals, ideas, and questions. Knowing I was inexperienced with acting classes, he suggested I meet with instructor, director, and actress, Laura Sturm. If Laura felt comfortable working with me, I could sign up for her Beginning Scene Study class. Dave figured Laura and I could bond over having attended the same university at about the same time. Sure enough, Laura was magnificent. She taught me so much and was exactly what I needed to help me grow as a person and artist. I can not begin to say how much work and effort Laura put into tearing down my emotional and physical defense walls one brick at a time. She fully understood all the barriers I placed to defend myself from the world after losing my sight. She made sure to provide me a safe environment in which to experiment and learn. She knew when to be understanding and go easy on me as well as knowing when to push me and demand more from me. As I made more and more breakthroughs as I advanced through the program, others took notice. By the time I completed my time at the school, Ted Hoerl praised me for being willing to stick it out and challenge myself. He said that by the time I had finished, I had put myself in a position to be on the verge of being an artist. All I had to do was take the leap and dive into the water. Ted said it was obvious that the work Laura did with me was making a difference. Three years after I first met Laura Sturm to see if she would want me in her class, she attended a performance of a play I had written and in which I was starring at Chicago's Prop THTR. It was such an emotional night for both of us. I finally had the opportunity to show Laura what I could do on a professional theater stage. She finally had a chance to watch her effort pay off by watching me "go for it" in front of a live audience and critics.
Laura has remained one of my dear friends. This beautiful, talented, amazing woman will always have a place in my heart. I will always cheer for her continued success. I will always find myself learning and growing as an artist and person through knowing and observing Laura. She is currently starring in a production of Bernard Slade's award winning Same Time, Next Year at the Skokie Theater. Performances run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through February 22. General admission tickets are $28. Discounts are available for students and seniors.
Here is a theater review from Evanston Now:
You can get tickets at the following site: