One Man's Issues

Why bury your most embarrassing experiences deep down where only a psychiatrist can reach them when you can bring them to a stage for a live audience's viewing pleasure? That's playwright Scott Sherven's m.o.

His first completed play, a fast-paced one-man show called Out with Norm, opens with Sherven getting ragged on by fellow lunchbox-toting midgets in kindergarten because he was "a nerd with big glasses and this funny thing I've always had with my eyes." The story line sweeps the audience along on a coming-of-age journey, right up to the present, when the 27-year-old has carved out a life in the theater. The material, Sherven says, is "99.9 percent true to life" -- even the part about "going through puberty and getting to know yourself better" (a scene that could include Vaseline as a prop). So why not call the play Out with Scott? "My middle name is Norman," Sherven answers. "Plus, the title plays on the idea of what's 'normal' and not 'normal.' This story is not normal." In addition to the punch lines, it features multimedia projection and a magic show.

Sherven grew up in the Midwest, then followed a cousin to South Florida ("Gay Town" in the play), where he worked in various theaters. Now, in addition to writing, he's started a production company called Normantown. Two other plays are in the works. About having big aspirations in a small city, Sherven says, "I was always going to work in a smaller market and then go to New York," he says. But so far, Fort Lauderdale has suited him just fine. Besides, why go to New York when your very first play is selling out?

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Deirdra Funcheon