Tonight, Sarang Sharma ’15 and Ben Krevalin ’15 will present their senior theatre thesis “Are You Alone?” at Yulman Theater. Sharma sat down to discuss the difference between working in film and theater and the anxieties of graduating into the real world.
Jenna Salisbury: As a theater major, what do you love about the discipline?
Sarang Sharma: Well, one way to explain it is through this quote by Sean Penn: “Acting on film is like masturbating, while acting on stage is the most incredible sexual experience.” The action is more gritty and raw live and there is more intimacy between the actors, the producers and the audience. There is a certain beauty to acting on stage that isn’t captured on film.
JS: What is “Are You Alone?” about?
SS: The show is kind of about maturity, set in present day NYC. It’s not the most important part of the show but it’s an underlying theme of the play. The play focuses on the thought process about starting your life after college. The main character, Noah, played by Krevalin, is a college graduate, and his career hasn’t really picked up. He hasn’t started life yet. His plans, like starting a restaurant, fall through, so he kind of struggling career wise.
Amidst this life crisis, he finds himself in a very serious predicament. He has put himself in bad position and seeks the help of his friends. However, he lies to them in order to coax them into helping him with his problem, and eventually his lying gets out of hand.
The play addresses morality and the repercussions of lying and. It’s also about maturity, and learning to accept responsibility for the choices you make. And it addresses those scary, uncertain thoughts that every student has after graduation.
JS: What served as your inspiration for this production? Was there anyone who influenced creatively?
SS: A couple years ago I was thinking about senior thesis, and was going to do a male version of the Vagina Monologues called Cock Tales. Then I wanted to make it more of a story of growth and self-conflict. And Ben had created the main protagonist already and built on that idea with his character. The character was made before the story, and he’s kind of a reflection of both Ben and I. I play another character and I find a lot of himself in me.
The things that have happened to us are actually in the play as well so it’ s very relatable not only to us, but to other people, because the experiences Noah has are things that we have all run into or will run into eventually.
JS: What kind of message do you hope your play will evoke? What do you want the audience to take away from your play?
SS: It’s a story that’s supposed to be relatable but also serve as an entertaining escape from reality. I hope this play will provoke audience members to contemplate on their own lives and face themselves. The last moment of the play especially leads “youngins” to the idea that its ok to be afraid and uncertain and answers rhetorical question, “Are You Alone?” which is no, you’re not alone. It’s an optimistic message hidden in a pessimistic play.
If you wanted to classify this play, I’d call it a dark comedy and from the get go it’s a wild ride. Even the music kind of reflects the craziness of the play; heavy metal, loud, wild, in your face music.
JS: Considering you are both seniors on the cusp of graduation, what are your plans for life beyond Union?
SS: Well next week I have a bunch of interviews for conservatories, which are basically alternatives to grad school, and a good way to get your name out there and network. I plan on moving to New York City to pursue acting, and eventually move to LA.
Sharma’s project partner Ben Krevalin is an organizing theme major specializing in business entertainment.
Krevalin is also hoping to live in NYC and pursue a career in finance.
“Are You Alone?” premieres Thursday, May 14.