Sophistry, a Shocking and Funny Coming-of-Age Tale
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The last date listed for Sophistry was Saturday September 12, 2009 / 3:00pm.
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Actress-playwright Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) made history with her play Eclipsed, the first… More
The producers recently caught up with playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about his play, Sophistry. The play was a well-received, off-Broadway comedy done in 1993. Set at an American college, Sophistry begins when a male professor is accused of seducing a male student. The play takes us from there to the hearing, to the disgraced professor’s dismissal, and to the cover-up that follows. The word “sophistry," from the ancient Greek, originally referred to a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric, but it came to apply to a person who was clever at proving a point, and not necessarily imparting the truth. Here are a few highlights from a recent interview with the playwright.
“At heart it’s a play about sexual confusion, and how subjective sexual experience is. And that hasn’t seemed to change a bit. People seem to be just as confused about all that stuff as I was when I was in college, or when my parents were in college. That’s a universal place of confusion for young people. The things I was most interested in were, how can you be present for an event and there can be two different sides to the situation, and both of them plausible. That is the overriding thing that got me interested in writing it. Colleges are hot-beds for this stuff, because someone can tell a story about sex and then you hear another person tell the story, and both sound real, and maybe the details are the same, but the crux of the story is different. And, this might be the case even if you could see the event. What amazed me was how quickly [this play] became a period piece. For one, college in the early ‘90s was pre-Internet and pre-cell phones. And it’s a play about a moment when colleges were just starting to figure out what “sexual harassment” was. How was it pronounced? What it meant? Now a decade and a half later, the superficial things are different, but people are still trying to figure those questions out."
Started in 1997 as a youth theatre company and in 2002 acquired by Jerica Productions, a local media group in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Royal Underground is dedicated to producing groundbreaking, live entertainment presented in grand, theatrical style. Presenting musicals and plays that are challenging, engaging and exciting—shows that often need to find a new voice or a fresh perspective.