Dylan Waite, Class of 2013

February 22, 2021
Photo of Dylan Waite standing outdoors

In 2013 I graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Theater Studies. Since graduating I have continued to create theater in New York and San Francisco. In 2016, I became a member of the San Francisco Neo-Futurists (an experimental theater company in the city, with sister companies in New York, Chicago and London), and have been working with them both live and remotely ever since. In 2017 I collaborated with fellow SSU alumnus Justin Keim to create We Sold Rome!, a comedia piece set in 193 AD, which was workshopped as part of the American Conservatory Theater MFA program. Since the beginning of the COVID crisis, I have worked with a Puerto Rican theater magazine, Falso Mutis, to develop an original writing technique called Manivela, which involves a sustained period of writing determined by audience feedback, and partnered again with Justin Keim to develop Savannah, an original radio play which is being released by Lanes Coven Theater Company this February. In between all this I have written numerous plays and musicals, which have been mounted in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and one of which (Love Versus the Meteor, 2018) received a brief, disinterested write up in the San Francisco Chronicle. I also spent some time writing for escape rooms in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts.

My experiences in the Sonoma State theater department strengthened the muscles I would come to use in scrappier and more experimental theater productions in my career. Classes which focused on playwriting, dramaturgy and theater history exposed me to a wide variety of plays and critical dramatic theory, which has enabled me to adapt to the challenges of various productions, whether that be how to produce a play in a closet, or how to create a viable dramatic structure without the presence of “characters''. (The Neo-Futurist aesthetic is based around the notion that everything which occurs onstage is real and truthful; I brought many ideas from old classes to discussions of how to work within such parameters.) Moreover, the theater department at Sonoma State was nothing if not generous with the amount of access to resources they provided the students, particularly regarding the smaller performance spaces in Ives Hall. The sheer amount of student driven work we were enabled and encouraged to produce was invaluable in preparing me for the realities of working in some of San Francisco’s more eccentric performance spaces, or self producing something off-off-Broadway. My final year at SSU culminated in the theater department itself producing my original full length play, The Seance. In doing so, they not only provided me with an opportunity to understand the process of writing a full length play and working on it throughout a production, but fixed in my mind a sort of guarantee: if you put in the time, hone your craft and make opportunities for yourself, someone is eventually going to notice and it will pay off. I will never run out of gratitude to the school or the department for providing me with that opportunity, an opportunity that would perhaps not have been possible at a larger school. And then there’s the library. You have to love the library.