A chat with ON THE EXHALE star Dana Schultes on taking the stage

Q: You will be starring in your first one-person show with On the Exhale in our new Evelyn Wheeler Swenson Theatre. The script specifically asks for minimal and limited technical elements, so it really is a showcase for the actress and the story. Without giving too much away, what drew you to this script and what do you think makes it so exciting for you and the audience?

A: I’ve had the pleasure to direct a few one-person shows. I’ve seen a lot more. Among those are some of my favorite theatre experiences, ever. And though I’ve read several over the years for which I might have been a candidate as actor, I never really had any interest in being in one. Until reading this play. On the Exhale (OTE) was brought to my attention by my friend Bronson Davis who had seen it at the Chautauqua Festival. Bronson is a board member and also a Patron of Stage West. He, like many people, has mentioned plays to me over the years. Sometimes I get around to reading them, sometimes I don’t. However, the things he said about OTE really piqued my interest. I sought out the script.

Once I had it to hand, I devoured it. It. Was. Riveting. I could feel my heart beating in my chest as the story unfolded one page to the next. The way that Zimmerman, the playwright, spins the tale of the character we’ve named “Susan,” is fascinating and gripping. I knew I wanted to do the play. The moment I finished reading it, I said to myself, “Oh yeah. I want to do this play. This is the one.” The fact is, I love a good story. It’s what draws me to just about every play we put on the season and that’s what sealed the deal for me with regard to OTE. I can’t wait to share it with audiences.