Erica Berman caught the theater bug early, landing a role in a student production of Peter Pan when she was 7 or 8 years old.
As her passion for performing grew, a desire to write plays also began to take hold of Berman, who grew up in a working-class family in central New Jersey.
“I recently went back home, and I found all these old notepads that I used to write stories in,” recalls Berman, who moved to Wisconsin about six years ago to become director of education and community engagement at Children’s Theater of Madison.
“It was so wonderful to see my young brain hard at work with stories that just poured out of me.”
She wrote her first full-length play in college and began honing her skills as a playwright. In February, the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre will present the world premiere of Berman’s No Wake, a tale of an elderly man on a mission to save the loons of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee before being thwarted by a townie teenager hired to clean the house next door.
“My husband’s family had a cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee. I was so inspired by the place,” Berman says. “I created these two characters who come from very different cultures, have very different world views and are unlikely to see value in one another until they are confronted by their own biases and ultimately form this unlikely bond.”