Sharon Yablon has been on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles Theater scene since 1991. Early in her writing career, she creatively took her utterly unique and mysterious worlds to the “stage” by starting Sharon’s Farm. Yablon embraced unconventional theatrical outlets, by presenting her plays in backyards, run down hotels, marijuana dispensaries, and bars as she diligently honed her craft of writing and directing her work.
A Los Angeles native, Yablon pursued her passion for writing after returning to LA, from life in San Francisco in her 20’s. On a lark, she took a playwriting course at UCLA Extension and was inspired by writing exercises to awaken the unconscious led by Kelly Stuart, a talented playwright in her own right. When Stuart recommended that she bring her work to Circus Minimus, an underground gathering of playwrights and actors led by Mick Collins, Yablon’s destiny as a playwright was sealed.
Despite the intimidation of being the only woman playwright in the bunch, the turning point for Yablon came at the now defunct small theater in Hollywood called the Lost Studio. Here, Yablon was encouraged by talented playwrights such as Wes Walker and Guy Zimmerman, as well as the notable playwright, John Steppling. Steppling encouraged her to explore her dark side saying, “Uncensor yourself, Yablon.”
Steppling’s advice gave Yablon the ultimate freedom to give her imagination full reign, combining surrealism with reality. For Yablon, it was her love for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, experimental fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges, and Ray Bradbury’s short stories that inspires her work. Yablon sites other influences as well, including the early work of trash director John Walters and the “freaks“ photographer Diane Arbus, with whom Yablon has always felt a kinship. Yablon notes, “I see my characters as ‘freaks’ in a way, too, because they are not afraid to be the way they are. They don’t have the same filters that most people have for protection….in my plays, there are no judgments.”
Sharon Yablon’s newest play to hit the stage is Hello Stranger, premiering now at the Theatre of N.O.T.E., and directed by Sarah Figoten Wilson. Influenced by her love of sci-fi and diverse knowledge of music, Hello Stranger is embraced with strong and haunting music and images enhanced by her rich, lyrical use of poetic language. As a member of the audience, you are transported to a unique dream world with original and layered characters, that has been ever present in Yablon’s writings. Yablon’s production of Hello Stranger is a theatrical experience that you won’t want to miss. It will capture your imagination and allow you to feel the magical world of Sharon Yablon.
Hello Stranger is showing now at the Theatre of N.O.T.E. in Hollywood, California on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, and closing on November 18th.
Feature photo is of actor, Alexis DeLaRosa, photography by Jim Storm. Feature article and photography by Jim Storm and Dr. Valerie Pronio-Stelluto.