Berglund brings years of experience to theater department
Steven Berglund’s tell-it-like-it-is mentality comes from years of experience.
For 30 years, the University Theatre Director and professor has been practicing his craft at Central Michigan University. His involvement in theater dates back to his junior high school days.
“I began in sixth grade doing sketch comedy with my friend," Berglund said. "The teacher gave us the last 45 minutes of class to perform what we had come up with. Once I started doing theatre in junior high, that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Berglund considers himself a formal actor due to his training.
“I’m an actor first and a director second,” he says.
Berglund found a mentor in fellow actor David Knight, who is known for being in the 1964 British horror film “Nightmare" and playing Abraham Lincoln on BBC’s “Sunday Night Theatre.”
“I always hear (Knight's) voice in the back of my head," Berglund said.
Berglund described Knight as tough and demanding. He also said Knight had little tolerance for actors who don't bring their best effort.
He compares his own teaching style to Knight’s, offering honest criticism and expecting the best from his students. Tim Connors, a fellow theater professor, agree and said this about Berglund’s teaching style. He added that some need to be told things aren’t working for them and they need to be honest with themselves.
Berglund said Connors is one of the closest people he’s worked with. Connors has acted in three of Berglund’s directed productions and Berglund has acted in three of Connors' productions. They have been co-actors several times.
“When it comes to his directing, (Berglund) has a clear vision,” Connors said. “He offers guidance to his actors to realize that vision.”
In addition to theater, Berglund also enjoys film, TV and literature. He admires film actors such as Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington, but he can tell a difference between acting in film and acting in theater.
“A film script is usually based around an actor or actress," Berglund said. "Theater is the exact opposite — a theater script has established characters that you can’t change through ad-libbing.”
Theater alumni and Trap Door Improv founding member Greg Orr worked closely with Berglund, meeting him at an audition for a scholarship at Orr’s old high school before Orr was a CMU student.
Orr also acted as an assistant to Berglund during Summer Theatre of his sophomore and junior years. He helped promote shows for Berglund by designing posters and acting as a PR assistant.
Orr said Berglund helped strengthen Trap Door by offering criticism and helping them book The Platform in Moore Hall, where they continue to perform.
“He was hands-off in the best way possible,” Orr said.
Recently, Berglund has been going around the country performing his one-man show, titled “MAN.” He describes it as "a play that is a comic exploration of male expectations and standards.” With faculty member Jody Price as the director, the show has been performed at Theatre Row in New York, known for showcasing plays that you would not normally find on Broadway.