Ask Adam Seybold ’00 what offered both the greatest beneﬁt to his life while causing the most consternation for his parents, and he’ll say with a laugh, “abandoning my plan for law school to study acting.”
A psychology major at Grove City College, Seybold seemed to be following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Kevin Seybold, chair of the Department of Psychology and professor of psychology at the College. But the younger Seybold decided to take a year break prior to starting law school to explore the beauty and cultural offerings in Oregon’s largest city. One year became two, and Seybold found work and a thriving art and theatre scene in Portland. Seybold had, after all, performed in Grove City College productions since he had the good fortune to be discovered by Betsy (Boak ’77) Craig, associate professor of English and theatre, a neighbor who became his mentor, for a production of The Music Man at the age of nine. College gave him more opportunities to act, even as he continued on a degree and career goal that was decidedly different. Now, here he was in Portland, faced with a choice: law school or follow a less certain dream.
He began acting lessons with well-respected acting coach Christine Menzies. “It was Christine who told me about the great graduate acting curriculum at the University of York in Toronto. She’d graduated from there and said that the program was one of the best.” Since receiving his master’s degree from York, Seybold, his wife and a third fellow York graduate have founded the Quickening Theatre in Toronto where Seybold still lives. “The company formed after the creation of our ﬁrst original work, The Children’s Museum. In September 2007, we hopped on a plane to San Francisco to present the show at that city’s Fringe Festival. Not only had we never written or produced a play, but we were also in a new city without easy access to an audience.
Our ﬁrst performance was monumental, and it sparked the beginning of our desire to produce our own work again and again. When the lights came up at our curtain call and our audience of nine people stood up and clapped, we were elated. There was nothing more incredible in our lives than the moment when nine unknown people responded to a story that we needed to tell.
His latest play, The De Chardin Project was featured at the College’s Christian Writer’s Conference in March. A story of struggle and the human power of creation, Seybold focuses the writing, acting and directing of the story on the life and work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher, paleontologist, geologist and Jesuit priest, who controversially theorized evolution as a process by which God is drawing creation toward a state of supreme consciousness. His synthesis of theology, paleontology and evolutionary theory was inﬂuential in the emerging ﬁeld of evolutionary biology, though it also put him in conﬂict with the Catholic Church.
“I think that some of life’s biggest challenges deﬁnitely are the catalyst for incredible creativity,” he said. “No matter how painful, how heartbreaking moments in life can be, I think the possibility for something incredible to be created inevitably follows. I’m thrilled when people ﬁnd that message in my work.”