Erik Sternberger finds it easy to relate to his central role in The :nv:s:ble Play, which continues through Saturday in an area premiere at MadLab Theatre.
"I get where Colin is coming from," Sternberger said.
The actor, 34, is the same age as Colin and has experienced a little bit of office life – the focus of Alex Dremannís two-act play about co-workers toiling away in various degrees of social invisibility.
Currently in marketing as a writer of iPad applications for pharmaceutical companies, Sternberger formerly worked for six years at an office building near Polaris.
"When you first start with a company, itís new and fresh, but over time, you start seeing the cycles like the ones that happen in a long-term relationship, and you can get numb to that," Sternberger said.


Erik Sternberger as Colin, left to right, with Chad Hewitt as Tim and Megan Corbin as Nancy in the MadLab Theatre production of The :nv:s:ble Play. Photo credit: Andy Batt

Dremannís comic drama revolves around Colin, who fades into invisibility at a publishing company for books about existentialism.
"Colin is the closest to myself that Iíve played as an actor," Sternberger said.
"He's the typical office drone whoís been at the company long enough thatís he numb to pretty much everything. Itís a battle for him to get back to feeling something. He doesnít believe in anything, but knows that something is missing from his life."
When his last friend at the office is let go, Colin begins to vanish.
"He feels as if something isnít quite right," Sternberger said.
"It becomes more of a struggle for him to get people to notice him – until they donít notice him at all."


Erik Sternberger as Colin, left to right, with Katharine Pilcher as Fran in MadLab Theatreís production of The :nv:s:ble Play Photo credit: Andy Batt

Colin initially longs for a romantic relationship with Fran, another co-worker. But she doesnít notice him – partly because he approaches her indirectly, through email and voice mail.
"That doesnít work because no one knows you if you only communicate that way," Sternberger said.
Eventually, Colinís experiences force him to ponder serious questions about love, life and the nature of reality.
Sternberger views the two-act play as a satirical comedy, with Colin as the straight man for everyone elseís jokes.
Faced with Colinís metaphoric situation, most people in real life have the choice to either draft into the scenery or strike out and go for something new, he said.
"A lot of us fall into Colinís safer pattern," Sternberger said.
"It may be safer day in and day out, but in the long run itís not as healthy or happy for people."

IF YOU GO
The :nv:s:ble Play
MadLab Theatre, 227 N. 3rd St.
Contact: 614-221-5418, www.madlab.net
Showtimes: 8 p.m. Friday Sept. 13 and Saturday and Sept. 14
Tickets: $12, $10 for students and senior citizens, $8 for MadLab members