After graduating from Northland High School in 1987, Jeremy Sony attended the University of Notre Dame with a goal of becoming a mechanical engineer.

After graduating from Northland High School in 1987, Jeremy Sony attended the University of Notre Dame with a goal of becoming a mechanical engineer.

The following year, on a panel of students speaking to incoming freshman about what they could expect, Sony offered three pieces of advice:

Buy a camera and use it often.

Never eat alone in the dining hall; it's harder to make friends that way.

Don't be afraid of changing your major; lots of students graduate in something other than they originally planned.

"Follow your heart because it knows where it's going," Sony told the freshman.

Sony's heart has led him to the post of managing director of Theatre Daedalus, a community group now entering its second season. It was started, not by actors, as is more frequently the case, but by playwrights: Sony, Jaclyn Villano and Michael S. Parsons.

After producing their own works and those of playwrights from around the country last year, the founders have decided for the second season to stage plays rarely performed by community theater groups. It's a way of "paying homage to the craft," Parsons said.

"You've got to know who your masters are; you've got to know who your influences are before you can go on to anything else," he said. "If we don't know where we've been, we can't see where we're going."

Next up is David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Glengarry Glen Ross," which will be staged March 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27 at Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit St.

Llewellyn B. "Bo" Rabby, professor emeritus of theater and dance at Ohio Wesleyan University, is directing.

"They are selecting a unique set of plays to do, and that's what really attracted me to the group," Rabby said. "To be able to find a place to produce their own work is really important. In the U.S. today it just doesn't exist."

The group, whose Web site motto is "forging wings for the imagination," is named for the master craftsman from Greek mythology who constructed a labyrinth to contain the Minotaur. Eventually imprisoned in his own maze along with son Icarus, Daedalus created wings from feathers and wax to enable them to fly away, but the impetuous youth rose too close to the sun so that the wax melted and he plummeted to this death.

So the playwrights went with Daedalus, not Icarus.

"I suppose it came from the idea that I've seen a lot of theater companies and other projects that have a tendency to fly or not fly at all," Parsons said.

"To us, from my understanding and the reading I've done, we went with that name mostly because he was a master artisan," said Sony, once again a resident of the Northland area after stints in Chicago and Los Angeles. "We wanted to recognize his vision and his ingenuity, so we often tell the stories of him forcing the wings of feathers and wax so he and Icarus could escape the labyrinth."

Theatre Daedalus

begins to take off

Sony, 30, who grew up in Columbus, switched majors at Notre Dame several times before finally settling on film and television. He also appeared in some plays in college, but never felt it was anything he wanted to do with his life.

After moving back to Columbus in October 2003, Sony said that he saw a notice for an audition for Curtain Players, a Westerville community theater. Recalling how much he enjoyed acting in college, Sony tried out and landed a part. He became involved in the troupe, eventually joining the board and even serving as president.

"Along the way I got back into writing and started writing plays," Sony said. "Through that, I actually got into the Curtain Players' playwright festival a few times."

In 2008, all three co-founders of Theatre Daedalus had works in the festival. Sony knew Parsons from having appeared in one of his locally produced plays in 2004. He and Villano met at Notre Dame.

Villano said that she's been writing plays since, as a 6-year-old, she got a children's puppet theater for Christmas. In a class at Notre Dame with Sony, she was fortunate enough to have one of her plays picked to be staged.

"I remember sitting in the audience thinking, 'I'm terrified and I'm elated and I'm totally alive,' " Villano recalled.

She also was hooked.

With Parsons having quit his job to enter the master's program in writing plays at Kent State University, the trio came up with the idea of writing a series of 10-minute plays as an exercise to prep Parsons for his studies.

That led to "Project 10," a staging of the 10 best 10-minute plays in the Madlab Theatre's performance space, which in March is moving to 227 N. Third St.

Theatre Daedalus was eventually created in order to have a company of actors and crew members to stage those plays.

In summer 2009, they reprised "Project 10" with a new lineup of short plays at the Columbus Performing Arts Center's Shedd Theatre.

After that, Sony said, came a production of the first full-length play, "Unanswered, We Ride," a one-woman show by Villano. It was put on in the intimate setting of the Wild Goose Creative gallery space.

In January, Theatre Daedalus put on a 48-hour theater festival called "Caught in the Act," in which playwrights from central Ohio, Cleveland, Seattle and even one submitting a work from Alaska produced plays by writing in the space of a dozen hours, with the top five or six picked by directors to have staged.

Well over 100 people turned out during the course of the event, which Sony felt was not bad for a cold night in January.

"We're in our second season now," he said. "It is our first season of full works, but we consider it our second season of being a theater company."

"We definitely have that different calling," Parsons said of playwrights coming together to form a company. "I think it does make a tangible difference in both the kinds of projects we choose and the focus we take in our productions. I think it's infinitely harder to come from the playwright's point of view, and I think it's more exciting."

"In terms of where we are now, I'm thrilled by just the vast talent of the people we have on board," Villano said. "They've put us in a position to really go forward."

The winner gets a Cadillac, the losers hit the road.

Those are the heartless rules for the real estate salesmen in David Mamet's drama "Glengarry Glen Ross," for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

Theatre Daedalus, a local company founded by three playwrights, including Northland resident Jeremy Sony, will be staging the play beginning March 12 at Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit St.

April Olt is producing the play, which is being directed by Llewellyn B. "Bo" Rabby, for nearly 40 years an instructor in theater and dance at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The cast for the play, which will continue through March 27, includes Randy Benge as Shelley Levene, Gregory Kimbro as John Williamson, Nick Baldasare as Dave Moss, Joel Cohen as George Aranow, Tim Browning as Richard Roma, Dale Bush as James Lingk and Larry Cole as Baylen.

Benge, Browning and Bush are members of the Theatre Daedalus ensemble.

Mamet, who was born in Flossmoor, Ill., outside of Chicago, in 1947, based the play on his experiences as manager of a real estate sales office in 1969. The story of dog-eat-dog office politics, success, failure and desperation was made into a 1992 film starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey.

"I think it's very strong," Rabby said of the Theatre Daedalus production, now in rehearsals. "We've got a very strong cast, a group of actors who have been attracted to this quality of work.

"David Mamet is not done frequently in community theater," he added. "He uses a great deal of profanity in his plays, and it's something that a great deal of community theaters won't do. But it's not about a group of dirty-minded old men, it's about business and the corrupting influence of business."

-- Kevin Parks