Campus Celebrity: Matthew Schlerf

I don’t remember our first time. It probably happened in the van we used over #SpringBreak2014 but then again, it could have happened in the house we shared with nine other spring breakers in PCB. Now that I think about it, the first time Schlerf and I shared a laugh was in the kitchen of Fiji during a Rusk/Fiji Bristerhood. I remember running towards what sounded like a cross between my grandmother (on my Father’s side) and Sean Paul, only to discover Matthew Schlerf standing in the middle of a circle doing his infamous Jamaican accent.  Two weeks later, I found myself cramped in the Alternative Breaks van with Schlerf on my our way to Panama City beach with the Beyonce CD on repeat, eating the cookies his grandparents gave him (he’s on a health kick so I was doing him a favor) and talking about social inequality. This week’s Campus Celebrity is one of Davidson’s semi-best-kept secrets and he has no intentions of changing that. Preferring to spend his time taking care of his mind, body and soul, Schlerf’s low-profile persona almost contradicts his larger-than life stage presence in both main-stage productions like recent “Providence Gap” and with the improv group, Oops!. 

Schlerf never thought of himself as a Theatre major. He had theatre experience in Middle and High school but always was more focused on acting than theatre as a whole. As time went on, he began to see how theatre could be used as a tool for social change and vehicle for learning which led him to declare the Theatre major. Schlerf’s most recent role as Estil in Providence Gap inspired him to learn more about adults with disabilities which he cites as one of his main reasons for applying to volunteer with Chatauqua Learn and Serve during spring break 2014.

“It was by far my favorite role.  I feel like I put the most work and time into it,” said Schlerf of his role as Estil, a mute and mentally disabled character in Providence Gap. Since taking a Voice and Movement class, Schlerf has developed a keen awareness for physicality as he prepares for each of the roles he’s in. This class also instilled a newfound respect for his body that he treats as a temple by eating healthy and practicing Tai-Chi. If you’re trying to find this Campus Celebrity -- good luck! He’s usually busy brushing up on some light reading and rarely uses social media anyways because he prefers face-to-face contact. Be forewarned: he gives a mean side-eye.