“Sheehan Beach” prepares to make waves

Erica Dolson

Villanova’s WVTV Channel 17 is about to change dramatically. This Saturday, Feb. 25, the station will launch its new series, “Sheehan Beach,” with a premiere event in the Connelly Center cinema.

“This was everyone’s first everything,” director/writer/editor Christine Mahin said of the cast, producers and writers. “Sheehan Beach” is truly a show created and made by, for and about Villanova students. It is also the first big, public event for WVTV.

The show is not based on MTV’s (in)famous reality show “Laguna Beach.” “We really wanted to get away from that,” Mahin said.

“It’s the story of a bunch of sophomores who live in Sheehan, their interactions with each other – their friendships, their love lives and their drama, of course,” said Colleen Comerford, writer/event planner.

The inspiration for this series came about in September when WVTV member Crystal Shah tossed out the idea for a drama, either reality-based or scripted, for the station. Mahin convinced her to make it a scripted show and then met with Comerford and fellow writer Lisa Tuason to discuss plot lines. These three ladies, joined by junior Elizabeth Praught, then drafted the script, and “Sheehan Beach” became a reality.

For this pilot episode, plots were divided and each writer concentrated on the stories of two or three main characters. They wrote their individual stories over winter break, and Mahin edited and condensed them into one master script. The four writers then got together and conducted a reading of the script.

“We’ll probably do it like that again because it worked beautifully,” said Mahin.

The cast consists of five main characters who, Mahin said, “really do fall into the teen soap opera stereotype.” The writers hope the characters are representative of Villanova students. They wrote them with humor and placed them in situations Villanovans can appreciate. The characters include a jock, a flighty and flirty co-ed, a loner who acts as a sounding board and a serious, “bookish” student.

The cast consists of Villanova students and has been so patient and helpful in these early days of filming according to Mahin. “It’s been the best gift we could have gotten,” said Mahin. “The shoots are genuinely fun – lots of laughter!”

Comerford agreed that the cast meshed so well. “You would have thought they knew each other [beforehand],” she said.

“Sheehan Beach’s” pilot episode will introduce each of the main characters and focus on the drama and events surrounding Valentine’s Day. Without revealing too much, Mahin said, “each of the characters has a problem and a secret,” most of which will be revealed at Saturday’s premiere.

Comerford described the pilot as a springboard for future episodes. Mahin agreed.

“The biggest secret gets blown open in the next episode. A new love blossoms – and possibly fails. I think it’s going to be overall more – more dramatic, more exciting,” she said.

The premiere will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the cinema and is open to everyone.