It has been eight years since Western Carolina University sophomore Jonathan Cobrda was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Since then, he has created a one man show with high school mentor Scott Icenhower called “Sweet-n-Low.” In the summer of 2010, the show toured across North Carolina, educating kids and their parents on ups and downs of diabetes told through the eyes of a growing up Cobrda. On Jan. 30, the show premiered at Western’s Fine and Performing Arts Center to a large crowd that raised $2,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). Now, “Sweet-n-Low” is going on the road again.
Across scattered dates that fit in his busy schedule, Cobrda is taking “Sweet-n-Low” to the state of Texas and Washington, D.C.
“Right now,” said Cobrda, “I’m getting all my ducks in a row… A lot has to be prepared when brought to fresh eyes. The more I know [the show] the easier it is for them.”
The show will be as similar to the one performed in FPAC as possible. However, if the venues Cobrda will be performing at do not have the right equipment, he will use only the “bare essentials.”
Cobrda, whose love for his project is evident in his words, said the show gets him emotional “every time.”
“I don’t do it enough for me to get tired of the story,” he said. “I can talk about [diabetes] till I’m blue but there’s something really nice about the show… There’s just that one line that catches me off guard, gets me emotional. I usually do a good job of keeping it together.”
As the show continues to grow and gains popularity, Cobrda plans to create more script to the already nearly 11 pages of work. He hopes the script and the “mechanics will gets sharper” through his experiences as a diabetic college student and as the new technologies of diabetic supplies develop.
“Sweet-n-Low” is sponsored by JDFR and a new technology known as the OmniPod. The OmniPod is the first tubeless insulin management system and has readily improved Cobrda’s quality of living. At first, Cobrda was skeptical. Could he trust a machine to take care of something independently that was as important as his insulin injections?
“I was nervous of will it work, will it benefit me,” said Cobrda. “And it has! It’s done absolute wonders for my health.”
Cobrda is also participating in a theater company’s production of “Unto These Hills” in Cherokee, North Carolina over the summer. When he returns to Western Carolina in the fall, he will be auditioning for a role in the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which will be performed at FPAC as their major fall production.
If you did not get a chance to see Cobrda’s “Sweet-n-Low” in FPAC on Jan. 30, you can request the DVD from the Hunter Library at the front desk.