20 Questions with Mr. Sheaff

Getting to know the man behind the curtain


Josie Talley

Mr. Timothy Sheaff in his natural habitat, in the classroom

Josie Talley, Staff Writer

Mr. Timothy Sheaff is a well-known figure at Dowling, but how well do people really know him?


I’ve been in nine shows at Dowling, seven of those with him, and have taken five semesters of acting, two of those with him. And yet there were many things I didn’t know about Mr. Sheaff, so I decided to ask him. I found a random assortment of questions that intrigued me. In this article, I’ve compiled some of my favorites. 


Q: If your life was a musical, what would the marquee say?

A: “Must See: Limited Run.”


Q: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

A: “I was born in Berlin, Germany.”


Q: What was the biggest surprise in your life? It can be good or bad.

A: “Having six kids…that’s good, by the way.”


Q: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done?

A: “I flew to college on the first day of orientation having never stepped foot on the campus prior to going to orientation. I had never been in the city, I had never been on the east coast, I had never been anywhere, and I flew to Washington DC for the first day of orientation..and I flew by myself. My parents didn’t come.” 


Q: How would you define yourself in three words?

A: “Faithful, passionate, and intellectual.” 


Q: What are three things you can’t live without?

A: “Obviously this is a big exaggeration but movies, cheeseburgers, and, let’s see what’s a third thing, I don’t know…”


Q: What is your opinion on garden gnomes? 

A: “They’re fru fru, I mean, who needs a garden gnome? You don’t need a garden gnome. Nobody needs one.” 


Q: If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?

A: “So, you’re Barbara Walters, are you? Some sort of pine tree, evergreen. I would not want to shed my leaves.”


Q: Dolphins or koalas? 

A: “Koalas are actually really, really mean. Dolphins…although I hate water.” 


Q: What is one ingredient you put in anything?

A: “Well, in most things, salt.” 


Q: What is your dream country to visit?

A: “Italy.”


Q: What is a book everyone should read? 

A: “The Sparrow.” 


Q: If you could have anyone write your obituary, who would you choose?

A: “Billy Collins.”


Q: What do you want to be remembered for? 

A: “Opening opportunities for people.” 


Q: If you could master one instrument, which would you choose? 

A: “Piano.” 


Q: What is your favorite board game? 

A: “I don’t really like playing games…Trivial Pursuit.” 


Q: What is your favorite and least favorite color? 

A: “Red and Orange…I know that they’re relatively close to each other on the wheel, but there it is.” 


Q: Coffee or tea? 

A: “Neither. Coke.” 


Q: If you could make any documentary, what would it be about?

A: “There’s undoubtedly some esoteric topic that I’m really really excited about and then I’d totally make a documentary about… If we were sitting here with my family they would all shout out an obvious answer and I’d go ‘yeah, that’s obviously it.’ “ 


Q: If you could switch lives with anyone, alive or deceased, who would you choose? 

A: “Steven Sondheim.” 


From garden gnomes to Coke, there’s a lot more to Mr. Sheaff than meets the eye. If given the opportunity, there are many more questions I’d like to ask him. For now though, I’ll just have to settle knowing that he would be a pine tree.