THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT THEATRES 2015

NO CAPTION

FIT 2015 Interview: WingSpan Theatre Company

Susan Sargeant, artistic director of WingSpan Theatre Company, on the process, woman power and being the only company to have been in every Festival of Independent Theatres.



published Saturday, July 11, 2015

Photo: Lowell Sargeant
The cast of Shoe Confessions, presented by WingSpan Theatre Company

 

Dallas — WingSpan Theatre Company is the only group that has peformed in each of the Festival of Independent Theatre's 17 years. This year's show is Cynthia Salzman Mondell's Shoe Confessions, a fashionable tale that follows the misunderstood and rarely recognized journey of shoes. Shown from perspectives as diverse as the accessory itself, this new play tells the real life stories of several "sole sisters" in the theatrical precursor to her upcoming documentary film. We chatted with Sargeant about it.

 

TheaterJones: As the only company to appear in every single FIT, what is your script selection process like? What makes one script stand out above another?

Susan Sargeant: A good one-act can be hard to find. Over the years, I have done both published plays and world premieres. I try to find a play that serves my mission statement and also provides risk and innovation. For the last three years of FIT, WingSpan has produced world premieres: Lydie Marland in the Afterlife (2013) by local playwright Isabella Russell-Ides, Mark Twain's The Diaries of Adam & Eve, edited and adapted by Susan Sargeant (2014), and this year, 2015, Shoe Confessions by playwright and documentary filmmaker Cynthia Salzman Mondell. The investment of a world premiere can be even more challenging than a published play.

My criteria for selection are: Does the play fit the mission statement, fit into FIT time constraints, and spread WingSpan's artistic wings.


 
After you have selected your script, you also appear to have a brilliant eye for casting your show. What are some of the main characteristics you look for in your actors?

The actor needs to embody the right sensibility for the role. For me, it is truly about matching the right actor to the right role. The great fun of FIT, especially this year, is a cast of six actresses. I usually don't render shows with a cast this large for FIT. So 2015 is a hallmark year for largest cast WingSpan has ever put on a FIT stage.


 
In your 17-year FIT run, what have been some of your favorite actor-moments that have made you laugh…or cry? Or just a favorite story?

Goodness, there are so many tales to tell about favorite stories from FIT. In recent memory, one of my favorites was in 2012 when WingSpan's FIT play, Edward Albee's Counting the Ways, ended up doing a lobby show due to a power outage at The Bath House Cultural Center. I believe the play resonated even deeper due to the circumstances. The audience certainly appreciated our efforts and I was reminded why I do theater—the pure power of the story. Of course, there was also the time I had to go on for a sick actor in FIT 2008, in A Permanent Signal by Sherry Kramer. As a Greek Siren, who had to sing! Did I mention I barely had one rehearsal? Yikes!

 

Anyone who has ever worked with you already knows your extreme level of discipline and attention to detail. How does this help during FIT's infamously short tech process?

Thanks for the compliment. As for FIT and tech, organization is the key. You have to think way in advance on how you are going to craft your play. For me, once I select the play and get casting done, I pretty much start figuring out the world of the play and how to make it work within the FIT timetable.


 
As the artistic director of a female-centric company, what benefits come from having such an all-female cast and (mostly female) production team? How has it further illuminated the script for you?

The energy and talent that this cast brings is bountiful. I have six wonderful actors telling real stories. Plus I have the privilege of collaborating with Cynthia Salzman Modell. Cynthia is an accomplished documentary filmmaker, now playwright. The play is about empowering women and I am excited to see how this blooms in rehearsals. It is exciting to have all this Woman Power on board.

 

You’re the face of WingSpan, but you surely can’t do it alone. Who do you lean on whenever the days get longer?

You are right; I certainly don't do it alone. Art is about collaboration. My biggest collaborator is my husband, Lowell Sargeant. Lowell is my partner in life, co-producer with WingSpan and the resident Sound Designer for WingSpan. When I need to take a breath and/or seek an opinion this is where I find the "lean."


With so many new companies this year, what advice would you give them as they prepare to tackle fit for the first time?

The four simple guidelines are:

  1. Think ahead
  2. Stay organized
  3. Turn any artistic roadblocks into creative opportunities.
  4. Have fun!

 

» Shoe Confessions opens in the performance block at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 11, and is also performed in the following blocks:

  • 2 p.m. Sunday, July 13
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, July 16
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, July 19
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25
  • 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1

» Click here to go to our special section devoted to the Festival of Independent Theatres. You'll find a schedule, interviews, reviews and more.

 

 Thanks For Reading




Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
FIT 2015 Interview: WingSpan Theatre Company
Susan Sargeant, artistic director of WingSpan Theatre Company, on the process, woman power and being the only company to have been in every Festival of Independent Theatres.
by Mark Lowry

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Application Pending WaterTower Theater John Blue Candlelight Baya and Friends A Lost Leonardo Two Giants Stage West WingSpan Dracula UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Side of Fab Dallas Opera Bus Stop Uptown Players
Dark Circles Kibbutz
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit