Dallas — To celebrate two decades of the Festival of Independent Theatres, the organization has launched a #MyFITStory campaign, and is highlighting the 20 Faces of FIT. These are 20 people, or groupings of people, who have made a significant impact on the festival—as the festival has had on them. Each made a video focused on their FIT story at a media day event on June 5.
TheaterJones is showcasing one of the Faces each day through the beginning of the festival, which runs July 13 to Aug. 4 at the Bath House Cultural Center. The videos were shot by FIT.
Next up: Jeff Swearingen.
Swearingen made his FIT debut with a group called Audacity Productions (which later changed to Audacity Theatre Lab) in 2003. The show was Mac Wellman's Cleveland. Since then, he counts more than a dozen FIT shows that has been involved with, as actor, director, playwright or behind the scenes, and that includes improv in the FIT underground series.
"[The difference] was like night and day from before I did FIT and after I did FIT," he says, because of the number of directors, artistic directors and actors involved each year, who see all of the other shows.
His breakout was no doubt ub Matt Lyle's silent-film-on-stage The Boxer, which has become local legend. First presented in 2007 by Bootstraps Comedy Theater, it made a 10-year anniversary return in 2017; both times with Swearingen in the title role.
Swearingen eventually co-founded the great Fun House Theatre and Film, where he wrote dozens of plays for youth performers, including the hilarious Stiff (not to be confused with Sherry Jo Ward's Stiff) which was, this year, performed off-Broadway. Swearingen also wrote the 2017 FIT entry performed by Fun House spin-off The Basement, a Trump-era satire called The Caveman Play.
He's not in the 2018 festival, but you can bet he won't stay away from FIT for too long.
In the video above, stick with it until end to see him being, well, very Jeff Swearingen.
» The shows in the 2018 Festival of Independent Theatres and a grid schedule are below. You can read descriptions here.
Camp Death Productions: Jimmy Pine by Ben Schroth
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group: Just Girly Things by Danielle Georgiou, Justin Locklear, Ruben Carrazana, Trey Pendergrass and Cory Kosel
Eccentric Bear Productions: The Book of Gabe by Isaac Young
Echo Theatre: Bible Women by Elizabeth Swados and Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
Imprint Theatreworks: Suckers by Devin Berg
Laughter League: Where Do I Sit? by Dick Monday
Prism Movement Theater: BruNO and lOUIe by Jeffrey Colangelo
WingSpan Theatre Company: Landscape by Harold Pinter
The 20th Festival of Independent Theatres
July 13- August 4, 2018
Bath House Cultural Center,
521 E. Lawther Drive, Dallas
Tickets and passes go on sale in late June
Call 800-617-6904 or visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.org