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: Barrett Nash and her father, Barry Nash.
The Nashes have theater in their blood. Barry's mother and Barrett's grandmother was an actor and theater educator. Barry started his professional career in Dallas working at the Dallas Theater Center under the legendary founder Paul Baker. On opening night of a Dallas Shakespeare Festival production of Love's Labour's Lost that Barry was in, Barrett was born.
Needless to say, Barry had quite the theatrical résumé before the Festival of Independent Theatres, and runs a business that offers performance coaching for television news and sports talent. Both he and Barrett have worked with many local companies, including Kitchen Dog Theater, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and WingSpan Theatre Company.
But they each had what they now consider breakout moments at the Festival of Independent Theatres, in one-person shows.
For Barry, it was Eric Steele's one-man play Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self, which premiered in 2011 by Second Thought Theatre. It was later added to STT's season as "The Midwest Trilogy," paired with film by Steele; and then was filmed and hit the film festival circuit. Barry starred in all incarnations.
With Barrett, it was Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner's My Name is Rachel Corrie, presented by Rite of Passage Theatre at FIT 2012. Second Thought Theatre picked that up for a full production in their 2013 season. Barrett also starred, along with Lulu Ward and Pszyk in Samuel Beckett's Play, presented by WingSpan Theatre Company in 2016.
For me personally, having seen almost every FIT production in the event's history (I started going in the second year, 2000, and have missed only a few individual shows since), Bob Birdnow, Rachel Corrie and Play rank in the Top 10 FIT shows ever. (More on that later in TJ's FIT coverage.)
In the video above, as Barry and Barrett tell their #MyFITstory (#OurFITstory), it's sweet to see how much respect they have for each other's craft, and how Bob Birdnow and Rachel Corrie affected them not only as performers, but as audience members.
When I interviewed them on that press day, Barry said that he's always been impressed by Barrett's talent.
"You know how Meryl Streep said she could read her script twice and know her lines," Barry says. "Barrett is like that. It is fascinating to me."
Of her experience in Rachel Corrie, based on the true story of an American activist who was killed in 2003 in the Gaza Strip, Barrett says: "I grew up in a more Jewish culture than a Palestinian culture, so it opened my eyes to the world. ... The only thing I’ve done that’s harder is become a mom."
» 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