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: Susan Sargeant.
WingSpan Theatre Company was a year old when David Fisher called her about participating in a radical idea: The first Festival of Independent Theatres, launched in 1999.
She was in, and still is. WingSpan is the only company to have been in all 20 years.
WingSpan has the tagline of "producing plays by, for, and about women." That doesn't mean all of the plays it does—the FIT show, a mainstage production in October, and a spring staged reading—are all by women, but a good chunk of them are. Especially the newer works.
In the Festival of Independent Theatres, WingSpan has done six world premieres, all by local women: Cynthia Salzman Mondell's Shoe Confessions, Isabella Russell-Ides' Lydie Marland and the Afterlife, Sargeant's adaptation of Mark Twain's The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and three plays by Valerie Brogan Powell in the early years.
In its FIT and mainstage seasons, Wingspan has also done works by Caryl Churchill, Wendy Kesselman, Susan Sontag, Jennifer Haley, Sarah Kane and other women; but Sargeant also has an affinity for 20th century male writers like Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Lanford Wilson, Harold Pinter and especially Edward Albee, having done seven of his plays.
This season, WingSpan returns to Pinter with his one-act Landscape in FIT, and in October, will give us a taste of a playwright who is criminally underproduced in DFW: Eric Overmeyer, with his On the Verge, or the Geography of Yearning.
"I like absurdism because it forces you to think out of the box and focuses on the text," Sargeant says. "This [FIT] format works really well for it."
In the video above, she talks more about WingSpan's history in FIT.
"Our name is WingSpan because I can keep expanding my range."
» The shows in the 2018 Festival of Independent Theatres and a grid schedule are below. You can read descriptions and see a full schedule 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