Since I first met Sarah in the Spring of 2013, she's portrayed folks that are English, Irish, French and German. She's been a sweet mum to a hero, a filthy pirate, a sensual/psychotic air stewardess and, um ..... well, a french prostitute. It's fair to say that she's not daunted by the task of being diverse.
I put Sarah into that category of person that, if you don't like her, there's something wrong with you. Ask anyone that's ever worked with her and they'll agree that she's more than just talented. Her positive character elements shine through. I first met her in the Spring of 2013 while working on Spokane Civic Theatre's production of Treasure Island. We were filthy pirates together but she also had additional roles that kept her running backstage to make her quick-changes and to find the mental space needed to transition from one character to another. It was impressive to see her make that leap every night of the show.
Since then, I've been pleased to maintain a friendship with her and to continue to work with her on a few occasions. She's always a peach to shoot when she's on a stage but recently, she took on the challenge of stage managing the Modern-CDA's production of The Last Five Years. It was her idea that spark perhaps my favorite image from that show. I'm grateful for the idea that provided an image that so wonderfully captured the essence of that show. Again, she proved the diversity of her talents.
There was a period of time in my twenties when I was finishing up college and starting my career in finance. I worked a ton of hours per week and, in my limited free time, found myself focused on a young marriage, a church, and little group of friends. I didn’t perform. Not to any great extent. Instead, I worked really hard at my company. I worked to advance! And artistry had to become a much smaller part of my life. I did a little backup harmony for our worship team. I put on little plays for church services. Though these were small projects, they were very special. Spiritually satisfying without a doubt, this creative outlet was an artistry life-line and I was grateful.
In college, I spent a lot of time doing theater and loved it. Transitioning away from the stage wasn’t easy and my heart broke when I decided to pursue a non-theater degree. Frankly, I didn’t think I was good enough to do professional theater and, even if I was wrong or feigning humility at that time, I feared I wouldn’t have the guts to make a career out of it anyway. I worked my early finance career and spent 5 or 6 years watching my college friends shine on stage and in film instead.
I hadn't been totally out of the creative community, though. I was crazy lucky to make friendships with other artists who like to dabble on side projects: low time commitment, high reward. That is where I’ve been keeping my skills sharp while not working on official projects. I’ve “dabbled” in any theatrical or artistic avenue that scared me:
- Home acting groups to “geek out” over various acting styles and methods, finding and experimenting with different exercises, experiencing the freedom to “be bad” at things in order to get better.
- Singing 1930s and 1940s music. I was asked to lead with Six Foot Swing for a season and, because I have terrible nerves when it comes to vocal performance, I took lessons from the brilliant Kathleen Cavender to handle my nerves enough to do it afraid.
- Creating the Writer and Actor Collaborative with Emily Hiller and Rie Lee so we can play with and help develop new scripts, finding an audience (which is scary, too!) by dreaming up off-the-wall events (or participating in events like Get Lit! and Terrain).
- Hanging around with 50-Hour Slam filmmakers (Film is my next Everest!), mostly to do PA work and get inspiration for future creative experiments.
- Tons of other random stuff…all with safe and supportive artists (too many to list by name).
The process of learning and exploration for a new role is fascinating. In the decade since college, I’ve been lucky to be in a production every 2 years or so at Spokane Civic Theatre, the former Lake City Playhouse and Spokane Children’s to stay in touch, but I’m now ready for more. My work life is more balanced now and my goals as an artist are to keep dabbling on side projects while trying for larger, more eclectic roles. For example, my most recent was Gretchen in The Modern-Spokane’s Boeing Boeing. Hence, the blonde hair!
I never want to lose sight of how lucky I am. I have great artist friends and we support each other as we develop. I’m nothing without them. And there are hundreds of incredible performers in our region who can fit into any role I might get and do the role amazingly. I am one of a large community of actors and musicians and I want to pour my best work into any project I’m lucky enough to be invited.
My hope is to be a day-professional that works in financial services and a professional artist that performs at night. Ultimately, I want to try everything. If I could look back forty years from now and see myself as one of the most versatile performers in our area, I’ll be elated. Although, I have a feeling the forward thinking I apply to improving my craft, won’t give me a whole lot of time to look back.
In my role with the Modern Theater, I'm privileged with the knowledge of all the upcoming casts for the 2015-16 Season and I'm very excited to announce where Sarah (and all our other wonderful talent) will be fitting into the season. For now, suffice it to say that you WILL be seeing more of her at our theaters and with as active as she is in the local community, don't be surprised if you see plenty more of her on local stages and screens.