Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spotlight On...Samantha Fairfield Walsh

Name: Samantha Fairfield Walsh

Hometown: I was born in Kansas City, Kansas but I moved frequently growing up so I've lived all over this great U.S. of A.

Education: BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Florida

Select Credits: Masha in The Seagull, Natalie in By Rights We Should Be Giants, and Valerie in the workshop production of The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens.

Why theater?: I like the interactive aspect of theater. I like that it's spontaneous and a little dangerous. Literally anything could happen and we're all experiencing it together.

Tell us about The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens: Sybil Stevens, a Chicago-based flight attendant, finds her life completely changed when she is the sole survivor of a devastating plane crash. Sybil, still suffering physical and emotional ramifications from the crash, agrees to do a talk show at the urging of her young, publicity hungry nephew. When Joe, the man who saved her life, makes a surprise visit to Chicago, Sybil finds herself having to deal with the unexpected aftereffects of both the crash and her newfound fame. Can she survive being a survivor?

What is it like being a part of The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens?: I had the pleasure of being a part of the development process pretty much from the ground up. We did a workshop production last year as part of the New Voices Project at the Secret Theater. I play Valerie, the plucky research assistant for a daytime talk show, who convinces Sybil to speak publicly about the crash on live TV. It's been such a gift to work closely with the playwright, Kari Bentley-Quinn, and help develop this character. Kari is the most collaborative playwright I've ever worked with and she's there in the rehearsal room helping you flush out the scene. It's been amazing to see how it's evolved over the past year.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
I really appreciate all types of theater but the shows that really get my heart pumping are good ol' kitchen sink dramas. I love seeing real life onstage. I like when I get so immersed in it that I'm not sure if the people onstage are acting or not. There's something really terrifying about that. I am inspired by any performer who is so spontaneous that the audience isn't sure what they're going to do next. I think Hamish Linklater and Carrie Preston are both really great at keeping the audience on their toes.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Blanche DuBois from Streetcar would be a dream. I have to wait a while to do that though. Beyond that- I just really love doing new work.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Showtunes aren't really my jam. I did really love Fun Home which I saw at the Public Theater last year. I could probably just lie on my sofa, pump up the volume on that album, and cry. It was a ridiculously beautiful show.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Cate Blanchett

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I keep getting told that I look like that girl from Game of Thrones. Emilia Clarke. So let me say her. It would be called "Mad Since Thursday".

What show have you recommended to your friends?: TV wise I'm OBSESSED with "The Good Wife". The secret to acting is on that show. Theater wise: I swear it looked like I was paid to advertise Fun Home. I loved it so much I was suggesting it to strangers on the street.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "The Chew" on ABC.

What’s up next?: The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens which runs this Thursday, February 6th through Sunday, February 23rd. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM with a 3 PM matinee on Sundays. Tickets are 15 dollars in advance and 18 dollars at the door. They can be purchased here. After that? The world.

For more on Samantha, visit http://www.samanthafwalsh.com/