Monday, February 10, 2014

Spotlight On...Sarah Rose Leonard

Name: Sarah Rose Leonard

Berkeley, CA

Education: University of California at Santa Barbara and New York University

Favorite Credits: Directing/Devising the North/South Trilogy (Los Hibrados, Destination, Destino) in Santiago de Chile and NYC. Dramaturg/Associate Producer on The Hotel Colors by Eliza Bent at The Bushwick Starr. Assistant Director on Roadkill Confidential by Sheila Callaghan, produced by Clubbed Thumb. I also love being the production dramaturg on shows at work (Signature Theatre)

Why theater?: It is the only place I know where I can tackle the questions that are churning around in my head and won’t leave me alone. Making theatre forces me to articulate the questions. Usually after I make a piece about them I can let them go.

Tell us about In the Fog: In the Fog is a choreopoem piece about trying to follow the many paths of the divergent self. Half poem, half dance, it follows 48 hours in the life of a drifter who lets her imagined past and future selves live parallel lives around her. The first half of the piece, a poem-monologue, follows a political activist who has just returned from living abroad and resettles in the Bay Area. The monologue explores the futility inherent in trying to create change, the act of returning, and how we let imagined versions of ourselves interrupt our daily lives. The text then shifts into a dance that conjures the protagonist's alternate selves into reality. It asks 'what would life look like if we never came back to the present self, what would happen if we just let all our multiple personas co-exist?'

What inspired you to create In the Fog?: This piece is born out a period of time where I got caught in the middle of a decision of where I was going to live. The more I talked to friends about this sense of paralysis, the more I realized that everyone has developed versions of themselves living the lives they didn't choose. I began to wonder what would happen if those alternate people were real people. What would life look like if we never came back to the present self and let our alternative personas run wild?

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I am inspired by artists who mix disciplines and care about good writing. People who rise to the top of that list for me are Chuck Mee, Sheila Callaghan, Joe Goode, Cynthia Hopkins, Kate Tempest. I’m also constantly inspired by reading novels, hanging out with good friends, hiking, and quality alone time.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Joe Goode. I took a workshop with him that changed my life. I want more of that.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: This month? Brand New Ancients (Kate Tempest, St. Anns Warehouse). Bronx Gothic (Okwui Okpokwasili, PS122). Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Dave Malloy, Kazino). Grounded (George Brant, Page 73).

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Oh man. I guess Jennifer Connelly or Jennifer Lawrence? One of those Jennifers someone said looked like once? Um. Title: “Have More Fun”.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Katy Perry. But my love is vanishing the more she hangs out with John Mayer. I mean. Really?

What’s the most played song on your iPod?: This month – Le Tigre’s Feminist Sweepstakes.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A park ranger.

What’s up next?: I want to rock climb more and buy a bike with gears. Art-wise I am gearing up for my annual short-form event about feminity and reconfiguring a collaborative writer’s group I run called Smith+Tinker.