Featured Q-STAGE Collaborator: Sarah Wolf

Part of the mission of 20% Theatre Company is to provide opportunities to new and emerging artists. Q-STAGE is the perfect vehicle to create such opportunity. So, as we get closer and closer to our second installment of the Q-STAGE New Works Series, we’d like to introduce you to a few artists you may not have met. me 1

Sarah Wolf is a Production Assistant for “And She Would Stand Like This” by Q-STAGE Artist Harrison David Rivers.

Who are you and what do you do (in life? in the world? in the arts?)?

I’m a recent college graduate and have lived most of my life in Wisconsin. I moved to Minneapolis a few months ago for a wider variety in theater. I currently work at a nursing home planning and leading activities for the residents. I also babysit for a few families. I like to keep my days filled with games, fun, and creativity. This helps to keep me thinking as I start my theater career.

Why do you do what you do?

Theater is a way to learn and teach people about lives that are different from their own. The performances that have stuck with me are the ones that make me think. I want to work on shows that challenge other people to think.

Why did you want to become involved in Q-STAGE?

The first time I heard of Q-STAGE I instantly fell in love with it. It’s a wonderful opportunity for queer artists to share their voices. I wanted to be a part of it to support those artists in making their shows come to life. I love shows that challenge the audience and have queer themes.

Tell us a little bit about the Q-STAGE piece or pieces you are working on?

The piece I’m working on is “And She Would Stand Like This” by Harrison David Rivers (the chosen Q-STAGE Artist in this case), an adaptation of “The Trojan Woman”. It’s a powerful piece that takes a look at the relationships between mothers and children. It’s been great working with Harrison, and exploring all the different levels and layers to this piece with our wonderfully talented cast.

What is your dream project?

My dream since I was about 5 has been to one day publish a book. I’ve since expanded that to also publishing and producing and directing a play. Novel writing is easier to me than playwriting, so perhaps I will adapt my book to a play. Either way, I would love to have my work produced and known throughout the world.

Theater is a universal language. I was able to travel and spend some time in Germany and Turkey. While there, I attended a few theater productions that were in Turkish and German. I understand a basic level of German, but not any Turkish. However, I was able to understand the shows without many problems. The actors conveyed the feelings and emotions and I could follow them onstage to see what was happening. I would love for my work to be seen and understood around the world and have people connect with it.

I also want my work to have all queer characters. I want this to be the norm and have no questions asked. Since I’m still dreaming, I would also love to cast and direct my show with diversity of age, size, race, and ability. I want to change the norm in everything so that everyone can have a fair shot at being in theater. There’s a long way to go for this dream and one day I think I’ll see it.

The Naked I: Insides Out – Get to Know Shanny Mac

This winter, 20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of The Naked I: Insides Out – the 3rd in a series of Naked I plays that explore queer and trans* experiences through monologues, short scenes, and spoken word poems. The show was created over the past year by selecting 25 of 119 stories submitted by community members. This newest installment of The Naked I will involve over 75 LGBTQ artists and allies – including contributing writers, directors, performers, designers, technicians and supporting staff.

You can see The Naked I: Insides Out February 13-23, 2014 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Purchase tickets now!

Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring interviews from a variety of The Naked I: Insides Out artists.  We recently asked Shanny Mac what they had to say about The Naked I: Insides Out.

Shanny Mac

What is your role in The Naked I: Insides Out? What pieces will you be directing?

I have several roles in this production: Instagram photographer, karaoke event planner, and general promoter of tom foolery. In my official capacity, I am directing Fuck Stereotypes by Love, Femme and True Things I Don’t Say by Galen D. Smith.

What attracted you to The Naked I directing opportunity?

So much that I’ll just give you the highlights: theater, 20% Theatre, gender, queerness, community, Claire Avitabile, directing, Andrea Jenkins, identity, artsy folks, performers, Intermedia Arts, collaboration, Blythe Davis, storytelling.

Briefly, what is your directing background? Education? Experience?

I studied theater with a minor in being a ‘mo at Perpich Center for Arts Education, followed by an interdisciplinary arts degree from Antioch College. I also went through the filmmaking program at Minneapolis College. I’ve directed a number of plays and films over the years, most recently Mammal Stories and Paris in March.

Had you ever seen any version of The Naked I before?

I saw the second production, The Naked I: Wide Open. As soon as the Q&A started after the show my hand shot up to ask, “So, when is the next round happening?!”

What about this production and opportunity excites you most?

This changes daily, but right now I’m just really enjoying being part of this process and meeting and working with all these great artists.

What do you hope to contribute to the show?

Busby Berkeley style musical numbers.

What do you foresee as your biggest challenges in directing for this show or with these specific pieces?

You always want to be true to the work and use an authentic voice when staging personal narratives, but there is a little added pressure when the writer is in the audience. Like, right there. In the front row.

More about Shanny Mac, the person…

What is your pronoun preference?

Whatever’s clever.

If your gender identity was a food, what would it be?

Definitely sweet and salty. Like a peanut butter stuffed pretzel covered in chocolate. Ok, I just described a Take 5 candy bar, so I guess that’s what I meant.

What do you do in the world, outside of working on this production? (job/hobbies, etc.)  

I work at a nonprofit for my day job, but by night I frequent the stages of cabarets around the Twin Cities as the bon vivant with savoir-faire, the pièce de résistance with je ne sais quoi, Randy Dandy.

Shanny Mac, you feel the most naked when…

See: Tobias Funke.

What is your first memory of gender?

Asking my family to call me by a different name when I was maybe 4 or 6. No one ever called me it, but that might partly be because it wasn’t an actual name. It’s too embarrassing to say what I wanted to be called on the internets, but if you ask me in person I just might tell you.

What is your most favorite accessory or article of clothing?

Fancy hats, like a trilby or flat cap. But nothing too flashy, like a derby or a stove pipe, and never a magician’s hat.

Name one of your favorite songs right now.

Nothing that will make me sound even remotely cool or interesting. Next question…