Travel through three generations of adventure, grief and love. Co-presented by 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities and the Sabes Jewish Community Center, we are pleased to bring you Leah’s Train by Karen Hartman March 7-22, 2015 (all performances at the JCC). Before and during the run of this show, we will be giving you a chance to learn a little bit more about the artists involved in our production. In this first interview, meet actor Gina Sauer.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?
Ever since I stepped on stage at age 6 for my first dance recital, I have been completely bitten by the performing bug. I’ve been singing, dancing and acting ever since.
Is this your first show with 20% Theatre Twin Cities?
Yes! I have a number of friends who are long-time fans of 20% Theatre, so I’m very excited! Particularly because this is a theater whose mission I wholeheartedly support.
Tell us what originally drew you to the Leah’s Train script. What interested you in auditioning for this show/company?
Oddly enough, it was the title. The phrase, “Leah’s Train” has a very particular meaning among my group of friends, though completely unrelated to this show. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I took it as a sign from above that I should audition for this show. And I was right. Working on this script with this cast and production crew has been truly amazing.
We hear that you’ve been away from the theater scene for awhile. What brought you back?
I took probably the world’s longest hiatus from acting — more than 20 years. One day about a year ago someone asked me what I was going to do now that my son was away at college and I was an empty-nester, and without thinking I blurted out, “I’m getting back into acting.” So then I had to. I was committed!
Tell us a little bit about the character you play?
You know the cliche…”there are no good roles for women over 40.” Hannah is definitely an exception to that. She’s a multi-faceted character who runs the full gamut of human emotions through the course of the show. Her mother’s death sends her into full-on, mid-life crisis mode and she goes on a journey to reconcile with her daughter and re-invent herself.
What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?
I like to call myself a “recovering lawyer.” I work at a large law firm but I don’t practice law anymore, I’m more on the HR side of things now. And I just finished writing a feature length screenplay, so if anyone out there knows any producers…
What is your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
The fact that you can be downtown enjoying great restaurants and theater one minute, and then drive just thirty minutes in any direction and find yourself surrounded by cornfields and quaint little towns. We stay true to our Midwest roots here, and it keeps us grounded.
What is your favorite type of transportation?
Like my character, I have a great affinity for European trains. I especially like the German ones, which are famously punctual.
If you have one, tell us a little bit about your most memorable train ride?
Like a couple of characters in the show, I travelled through Europe alone on trains when I was young. I had no itinerary, just got on and off when I felt like it. One day I got off somewhere in Bavaria and ended up in a 1000-year old monastary with a bunch of monks who served me the best meal and home-brewed beer I’ve ever had!