Supporting creative work by women
Meet Sarah Shaefer and you will be in awe. She is a very talented playwright-actress. And she’s fierce on- and off-stage. Her newest play, The Gin Baby, will grace the New York stage in late January. Directed by Daniel Talbott, the searing drama is not to be missed.
Works by Women spoke with Sarah about The Gin Baby, working with Daniel Talbott and how she is as an artist.
WORKS BY WOMEN: Tell me about yourself as an artist.
SARAH SHAEFER: I like to work hard. And I like to crack jokes and listen to other people’s jokes. I think that sums it up pretty much.
WBW: What have you loved about exploring in playwriting.
SS: I love playwriting because I get to decide what story I want to tell. Playwriting is a very powerful art form to me. I really appreciate it. It helps me listen to myself.
WBW: The Gin Baby reunites you with some of your fave collaborators–Daniel Talbott, Addie Talbott Johnson & Evan Caccioppoli. Tell me about working with them.
SS: I am obsessed with working with these guys. Daniel Talbott challenges me and strengthens my work in the best way possible because I didn’t move to New York to sit on my ass. I want to be a better artist. We’re also both very obsessive and that fuels my work with him. Addie Talbott is one of the smartest theater artists I know. I am constantly asking her for advice on everything. She’s an incredible actress and a fierce producer. She gets it done. Evan Caccioppoli is a fount of energy who is constantly exploring new ways to create theater. Every time I talk with him, he is talking about some new project he wants to do.
WBW: What most excites you about The Gin Baby going up in January?
SS: When we’re in rehearsal, I feel like I’m on vacation. To be in the room with these incredible actors that Jack Doulin brilliantly cast and with Daniel Talbott directing the whole thing, I mean…come on!! I don’t think it can get much better than that. We’ve got Shyko Amos, Charlotte Graham, Maxwell Hamilton, Lesley Shires, Chris Stack, Jenny Seastone Stern and Jelena Stupljanin. It feels just like summer at the beach.
WBW: What’s next for you?
SS: My play All’s Well That Ends Happy will be produced in Fall 2014 by Kid Brooklyn Productions and directed by Evan Caccioppoli as well as a play for the La Ronde Project by Kid Brooklyn. I was also commissioned to write for The Beach Plays in San Francisco for Rising Phoenix Rep this coming summer. Rising Phoenix Rep also will be commissioning playwrights for their new project, 10×10, which will only seat ten people each night for ten nights, so only 100 people will get to see each play produced. I also have a couple pieces going up for the One Minute Play Festival with Dominic D’Andrea in Baltimore, Maryland, where I’m from.
WBW: What are the challenges facing women in American theater?
SS: I’m not sure. I focus on the work. If I have a challenge that I face as a woman in the theater, I put it in my writing. I have no idea if that answers your question. I try not to think about the challenges facing women. I just focus on my work. A lot of my characters are women, so they all face challenges in my plays. Outside of my plays, I try not to dwell on the challenges I might face as a woman in the theater. I just put it into my work.
For more information on The Gin Baby, visit IRT’s website.