“I’m writing my dream roles now.” September Spotlight on Women in the Arts: Stephanie Satie

art_stefanie-satie_091412COMING TO AMERICA

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY STEPHANIE SATIE

SUN 10/22 2:00PM

Stephanie Satie makes a triumphant return to the United Solo Festival with Coming to America, a stirring portrait gallery of women whose lives have been transformed, first by extraordinary events in their country of birth, then by their response to America.

Under the direction of Anita Khanzadian, Satie embodies women from diverse countries and ordeals: “Nine fascinating women, each character so distinctive you forget it’s the same actor.” – The Loyolan (USC). The engrossing work returning to United Solo for one-night only “… conveys the universal longing to break out of repression… [and] leaves an indelible impression.” – The Tolucan Times.

Opening before the Jewish High-Holidays, Ms. Satie hopes to secure a second performance from which a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a woman’s charity.

COMING TO AMERICA will perform at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

s2Ms. Satie is an inspiration. An artist who connects her work to the world, and who wants nothing more than to educate, enlighten, and of course, entertain.

Tell us about yourself as an artist. I’m an actor/writer/onetime dancer, a former New Yorker, but still one in my heart. My career has been eclectic, performing on and Off-Broadway, in regionals, in L.A. theatre, and internationally and now, as a solo performer.  I’ve studied languages and traveled and I think, maybe because I was an only child and first generation American, I liked morphing into other people. I began writing for myself as a way to use my abilities and interests and to play roles no one was writing for me.

s5Your last one, I’m told, was about children of the Holocaust. powerful topics you choose! Is there a more powerful responsibility when working with such material? I’m very interested in the way catastrophic events affect ordinary people. Their lives become extraordinary. I feel a huge responsibility when working with such material and interviewing, for example, child survivors of the Holocaust. Some of the women I interviewed brought a lot of humor to their stories and yet audiences are reticent to laugh at such a serious subject. Humor is a survival tool but with a subject like the Holocaust, the viewer needs to feel safe that I am not trivializing the lives of survivors and that they are not being disrespectful. It’s a fine line. In both Silent Witnesses and Coming to America, the play I’m bringing to United Solo Festival in October, the danger is always appropriating lives or making one person appear “representative” of an entire group and that’s not possible nor should it be. Sometimes a 2-3 hour interview becomes just a five minute monologue. How do I retain the intent and quintessential character of the person I interview while shaping their story for dramatic effect. It’s always a balancing act.

s3What is the draw to the one-woman show format? I love the one-person format. I love doing it and seeing it. I love the characters I speak to onstage and speak as; the chance to constantly morph from one character to another of different ethnicity, size, sometimes gender and to expand who I am as both an actor and a human. My world becomes larger. My first inspiration was Anna Deveare Smith and I’ve seen so many other wonderful solo performers.  Also, I think it is empowering as you can create your own work and be a little less dependent on someone hiring you for their project.

 

 

s4What do we, the viewer, need to come away with from your show? I hope people who see Coming to America will immerse themselves in these powerful stories. We’re so bombarded by sound bites, articles, the internet, television; our nervous systems are constantly being manipulated and it’s exhausting. To sit in the quiet, sacred space of a theatre and witness lives unlike our own can make us once again remember what America has been for so many who have come here or yearned to come to our shores, when once they were welcome.

 

 

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