Friday, June 10, 2011

Planet Connections Interview - Sabrina M. Paterson of "Monster"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Sabrina M Paterson
Play: Monster
Relationship to production: Playwright

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My earliest theater memory is when I was about six years old and I watched Miss Saigon and I think from that moment I was enchanted. It wasn't for another ten years though when I was 16 and in college that I actually found myself wanting to be apart of theater, so I took some classes and then I landed a job working Shakespeare in the Park and found my own theater family. They are the ones who really pushed me to pursue theater.

Who are your biggest influences?

If I had to say it would be some of the Korean drama writers like the Hong sisters and Lee Kyeong Hee (and many others). They really create characters that people can relate and connect to despite the language and cultural barriers. Other than them, everyday people are also a huge influence, because I want to write the stories of the people who may be sitting next to you in the theater while you are watching my show.

What is your show about?

Monster is about a woman, Annie, who is in a mental institution and is the only person who may have witnessed her father's murder. During the play the characters are trying to find out what it is that happened that day he was killed.

What inspired you to write it?

Two things really inspired this piece the first is a highway sign on Sunken Meadow Parkway that reads: Pilgram Psych Center- Crooked Hill Rd. The second thing was Gnarls Barkley's song "Crazy". The two just kind of bounced around in my head for a while until Annie and her story came to life.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

It is a chance to give back. It isn't as though it is some huge effort to take steps to make your production green or make your living green, so why not? It takes more effort to go to the gym and work out everyday than it does to send your cast notices via email to save some trees. The question is why isn't more important to everyone else?

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

Monster will be working with the RAINN organization to bring awareness and raise funds for their cause.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

We have actually been invited to perform as part of the San Francisco Theater Festival in August. Although it won't be Monster on stage there, it will be another equally great new show to watch.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

The one food that sticks in my head is Jacques Torres' Wicked Chocolate flavor. When you eat it initially it's the smooth and rich chocolate taste, after a little while and a few more bites, you start to get this uncomfortable feeling (burning really) in the back of your throat from the chili peppers. That feeling in your throat lingers for a while after you have finished your chocolate; that is the kind of feeling I want to inspire the people who come to my show to have. I want to make them uncomfortable while they are watching it and I want them to remember what they have seen after they have left the show.

Tuesday, June 7th @ 8pm
Wednesday, June 8th @ 4pm
Sunday, June 12th @ 5pm
Saturday, June 18th @ 2pm
Sunday, June 19th @ 7:30pm
Monday, June 20th @ 6:30pm

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

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