The O-town Scene

March 10, 2011

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Casual Chit Chat Each week, we have a casual conversation with a member of the community. This week, Theater Goddess Sarah Lynn Serafin of Orpheus Theatre and Cassandra Miller chit chat, casually. As a director, I love them all. “Beauty and the Beast” was wonderful because I had 67 people in my cast and the show itself was so magical. I love working with a large cast. “Rent” was also an awe- some experience — a fabulous cast, a great show and just a lot of fun. “Lenah,” though, is truly Other than family and friends, what are three things you can’t live each day without? Diet Coke, laughter and this theater thing. Not only are you orga- nizing Orpheus Theatre’s playwriting contest and directing a version of last year’s winning play, “Le- nah,” you’ve also stage managed, directed and starred in other shows. What is your favorite role? Directing, most definitely. Until I went back to school for theater at age 32 — I have a B.S. in theater arts from SUNY Oneonta — I was al- ways just an actor and singer and never thought anything 8 O-Town Scene March 10, 2011 more about it. When I took my first (and only) directing class it was cathartic. I actual- ly cried after classes because it was just so overwhelmingly clear to me that this is what I’m supposed to do. But don’t get me wrong, I love it all. It’s the process that is theater that really turns me on. What has been your favorite show you’ve worked on? As an actor, there are two. I got to play Aldonza in “Man of La Mancha” with Catskill Theatre Works in Delhi. It was amazing. And definitely the role of Eva Coo in “Little Eva” in Milford and Cooper- stown two summers ago. To play a real person was the most incredible experience for me. a neat experience and one I’ve never had before — it’s my first time directing a new work. I get to have e-mail conversations with the playwright comparing our visions, agreeing, disagree- ing, compromising, realizing things together and sepa- rately. I’ve gotten to watch this show grow from where it was a year ago to what will be performed next weekend for the very first time. I get to put my mark on something that nobody has ever done before. How can that not be cool? If you weren’t a theater goddess, what profession would you like to try? A theater goddess? Wow! I’m flattered. I’ve tried a lot of different professions over the course of my life. It’s hard to imagine doing anything else, though, since really finding my niche in theater. I have al- ways wanted to be a teacher. I have taught before — at a Job Corps Center —and I homeschooled my kids for a while. In a way, I am a teacher in doing what I do now. Ultimately, I would love to teach theater at the colle- giate level. It’s something that I have always been interested in. It would be a dream come true in a lot of ways. You’re also a mom to a brood of kids. What does the ideal night without the kids entail? I have three children of my own and my husband has two — We’re just one shy of the Brady Bunch. A night out without the kids is rehearsal. No joke. I do like to go out occasionally. I love to get out of town, just steal away for an overnight or a weekend. I’m pretty busy, though, be- tween my home life and my professional life. Live music is always fun. What was the last concert you went to, and what was the first? The last concert I went to was a Led Zeppelin tribute band — I think they were called Get the Led Out. It was a good concert. My first? That’s funny because up until about a year or two ago, I had only been to one concert in my whole life, and it was — you ready for this? — Bon Jovi. I was 17 Who was your celebrity crush when you were a teen? Gosh. I don’t even know if I had one. Oh wait ... now that I think about it — Kirk Cameron. I’m guessing I must have had a crush, because I remember tearing his picture out of a magazine and putting it in a frame on my dresser. I named my first- born son Cameron — I never thought about it, but maybe it was subliminal. “Lenah” is about a young woman leaving her home in Russia for a new life in America. When was the first time the home you grew up in wasn’t “home” anymore? Well, I moved away for col- lege, but still considered my childhood home my home. I came home nearly every weekend, so I don’t think that really counts. I guess it would be when I left college, got married and moved to New Jersey. I moved around a lot after that — always the gypsy. It wasn’t until I moved to Oneonta in 2003 that I found my new life, though. I really found just about every- thing I had ever been looking for right here. What do you think could be done to boost the Oneonta area arts com- munity? Support really is key. Financial support, moral support, attending a show, helping with promotion, not directly competing with one another and presenting a unified front. The Oneonta area has a thriving arts com- munity with organizations providing professional-level and quality art. Economic times are tough for every- body, especially those of us in the arts community, and it’s hard. We have all of these quality offerings, and I think that by supporting each other, working together and com- municating with each other — it can’t hurt, right? I think that the city is well aware of what a rich arts community we have here, and I think ev- eryone should work together. As Aristotle said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” What’s the best part about living in the One- onta area? I love living in Oneonta, and I came here pretty much kicking and screaming. I had absolutely no interest in mov- ing here. Now, it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else. It’s a fabulous place to raise children, first and foremost. You’ve got the conveniences of a larger city with the home- town feeling of a small town. The people are great, there’s a fabulous energy here, and I’m able to do what I love to do — it always comes back to theater for me. Orpheus Theatre Playwright Project Competition Sarah Lynn has organized Orpheus Theatre’s playwriting contest since its inception three years ago. Last year, she produced the first winning play, “Just Kidding,” by Scott Icen- hower. Last year’s winning play, “Lenah,” by Ellen D'Aquisto will be performed by a local cast Fri- day, March 18, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. at Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center. The plays chosen as this year’s finalists will be read aloud Saturday, March 19, at Foot- hills. * LOOK FOR A STORY ON THE PLAYWRITING CONTEST IN NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE OF THE O-TOWN SCENE.

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