Live in Theater Actor Series: Sarah Sawyer

Immersive theater actors have one of the hardest jobs in the theater industry. Our murder mystery shows in NYC often have audiences from all around the world. From timid and shy participants, or the loud and obnoxious, interactive theater performers must be able to adapt to their surroundings and create a memorable performance each time.

This week, our featured actor is Sarah Sawyer. Read about the characters she plays, what she loves about NYC immersive theater, and her upcoming performances!

Q: What Is your Name?

A: Sarah Sawyer

Q: How did you become a part of the Live in Theater cast?

A: Through another Live in Theater cast member, Athena! Athena recommended that I meet Carlo. I auditioned and started working shortly after that.

Q: What are the differences between interactive theater and traditional theater?

A: Interactive theater allows the actor to respond and curtail their performance to energy from the audience. It's a lot about saying "yes and" to the audience members where as traditional theatre is about "saying yes and" to the actors in story with you.

Q: What is your favorite element of interactive work?

A: The audience! They change the show each time. Their energy, involvement, and willingness to play creates new circumstances in each performance.

Q: What is your experience with acting on the streets of New York?

A: Constant questions. "Are you lost?" "Are you Amish?" "Do you know that it's not Halloween?" I respond to all of these by saying "I don't know, I'm Helga."

Q: Who would be one historical figure in history you would like to play?

A: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Q: What do you love about the character(s) you play?

A: I love Helga because she clearly requires the audience to play along if they want to get anything out of her. I love Typhoid Mary because she's so broken and yet she's so set in her ways. It's fascinating because when I play her, I can feel the sympathy the audience has for her circumstances. They can be equally frustrated by her stubbornness. What a juicy character for an actor!

Q: What’s the biggest challenge about taking on your character(s)?

A: OMG. The Accents.

Sarah as Helga in The Ryan Case 1873

Q: What’s the last thing you do before an experience begins?

A: I make sure my top button on my blouse is buttoned! I always forget to do that.

Q: What did you add to the persona of the character during the interactive experience?

A: Helga always picks a person in each group to fall in love with and another one to hate.

Q: What do you do when you’re not doing theatre?

A: I'm running, cycling, and trying new restaurants in NYC. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.

Q: If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next?

A: I still want to do The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. I grew up playing soccer, and that show is one giant monologue from my past. Also anything Annie Baker has written.

You can find out more about Sarah here, and don't miss her short " You'Can Never Leave the Tent" , playing in film festivals around the world!

If you have any questions for Sarah about interactive theater, current projects, or anything else ... Please leave a comment below!

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