BroadwayGlobal shares an exclusive Q & A with Florida's busiest woman in theatre; Director, Actress, Set Painter, Makeup Artist, Managing Director Sabrina Lynn Gore of Outre Theatre Company. With the help of Florida Theatre Chat and 7,500 fans lets' put a spotlight on the life of Florida's busiest woman in theatre, as Sabrina Lynn Gore opens The Journey at Outre Theatre.
BroadwayGlobal sat down to talk to South Florida performer Sabrina Lynn Gore, Director of the original musical, The Journey, and Managing Director at the award winning Outre Theatre Company. We ask Sabrina (on her lunch break) about her day job, Outre's brave new show The Journey, and the set Sabrina painted in her own driveway, on that record breaking cold winter weekend, before she goes into full swing rehearsal mode.
Please tell us, how do you manage all of this?! Don’t you work a day job as well? "Yes. I’m not one of the lucky working actors, who can make a living doing solely theatre. I’m very blessed to get the work that I do, which I always enjoy it immensely, but it doesn’t pay my power and light bills. So, I have a real day job like 99.999999% of us do." Sabrina Lynn Gore.
What kind of job? "It’s the total opposite of the theatre. It’s a corporate 9 to 5 desk job. I’m an Executive Administrative Assistant at a National Healthcare Company. Can I give them a plug? (Conifer Health Solutions.) I support the Regional and National Directors of Conifer Health Solutions; it’s surprisingly high demand sometimes. I start at around 7:30 -8:00 a.m. every morning, and usually end between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.. I usually go straight to a meeting or rehearsal right after work. Sometimes I feel like I live in my car. But, the other side of that is I’m very fortunate to have very supportive bosses. So, the good thing is they allow me some flexibility to do what I love. The communication and organizational skills that I use at my day job have been crucial in my duties as Managing Director of Outre. When you’ve got a lot of balls to juggle, those skills are of the essence.
Sabrina, tell us a little about some of what you’ve been doing to get Journey on its' feet, considering all you have going on. "Oh, well, sleep and social life are totally out of the question these days… Even our Holidays were spent working on the show. My lunch breaks and evenings are spent analyzing the script, sending emails, making phone calls, putting together rehearsal schedules, scheduling production meetings, etc… My husband deserves a Sainthood these days. Before, he only had to deal with my crazy schedule when I was an actor. But, now that I’m Directing, he’s got a double dose of crazy life. He hasn’t gotten a good-nights sleep since we started pre-production either. My poor guy is in need of some Redbull. I wonder if they would be a sponsor for Outre Theatre? Well, as you can see this show has completely taken over our life…and our home."
Your home? "My set building, costume shop, actors housing, script reading office, home. Besides the endless amount of costumes and props that we have choosen to store there for Outre Theatre, we have the Musical Director and writer, Kristen Long, and one of the actors for Journey sharing the guest room for the duration of rehearsals, and the performances. As you can see in the slide show pictures, the set for Journey was built, painted in front of my home, created right in my garage and driveway. You know you love theatre when your driveway is bleeding paint down the street. We chose to build it in the rain, on Florida's coldest weekend in history, but I'm not complaining. This is the glamorous life we live in theatre!"
Now THAT’s dedication! How did you pull that off? "Well, I have to give credit where credit is due.
Outre’s Artistic Director, Skye Whitcomb actually built part of it, himself. He spent three days in my little two car garage, sawing and drilling away, while I was at my 9 to 5 job. The rest of the platforms Skye lugged all the way to Boca from Fort Lauderdale, where our storage unit is. When he was done, it was my turn to paint. I was actually really excited about it, because the weather had been so gorgeous lately. But of course, the very day I'm ready to paint, the radar called for scattered showers. Because, you know… South Florida weather, If you don't like the weather, wait a minute!"
What attracted you to the musical "The Journey"? "It was one of the songs in the show that got my attention, "Curtain Down." I related to it on such a deep, personal level that I needed to hear more. After I got the script, that was it. I needed to do this show. People should come see The Journey because, frankly, there isn't another show like it right now anywhere in South Florida. It's completely original. The music, all original songs written and composed by Kristen Long and her collaborators with her band Long Lost Friend, is extremely eclectic and some of the best I've heard in a very long time.
Kristen and C. Stephan (the other writer) have crafted such a beautiful story and it deserves to be heard. And, the CAST! I have never worked with a more committed and talented group of people as a Director. Every single one of them is completely invested in this show. Just watching them in music rehearsals, I feel like a proud Mama. I'll go ahead and make a bold statement: I believe The Journey has the potential to be one of those shows which impacts a generation, like Hair in the 60s and Rent in the 90s. Bold call? Perhaps... but we at Outré aren’t known for our lack of “ambition” now are we...
Explain the look of the Journey set that readers can see in the slide show. "Even though we are presenting this show in concert form, I still wanted to create that essence of New Orleans, where the show takes place. It’s simple for the purposes of the concert, but I still want to give the audience a taste of what The Journey would be like when we eventually do a full production. I have a very specific vision for it. I always imagined it would be filled with the colors of Mardi Gras… so, that’s what I tried to do with the set, without it being overwhelming. The point is to tell the story, take our audience on The Journey. I kept the basic black for the base and platforms, but did the “splatter” paint look to get the color… it’s very Jackson Pollock. (read: very messy)."
Building the Journey set must have been a chore in South Florida rain. "I won’t lie… I got a little frustrated with the rain, especially on Sunday when I was by myself for a period of time and there was just a downpour for at least an hour and half, and I was completely helpless. I just sat in the garage, soaking wet, cursing out loud, while watching the rain pour down on my set pieces. I prayed that the plastic tarps I’d bought to cover them would hold up. I would have moved everything into the garage, but that circular platform takes at least three people to move. It’s heavy!'
How did you get it finished? "I had all the painting materials spread out on the garage floor, to keep them dry. Every time there was a break in the weather, I literally ran out, uncovered the set and started painting. I had to be careful though because of all the water dripping everywhere. It easily could have ruined the wood and paint with one wrong move. Paint was everywhere when I finished. The bad weather was mixing paint with the rain water that was dripping off the plastic. I tried to be careful, but with the rain, and the “splatter” style of painting it inevetably ended up not only all over me, but all over the driveway. There’s still a small section of little yellow and purple dots on one part my white brick driveway where the plastic didn’t catch. This art work on my driveway is a reminder of my love for theatre. I think it looks pretty neat, actually. Once it was finally dry, we then had to find a way to store it carefully in my garage, and clean it all up. My garage is now being occupied by my set."
Now, we must ask, why did YOU paint the set? Don’t most theatre companies have set builders for that? "Well, there’s a few reasons for that. The main one being… it just needed to get done. We run on a skeleton crew. We are still the new kids on the block, and are still building our board, staff and finances. Frankly, until we are at that point where we have some sponsors like Redbull, or a few theatre lovers writing donation checks, we just have to roll up our sleeves, and do some of the grunt work ourselves. I very much believe that you should never ask someone to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself, especially if you can’t pay them. It would have been very hypocritical of me to expect someone else to take on task, if I wasn’t willing to get down and dirty myself. Which leads to another reason… I‘m a bit of a control freak."
You must spend a lot of time at Home Depot. I don’t know a lot of other directors that would do that. "Well, it’s definitely more prominent at the smaller theatre troupes, like us, for obvious reasons, but that is true in some cases… However, most of those directors don’t need to, either. They have the space, staff and finances for that. We just aren’t there, yet, but if Home Depot is reading this, Outre would be happy to include you as our official sponsor. I don’t think I’m unique as a Director in the fact that I'd do whatever I have to do for my show to succeed, especially a show that I believe in, as much as this one. I have worked with, or I am friends with other directors who do a lot more behind the scenes than most people will ever know. When your sitting in a cozy theatre you don't think of these individuals that virtually get no credit for it. They’ve made a lot of sacrifices because they care enough about the work and art to make it that personal. Those are the directors I try to emulate."
Why are you so hands on? "Well, if it’s worth doing, its worth doing right… right? The buck ultimately stops with the Director. If something isn’t working, it’s our job to find a way to make it work. In my case, sometimes it means painting my own sets. The one thing I should add about that is this, if you have to take on too much, it can hamper your ability to really be a great DIRECTOR. Something has to give at some point. Once you get into rehearsals, the actors, production team and crew need you focused. If you’re overwhelmed with too many other things, it can start to affect ones ability to really be a Director. So, learn to delegate, learn to let go of certain aspects of the show’s ‘vision’ for practicality’s sake, never compromise your integrity, and don't be afraid of holding people accountable. These are important lessons I’ve had to learn."
Don’t you find yourself overwhelmed? "I go back and forth, between bouts of extreme confidence, and utter anxiety. The glasses of wine after rehearsal helps, so you know what to bring me on opening night. There must be a wine company out there that would be our official sponsor!"
How do you have so much energy to be so dedicated with your busy schedule? "When you love what you do, the energy needed to do it comes naturally. And by naturally, I mean in large doses of caffeine. Maybe Starbucks should be Outre Theatre Compnay's sponsor." Sabrina Lynn Gore.
The Journey runs January 17-19, 2014, with performances Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Performances are in the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center located at 201 Plaza Real in Boca Raton, Florida. To purchase tickets go to The Journey or call 954-300-2149. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org. "If you don't have tickets to The Journey then you have not supported Florida's hardest working woman Director Sabrina Lynn Gore, or Outre Theatre's brave new works for live theatre." BroadwayGlobal.
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