Published: Apr 25, 2012 10:38 AM
Modified: Apr 29, 2012 07:51 PM
Staci Sabarsky hasnt been getting much sleep. Between her day job teaching performing arts to middle school students at Duke School in Durham and directing the upcoming Cary Players production, The Rainmaker, free time has been scarce.
But her hectic schedule doesnt dampen her enthusiasm for her latest project. She cant wait to share The Rainmaker with audiences. She describes it as a love story, but more than that. Its about family, hope and faith, and its quite funny.
The last show that Sabarsky directed was at the Herb Young Community Center. At each show in the small venue, Puss in Boots drew an audience of about 50. When the Arts Center opened in September, the Cary Players and Sabarsky were thrilled with the venues better sight lines for the audience and its larger space, allowing them to stage bigger productions.
A recent performance of Agatha Christies And Then There Were None drew 1,600 people to the arts center, and Sabarsky hopes for similar turnout for The Rainmaker.
Sabarsky, a resident of Durham and a fixture in the local theater scene, has acted in plays for Raleigh Little Theatre, Raleigh Ensemble Players, Cary Players and Burning Coal Theatre. She has directed youth productions throughout the Triangle and appeared on camera in commercials and local television. Q: What is your background, and how did you end up in theater?
I was very involved in drama in high school. I wanted to get my degree in theater, but my parents were against it. I looked into broadcasting and got my associate degree and by then was offered a management job with Subway [sandwiches] Corporate. I then became a corporate trainer and traveled around the state. I kept moving up the corporate ladder, but I realized after 17 years that drama was the thing that was missing in my life.
I went back to get my degree in theater at Chapel Hill. Q: You work with a lot of young people. What is your goal when you teach them or direct them in a production?
Not all young people will be performers. But they gain such a sense of confidence by getting to be someone else onstage and going in front of their peers to perform.
Not all kids are athletes, but when kids find something they are good at, they gain confidence. And much like sports, they become part of a team that works together and supports one another. Anytime young people are a part of something bigger than themselves, they become better people. Q: Are there things about working in the dramatic arts that you wish youd known earlier?
I wish I had done this sooner. Its hard, at the end of high school, to stick to your guns. I spent 17 years working for Subway, which was great. But who knows what Id be doing now if I had chosen differently? Q: Did you get to choose The Rainmaker as the play you would direct for Cary Players?
Two years ago, I proposed it to Cary Players, but Cary Arts Center hadnt been built yet. The Rainmaker really requires a full stage. Cary Players said they would consider it in the future.
They did offer me a youth production (with adult actors), Puss in Boots, and shortly after that, the Cary Arts Center was open. I was thrilled that they considered The Rainmaker when I brought it up again. Q: Why The Rainmaker?
The Rainmaker is a beautiful play and story. The characters are heart-warming, and I fell in love with it. Its not a drama. Although we dont use the term in theater, its more like a romantic comedy; both funny and clever. Q: Why is a community theater like Cary Players so important in our lives?
Not everyone has the opportunity to perform professionally. Not everyone can head to New York and star on Broadway.
And live theater is very different from film or TV. Being there in the theater with 200 or 300 other people is a shared experience.
Anyone can come and audition, build sets or work on lighting. You can be a part of something. Productions become like a family; youre working together for a month and a half.
Cary Players has been around for many years, and this is the end of the groups first season in this space. Everyone has really grown. The Rainmaker is a wonderful play with a great cast.