Spark Plug: Sarah Hartmann

Spark Plugs: An interview series with playwright Angela Santillo and the artists of Spark.


Wednesday evening before rehearsal.

A diner.  Ms. Hartmann enjoyed a plate of french toast while Ms. Santillo relished a bowl of split pea.


Angela Santillo
Give me one interesting fact about yourself.

Sarah Hartmann
Do you want it to be a fact I don’t like telling people or like a surprise?

I guess it’s up to you.

I would say the most interesting fact is that I was born and raised in Wyoming – little cowboy country. And I recently learned how to shoot a rifle and I’m pretty good at it.

Most excellent. So what do you think are the key ingredients to making a bad ass play?

Well…you need an exceptionally talented cast. You need a pretty kick ass director. You need a playwright who really manages to create a world in which all of the questions you have are in there and answered but it also gives you so much more to explore. And I think you need subject matter that is compelling. I think we have all of those and a pinch of glam rock.

What do you think theater should do?

You know, honestly I think there are two things theater should do and I think they are related to each other. I think theater should remind people that you are in a shared space with your fellow audience members and the performers and it should unite you in that sense, in a way film cannot do. In film, you’re separated from the performance and the story and you can stop it whenever you want so I think live theater has the responsibility to remind its audience and its actors that its a shared experience which is related to the second goal of theater: that the audience and the actor take that idea of connectedness outside of the theater, whether through the stories they are seeing – thinking about stories that are not their own – or just remind them that there is more to the world than this virtual connection that we have. Which is good, I am not saying there is anything wrong with virtual connection but that there’s this other personal, in the moment, physical piece that exists and theater should remind people of that.

So you have been involved with Spark since it’s really early beginnings. I’m going to make the list of how you’ve been involved.  You ready?


You were at the first reading, you acted in the workshop, now you’re assistant producer, and assistant directing the show. Given that you’ve been part of this a while, what are you most excited to see come alive in this production?

I think what I’m most excited to see in this production is that in the reading we did there were bits and pieces of these characters and story lines and they are still in this play but they’ve changed some. Then we did the staged reading, I was backstage frequently so I was just hearing a lot so I am really excited to see how the gods and the other characters on stage interact with each other. And to see how they interact physically cause it’s such a physical play really, in terms of the sex and different types of contact people have. I’m excited to see the physical manifestation between the two worlds.

And one last thing. Finish this sentence anyway you like. This Valentine’s Day, I will….

This Valentine’s Day I will….to be totally honest with you, this Valentine’s Day I will be watching the first episode of the new season of Top Shot.

(Playwright’s note: Sarah will actually be in tech for Spark this Valentine’s Day.)


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