Theatre Synesthesia has only been on the scene for a few short years, yet in that short time, they’ve managed to get on several award lists and have even walked away with a few of those awards. Their work has been exclusively dedicated to producing the writing of playwright Casey Wimpee… until now. On October 11th, they venture into new territory by producing Austin playwright Katie Bender’s play THE FAULT. We recently had the opportunity to talk with founder and director, Devin Finn and playwright Katie Bender about this upcoming production from Theatre Synesthesia.
BWW: Where did you find this new playwright, Katie Bender, you are working with?
DF: Early this year when drafting up our current season we knew two things for sure about our fall show; we are doing a new play, by a new playwright and the cast will be predominately female.
So we started reading plays and we reached out to a few people we truly admire, who we have been lucky to work with, for suggestions.
America Archer, our executive director, was sent THE FAULT and she forwarded it to me, with the message, “read this. Im certain this is what we will do”
I read it, we all read it, and it was easy to agree that this was the play we wanted to do. So I reached out to Katie and we met. I shared our vision for this story and she shared where she is in the process of this new script and we figured out how to merge the two and the collaboration was formed.
We will be fully producing this story and Katie will be with us through the entire production, using the process as a valuable resource to explore even further, what this story is.
BWW: Is this a world premiere?
KB: No. I just finished a large revision of THE FAULT and so this workshop production is a chance for me, as playwright, and Devin along with the cast and the Theater Synesthesia folks, to explore and learn from this current draft on it’s feet and in front of an audience.
BWW: Katie, what can you tell our readers about yourself?
KB: I’m a local playwright and theater maker. My plays include Still, Now, THE FAULT, One Night Only and The Survivors/ Los Sobrevivientes. I’m a founding member of Underbelly-a theatre collaborative that stages immersive journey plays in forgotten spaces, with whom she created Slip River, Church of the Passionate Cat, an immersive adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and NEXT YEAR PEOPLE. My work has been developed or produced with Heart and Dagger Productions, Ensemble Studio Theater, UCSB’s Launch Pad,The New Harmony Project, Kitchen Dog, Orchard Project, The Hangar, Icicle Creek Festival, New Victory LabWorks program and Fusebox Festival. Winner of the 2013 Best New Comedy from Austin Critics Table Awards and on the Kilroys in 2015, I was a finalist for the Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship. I received my M.F.A. from The University of Texas and was a 2016/2017 Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center and Travel and Study Grant recipient through the Jerome Foundation. Currently, I’m the playwright-in-residence at The Susanna Dickinson Museum in Austin, Texas.
BWW: Is this your first venture without Casey Wimpee?
DF: This IS our first venture without Casey. We always knew one day we would break away and play with other people. We will definitely continue to produce his work as it has been/is a privilege to do so. As we grow as a company there are a lot of new and exciting things we want to do. We felt this was the perfect time to step out of our comfort zone and see how well we play with others :). We are very excited about this current collaboration with Katie and her story, THE FAULT.
BWW: What is THE FAULT about?
KB: Loosely based on my California family, THE FAULT focuses on three sisters growing up in an itinerant household, struggling through disparate ambitions and addictions to find their own way in the world. THE FAULT looks closely at the ways in which the American dream doesn’t apply to people living in poverty and asks what systems are relied on, or invented, in the absence of that promise. Ultimately the play is about the power of relationships forged between sisters.
THE FAULT will have a three week run Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm beginning on October 11th and running through October 27th. This production will be in a brand new venue for the company, the former Sky Candy Dance Studio on E Caesar Chavez. Sky Candy has recently moved to a new space on Springdale. Theatre Synesthesia has struck while the iron is hot (and before the new tenants move in), to turn the space into a make shift theatre. Tickets and details can both be found at theatresynesthesia.com