Alumni Spotlight: George Sapio
George Sapio is a playwright/director/producer/dramaturg. His play “Ghosts” won the 2001 Mildred and Albert Panowski Award. He produces and hosts the podcast “Onstage/Offstage,” now in its tenth year, featuring interviews with theatre professionals from around the world and live readings of new short plays. His book “Workshopping the New Play: A Guide for Playwrights, Directors, and Dramaturgs” is published by Hal Leonard/Applause Books. He was the founder and artistic director of the Ithaca Fringe Festival (2013-2017) and founder of Wolf’s Mouth Theatre Company and Bad Dog! Productions. He is also a photojournalist whose book “Collateral Damage” features his pictures from two trips to Iraq in 2003. He earned his MFA in playwriting at Goddard College.
We talk about George’s childhood in the Bronx and how he got the theater bug in high school, when he would go down to the city and get half-price tickets to shows like Grease and Equus (the latter of which he took his 10th grade English class to – from his Catholic school. One of George’s early writing teachers gave him advice that he continues to abide by in his playwriting and teaching, “Write the story, don’t write the nonsense that goes with it.” George’s book “Workshopping the New Play: A Guide for Playwrights, Directors, and Dramaturgs,” details the workshop process and how to flesh out the play and “bring it to its best possible fruition.”
George’s dad set an example for what it was like to be a news photographer (as well as introduced George to photojournalism and darkroom techniques), which served George well when he worked at Newsweek. George and his wife Maura (also a Goddard graduate) went to Iraq twice in 2003 and put out a photojournalism book called Collateral Damage, about the people (especially children) who didn’t want to go to war but were the ones who suffered from it.
George’s 10-year-old podcast (and Ithaca radio show) Onstage/Offstage, covers theater people around the world including actors, directors, dramaturgs, set designers, lighting designers, and artistic directors. The podcast addresses current issues in the theater like why women over 40 aren’t getting paid attention to, and “how persons of color are finally getting a very tiny leg up into the opportunities that have always been predominantly for old white guys like myself.” We talk at length about the role of the dramaturg, which George discusses in his book “Workshopping the New Play: A Guide for Playwrights, Directors and Dramaturgs.” He also directs short play readings for the podcast that he puts out open calls for.
FINALLY, George talks about his home and B&B, La Casa de la Luna Feliz (“House of the Smiling Moon”) in Costa Rica, designed for people who are in recovery of any sort, “We cater especially to people recovering from illness, injury, trauma, heartbreak, and activism burnout (and theater recovery).”
Keep up with George and his projects:
Onstage/Offstage Podcast: www.onstageoffstage.org
Buy the book: www.workshoppingthenewplay.com
Book a stay: www.casalunafeliz.com
Equus, Peter Shaffer
Drama Bookshop: https://www.dramabookshop.com/
NYC Playwrights: https://www.nycplaywrights.org/
Playwrights Center: https://pwcenter.org/
Honor Roll!: https://www.honorrollplaywrights.org/