Cincy Chic: How did you become involved in theatre?
Holly Sauerbrunn: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to act. I couldn’t wait to get into high school because that was the first time I could participate in drama. I fell away from theatre in college, but then, Ted Weil invited me to audition for the first show of Falcon Productions, the theatre group he was founding with David Radtke. I was fortunate enough to be cast, and I’ve been involved ever since.
Cincy Chic: You’ve been with the theater for many years, in various positions such as props, acting, costuming, assistant directing and co-directing. What do you like doing best?
Sauerbrunn: I have to say acting. I truly enjoy being on stage, creating a character and hopefully connecting with the audience in some way. I have a tremendous respect for all of the behind-the-scenes workers, though; after having served in those various positions, I must say that for me acting is easy compared to what the technical staff must do!
Cincy Chic: Of all the 30 productions you’ve been involved in at The Falcon Theater, which is your favorite?
Sauerbrunn: I can’t possibly choose just one, as each has had its particular joys. Some of my favorites have been: “Henry V,” which was my first foray as a co-director; “Schoolhouse Rock Live!,” which is exactly as much fun as it sounds like it would be; “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding,” which is a show that is mostly improvisational, and was a different experience every night; “A Few Good Men,” because the script is so wonderful. I also have a very special place in my heart for “Beyond Therapy,” Falcon’s first show, because that was my first foray into community theatre. Outside of Falcon, I’ve enjoyed being a part of CMT’s “Sweeney Todd,” Beechmont Players’ “Snoopy,” Stagecrafters’ “Beau Jest,” and Drama Workshop’s “Dancing at Lugnasa.”
Cincy Chic: The Vagina Monologues is all about female empowerment. How do you empower yourself?
Sauerbrunn: I think, for me, empowerment is about tapping one’s potential. For me, fear of failure often holds me back from taking steps forward to advance my dreams; my most empowered moments are those in which I am able to push past that fear and really take on challenge that helps me to grow.
Sauerbrunn: I like several of them, of course, but one of my favorites is the one about the woman who learns to appreciate her vagina with the help of a man she’s dating. It’s not that she needs a man to give value to her or to her sexuality, but his alternative perspective helps her to appreciate a part of her body that she had previously tried to ignore. I think sometimes other people can see beauty in us that we ourselves don’t see, and that monologue, to me, is about a woman opening her eyes to something wonderful about herself that she previously didn’t see.
Cincy Chic: The theatre has been having entire shows run with each performance benefiting an appropriate organization. Any plans for future organizations/shows?
Sauerbrunn: I sincerely hope so. I would like to see this “Falcon Gives Back” idea be something we do on a semi-regular basis, at least. We are all so blessed, and this is such a great opportunity to share some of those blessings with others.
Cincy Chic: What is the organization that will benefit from the Vagina Monologues production? Why do you choose it?
Sauerbrunn: We have not yet finalized our choice of the organization to benefit from this production, but I would like to see us choose an organization that helps battered women, victims of sexual abuse and victims of domestic violence. I encourage your readers to contact us with suggestions because we are still in the planning portion of that part of the show. The Vagina Monologues has often been performed to benefit such organizations and I would like to honor that tradition.
Cincy Chic: This is our “Quality of Life” issue. How do you try to improve the quality of your life?
Sauerbrunn: I strive for balance. In addition to theater, I have a husband and two children, and I teach at two different colleges, so scheduling can be a challenge. Trying to make sure that everyone, including myself, gets quality time is one of my never-ending struggles. I also try to maintain strong friendships with my female friends; we all need our girlfriends!
Cincy Chic: When you’re not involved in all things theater-related, how do you spend your free time?
Sauerbrunn: I like to spend time with my family, of course, and we try to do fun things as a family, like go to the zoo, museum or any local festivals we can fit in. On my own, I like to read and do the occasional craft project. And any time I can squeeze in some Mystery Science Theater 3000 is good time.
Cincy Chic: Who is/was your acting inspiration?
Sauerbrunn: On a national level, I’d have to say that Katherine Hepburn has always been someone I’ve admired and respected, for so many reasons. On a local level, I have always found Christine Dye to be absolutely amazing. She can do it all: drama, comedy, you name it. I wish I could bottle her sense of timing.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Sauerbrunn: We have an amazing arts community. Not just theatre, in which we have an abundance of riches, but also in our museums, symphony, ballet, etc. I particularly enjoy the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Museum Center. I think we also have a very fun restaurant scene. Anyone who says there’s nothing to do in Cincinnati just isn’t looking.
Photo: Courtesy of Little Brown