|Sammy Gleason as Trip Wyeth in Other Desert Cities|
“This play is about people. Real people. Flawed people. It’s a story that an audience can relate to, and all they have to do is listen.”
Other Desert Cities, making its Colorado Premiere at the Fine Arts Center, features a great cast of Colorado actors. We had the chance to talk to Sammy Gleason, a mainstay in the Colorado Springs theatre scene, who has appeared in several FAC productions. He will be playing the role of Trip, the youngest son.
What first attracted you to this play, Other Desert Cities?
Sammy: I was actually approached by the director Scott RC Levy to audition. I’d never heard of the show before it was announced on the season, and I only knew the basic plot – but no details. In fact the first time I really read the script was after I was cast. That’s when I fell in love!
What do you like about the play? Is there anything you don’t like about it?
S: I love the dialogue! This piece has such incredible language and witty banter – it’s just really fun to get to say and listen to these words. I wasn’t initially a fan of the ending when I read the script. However, seeing it on its feet and watching the story unfold with actual people has completely changed that view and I understand it now.
Other Desert Cities was nominated for several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. What do you think makes this play stand out from other plays?
S: This play is noteworthy, I believe, because it doesn’t rely on tricks or smoke and mirrors or fanfare or anything like that to distract the audience from reality. This play is about people. Real people. Flawed people. It’s a story that an audience can relate to, and all they have to do is listen.
This play is part of an ongoing series at the Fine Arts Center of artworks, plays, and movies that focus on the concept of family. What are your thoughts about the family in Other Desert Cities? Are they anything like your own family, or completely different?
S: The Wyeth family had been molded by tragedy when we meet them. They are a household of carefully locked doors and fiercely guarded secrets. In reading and rehearsing this play, I’ve found a lot of touchstones to my own family dynamic – how each individual can affect the whole, and why certain people need to talk when others would rather stay silent and forget. Also depression and alcoholism, which have marked the Wyeths very deeply, are subjects my own family has experience and history with. It makes the story very personal for me.
What is your character like? Do you find him relatable?
S: Trip, the youngest child, is an easy going, laid back kind of guy. He just wants everyone to get along and to love each other. He is someone who has made his own mistakes, has learned from them, and has created a life for himself that is happy and productive and isn’t tied down by past events. I find him very relatable in the dynamic that he brings to his family. He’s a mediator, he’s a confidant, and he’s someone that manages to navigate the tempestuous waters of family tragedy and pain while still maintaining his own sense of self. In many ways, that is the role I fill in my own family – it is very familiar.
Other Desert Cities
March 14–31, 2013