Five Questions with Tina Satter

Picture by Deborah Satter

Name: Tina Satter
Title/Occupation:  Writer/Director
Organization/Company: Half Straddle

1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now? I grew up in a very small town in New Hampshire called Hopkinton. I went to college in Maine and then moved to Portland, Oregon for a while where I became involved in theater and performance, and then went to grad school at Reed College where I started writing plays and directing them. New York was this abstract yearning under everything and I eventually moved here several years ago. After living here a year like a strange spinster haunting cultural events, I discovered Mac Wellman’s program at Brooklyn college and applied, which led me to meet amazing people, get quite inspired and really start making and showing my own work.

2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why? The Nutcracker in Boston was my first, major event when I was six or seven that absolutely captivated me with the magic and precision of performance and seems to still be some kind of influence. My sister Deborah is a visual artist who makes really great stuff so her work and contemporary artists we both love are always in my mind. Studying Fornes at Reed and seeing Wooster Group’s House/Lights the first year I lived here were pretty big touchstones.

3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why? If I have something big to say when I’m walking, I stop walking and it’s been getting on people’s nerves lately. So, I guess it means I need to be more patient with things – if I can’t walk and talk I can tell my awesome idea to someone a little bit later.

4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day. I work a day job as a copywriter at a digital media company in Union Square so I spend part of each weekday there. Rest of time is spent writing, planning, hustling or rehearsing for upcoming Half Straddle shows and working on plays and video pieces. Several nights a week, most weeks, I end up seeing some kind of performance thing on purpose, or by mistake.

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome? Yes. I am still making that choice. Feel lucky overall to work a day job with great people who understand and support my art, but feel I could be a little more productive and less stressed if I did not have the office atmosphere regularly. But, some hilarious stuff happens there (and they have copiers, staples and computers which are also kind useful for my art, you know)—and it feels really amazing when I get to walk out of there into the freedom of my own time and then I’m excited to make stuff.

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