“Sweetpea” Runs Through Dec. 11 at STT

Sweetpea at Bryant Hall
Photo by Karen Almond

“Sweetpea,” Second Thought Theatre’s production of Janielle Kastner’s new play, is onstage now at Bryant Hall in Katlita Humphreys Theater. As the closing production of the 2021 season, “Sweetpea” is the theatre’s first in-person production in 18 months. Conceived at Erik Ehn’s Stillwright silent retreat outside San Antonio, Kastner’s work was developed in workshops at Stage West and the Dallas Theater Center.

Director and Second Thought Theatre Artistic Director Carson McCain says, “I have been enthralled with the play, ‘Sweetpea,’ since I read Janielle’s first draft. The impossibility of letting another human know you completely is a feeling we are all too familiar with, and have only grown more accustomed to during the pandemic. If you have ever felt the big scary feeling of wanting another person to see your insides, while also wanting them to stay far, far away, then this play is for you.”

Plot Synopsis

After separating, a couple reconnects and decide to move back in together, introducing their pet birds to each other in the process. As the human relationship unravels, an avian romance burgeons. At once light and dark, familiar and strange, and shaded with juxtapositions between the ego and the id, “Sweetpea” is the playwright’s unsettling reflection on the concept of intimacy and the “absurdity” of sharing space.

Creative Team

Janielle Kastner (Playwright) is a writer and performer who considers her medium to be anything with words. Pre-pandemic she premiered Playwrights in the Newsroom based on three years “creatively auditing” The Dallas Morning News alongside co-writer Brigham Mosley in the AT&T Performing Art Center’s Elevator Project. Her meta-narrative podcast Untitled Dad Project was named #1 on IndieWire’s Top 50 list “Best Podcasts of 2019”. She is currently working on a new play commission from Dallas Theater Center, where she was an inaugural member of the Dallas Playwrights Workshop with Will Power.

Carson McCain (Director/Artistic Director) is a born-and-bred Texas director and producer, with a heart for new and local work that connects humans and fosters empathy. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she studied acting and directing, receiving a Meadows Exploration Grant to develop and produce the world premiere of Michelle with Wet Eyeballs by Claire Carson. As the Supervising Producer for Spoke Media, she has produced and directed numerous audiobooks and podcasts, including The Last Of Us Official Podcast, The Left Ear with Dakota Johnson and Because I Watched: A Netflix Podcast.

Katie Ibrahim* (Stage Manager) is a theatre artist originally from Orlando, FL. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Theatre Studies where she directed, stage managed, and produced a number of productions, including directing Aaron Posner’s Stupid F***ing Bird. Stage management credits include: For a Brief Moment I was Something Else (NYC), Let’s Have a Seance (NYC). Since moving back to Dallas, she has worked as a lead teaching artist at The Playground Acting Program. Kat is a teaching artist with Dallas Summer Musicals arts-based programs to Dallas ISD students.

Sweetpea Cast Members

Tatiana Gantt (Tatiana Lucia Gantt)* (She/Sweetpea) is a bilingual Latinx actress, teaching artist, and theater maker based out of Dallas. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has worked with theaters like Dallas Summer Musicals, Dallas Theater Center, Shakespeare Dallas, and many others. Her recent work has included starring in roles such as Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Ana in Real Women Have Curves and Quetzacoatl in Lucha Teotl.

Sweetpea runs through Dec. 11
Photo by Karen Almond

Thomas Magee (He/Buddy (Rosebud)) is making his debut at Second Thought Theatre. Born and raised in DFW, he is a recent 2020 graduate of the Southern Methodist University. His work at SMU includes roles such as Hanschen in Spring Awakening, Brian in Smart People and Teach in American Buffalo.

Crew Members

Danielle Georgiou, Ph.D. (Intimacy Coordinator) is a Dallas-based choreographer, director, and performance artist. Her choreography and video works have been presented nationally and internationally. Since 2011, she has been the Artistic Director of the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group (DGDG), an ensemble-based dance theatre company that produces original dance plays and musicals.

Gelacio Eric Gibson (Costume Designer) graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2015. He has worked with costumes and wardrobe in college and professionally for over ten years. In 2017, Gelacio landed his first professional costume design for the production REALLY at Undermain Theatre. He has designed costumes and served as wardrobe master at numerous local and regional theatres.

Amelia Bransky (Set Designer) is a collaborative artist from California. She is grateful to return to Second Thought Theatre to work on new stories with old friends. Past productions at Second Thought include Empathitrax and Incognito. She has recently been working as an Art Director for Gordon Ramsey’s Next Level Chef, premiering January on FOX.

Aaron Johansen (Lighting Designer) returns to STT following collaborations with Dallas Theater Center; Dallas Children’s Theater; Kitchen Dog Theater (Company Member); Theater Three; Stage West; Uptown Players; Cry Havoc Theater Company; Cara Mía Theatre Co., and Sweet Tooth Hotel Art installation. Aaron is the Lighting Manager for the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the arts district of Dallas.

More Sweetpea Crew Members

Claire Carson (Sound Designer) is a queer playwright, actress, sound designer, dog/cat mom and published poet from Denver, CO. She is Administrative Coordinator at Kitchen Dog Theater and distribution associate for Media Projects Inc. She graduated from SMU in 2014 with a BFA in Theater Studies, and was a member of Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop at DTC under the guidance of Will Power.

Jon Leitch (Technical Director), a technical director and theater artist based in Dallas, freelanced almost ten years. As the full time Technical Director for Theatre 3 Dallas the past four years, he has worked with many local theatre companies. He is an experienced drafter, carpenter, electrician and light board programmer who has traveled and put shows into venues of all sizes at all resource levels.

Celeste Perez (Covid Safety Officer) is working with STT for the first time. She has worked in Video/TV/Film production for seven years and theatre most of her life. When both industries were halted in 2020 she became certified as a Covid Compliance Officer, serving in this capacity on many productions. She is also a stage actor who has worked in numerous local productions, and a voice actor.

Second Thought Theatre (STT)

STT provides an intimate and unique theatrical experience by empowering top local theater artists to take risks, and by showcasing writers who boldly tackle the difficult and demanding questions of our rapidly changing world. Performances of “Sweetpea” run through Dec. 11 in Bryant Hall at Kalita Humphreys Theater. For ticket information visit secondthoughttheatre.com.