Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ensemble Diaries:
TSP Ensemble Member Autumn Mirassou

The Seeing Place Theater is thrilled to announce its 2016 Fundraising Initiative. As a part of the initiative we want you to give you a chance to get to know our members, so we gave them a little challenge. To start, the Seeing Place asked each of its members 3 questions which they could answer via text or video:

1) What is your hometown?
2) What is your dream role?
3) When was the last time you contributed to a campaign and how did it make you feel?

We then asked them to craft a little blog post about what brought them to The Seeing Place and why it means so much to them. We hope you enjoy getting to know our ensemble!


Something wonderful happens between the ensemble and audience during a show with The Seeing Place. It's palpable, real and radically transparent, but somehow also mysterious. The actors don't know what's coming next, outside of a series of well-written lines, to be said in a certain order. It's exciting and feels a little dangerous—thrilling at the very least, because the actors are experiencing the production for the first time, too. It's a quality that The Seeing Place's returning audience members know and love. You can feel it in the whispers buzzing around the theater's house pre-show. There's an anticipation and an expectation that they'll see this play in a way it has never been done before. Numerous people come back to the same show repeatedly, excited to see a different show every time.

While managing the Box Office and understudying for THE PILLOWMAN this last fall, I got to see first hand some of the extensive work that goes into rehearsals and back stage. But what struck me most was the way audiences were reached by The Seeing Place. They came out of a show and rather than leaving in a rush, desperate to shut the city out again, they opened up to the actors who were humbly waiting & ready to talking to them. Night after night, people stuck around to share stories from their own lives that resonated with the plot and relationships in our two shows. I quietly observed handfuls of people offering their own stories of loss in response to GIDION'S KNOT, and people so shocked and horrified by the treatment of Katurian in THE PILLOWMAN they continued speaking to the cast members as if they were their characters, chastising them. Students from an all boy's school on a class trip hung back for an hour just to hear how the actors' work in GIDION'S KNOT was made and share what touched them about the play they saw. The fact that these generous patrons stayed and chatted to share their own stories reveals so much about TSP's audience dedication to the company and the work that emerges from it. The company strives to spark the conversation in the surrounding community—a trait which audiences have welcomed with open arms.

Audiences chat with the cast and our talkback speaker
after a performance of "Love Song"
And if the way people come to the theater is any indication of how an audience respects it, you'd find our audiences are in love. Working Box Office, I was surprised to learn one woman trekked by bus and a walk with a handicap three hours just to see our last two shows three times. Another such amazing indication of the excitement this company generates was an evening colored by Murphy's Law--everything that could go wrong, did. There were behind the scenes struggles no one could let on about or even fix - the lights wouldn't operate even though the light board appeared operational. As we worked to restore power we had to open the house late, starting the show much later and not even lit by a complete set of work lights, but incandescent clamp lights.  In apology we offered our audience timely explanations and complimentary wine - and not a single audience member left, not one person complained. Nothing could deter them from seeing the show that night. They stuck it out and responded. They had more to say afterwards to the actors. And one generous audience member, a theater maker himself, offered to help us find the source of our electrical challenges. That guy is a hero.

I am so proud and grateful to be a part of a theater company that does so much to generate such excitement in its patrons, solely based on the quality of the work. It starts from the moment they get wind of the shows to several days afterward as we continue engaging them about their experiences. The Seeing Place cares deeply for its audiences, and its audiences are loyal and generous in kind on a level that's deeply humbling. My greatest hope as an actor and theater maker is to have a tangible, positive impact on our community. Dear TSP Audiences, you make that possible and give me a lot of hope for a future in the theater. Thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing you out there again soon.

3 Questions

1. Hometown: Silicon Valley, CA
2. Dream Role: Clara in "The Light in the Piazza"
3. Last time I gave: I gave money to another small theater company. I felt really good :)

Learn more about Autumn at


To help create new work with Autumn and The Seeing Place by contributing to our campaign, visit

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