Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Welcome to our latest edition of the Get to Know series! In this post we chat with one of the latest members of the Monument team, Mariah Spragg! Mariah is an actress, director, and stage manager who dove headfirst in our company as the stage manager for our original production, Hers is the Head of a Wolf. In her first interview she shares her thoughts on theatre, Fringe festivals, her background, and where she hopes to go from here.
MONUMENT: Alright, Mariah! Let's get started. What’s your favorite color?
MARIAH SPRAGG: Pink and blue!
M: Favorite food?
MS: I love Italian food!
M: Favorite article of clothing?
MS: Pants! I like to switch it up and wear all kinds of interesting pants. My favorite pair are bright blue with 80’s patches and ribbons on the bottom.
M: Do you have any tattoos?
MS: I have one tattoo. It is of two rabbits making a triangle float between them and I got it because I was at a point in my life where I desperately needed a change. I guess it symbolizes that now.
M: Favorite weather/time of year?
MS: The fall and the spring. It’s the only time of the year I feel perfectly comfortable with the temperature outside and the changing of the seasons is beautiful.
M: Do you enjoy any sports?
MS: I don’t go out of my way to watch sports but I think soccer and hockey are very fun to watch.
M: Coffee or tea?
MS: Both! I love the bitterness of coffee because it gets me going quickly but sometimes I need a slow start and that’s when I drink tea.
M: Cat or dog?
MS: I like having cats for a pet because they love you when you need them and leave you alone when you don’t. I love other people’s dogs but I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time to properly care for a dog.
M: What are some hobbies or interests of yours outside of theatre?
MS: I write and I draw but I think everything I do relates back to the idea of telling a story and that’s what we do in theatre too.
M: What do you do to relax?
MS: I either take a nap, listen to music while working on a project, or watch a movie.
M: Dream vacation?
MS: A road trip around the United States with the people closest to me in life. We wouldn’t even need a destination for me to enjoy it— just the idea of packing up into a car and driving off makes me feel so free and at peace.
M: Do you have a favorite author or poet?
MS: My favorite author is J.D. Salinger and my favorite poet currently is Davey Mac but I’m not even sure if he goes by that anymore because his internet and media presence dropped off in 2013.
M: Do you have a favorite actor or director?
MS: I don’t think I have a favorite actor or director. I love and admire everyone who can create a connection to a character and translate that honestly. And I admire any director who can articulate that connection and the story to an audience.
M: Who is a hero or inspiration of yours?
MS: A musician named Mitchell Welling. He has been self published for years. I think it’s amazing that he creates his art and is able to support himself while doing what he loves best without the influence of anyone trying to change him.
M: What do you admire in people?
MS: Honesty and the ability to connect and create.
M: What do you despise in people?
MS: Ignorance and greed. People who aren’t willing to listen to others and try to understand.
M: What charms you in a person?
MS: Having an immediate connection. Vulnerability— people who aren’t afraid to just be who they are in that moment.
M: Where are you from?
MS: Primarily Northern Indiana— I moved around a lot between Noblesville, Cicero, Kokomo, Anderson, Galveston, and Walton.
M: What was it like growing up there, can you describe how it affected your worldview?
MS: I think moving around made me invest more in my hobbies and goals. It has made me never content with where I am living— like I’m always searching for a home and sometimes I can find that in people which is beautiful. I think the way I grew up has created a pull in me that I never know how to satisfy. It’s like I’m always searching for something more or trying to do something to feel like I have fulfilled my purpose or like I have a purpose.
M: When did you develop an interest in theatre?
MS: When I was very young— probably 3 or 4. I used to watch all of my VHS movies over and over again eventually reciting all of the lines to the screen and acting it out. I did that until I was in middle school I think.
M: When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
MS: I always knew I wanted to create and tell stories but as a child I had a lot of self doubt and looked in other places to fulfill that dream but my sophomore year of high school I joined my school’s speech and debate team where I performed a duo interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I think that was the moment I had decided that it had to be theatre or film or some form of performing arts environment because I felt so at home with these people and with this art.
M: You went to college and studied theatre. Why Indiana State?
MS: I wasn’t going to apply to ISU; it was a last resort option on my list and I wasn’t too sure about the school when I first arrived. But after my first semester as a freshman I fell in love with the department and hands on experience ISU provides its students. I was always comfortable in pursuit of this degree because I always knew that this is what I want to do but the choice to stay at ISU was all due to our professors and the students I met along the way.
M: What are the stories you gravitate toward?
MS: Stories with depth and substance in one form or another. Stories that can connect to an audience regardless of the content and style.
M: What about these stories do you connect to?
MS: An understanding of something more and a longing for that. I love feeling changed after reading a story or seeing a show. I love feeling inspired to do something— anything with the feeling a story gives me.
M: What is the effect you want your work to have on the audience?
MS: Inspiration, connection, and I want them to feel seen and understood.
M: You were the stage manager for Wolf in our debut at the 2018 IndyFringe festival. How would you describe your experience being part of a fringe fest? MS: Challenging and interesting. Fringe is different than anything I’ve ever done in theater. We were thrown a lot of things I’ve never dealt with before but I loved how much I was able to learn and grow from that experience. Especially seeing as post-grad fringe festivals are where a lot of artists get work. It showed me that anything is possible in theatre and that theatre isn’t about when or where but it is about what and who. I think we had a strong team that was able to work with what they were given and make more out of it. It was a very good experience in that light.
M: What makes a good scene partner?
MS: Someone who listens and reacts honestly.
M: To date, what has been your most gratifying experience in theatre?
MS: Both stage managing for Hers is the Head of a Wolf and performing in The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls this year. I learned more than I ever would have if I hadn’t taken the job to SM for Monument and I got to work with people who I love and admire and who all taught me so, so much. I think I grew so much as a stage manager and as a person throughout that process; it was life changing. As for Russian Girls, for the first time in my acting experience I felt entirely sure of my ability as an actor and the work I had done to create Masha. The show itself was the most fun show I have ever performed and before I would go onstage all of my nerves would fall and there was a sense of being grounded like this is what I am here to do and everything made sense for me.
M: Tell me about what you're working on now. Personal projects?
MS: I am preparing to do the role of Lady Macbeth in ISU’s production of Macbeth and I am working on writing a prose series about my childhood and how that has affected the biggest relationships in my life.
M: A hundred years from now, what would you like to be remembered for?
MS: Creating and telling stories for and with people who are passionate about doing that too. I want to be a piece in the puzzle and I want to improve everyday.
Now you know Mariah! Stay tuned to see her work in our upcoming season! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all our latest news, job postings, and events!