Urbanite Theatre Presents Gracie Gardner's Play "Athena," Now Through July 10

Urbanite Theatre Presents Gracie Gardner's Play

Actors Lea Sevola and Emma Giorgio, along with director Summer Dawn Wallace, join the Suncoast Culture Club Podcast to talk about their lives, journey to Urbanite, and this amazing story of two strong young ladies who start as fencing foes and end up wanting something for each other...something more than they want for themselves.
Urbanite Theatre's production of "Athena" is running now through July 10. Get your tickets and watch these wonderful actors bring the story to life.

• Urbanite Theatre Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

Summer Dawn Wallace Website & Facebook

• Lea Sevola Website & Facebook & Instagram

Emma Giorgio Website & Facebook & Instagram

• SCF Theatre Program Website & Facebook Page & Instagram

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Robyn Bell: It is no secret around town that the Urbanite Theater is my go-to place for theater entertainment. And it just so happens. I have tickets to tonight's performance of Urbanite's production of the Gracie Gardner play Athena running now through July 10. So how lucky am I to have on the podcast this week? The two actors in this play, Lea Sevola and Emma Giorgio and the plays director who is also Urbanites co-founder and artistic director Summer Dawn Wallace. So Lea, Emma, and Summer, welcome to the club. 

Lea Sevola: Happy to be here. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Thank you for so much us for having us 

Robyn Bell: Now with other media outlets in town, you might get a write up in the paper, six minutes on a television program, but here on the Suncoast Culture Club Podcast, we have all day, baby. We can get down and dirty, learn all your secrets. So tell us about the two of you, where you are from, how did this acting bug hit you and what was your path to being cast in Athena at Urbanite theater? Emma, let's start with you. 

Emma Giorgio: Sure. Yeah. So I'm from Connecticut. I was born and raised in Connecticut. I started acting in high school with my high school musicals and that's kind of where the bug hit me. And then since then, you know, I got my degree in musical theater. And 

Robyn Bell: where where'd you get your degree from? 

Emma Giorgio: Western Connecticut State University. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. I got my degree in musical theater and then I kind of expanded into a little film and television and some straight plays as well. And that's kind of how we ended up here. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: And you, so you are not just an actor, you're a singer and a dancer and, uh, all the good stuff that goes along with musical theater. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Have you found more work in one or, or the other? 

Emma Giorgio: I have found more work in just straight acting. So that's kind of where I've, been spending a lot of my time. Okay. And I really enjoy that. So 

Robyn Bell: if you get cast in a musical, are you a soprano or are you an, or are you a lead? What are, what are you, what are you seeing there? 

Emma Giorgio: I, I sing soprano. I sing, you know, I, a lot of classical, I'm more of a classical musical theater. Nerd. Yes. So that's kind of where I, where I live. But anything, anything you got for me? I'll take it. 

Robyn Bell: All right. So here's your question. West Side Story or Hamilton. 

Emma Giorgio: Ooh, that's a great question. 

Robyn Bell: Yep. 

Emma Giorgio: That's a tough question. 

Robyn Bell: You gotta get it right. 

Emma Giorgio: Oh boy. Mm I'm gonna, I'm gonna go West Side Story. 

Robyn Bell: All right. There you go. You win. They're both great, great shows. Yeah. Yeah. But it's interesting to talk to musical theater people about. How we see musical theater go from here to there and the wonderful acting skills that you get being in a musical to then leading to straight plays and a lot of acting. And as you said, film and television, have you been in anything film and TV wise that we would know.

Emma Giorgio: I have something coming up. Um, but nothing, nothing that's out right now that that would be widely known. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Yeah. Well, we'll, we'll look for you on Netflix one day soon. and you played the part in, in Athena of Mary Wallace, correct? 

Emma Giorgio: I do. Yes. Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Tell us a little bit about Mary Wallace, 

Emma Giorgio: for sure. Mary Wallace. She is a fun character to play. She's a little bit of a nerd. She's kind of, you know, out of the two fencers, she's a little bit more by the book. She likes the rules. So that's been kind of fun to explore. 

Robyn Bell: Maybe she's more conservative 

Emma Giorgio: a little bit. Yes. A little bit. Yeah. Yeah. And then throughout the play, she kind of learns. A little bit more about herself perhaps becomes a new fencer. But we kind of see how she evolves in that. Which has been really fun to, to explore. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. I'm anxious to see how that character develops through you. So Lea, you are the title character of the show Athena. So tell us about yourself.

Lea Sevola: So I'm originally from Randolph, New Jersey born and raised in New Jersey. Was kind of bit by the bug, pretty young. I've always known that I wanted to be an actor and a singer. Pretty much my entire life. 

Robyn Bell: You're a singer too. 

Lea Sevola: I am. Yeah. I also got my degree in musical theater.

Robyn Bell: How about that? 

Lea Sevola: So I, that was all I ever did. All my extracurriculars were focused on acting and singing and dancing. I got my degree from Ithaca College. And I've been working in regional theater since I graduated, mostly and I do, you know, some touring stuff. And 

Robyn Bell: really what tours have you been on?

Lea Sevola: I'm a part of the USO show troop. So I travel around the country, performing at military bases and for our nation's military. And at patriotic events, I've sung at sporting events, singing the national Anthem and stuff like that. And I also did a tour, in the middle east where I played Wonder Woman in a Justice League show, which was pretty fun.

Robyn Bell: You do kinda look like a good Wonder Woman. 

Lea Sevola: Thank you. 

Robyn Bell: And I find it fascinating as kind of, as the conductor and I love conducting musicals and I do a pops orchestra here. We have a Bob Hope impersonator we bring in for a USO short kind of thing. So maybe down the road, we bring you back to Sarasota for even more collaborations, both of you, you know, Singing and dancing and acting and we'll do a show. 

Lea Sevola: Yes. Yes, let's do it. 

Robyn Bell: okay. We gotta get through this one first. We have a student from State College of Florida here that transferred to Ithaca, finished his musical theater, degree there. So we, know what a great program that is. And I'm sure both of you have really good education to set you up. How long have you been outta school? 

Lea Sevola: I graduated in 18, so, 

Robyn Bell: okay. 

Lea Sevola: What is that four years since I graduated

Robyn Bell: before the pandemic? 

Lea Sevola: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Emma Giorgio: I graduated in 19. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So you're close to age. Yeah. Outstanding. And, and any plans to further, like another degree, uh, MFA or anything like that going forward?

Lea Sevola: I'm not opposed to it. Mm-hmm, , I'm sort of waiting to see like where I go and if, yeah. It feels like I wanna do that, but right now I'm kind of good just working and seeing what I can do until I feel like maybe I should get some more school 

Robyn Bell: yeah. Yeah. Emma, same. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah, I'm on the, same wavelength there. 

Robyn Bell: As long as you're working. It's hard to press pause and go back. Yeah. And get your education. Yeah. So good news is you're working. Yeah. Good. okay. Summer, you have been on the podcast several times, so we all know about you. And if you don't take a listen to episode number 51 in season one, to get the low down, but talk to us about selecting this play. Did you know of it before you began planning this comeback season for Urbanite?

Summer Dawn Wallace: I did. We had, Looked at this play, um, when we were putting the season together, , prior to this one, mm-hmm I said the before times, uh, before COVID, before COVID 

Robyn Bell: COVID is a nasty word 

Summer Dawn Wallace: and so it wasn't quite the right fit. And so putting together the season this year kind of returned to that play. And you know, our season as a whole, this year has been, I think really inventive and takes us out of the world of the space 

Robyn Bell: mm-hmm

Summer Dawn Wallace: And so, the show that we mounted, , before Athena, you know, took place inside a, bed and breakfast, it was a very realistic set. So in thinking about putting this play, we could totally, um, blow that world apart and make it a very different experience when the audience, entered the space. 

Robyn Bell: Good. And so what then about the. Spoke to you. What, what is your big takeaway from this play? 

Summer Dawn Wallace: One of the things that I love about the play is that we meet, these, uh, two women that are kind of on the burgeoning of adulthood. They're like dipping their toes into like big life decisions. And so we do learn a lot about, teenage life and, I think we can all remember what that was like.

Robyn Bell: I'm still trying to forget it. Yeah,

Summer Dawn Wallace: I know. But you know, now we're not navigating it with social media and all of those pressures. But one of the things that stands out to me about the play is like, what does it mean to have a rival what does it mean to win, to have somebody to push you? To be a better athlete, a better singer, , a better dancer, a better student, et cetera. And then what happens when. Friendship starts to build and get in the way. And if you want something for somebody else more than you want it for yourself. And then I also kind of think it dips into would've could have, should have meaning when we make like a split decision, how that can like alter our paths for forever. So I think that's one of the things it's really fun in the play. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, it's really cool. And when I see it tonight, you know, I love doing these interviews beforehand because I go into that with a new perspective. And so people that are listening and I think it will go sit in their seats and watch this with all of that. Overarching encompassing ideas. So the playwright Gracie Gardner, have you ever done any of her plays before? Any of you? 

Lea Sevola: I have not. No, 

Emma Giorgio: not, no. 

Robyn Bell: She was new to you. Tell us about her. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: I came across her. I don't know if I can say this on the air, but she wrote this play called Pussy Sludge. 

Robyn Bell: You can, 

Summer Dawn Wallace: which was just. Awesome sauce. And so I really liked her work. And in putting this season together, like this play, makes sense to me, it's, it's also such a strong play for, um, female characters, which is awesome. And so those are plays that I tend to also be drawn to. 

Robyn Bell: So there are two characters, Athena and Mary Wallace. And I'm seeing the show tonight, but can you tell me why the play is named after one of the characters and not the other? 

Lea Sevola: We've actually talked about this. Me and Emma. 

Emma Giorgio: That's a great question. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, 

Lea Sevola: I think you explained it better. Why don't you go for it, but it's not necessarily about sure. One of us it's both of us. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. I think without giving away too much, I think Athena. The name represents a little bit, something a little bit bigger than just the person. So you'll get to see what that means when you come see the show. But yeah. 

Robyn Bell: So Athena may not be Athena's real name. 

Lea Sevola: It's not,

Robyn Bell: it's not,

Lea Sevola: it's definitely not. And the name of the play may not be referring to the character Athena it's it might be more of. An identity or yeah, yeah. Concept 

Robyn Bell: I have a,

Emma Giorgio: a metaphor 

Lea Sevola: indeed. Yeah. That, that 

Robyn Bell: I have a friend in Georgia that started the Athena music camp. She's a band director in Georgia high school band director. And it's gone nationwide, but it's, this is what it reminds me of cuz it's for women only girls. And uh, I think we relate to that as four women sitting in this room that Athena. Really speaks those, even if we don't know the details of that name, we associate with it. Right. 

Emma Giorgio: Right. 

Lea Sevola: Definitely. And I think the fact that it's a strong woman, it's, it's a, a warrior woman. It's it's I think that that is really cool that it's, it's not, like a, I don't know, like an ingenue or like, you know, a little prissy girl, not that there's anything wrong with that, but like it's a strong woman.

Robyn Bell: It is, you know, 

Lea Sevola: you know, like. Powerful woman,

Robyn Bell: Athena Medusa. I could have put them all in that same thing. Yeah, totally. We're gonna try not to kill anybody with a vision, but 

Lea Sevola: we won't.

Robyn Bell: now Lea and, Emma, tell us about your decision to audition for this play and what that process was like. Where did you first hear about that? Urbanite was gonna produce this and you had the opportunity to be in it. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. So I, I saw it on play bill.com. I was just sort of searching for auditions. Yeah. Like an actor does. And what I really liked about the audition posting was that the actually the whole play was there. Like you could read the whole play, not just the sides that they wanted you to audition with. So I actually got the opportunity to read the whole thing and be like, oh, you know, I love these characters. I immediately just the energy of the play. I totally fell in love with. And I was like, I had to tape for this. I just love it. And I got so excited about the characters. So I was immediately drawn to it and I was like, I'm gonna spend this whole week working on this. Like I can't wait to audition for this. 

Robyn Bell: Right. Yeah. And, and you said you you're gonna tape for it. So that's how the auditions were done. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. The whole process was on video, even the callbacks too. 

Robyn Bell: Amazing. Yeah. And so Emma, how about you? 

Emma Giorgio: Pretty similar story. I mean, there are, I guess a lot of theaters producing this particular play right now. It's very popular. Yeah. Um, so I had actually already read it cuz I had seen a couple other listings and then I saw it in play bill that Urbanite was also doing it. And I was like, I love this play. So I brought the sides to my coach and I was like, let's, let's get this going. Mm-hmm and taped. And the rest is history. 

Robyn Bell: Outstanding. And you both, you flew in from your respective places. You didn't know each other at all before this. 

Lea Sevola: We did not. 

Emma Giorgio: No funny story though. I did go to Ithaca for, for a year and we were there for a year together, but we didn't know each other. Yeah,

Robyn Bell: it is that amazing.

Lea Sevola: I know. Pretty silly. We also found out that we were once in this. Same room as each other, but obviously again, did not know each other. So we've been in the same room before, and then we met each other week here on this show. Yeah,

Emma Giorgio: it's meant to be . 

Robyn Bell: That is fascinating. now we can't very well talk about this production without diving head first into the sport of fencing, because that is really like the third character in this show. Correct? So Summer you did some fencing background in preparation and Lea and Emma. There's another very important behind the scenes person here, you have a . Fencing coach fight, director, choreographer, whatever you want to call her. So tell us about her and the process, , to get you sort of in shape for these fencing bouts.

Summer Dawn Wallace: So, we worked with an amazing, uh, fight director. Her name is, uh, Catherine Coil. She's based in Chicago. And so we brought her in and so she, choreographed all of, the fencing that happens in the play. She put, our cast kind of through, um, a fight fencing bootcamp. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: For like about a day and a half and like, What they didn't know, but me and Catherine knew is that, and part of that boot camp, she was already kind of structuring in moves. It was gonna become part of the choreography so that, you know, it could just be low pressure. Just kind of learning how to do some fencing, 1 0 1 mm-hmm and also, you can have an idea of what you want the fencing to be, but you don't know what, the cast's capabilities are gonna be.

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: So you also have to kind of choreograph around that. And what is so fun about the fencing in this play is each fencing moment does tell a story. So it's not just, your move, my move, your move point. , you know, each one of those bouts is part of the storytelling that the playwright has kind of woven into the text.

Robyn Bell: And so through this, every single move is scripted. Whatever you are doing with the sword. Mm-hmm the poking, the slashing. Yep. There's no improvisation. And so as musical theater performers, it's probably a lot like the choreographing, the dance, scene and all of this. Yes. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I think, I think it is. 

Robyn Bell: Is that how you approached it? 

Lea Sevola: I think so. I mean, it, it is similar to learning dance choreography, or even blocking and kind of like what Summer was saying that it's, it's about the storytelling too. Like it's a part of the scene. It's a part of the action between the two characters too. It's not just like I move my sword here and then you do that. It becomes part of the story. So it all sort of gets integrated, which is helpful for remembering it too. Yeah. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: And neither of you had fenced before.

Emma Giorgio: Never. 

Robyn Bell: No. No. Do okay. Do you get like blisters on your hands and things like that at first? 

Lea Sevola: Oh, I don't know that we did.

Emma Giorgio: I don't think so. We've got gloves that do a pretty good job. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. So we were sore after that boot camp. Very sore for sure. Like our legs. Cause there's lots of lunging going on. So sore.

Robyn Bell: Oh, it's a workout. 

Lea Sevola: Oh sure is. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: It's a pretty intense, sport. So I, I took, , I think like four fencing lessons. You do not have to know how to fence in any capacity to direct this play. Okay. . That was extra credit for me. but I just was really curious about the world about the sport and just, wanting to also have a little bit of language in kind of looking at the play mm-hmm and in thinking about the blocking for the play, you know, how could we also incorporate the fencing world and other moments where we're not necessarily fencing?

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: And so it was so fun and also, it's hard and it also. Fencing brings out parts of yourself, but like, I didn't know, existed. Mm-hmm like, I didn't know. It would feel so joyful to stab somebody to oil 

Emma Giorgio: and it really does. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: I'm like, great. I kicked that 14 year olds butt. 

Robyn Bell: Is the sword heavy? 

Lea Sevola: It's not too heavy. No, it's, it's pretty, like you're really swishing it around too. So it, kind of has to move pretty quick. It's kinda light. 

Robyn Bell: And you mentioned gloves, Emma. So that takes me to my next question, cuz I can imagine the costumes are maybe pretty straightforward. But are you in a fencing costume? The whole play. 

Emma Giorgio: Pretty I would 90% of the time. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. Yeah. We have one other costume that we wear, but it's pretty much just like some version of the, the fencing gear, which is many layers, 

Robyn Bell: many layers. And you have the hat. I just probably not called a hat, a hood. The 

Lea Sevola: mask helmet mask, one of the two yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Mask or helmet. Yeah. And did you have Summer, did somebody have to kind of make these from scratch for, for your actors or you just gotta buy a fencing outfit? 

Summer Dawn Wallace: No. What we started with kind of, um, what's one was again, was helpful. Taking some fencing lessons to figure out what do we actually need, what we don't need, what could we do without, or what would our actors actually want to wear for safety purposes?

Robyn Bell: Sure. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: So in, initially talking with the costume designer, we did talk about, you know, it would be awesome to not be in our fencing, gear, the entire play. There was one scene that I knew in particular, like we cannot be in fencing, garb for this particular scene. But we knew going into it, that we were gonna try in some other scenes to potentially not have our fencing gear on mm-hmm , uh, with a caveat that I said, I don't know if that's gonna work, because I don't want us to be spending every scene waiting for them to change clothes, just to change clothes. So I wasn't sure if. Visually, I needed to see them in a different outfit. If we left the fencing club and then we were at home or mm-hmm we were, we go to the dentist. Um, would it be fine if we were in their fencing club? And I was like, I'm not sure mm-hmm but when we got on our feet, I was like, yep. We're gonna stay in our fencing garb. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, because Urbanite being the way it's set up and especially with a play with just two characters. And I know the same with in the wake of the drag queen. Just two characters. You gotta work in costume changes into what's. The audience can see it's tricky. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Yep. So we worked it in and just, I was like, I don't think it didn't serve this story for us to stop and change there just to stop it. We could have. but it went for me, it went against the rhythm of the play moves really fast and furious and mm-hmm , it moved against the text when we took all of that time, just to change clothes, to change clothes 

Robyn Bell: and to steal your word is the fencing gear comfortable?

Lea Sevola: Yeah. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Lea Sevola: It definitely keeps us safe. I would say it's warm yeah, 

Emma Giorgio: a little toasty in there. 

Lea Sevola: It's a little toasty. Um, and we're pretty physical in the show. So we're, we're kind of sweating the whole time. 

Robyn Bell: it's a, it's a workout every day. Sometimes. Twice a day. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I can imagine, like we had this event here at the college the other day where we had our mascot, Maverick the Manatee. And, you know, you just came in from outside. It's 140 GA billion degrees. It's not, but it feels it. Right. And I just saw this, I'm sure a guy in the, in the outfit going, ah, and he came up to hug me. I said, you must be so hot. And he went, ah, so I can imagine at least you're in a air conditioned environment.


Lea Sevola: Right. They keep it very chilly for us. So bring a sweater. Yes. For the audience. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. I always know this about Urbanite. Yeah. It was a good thing. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: We do have it a little. Cranked more than normal in rehearsal. , I would go in my, polar gear we were, we were keeping it extra cold for the actors.

Lea Sevola: appreciated. . 

Robyn Bell: So Summer, how did your team bring your set ideas to reality or Urbanites? Well known for configuring this space in a thousand different shapes and sizes. So. Am I gonna be any danger this evening or tell us about how the audience is set up in the set for this show? 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Well, if you sit in the front row, you're in the stab zone, 

Robyn Bell: stab zone.

Summer Dawn Wallace: Just kidding. Don't don't, don't totally safe. So, For going into this play, knowing that it involved fencing and us needing the room and the space to actually fence. 

Robyn Bell: Um, yeah, cuz it takes, so it's like a football field you would think you would need. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Yeah, it takes up space. So the space is in the configuration of alley style, which is also known as tennis court. So part of the audiences on both sides. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: And, uh, the playing space were mainly kind of in the middle. Of the theater. And so, felt very excited to get to work with our set designer. Alyssa Mon she's from Chicago as well. It was coincidence that she happened to be, , down in the Tampa area for graduate school. And, she'd come to see At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen and. I saw her ticket information and I was like, gosh, her name is so familiar, but I can't place, why do I know this name from somewhere? And so I, did some Googling and she had designed At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen, the original production in Chicago. And so I emailed her and I just was like, do you happen to be that Alyssa ? She was like, I am. So I was super excited to get to work with a female set designer on this particular play. So one of the things we talked about is, utilizing the entire space to make it kind of an environmental experience. Mm-hmm , a lot of the show takes place in the fencing club but we move to other places. And so we don't lights and sound kind of does that for us and pushes us through. So we talked about how do we also teach the audience. Fencing is so fast. How do we know that each character actually gets a point in who's winning? So that was kind of in part of the design. Yeah. Um, thought how do we do that? And then also, how do we bring in. the teenage existence into this, , prim and proper sport. Mm-hmm so, there's a lot of art installations in this space. It kind of looks like, um, like a doodle notebook and, and dreams that, a teenager might have kind of throughout the space, which is in juxtaposition to the sound design. I also, we talked about it being dangerous and gritty and fast, cuz that's also part of the world as well. 

Robyn Bell: fascinating. The balance of those things, the set and the sound and the lighting, you know, how it all works together. See, I've never directed anything. And when I go into your head Summer I gotta go P I just conduct the orchestras. right. So when did you both get to Sarasota? Because it's the show opened June 10th. You had some lead up time. Mm-hmm to rehearse. When did you arrive here?

Lea Sevola: Yeah, I think beginning of may. 

Emma Giorgio: May 9th? Yeah. May 9th if remember correctly. Yeah. Yeah. And then we, so 

Robyn Bell: for a whole month before the show opened 

Lea Sevola: yeah, we rehearsed for about a month.

Emma Giorgio: Mm-hmm 

Robyn Bell: yeah. And you already said you didn't know each other before, right. But did you have any prep for the play before you arrived here? 

Lea Sevola: Yeah, we were given the script. I don't know, maybe another month before rehearsal started, 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. And so we were able to, you know, do text work and whatever we wanted to do to prepare before.

Robyn Bell: So you got to know each other a little bit before you came here.

Lea Sevola: Not, we didn't know each other until we actually came here. Okay. So, but we had the play, but we didn't, we didn't meet each other until we started rehearsal. 

Robyn Bell: And had either of you ever been to Florida or particularly sarasota. 

Lea Sevola: My parents actually live Lakewood Ranch, so I actually have been to the area before.

Robyn Bell: Oh 

Lea Sevola: yeah. And I'm living with my parents while I'm here. 

Robyn Bell: well, that saves some money Summer. that's nice. Had you ever been here before? 

Emma Giorgio: Not just Sarasota. No. I had vacationed a couple times, but never in Sarasota.

Robyn Bell: So, and I know it's really hot here this time of year, but have you found your little favorite places to go grab a bite, some coffee? Beverages. 

Emma Giorgio: We've definitely been exploring, trying to hit as many fun spots as we can. I know. We've been very busy up until now. So now that the show is open, we're like we have all these places that we wanna visit. So we've got like a hit list. So

Robyn Bell: a hit list. Yes. Yeah. and your parents have come to see every show. I'm sure. 

Lea Sevola: yeah, they came, they've come twice. And they brought like an entire crowd of people to one

Robyn Bell: from the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. All of all my Lakewood ranchers have to come today. 

Lea Sevola: They're making all their friends theater people, which I really appreciate. . 

Robyn Bell: Do either of you have siblings, brothers, or sisters.

Lea Sevola: We both have two siblings. Yeah. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And are they in the arts in any way? 

Lea Sevola: No, 

Robyn Bell: that's usually the case. You get a doctor and a lawyer and then I'm the actor. Yep. 

Lea Sevola: Very much. Pretty much exactly it 

Robyn Bell: you said you have another project coming up. Emma, tell us about that. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. I, I have a couple things coming out. I have a, short film that, that was just released in the festival circuit. And then I have, you. The potential of some, TV spot happening. So yeah. It's, you know, good things all around. 

Robyn Bell: How about you, Leah? You have anything coming up?

Lea Sevola: I'm actually. Like three days after I leave after this contract headed to, do Hamlet, I'm playing Ophelia in a production of Hamlet. 

Robyn Bell: Well, that's very different. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. Yeah.

Robyn Bell: Where is that gonna be located? 

Lea Sevola: Um, it's at a Shakespeare theater in Alliance, Ohio.

Robyn Bell: Okay. Yeah. Travel all over the world. 

Lea Sevola: Yeah. Yeah. That's what I like about this job. You really get to see, you know yeah. World. 

Robyn Bell: You literally, you have been over the middle east. Where's the farthest your job has taken. Um, Sarasota 

Emma Giorgio: I mean, this is pretty far, this is pretty far from home. Yeah. Um, yeah, I mean this, and Texas, and. I think that's, but I I've stayed within the, the states. 

Robyn Bell: yes. I'm from Texas. So Texas and Florida, you've been everywhere. You need to be perfect. Trust me. Great. Trust me. So summer said what she hopes for me as an audience member to take away from this, but the two of you, I mean, you're, in this, you are doing the fencing, you are portraying these characters. What is the big takeaway that you Emma want the audience to leave with? 

Emma Giorgio: I hope the audience just leaves having experienced something new. I think, the concept of a, play about two strong female characters is something that shouldn't be so rare, but does feel a little bit rare, especially, female athletes, I think that's. There are very few shows like that. And I, I just think it's really important to see these two strong female characters in a light where it's not about, you know, it's not about romance, it's not about all, you know, the, like you say, oh, let's talk about boys. Mm-hmm, like, it's just about two strong characters who are in and of themselves worthy of a story. And I think that's really important and I hope people kind of see. And take that away. 

Robyn Bell: What a great answer. Or you have to go someplace else with that, Leah. 

Lea Sevola: Oh yeah. I gotta think cuz that's what I like about it too.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Lea Sevola: Um, I think, too, that it's not like there's some like giant event that happens in this play. Yes. There's like a climax and there's like a main conflict, but a lot of this play is, just seeing two young women existing and like figuring out what life is. And we get to see like a pretty nuanced view of what they're like. There's sort of like weird, embarrassing, awkward moments. We also get. Real strength and really having to deal with, what it's like to grow up and what it's like to have annoying parents and like things like that too. So I think that it, it paints a really. Comprehensive picture of what it's like to be a teenage girl. And I think, I think I would want people to sort of, , kind of examine what it was like to be a teenager and look back on it. Like, yeah, there were some cringy moments, but wow. That was like part of what shaped me to be the person that I am now. 

Robyn Bell: And also the relationship. Over how long is the play?

Summer Dawn Wallace: It's about 70 minutes, 

Robyn Bell: 70 minutes, no intermission straight to no intermission straight. So we'll have 70 minutes of watching these two competitors find a bond in a friendship and grow together. Right. 

Lea Sevola: Exactly. Exactly. 

Emma Giorgio: Yeah. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: I'm excited for, you know, we've been talking a lot about the play, , kind of showcasing, teenagers, but that's like a, a smidge of the play. Yeah. Um, I think really, just getting to see, strong characters on stage and kind of go through this journey together. And I think everybody, I know I have so many moments in my life where I'm like, what if I had done this versus that mm-hmm . Yeah. Um, and so 

Robyn Bell: the diverging. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Yeah. So I think, uh, the audience will also be able to reflect on that as well.

Robyn Bell: And so Summer, what is next for Urbanite? This play ends July 10th. What's going on with your theater after that?

Summer Dawn Wallace: We will be announcing our next season. Yeah. Um, probably within a month or so. We're just kind of waiting on a, uh, some things on the dotted line, so to speak. 

Robyn Bell: Sure. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: So we're super excited. I can say we're gonna be producing two world premiers next year. 

Robyn Bell: How exciting? 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Um, our modern works festival. Um, we had it this past year. It was virtuals, right. But it's. Uh, it's gonna be coming back in person. So we will be announcing, our season soon. And. We'll um, be releasing information. There'll be a press release. If you're on our, email list. Mm-hmm, , you'll get that information. We'll also be sending out, a brochure as well. So everybody, hopefully in town will get the information and buy tickets, cuz it's gonna be an amazing season.

Robyn Bell: Well, I can't, you know, I say this all the time and I don't, there's so many arts organizations in town, but this is one that I truly. Like support look forward to attending can't wait to buy my season tickets. And I, I just applaud you and Brendan for what you have accomplished in bringing this, the amazing theater company to our town in these shows that you guys are able to produce. So thank you for enhancing my life. 

Summer Dawn Wallace: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being an Uber fan. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Well, Lea and Emma you are now officially part of the club. If our listeners want to follow your careers, where can they get more information about your comings and goings?

Lea Sevola: Sure. So my Instagram and my website are both just my first and last name. So at Lea Sevola, L E a S E V O L a and then WW. leah.com. That's right. BWS www.leah.com. 

Robyn Bell: we forget it means worldwide web. 

Emma Giorgio: Right? 

Robyn Bell: Right. How about you, Emma? 

Emma Giorgio: I'm on Instagram. I'm Emma, Kate underscore G I O, and then my website is www dot Emma, georgio.com. . 

Robyn Bell: All right. Great. And we will put links to all of that in our show notes so that people can go there and click. So. Ladies and gentlemen, Athena, a play by Gracie Gardner is showing now through July 10th at Urbanite Theatre, you can get your tickets by going to urbanite theater.com. Or through our Suncoast Culture Club's calendar of events page. It is a must see summer cultural experience. Ladies. This has been the most fun hour of my day, although I think tonight's performance might override that. So I wish you all the best for a great run. A super fun time here in Sarasota and many, many successes going forward. Thank you for taking the time, to join me today.

Thank you for joining.