An Interview with Seth Barrish & Sidse Ploug Soerensen

Transcription of an Interview with Seth Barrish and Sidse Ploug Soerensen
March 5th 2015

SB: How did you find out about The Barrow Group?

Sidse: I saw “Short Stuff,” I think it was in 2004, and I was beyond excited about the aesthetic, the simplicity and the immediacy that I was experiencing. It was exactly the kind of theater I had always wanted to do and didn’t always get to. So I started studying here.

SB: And then, as I recall, you took the solo show workshop?

Sidse: I did, with you. I had written a bunch of monologues at that point and in the solo show class it began taking shape of a one-women show.

SB: And then you and Wendy Herlich did an evening together?

Sidse: Yes, we did our solo shows back to back—Eric Paeper directed it.

SB: Where did you do it?

Sidse: We did it… first we did it at the PIT and then here at The Barrow Group in Studio 3A, and then in the main stage as part of a solo show festival. Then, I did mine again at the PIT.

SB: What is your background?

Sidse: My official training, is as an actor. And I think I write as an actor. My writing is like… improv in my head. And it usually takes me awhile to structure it. I used to not be very interested in the story structure part of the writing process. I think I was scared that being overly concerned about story structure would destroy the immediacy or the innocence of the writing.

SB: What changed that for you?

Sidse: Knowing more, understanding it on a different level. I began to appreciate the importance, the difference it makes when something is truly crafted, structured. The very first play I wrote, started out by me simply generating material without any rewriting. I was working with a theater company in Copenhagen and we couldn’t find a play with parts for every member, so I decided, with a colleague of mine, that we would write a play tailor-made for the company. So, we did and we thought it was the funniest thing ever written, we wrote for ten days straight, high on coffee and coke…coca-cola.

SB: Hardcore stuff

Sidse: Exactly. It was rock and roll. Until we had a reading of it, and it turned out that not everybody shared our…. not everybody thought it was the funniest thing ever written. In fact, nobody did, except for us—we couldn’t stop laughing. It was my first practical lesson in what it means to craft something. It was the first time I understood that story structure is not just an intellectual exercise.

SB: Your writing is, I’d say, comedically orientated. I think it has its substantive side as well, It’s not just wacka-wacka. but it’s definitely comedic. Why is that? Is that where your interests lie?

Sidse: I often think back to one of my very first theatre experiences… as a little person, four or five years old, going with my kindergarten class to see Children’s Theatre, you know, sitting on the floor, with a bunch of other kids. I don’t remember the play, but I remember that there was this enormous bear who ran around doing mischievous stuff, like bears do, you know? The other actors were chasing the bear, and there was one scene where this gigantic bear was hiding behind a stool, a little tiny stool, and one of the other characters, a full grown man, came out and asked, yelled, for help to find the bear. “Where did he go, Where is he?” And all the kids were screaming enthusiastically “He’s right there! He’s behind the stool!”

SB: Except they said it in Danish.

Sidse: Yeah. (Speaks in Danish). But while the other kids were screaming, I was busy wondering, Am I the only one who see what’s going on? Why is this full-grown man not able to see this gigantic bear? Why is nobody talking about that? I get… suspension of disbelief and everything, but come on! There was stuff going on, something was off, and nobody was addressing it. Right?

SB: So what does that have to do with….?

Sidse: Well, I think I often write about that. In my plays, there are things that are obvious to the viewer and yet hidden to the characters.

SB: And so you got that going on in you’re writing, where there is this dilemma that’s apparent to the audience, but not to the characters?

Sidse: Yes.

SB: And then it just comes out in a funny tone because of your world view … or just the way you… I mean, I do notice in real life you have a wonderful sense of humor, —you goof around a lot. It’s a go-to thing for you. Is that it?

Sidse: I think so, and also, I love the power of laughing together and laughing at the same time—getting that sense of ‘we got that’ and at the same time. That kind of laughter…it’s a shared experience. It’s a palpable way of knowing that you’re not alone.

SB: Uh huh. Prior to being an actor, you had dance training. Was it ballet?

Sidse: Yes. I was at The Danish Ballet Theatre and The Danish Royal Theatre in Copenhagen since I was five.

SB: Ok. And for how long?

Sidse: For about thirteen years. I was part of a company and loved it. We got to perform a couple of shows a year, so we were practically always rehearsing or doing a show, along with the training.

SB: And then at some point you studied with Philippe Gaulier?

Sidse: Yes. I studied at the The Drama School in Copenhagen first and then I studied with Philippe Gaulier in London.

SB: Ok. And I guess the reason I ask is there is something, and I think it’s a more than a good thing in your performing, there’s kind of a clownish or “other than” element that’s very funny that shows up. Do you think that’s a by-product of training? Or that it’s just kind of who you are?

Sidse: That’s a good question… I’m not sure…

SB: Did you enjoy the clowning training that you had?

Sidse: I was too young at the time. I think I was too young to appreciate the potential. Today, I really appreciate that training, but back then I found it a little sort of rough, unsophisticated.

SB: Now when you did a show at Ars Nova, was that a solo show?

Sidse: It was a comedy show, vignettes. I did have another actor in most of the pieces so it wasn’t a solo show.

SB: But you were all the parts…

Sidse: Yes

SB: Do you ever do audience interaction where you… I’m not saying you should just if you ever did…

Sidse: No. No.

SB: That’s the next show.

Sidse: I could do the one with the bear. I think I like to know, what’s… you know…what I’m dealing with…

SB: What do you like about doing your art here versus doing it in Denmark?

Sidse: Here at The Barrow Group? Or here in the states?

SB: Either. Why do it here?

Sidse: I just fell in love with New York and The Barrow Group was a big part of that. It mirrored so much of what I believed in. The sense of being able to trust, agreeing with…. and trusting the aesthetic, it’s been invaluable for me as a performer and writer.

SB: I think the Barrow Group is completely enriched by your writing because your voice is unique and from our end, it also feels like a good fit. What is it that you found that you loved so much about New York?

Sidse: I think the fact that it’s so varied. At least this is my experience as an foreigner, that there isn’t a consensus to, you know, ‘this is how we do it’, ‘this is what we do’, ‘this is what it means to be a…’, I think… it’s freeing.

SB: Do you think your Danish background informs what you do? Is there something about what you do that, just by virtue of your upbringing and the culture you were raised in, expresses itself in your work?

Sidse: Yes, I think so. I think coming from such a small country—it’s five point something million people—you can allow yourself to not be so broad—because not that many people need to understand the references. Whereas I think in America, the humor sometimes tends to be a little broader, because it needs to include, you know, a couple more people. My sense of humor is probably on the more narrow….

SB: You mean that the subject matter is… ?

Sidse: I think I allow myself to talk about more interpersonal situations, and trust that it’s universal. And not like…

SB: World Politics?…

Sidse: Yeah. Not so much.

SB: Is there anything that goes on language wise, in other words, do you have a sense that your understanding and use of English is pretty much the same as anybody’s or is it different— being that it is a second language?

Sidse: I think so. I think you’re always going to be a bit of an outsider to the language. And it has its disadvantages. But maybe it has…

SB: Because I can think of some advantages.

Sidse: Like an innocence?

SB: Yeah, maybe. I know, your writing, to me, is….unique. I can read it off the page and go, that’s a very specific voice. It doesn’t sound exactly like anybody else’s.

Sidse: That’s about to change, I’m …my next play it’s going to sound exactly like Shakespeare’s.


Winter 1.5 Year Program Showcase – April 13, 14, 15

Join us for an evening of short plays featuring our 2014-2015 1.5 Year Students.

Monday, April 13th at 7pm
Tuesday, April 14th at 7pm
Wednesday, April 15th at 7pm

Tickets will be available online soon! Keep checking back!
Industry – please email for tickets.


Fergus BaumannFergus Baumann

Fergus was born and raised on a small farm house in the west side of Greenpoint. He decided to pursue acting early on (largely due to identity confusion as an infant), participating in school plays and summer classes. He majored in drama at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School where he performed in a number of productions, most notably Skelly in Lanford Wilson’s ‘The Rimers of Eldritch’ during the annual Senior Drama Festival. After graduating, Fergus studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg school before finding is current home at the Barrow Group. Fergus is a founding member of Young Gotham Arts, a non-profit theatre, film, and music production company supporting NYC artists under the age of 21. He is also a co-founder of YGA’s recently formed sister collective, Zoo City. Fergus played Michal in Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Pillowman’ in Zoo City’s debut production this past August.  Download Resume


Updated Deon FrankDeon Frank

Deon graduated from Brooklyn College in 2013, earning his Bachelors degree in Television and Radio. Deciding to pursue a career as a professional actor, He joined the Barrow Groups 1.5 year Conservatory while working in bars to support himself. Deon says joining the Barrow Group was one of the best decisions he’s ever made, as it “Completely changed the way he thought of Acting”. He has since gotten a Lead role on an upcoming web­series set to premiere this Spring and is currently writing his own projects. Download Resume


Amelia HartAmelia Hart

Originally from Oklahoma, Amelia grew up performing, majored in business and dance, and careered in fashion marketing. She soon realized she had to be an actor! Favorite Regional credits include Penny in Hairspray, Zaneeta Shinn in Music Man, Rumpleteazer in Cats, and Kit Kat Girl in Cabaret. She has absolutely loved studying at The Barrow Group. Download Resume



© Ron Rinaldi Photography www.ronrinaldi.comLuciana Kezen

Luciana is thrilled to have been able to join The Barrow Group as soon as she arrived in NYC. After extensively training and performing in Brazil, she is now looking forward to working in the next Emmy Award USA series or in any feature or play opposite to Emma Stone or Neil Patrick Harris. She also looks great in red. Download Resume



Updated Alex KraftAlex Kraft

Alex graduated from Skidmore College in 2012 with a B.A. in English. In addition to a lot of reading and writing, Alex studied acting for four years at Skidmore, including training at Shakespeare & Company and British American Drama Academy. Alex subsequently studied improvisation at The Magnet Theater. Favorite credits include performing sketch comedy at the 2012 National College Comedy Festival and collaborating with the original cast of “Into the Fog” (Ensemble). He would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support. Download Resume

Eimile LoganEimile Logan

Eimile Logan has been studying at The Barrow Group, primarily under Lee Brock and Seth Barrish, since the summer of 2012. Most recently she has taken part in shortened productions of Wonder of the World, Hedda Gabler and a monologue showcase as part of her conservatory training. Eimile has also studied comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and began her initial actor training as a member of the Periwig Club at the Lawrenceville School and through taking beginner’s acting classes at New York University. In the coming months Eimile hopes to expand her work in Film and TV as well as her comedic training. Download Resume


Karine MendocaKarine Mendonca

Karine is a native New Yorker from Queens. Karine has been studying at the Barrow Group since 2012, taking singular classes then joining the conservatory. She has also been studying comedy at the Magnet Theater since 2012, and performs improv with her improv troupe around NYC. Her first role was in fifth grade, playing King Henry III of Castile for a history project. She brought way too many props, one of them being a giant (red velvet) cape that completely engulfed her and tripped her several times.

Her biggest dream is to be a performer on Saturday Night Live. Download Resume

Alisha SanchezAlisha Sanchez

Alisha Sanchez has been studying at the Barrow Group under Lee Brock and Seth Barrish since 2013. Most recently, she has taken part in shortened productions of The Children’s Hour and Women of Manhattan. She graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a Master’s degree in Speech- Language Pathology and a minor in Theatre. Upon moving to Brooklyn, she studied Film and TV at NYU. Following the conservatory, Alisha hopes to develop a woman’s sketch comedy group and her work in Film and TV. Download Resume

Updated Adam TowersAdam Towers

A native New Yorker, Adam discovered his love of the arts at a young age. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and originally pursued a career in graphic design which took him to London. He soon realized that acting was his true passion and returned to NYC to study under Seth Barrish and Lee Brock at the Barrow Group. Download Resume




Catherine ZiniCatherine Zini

Catherine Zini has been studying at the Barrow Group since July of 2013. She is a stand-up comedian and actress originally from Philadelphia, PA. Catherine wrote and starred in a short film, “Empty Pages,” that screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2013. Download Resume

Show Discount for TBG Community to NIRBHAYA by Yael Farber

NIRBHAYA will be playing at The Culture Project in New York City from April 16th-May 17th, 2015.

NIRBHAYA by Yael Farber, hailed as one of the most urgent pieces of human rights theater ever made, won the 2013 Amnesty International award, The Herald Angel Award and the Scotsman Fringe Award. It was voted by The Guardian’s audiences as among the top 10 best pieces of theater to ever be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Initiated and produced by Barrow Group alum, Poorna Jagannathan, we have access to a discount code that is good till March 8th. Please click on the link and book your tickets if you’d like (discounted offer expires on March 8th).

BOOK HERE – (http://cultureproject

$49.50 for Orchestra (Regularly $69)
$32.50 for Mezzanine (Regularly $45)
$22.50 for Rear Mezzanine (Regularly $30)

To learn more about the play, go here (http://www NULL.NirbhayaThePlay

An Evening with ESTELLE PARSONS – Tuesday, March 3, 2015 6:30p

Producing in the Theatre Class taught by Tony award winner producer Judy Gordon

A Conversation with award-winning producer Judy Gordon & Lee Brock

Fast Play Fest Scheduled for January 10th!

Winter Barrow Group 24 Hour Fast Play Fest
Saturday, January 10th at 8pm
Click here for tickets!

A 24-hour creative experience in which TBG Students serve as writers, directors, and actors create and perform a series of new short pieces.

Members of the show are TBG Students (both past and current), but the audience is open to anyone!
Participating Creatives:
Writers: Marina Barry, Colleen Clinton, Lynne Halliday, Isaac Himmelman, James Hindman, Eric Lane, and Sam Zalutsky

Directors: Tony Gillan, Mark Grenier, Cayleb Long, Lorrel Manning, Keith McQuirter, Nick Russell, and Quinn Vogt-Welch

Actors: Jeanine Abraham, Josh Bowen, Yvonne Cone, Alex Correia, Jim Crawley, Justin Davis, Angela Dohrmann, Lily Dorment, Matthew Bryan Feld, Kate Erin Gibson, Mindy Goff, Stuart Green, Katherine Alt Keener, Luciana Kezen, James Kivlen, Kristina Latour, Anna Mosher, Ed Newman, Sarah Street, Brennan Taylor, Tim Wersan, and Alison Wonderland

All work will be created and performed between Friday, January 9th at 10pm – Saturday, January 10th at 10pm
Our playwrights will work with props and themes provided on-site to draft a ten-minute play between 10:00pm and 6:00am.
While they go home to crash, our directors arrive at 6:00am to read and select pieces.
Our actors arrive and receive their roles at 8:00am.
The teams rehearse and memorize from 9:00am-7:00pm and receive 30 minutes of tech per script.
The house opens at 7:30, and then READY OR NOT, curtain up at 8:00pm!


Come see the final results of this whirlwind creative experience on SATURDAY, JANUARY 10th at 8:00pm. (Expected running time: 90 minutes)

TBG Mainstage Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor

Tickets are $10 and include one drink ticket.
Space is limited. Get your tickets here!

Please help support TBG’s production season next year – DONATE HERE

Hi All,

We’re so grateful to you for being a part of The Barrow Group. Thank you.
One of the most common questions asked of us is “You have such a powerful training program and approach to acting – why don’t you produce more plays?”  Well, we are listening to you.

Our goal this coming year is to offer more productions and readings in our main stage and studio theaters, so that we can share our approach with more people beyond the classroom. This can only happen with your help.

(http://r20 NULL.rs6 NULL.jsp?f=001cYUcr6abQQWNSKu5_gDdH2pFAj5VP9any_-0JQ0LvQObJayGysmmH54XdVDS7T5AmZwu9hho6cy2KvPOjZjNmJZEIPRRsNdqCDUkIWJX1N8-DqZn4oAA4yvTeBiGS6CWUp3Dtpq_YIUBzsEKYZGwNa6wItB-3yn0CeDVSFWBuYJ9YhVXvUBA6K132IbIz13ypT2dAC-oczI=&c=EsOmpjky6Uae_TDFmUDKMn-qychwbsOwT8mTbSJsqUxKEMUpey-SLg==&ch=EOe3w6O831n4kV2Jx_rXfMQC89uxiZ9zdcpkjUiBzufLKCbh0oK0PQ==)In June, we will present Craig Wright’s THE PAVILION in our main stage theatre, featuring a cast of TBG students and alumni.  In January, our free public Reading Series will begin meeting the 2nd Sunday of every month in our studio theatre.  We’re thrilled to announce that next season, we plan on doing two main stage shows – in the fall, SHORT STUFF, and in the spring, a second production.
As you know, ticket sales cover only a fraction of total production expenses – that’s the nature of producing not-for-profit theater. Our donation goal for this coming year is $50,000, which will help make this programming possible.
This is where you come in – if you each chip in $20, the cost of a movie ticket and popcorn, we can easily reach this goal.  Please consider making a donation today and help us produce this coming season.  You can make a one-time or recurring donation at (http://r20 NULL.rs6 NULL.jsp?f=001cYUcr6abQQWNSKu5_gDdH2pFAj5VP9any_-0JQ0LvQObJayGysmmH_j9u-in_RnSYTIH_C_NhMWptco4rc3V5k1W-X9J-X6KJFdCDtWyyKiRdEaf4Lg40dqC4GA9Qz0Y8ubFENw_xo85A88cMdMnZne73Fny8TVPhgR0opOx2k_cCn8PkQ4ERw==&c=EsOmpjky6Uae_TDFmUDKMn-qychwbsOwT8mTbSJsqUxKEMUpey-SLg==&ch=EOe3w6O831n4kV2Jx_rXfMQC89uxiZ9zdcpkjUiBzufLKCbh0oK0PQ==).
Thanks so much for your feedback that you want to see more shows at The Barrow Group.
We do too.  You have a huge role to play in making this happen, and we’re so grateful for your support.
Have a great New Year!
All the best,

Lee, Seth, Robert, Porter, Farrah, Alyson, Elizabeth, Mark, Becca and Carmen

Scenes Needed for Teacher Training Class

This is a free opportunity to work with the Barrow Group tools. Students are asked to bring in a short, contemporary scene that has been rehearsed outside of class with a partner and our teacher training students will work with you on it for about half an hour.

Dates are Thursdays: 12/4, 12/11, and 12/18.

If you are interested in signing up for a time, please email


TBG Holiday Party – Friday, Dec. 5th!

We hope you can come celebrate with us!

Friday, December 5th
7pm (till whenever!)
at Jack Doyle’s (http://www NULL.jackdoylesnyc
240 West 35th Street between 7th and 8th Aves

$5 drink specials!

Click here to RSVP!