Cast of Out on a Limb pose on stage

North Central News

Experience self-discovery on the open sea in North Central’s “Out on a Limb” May 4-7

Apr 29, 2019

Q&A with Sara Zgonina '20 reveals the challenges, skills and experiences that are a part of show business.

Set sail for adventure on the seven seas with the cast of “Out on a Limb,” a new theatre production written, directed and performed by North Central College students. Sara Zgonina ’20, director, is a musical theatre major and very active in the theatre scene at North Central and beyond. She has performed in North Central’s “Sweet Charity,” “Peter Pan” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” Professional performances include Surging Films and Theatrics’ “Big Fish,” “The Addams Family” and “Shrek.” This will be Zgonina’s first directing role, bringing the script written by Jack Hayward ’20 to life.

Q: What drew you to direct “Out on a Limb?

A: When I first read Jack’s script, I was drawn in by his distinct characters. I also fell in love with his combination of fantasy and naturalistic storytelling that makes his play relatable for people of all ages. The fact that I found “Out on a Limb” heartwarming sealed my interest in directing the show.

Q: Can you give a preview of the show?

A: “Out on a Limb” is about two brothers, Jason and Joseph, who sail off on a fantastical pirate adventure to find a mysterious lost treasure. Along the way, they encounter interesting characters that remind them of friends and family, including Captain Sam, Good Fairy, Jungle Troll and Lord Darkscar. Through the brothers’ exciting excursion, real-life struggles are revealed and characters are challenged to think differently about their own situations.

Two cast members pose on stage.

Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges with translating the script to stage? 

A: Casting the show was the first big challenge, which is why I invited the playwright to join me in the process. During auditions, I especially valued Jack’s input given his expertise on the characters. Another challenge has been the ongoing process of coordinating one cohesive vision of the show. So far, clarifying ideas and using my own creativity to reconcile certain differences have been ways I’ve been addressing this task. A third challenge has been making sure that I’m bringing all the necessary details of this new play to life. In general, I've been handling this mission by continually revisiting the script. Ultimately, my goal is to present a clear and rich interpretation of “Out on a Limb.”

Q: What have been your favorite moments from the production?

A: Listening to the read-through with the playwright was one of my favorite moments not only because it was the first time I heard all the actors speaking their lines together, but because it was the first time Jack’s original play was interpreted by a cast. Truthfully, every moment with the cast since then has been a favorite of mine as we work together to tell the “Out on a Limb” story. Bringing this story to life has been an exhilarating experience that I continue to enjoy at every rehearsal. 

Q: What do you want the audience to walk away with?

A: Overall, I hope the audience feels uplifted by the story, and perhaps even inspired to overcome adversity in their own lives. Healing, forgiving yourself and others and living life to the fullest are all themes of the show that could make a difference in someone’s life. 

Q: What are you taking away from this experience?

A: There’s definitely a lot to be gained from my directing experience. As I pursue a career as an actor and musical theatre performer, being on the other side of the table gives me valuable insight into presenting myself at auditions and callbacks along with developing and portraying characters. Similarly, as I build my career as a choreographer, and potentially a director—or both—student-directing provides me with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m learning about blocking, running rehearsals, collaborating and communicating, and technical skills such as scenic design, costumes, lighting, and sound. 

“Out on a Limb” runs in North Central’s Madden Theatre in the Fine Arts Center at 171 E. Chicago Ave. in Naperville from May 2-5. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and can be purchased online, by visiting the box office at the Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center or by calling 630-647-SHOW (7469).

The cast of "Out on a Limb" pose on stage.