by Sarah Rose Werner, '16

 

Dianne “Dee” Sposito, ’73, of New York, has traveled far and wide since graduating from Stritch with a bachelor’s degree in English. Since then, she has built a successful career as a playwright. Things recently came full circle, as Sposito (pictured right with Sister Mary Ann Polasek, OSF, Ph.D., '65, and Sister Margaret Ruddy, OSF) returned to her alma mater to help students bring her characters to life on the stage.

 

 

Sposito and Mark Boergers, assistant professor of theater, co-wrote an adaption of “Cinderella” and debuted the world premiere at Stritch in February 2016. During her visit to campus, she reflected on how her Stritch education prepared her for a successful career in theater.

 

 

Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in theater? 
Theater was always part of my dream, but I thought my dream was to be an actor. I went to New York and tried for a very long time, but during that time I was really honing a lot of writing skills. I’ve always loved the dramatic arc, and I love playwriting.

 

 

What changes have you seen within the theater community? 
The written word has exploded. More people can call themselves writers. Particularly now with the dawn of the Internet, everybody’s a writer, and everybody’s a critic. In late 20th century theater written in America, we’ve seen the repertory system. The way actors used to be trained is almost no longer here. A lot of drama schools are looking to put actors in film or TV rather than on the stage. In terms of content for theater, it’s exciting because there’s been an absolute explosion of what can be really addressed in the theater. There’s a street sensibility but also a very profound human experience.


What were some of the challenges you faced as an English major at Stritch? 
In a rigorous liberal arts institution like Stritch, you have to read intensively. Because of what I studied at Stritch, I’m not afraid of any book, and I can talk about any play or film. Knowledge of literature teaches critical thinking skills and confidence in the world, because you understand what people are trying to express in those media.

 

 

How has your Stritch experience helped you succeed as a playwright? 
I’m a big supporter of a liberal arts education; it never left me. [A liberal arts education] teaches you how to learn. It instills a confidence in you. You may not know all the content, but you’ve been taught how to learn content.

What was it like to return Stritch for the world premiere of your play, “Cinderella?” 
I was so warmly welcomed, and my heart is full. I’m in a position to contribute and that’s gratifying and deeply satisfying. I’m very happy to do it.

 

 

How does it feel to see a piece that you co-wrote performed by Stritch students?
The grace of writing a play is that there will be a production of it. It’s so exciting, and it actually helped the writing of it. It was real; Mark and I were writing for a specific experience. It’s difficult for theater departments to get new works done.