Searching for Sasquatch and Finding Friendship: an interview with actor Auburn D'Artell
Written by Katrina Filer | May 27, 2022
Meet Auburn D’Artell (he/they): actor, artist, cosplayer, youth leader. But in The Sasquatch Society, Auburn plays Corrie—a middle schooler who was convinced by their precocious but awkward classmate Edward to embark on a hunt for Sasquatch.
Katrina: This is your first production with Penguin—welcome! How did you get involved with us?
Auburn: I had heard about Penguin Productions from my friend Claire (who was in Welcome to the Landfill), so that’s what got me interested in checking out the auditions for this play. Penguin has been so much fun to be a part of. Each person in Penguin is so sweet and welcoming. I’m happy to be here!
Katrina: And you’re jumping right in to Penguin’s first production with official auditions! How did that process go for you?
Auburn: This process went really well! It was so much fun being able to audition again after not doing that for a year and a half. The directors were all so lovely and friendly. They made the environment feel extremely safe. I’ve done auditions many times, and in this one they made the audition anxiety fade away rather quickly.
Katrina: Normally Penguin has much larger casts, but this is a two-person show—hence the auditions. What is it like to rehearse with such a small group?
Auburn: The rehearsal process has definitely been different for me since I have usually been in large casts. With a cast as small as this, it’s a lot easier to connect with each other and the directors since there are fewer people, and there’s also less distractions. Overall, I enjoy the small cast.
Katrina: What have been some of your favorite memories while connecting with the cast and crew?
Auburn: Bouncing off of each other in each scene is always a fun experience, and I really enjoy creating these character dynamics with them. Anna and Kyle [the directors] always have wonderful ideas and are really good at directing me in a way that is kind and creative. They also let us actors express our own ideas which has always been an enjoyable part of the rehearsal process. It has been so much fun figuring out [the playwright] Hersh’s character Corrie. It is nothing but exciting to play a character no one has played before!
Katrina: Speaking of Corrie, tell me a little about them. What is your interpretation of this character?
Auburn: Corrie is a bossy and confident force who knows what they want. They will not stand being pushed around and will speak up for what they believe in. I love playing sarcastic characters who are unapologetically blunt. I am not a mean person at all in real life, so I always find it fun when I get to act out those kinds of characters. It challenges me to step out of my comfort zone. I think I relate to the pressures Corrie puts onto themself. Like me, they experience a lot of pressure to succeed, so it’s nice to be able to connect with them in that way.
Katrina: Do you have a favorite part of the script?
Auburn: Without spoiling anything, there is one scene where Edward and Corrie have a very heartbreaking argument, and it’s a really vulnerable moment. I enjoy moments like that in acting.
Katrina: What do you think is the most special part of this play? Why should people come see The Sasquatch Society?
Auburn: No one has performed this before and that’s exciting! It’s a feel good play that will make you laugh and cry. It accurately shows just how complex middle schoolers are and I think that needs to be shown more. They’re just complicated kids learning how to do something they’re passionate about while also expressing their emotions in a healthy way. They aren’t perfect and I think that makes the play even better. It’s also set in Seattle! And maybe Sasquatch will make an appearance—there’s only one way to find out.
Auburn D’Artell (he/they) is a 19-year-old queer, neurodivergent actor who is a cosplayer, lover of Dungeons and Dragons, artist and Youth Leader at ORBIT on Vashon Island. They are graduating highschool this year. He loves all things fashion, voice over, writing, dance, musical theater, wig styling and character design. He played in Drama Dock’s 2019 performance of She Kills Monsters as Chuck. They were in ensemble at Vashon High School’s Mamma Mia and played Zapo in Picnic on the Battlefield. He played Cat in The Hat in Suessical the Musical as well as many roles in 11 Shakespeare performances as a part of ShakesKids on Vashon. He is so excited to play Corrie in The Sasquatch Society. You can find his main account at @skywhisghost and his cosplay account at @skywhiscosplay.
The Sasquatch Society premieres on Saturday, May 28 at the 51st Annual Folklife Festival! Join us in Seattle Center at the Cornish Playhouse for a free performance at 12:30 PM, and stick around for other amazing events with Folklife.