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Author's Comments on
I Used To Have This Cat
This project has been pure joy. With the great chemistry that Sara and Natalie had on a recent film project, I was excited to write a two-woman show for them. To write for specific actors is a wonderful experience. It is the same experience I have had as a composer writing music for members of the Boston Symphony. You know they can play anything, but also, you have a sense of their deeper artistic sensibilities.
I wrote the play in six days, basing it on one of my favorite dramatic forms, the same form that Sam Shepard often used in his plays Dramatic forms are like musical forms. The blues is a form, but within that form, there is no limitation to the types of music that is created. Same with the sonata allegro form, upon which most classical period symphonies are structured. The form has endless possibilities.
Two great actresses, a form I love, and the chance to write and direct, what could be better? Working with these two great talents has been a delight, a pleasure, and a thrill. I’ve directed a lot of theater productions in the past, and, although I’ve written many film scripts, I’ve never written anything for theater. It just never occurred to me to do that. So we hope you enjoy this evening of theater as much as we’ve had bringing it to life.
Now, to bring this play to the Hooker Dunham Theater is a real joy for all of us, cast and crew. Natalie and Sara so wanted to perform the piece again, and we thought that this was a perfect venue for the play.
-- Robert Fritz
Sara Vitale is a founding member of the Rock River Players Theater group in Williamsville Vermont, and currently serves on their board of directors as secretary. Sara studied acting and directing in college and continues to pursue both in various local community theater groups. Filming "The Visit" recently with award winning director Robert Fritz was a wonderful opportunity for Sara to get back to doing work in film, which she has enjoyed in the past. Sara works professionally as an art therapist for children with special needs and is the proud mother of three children of her own. Sara also serves on the board of directors at the Compass School in Westminster, Vermont and teaches photography classes there on a volunteer basis. Some of Sara's favorite rolls from the past include Chelsea in "On Golden Pond," Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth," and her work as assistant director and lighting director on "The Fantasticks."
Natalie Neilson grew up in San Francisco doing theater. She has starred as the leads in three Robert Fritz films, TWICE…, Past Tense, and Chasing Rainbows. She has won several awards for her acting including an Award of Excellence from the Accolade Competition, an Award of Excellence from The Indie Fest, and a Gold Award from the International Independent Film Festival. Natalie lives and works in New Hampshire
Writer/director of I Used To Have This Cat, Robert Fritz, is also a best selling author. He studied composition and theater at The Boston Conservatory of Music, where he earned a BM and MM in composition. As a filmmaker, Fritz studied cinematography at the Rockport Workshops, and directing with Jim Pasternak. His films have won over 90 awards from film festivals around the world.
Fritz has directed many theater productions. He also has made documentaries for government, industry, and television, has written and directed six feature films and one dramatic short. He has directed and co-hosted Creating (a TV series made for a Canadian Network), directed episodes of the PBS series LeaderTalk with Garrison Krause, for which he also composed the theme music. Fritz wrote and directed the TV series Vermont Stories. He created She Was A Dancer, a multi–media work commissioned for the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.
As a composer, Fritz has won commissions from groups such as Boston’s Collage - New Music and Dutch Radio. He has studied on scholarship at the Darmstadt (Germany) Institute for New Music. He has composed music for film, TV, and theater, as well as CD’s. He also composed the scores for all of his films. Two of his arrangements appear on Celtic Ladies, which topped Billboard Magazine (2007-2008 World Music.)