Originally from Madison, Sasha Sigel has truly made a name for herself in the UW-Milwaukee Theatre Department. Fans of the Peck School of the Arts theatre program may have seen Sigel in works including As It is in Heaven (2010), Aimee and Jaguar (2011), A Piece of my Heart (2011), Mr. Marmalade (2012), and Independence (2012). Her latest role is the Neighbor in Blood Wedding, showing March 6-10, 2013 at the Mainstage Theatre.
Based on a true story, this 20th-century Spanish classic by Garcia Lorca tells the story of a bride who runs away with Leonardo, the son of an enemy family. Director Sheri Williams Pannell has set her rendition of Blood Wedding in 1930’s Cuba, adding an interesting cultural dimension to this timeless story of commitment versus desire.
Blood Wedding has “elements of Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story,” says Sigel. Although she has acted in theatre productions every semester at UWM, Blood Wedding will be her first performance in a Mainstage production. “I’m definitely excited,” she says. “This is such a collaborative process; we’ve all worked together on the songs and dances and the staging of it. I think everyone feels a sense of ownership, so everyone’s excited to be a part of it.”
Along with her impressive repertoire of performances, Sigel also excels in the classroom. Outside of her work in the theatre program, she is pursuing a certificate in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.
Looking to the future, she plans to put her certificate to use both at home and abroad. Sigel is planning to visit Nepal and India to travel and do volunteer work after graduation. After her adventure abroad, she aspires to move to the east coast and make it big in the world of theatre. Sigel also hopes to work in a community-based theatre program to serve underprivileged members of society. “I want to help people whose voices aren’t represented in society,” she says. “It’s giving them a voice through theatre while helping to heal wounds.”
Since beginning her studies at UWM, Sigel has enjoyed seeing her peers grow over the semester—both as actors and as people. This growth has not come without struggles, however. The biggest challenge Sigel has faced at the Peck School has been trying to find the delicate balance between classes, both academic and artistic, and productions. “You have to be really good at time management and organizational skills,” she says.
Sigel cites Rebecca Holderness as one of her biggest influences from the Peck School. “She has done a really good job of teaching me how to be a strong woman in theatre,” she says. “She’s a very good influence on how to make the life you want in theatre.”
Sigel is on track to graduate in Spring 2014 with a BFA in Acting. Her advice to fellow and future students is to take it seriously. “By the end of the program, whatever program you choose, you can tell who’s been working hard,” she says. “Not taking it seriously and not getting as much out of your education as possible is a waste of time and money and energy. Give yourself the best education that you can.”