Show-Score & Tell: Stephanie Dawson

By Gamal ElSawah | Feb 7, 2023

Stephanie Dawson is a filmmaker, who has worked on various film, TV, and theatre projects since moving to New York from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Show-Score & Tell passes the mic to members of our diverse theatre-loving community - people from all walks of life, highlighting why theatre is so special to them, and why they keep coming back time and time again, in their own words.

"Theatre and art can communicate in ways that we can't with regular words.

Like they're still using words, but there's something about the circumstance - the way a show is written, or put on, that just conveys an emotion or a sentiment I would love to have been able to say or do, but didn't feel I had the capacity to do.

I really enjoyed Come From Away (92). I didn't really know the story of what happened in Gander. I mean, it was kind of a special night when I went and saw it – it was an anniversary of 9/11, so they had a talkback and there were some actual people who had come from away, who were at the talkback. One of the gentlemen had written a book and he created a pay it forward system in the town. I was just like, This is the power of story, the power of people.

I’ve been thinking about the power of story in recent years.

2020 happened, a lockdown, a pandemic. To me, it was like “What am I doing? Do I really want to be telling other people's stories, or do I want to tell my own?” 

At the same time the universe reconnected me with a good friend of mine and we created this storytelling bootcamp, where we would read screenplay books, and we’d read a screenplay, and watch the same movie, and kind of break down its story. And I started developing this love of just storytelling, generally, that I think was always there, but now I had more vocabulary. I was understanding the craft more. 

Meanwhile, there were these terrible events happening - the murder of George Floyd, we had a leader of our country who was not equipped to handle the financial crises that were going on, or the COVID outbreak, or the racial reckoning - and he was telling a story that was totally, totally different than what I knew to be true. And it became clear to me that “story’ is more important than the truth.

“Story” is what gives you your truth. It decides what emotion you’re going to feel about a thing and then it moves you to action. 

I have really come to believe that we are storytellers. And we learn through story. That's how we learn how to relate to each other, how we learn how to relate to others, who is “us'' and who is “them.” How we decide who's valuable in society and who's not. 

You can teach me math. But if you tell me a story about that math, I'm going to learn it much better. "

Stephanie’s Recommendations:

"Come From Away (92), again, is one of those special ones that that I enjoy.

I think Kinky Boots (90), Off-Broadway, is such a fun time and Lola is just such a great character. I think that’s a fun show."

To read more of Stephanie's thoughts on theatre, be sure to follow her here on Show-Score!