BEHIND THE SCENES of SURFER GIRL by Leslye Headland with Sarah Utterback

The original SURFER GIRL returns this Tuesday and Wednesday! Sarah Utterback, of ABC’s GREY’S ANATOMY, takes the stage again 10 years after she first tackled Leslye Headland’s solo piece.

By featuring eight actresses under the direction of four different directors across its 16 performances, we aim to give each performance of SURFER GIRL a unique interpretation of the same sin, sloth. No matter what social class, geopolitical demographic, race or sexual preference, by contrasting our differences and highlighting our similarities, the company hopes this production will serve to emphasize how the human struggle is ultimately the same regardless of these differences, and how we as humans are all susceptible to the same “sins.”


Sarah Utterback at the original production of SURFER GIRL with IAMA Theatre Company

What does the idea of ‘sloth’ as a sin mean to you?

An active commitment to inactivity and identifying with that inactivity, because it’s much harder to do the work, to heal, and to move through trauma or loss or grief to a new place. Being in the wound place is necessary for acceptance, but the refusal to move out of the wound place, because it threatens an identity attached to the wound, is sloth.

How do you think your character in the play is guilty of this sin?

I think she is pathologically explaining to herself why everything that has happened to her is her fault. She believes that since she did nothing to prevent her assault, she invited her assault upon herself. But it is also her refusal to begin her journey of healing that is slothful.

How has sloth played a role in your life / what do you identify with the most with this character?

An attachment to a story and the fear of letting it go because it has become a part of my identity.

Have you ever had to stay on someone else’s couch?

Yes. When Leslye was writing SURFER GIRL and we began rehearsing it for the IAMA world premiere, I was sleeping on a friends couch in Santa Monica. Before that, I was crashing on another friend’s couch in Studio City. I was awaiting to move into a loft downtown, and the building got tangled up in lawsuits and foreclosed. Another friend came to the rescue and allowed me to rent a place he owned for a year so I could get settled and determine my next move from there. I went through a period where I just couldn’t feel settled in Los Angeles. I think I technically moved 12–13 times in 8 years, including when I had to crash on a friend’s couch for weeks at a time.

What is your favorite line of the show?

Do you have any idea the complete ecstasy of living in the anticipation of tomorrow that it can’t come fast enough?


See Sarah Utterback in SURFER GIRL ​May 8th and 9th
Directed by Alex Correia

The New York Premiere of SURFER GIRL is presented by Animus Theatre Company in association with The Dirty Blondes.

Every Tuesday & Wednesday
April 10 — May 30
The Foley Gallery
59 Orchard Street
New York, New York 10002

For tickets and more information visit thedirtyblondes.org