This week, justArts spoke with Sarah Salinger-Mullen ’19 who directed the Undergraduate Theater Collective’s “Once Upon a Mattress.” “Mattress” will be performed in the SCC Theater this Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. 

justArts: Why did you choose “Once Upon a Mattress”?

SSM: So I actually didn’t get to pick the show. The UTC (Undergraduate Theater Collective), what we do is we do season voting, so we just actually had it last week for next season. The whole UTC gets to vote on what shows they want to do out of the shows that were chosen to go through from proposals, and then you get to apply to direct it and [that] made me want to bring it to life!

JA: Why did you apply to direct this show?

SSM:  I really wanted to apply to direct the musical. I assistant-directed a musical last semester, and I wanted to be able to put my vision onto stage.

JA: Are there any teasers you can give us?


SSM: It’s the story of the “Princess and the Pea” but with a modern twist, is the way it’s described. It’s modern for the 1960s, so it’s very interesting. There’s a song that a mute king tries to give the sex talk to his son, which is entertaining. It’s gonna be really fun.


JA: What are you most excited about?

SSM: My cast. My cast has put in hours and hours and hours of work, and they are doing an amazing job with this, and I just think they’re gonna blow everyone away.

JA: Were there any challenges with directing this show?

SSM: There’s always challenges when you direct the show. A lot of our challenges come from the way the UTC works, just like with how little money we have, how it’s all student-run, student-directed, student-built, student-designed. So, we don’t have the professional leadership that a lot of other things do. So like for example, halfway through our show, our carpenter decided not to finish the project, so our set designer, Aislyn Fair ’18, had to go out and recruit other freshmen, and Sivan Ertel ’18 worked to build the set instead of the carpenter, so they did more for the show than they should have been doing, and they did an amazing job.

JA: What were your goals in creating this show?

SSM: I talk about this in my director’s note if you come see it. The show is a comedy, and it’s meant to give people joy and laughter, and it’s really about a community of people coming together to solve a problem. It isn’t a very big problem, it’s just they want to get married. For me, that’s the important message that I take out of this, that no matter what’s happening, we can all come together and make something better.

JA: Is that the message you want the audience to take away?

SSM: Yes. That, and just to have a good time. It is a comedy; there’s not a huge political statement behind it.

—Emily Blumenthal