Meet the Artist: HOPSCOTCH’s Daniel Sakamoto-Wengel
My name is Daniel Sakamoto-Wengel, and I am playing Will in Doghouse’s production of Hopscotch by Israel Horovitz. This is my first production with Doghouse Ensemble Theatre. I am a Twin Cities-based actor, director, preschool teacher, and editor for the digital magazine, Super Dope&Extra Lit, of which Imani is the editor-in-chief. I was born and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where I attended the Baltimore School for the Arts before going on to attend the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, from which I graduated in 2016.
One of the joys of this production is the opportunity to collaborate on a two-hander like Hopscotch with my partner. Imani also comes from the UMN’s BFA acting program, so we both have similar skill sets. On top of that, her being my partner has definitely helped with our short rehearsal process because there are a lot of moments in the play of intimacy and combat that can be a hurdle for some actors, but that stuff has come to us pretty naturally.
Much of the challenge of this production is nailing down the specifics of the characters’ relationship and past, as well as what is the truth and what is not. You have to do the work of a detective for this play, which I think is really fun; not everything is laid out nice and clear for the actor.
Another fun challenge is the play’s setting. Hopscotch was written in the early ’70s about a small town in Massachusetts, so you have to put yourself there and research the references to places, songs, and lingo of the time. Some of the language is deceptively similar to that of more contemporary texts, but it’s picking up on those nuances that really sets the world of the play.
It is really exciting to be joining a young, nationwide theater company like Doghouse, and I am so happy to be acting alongside my love. Hopscotch has been a fun journey, and I look forward to performing it!