Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spotlight On...Jeremy Duncan Pape

Name: Jeremy Duncan Pape

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Education: MFA, Directing, New School for Drama.  BFA, Acting, University of the Arts

Favorite Credits: Madame Lulu’s Cruelty-Free Fayre (co-conceived) and The Last Days by Carlos Cisco.

Why theater?: Theater is about bringing ideas to life and taking part in that life from beginning to end.

Tell us about Woyzeck, FJF: Buchner's Woyzeck is the story of a man who, disenfranchised and cuckolded, commits a vicious murder and then walks to his death at the bottom of a lake.  The unfinished finale of a young master dead before his time, his play is based on the life of Johann Christian Woyzeck; a life that ended at the edge of an executioner's blade.  One night Woyzeck was found mere blocks away from the corpse of a murdered woman with whom he had been romantically involved.  By all accounts, he was still holding the bloody weapon. Upon his conviction, and stayed execution, he was committed for a thorough examination of his sanity.  After three years he was determined to be psychologically able to be held accountable and on August 27, 1824, he was beheaded publicly in the town square of Leipzig.  The modern interpretation of the published findings is that Johann Christian Woyzeck was almost certainly a borderline paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from aural hallucinations. Our production places Woyzeck within the tight confines of the hospital. Tormented by the figures of his mind, memory and reality, he struggles to understand why he is being held.  Through his increasing turmoil the truth breaks, and he is left to face what he has done.  Using Buchner's own words, we have re-explored the end of this man's life through the lens of his madness, his own insurmountable obstacle.

What inspired you to adapt and direct Woyzeck, FJF?: I first read Woyzeck in undergrad and immediately felt a connection to it.  Buchner’s stunning language was just too much for me to ignore.  Over the years I would occasionally pick it up and read it and eventually I decided to completely re-approach the play.  Things crystalized and Woyzeck, FJF came to be.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Any theater that is truly honest speaks to me, but I vastly prefer work that is brutal and unforgiving and NOT polite. I am the kind of artist who feels that the light and beauty of the world is best understood and expressed through darkness and horror.  It is in a thing’s opposite that we best understand the thing itself.  As the man said, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line in the opposite direction.”

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Philip Ridley.  (if I could go full fantasy I would say Romulus Linney, may he rest in peace)

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Every Brilliant Thing at the Barrow St Theater.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Everyone I know has been telling me how much like Jon Stewart I seem to them, so I guess I have to go with him.  I think the movie would likely share the name of my biography: "Safety-pinned Toilets".

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:  The very first intentional staged performance.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Inexpensive cheese and cuddling.  A poor combination.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be ______?: A lawyer.  Or a cabinet maker.

What’s up next?:  I will be directing the staged reading of William Rough’s Dragonslayers as part of the Dramatists’ Guild’s Friday Nights Footlights reading series.

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