Monday, August 13, 2012

Spotlight On...James Fluhr

Name: James Fluhr

Collierville, TN

Education: Boston University, B.F.A. in Theatre Arts

Favorite Credits: Scenic Designer for The Road to Mecca (BCAP); Actor in OUR LADY

Why theatre?: I don’t think I ever had a choice. Theatre feels like a natural part of who I am and what I do. In the past few years I have started to articulate my need for visceral experiences and my need to share those stories with others. I love the ritual of the theatre: the makeup, the words and the lights. These elements are my very limited palette and I love the challenge of making them consistently fresh and unique through storytelling.  I also have a lot of fun doing theatre, which might be the most important part.

Tell us about OUR LADY?: OUR LADY is a one-man show that I began writing my senior year at Boston University. I have continued to work-shop the script/production for over a year, and now I am officially premiering it at FringeNYC 2012. OUR LADY is a modern fairy tale and theatrical fantasy that explores one gays boy’s fight against the Monster of Hate. Audiences are welcomed into the fear and darkness of this character and his personal confrontation with suicide. They follow his journey to self-acceptance and his transformation into OUR LADY.

What inspired you to create OUR LADY?:
Shortly after I came out to my father he found pictures of me in drag online and he called me to tell me I was nothing but a liar and that he would be pulling my funding for my last semester of college. He told me that I should use all that “talent” of mine to figure it out. He wasn’t there to buy my dresses. So I was left to figure a lot of things out for myself and I began writing OUR LADY using his words as the first building blocks. Creating this story was a way to save myself from a darkness that has consumed so many gay youths in our country. OUR LADY then evolved into a call to action.  I became influenced by gay teen suicide stories filling the media.  It was clear that my personal journey to self-acceptance was not only for me. I needed to share it to help anyone I could. There were people struggling with the same issues I was and I wanted to be there for them, making them believe they were beautiful.

What kind of theatre speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The theatre that usually speaks to me is messy and raw. I enjoy things that aren’t as polished. I want to see actors and designers and technicians working to tell a story. I become shut off when everything feels too perfect. Visual art has always been my main inspiration. I come from a fine art and design background so even when I’m acting or writing I’m dealing with visual images.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Jerry Mitchell, Julie Taymor and Diane Paulus.  I just want to see how these people work, how they approach their work on a daily basis and how they continue their careers. I think I could learn a lot from working along side each of them for a while.
What show have you recommended to your friends?:
OUR LADY. There is no other show that I speak of. I admit it has turned into my obsession.

Who would play you in a movie and what would it be called?:
Cate Blanchett portrays James Fluhr in "Rhinestoned Nightmare".

What’s my biggest guilty pleasure?: I can’t help but find myself constantly drawn to anything that sparkles or glitters. It’s part of my nature.

If I weren’t working in theater, you would be _______?: I would probably be an interior designer.  I think I got that from my Mom. She was always decorating and redecorating our houses as I grew up.  I guess I always thought it was fun to help her.

What’s up next?: I’m working on a musical right now which I hope to open up a workshop of in the next year. It’s called Forgiven and is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast. And yes, there is a drag queen in it. I don’t think I could ever write a show without one.