Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spotlight On...Jonathan Draxton

Name: Jonathan Draxton

Hometown: Park City, Utah

Education: BA in English, BA with Honors in Theatre, both from Williams College.

Favorite Credits: Twelfth Night (Malvolio); The Elephant Man (Joseph Merrick); Doctor Faustus (Mephistopheles); The BFG (The Gizzardgulper)

Why theater?: I’m the youngest child of four.  My sister Kenna is a professional ballerina, my brother Andrew is the legal counsel for a huge startup, and my other brother Erik is a semi-pro baseball player. Acting was the only field that none of them had touched yet.

Tell us about Soldier: Soldier is an audience interactive solo show that I wrote and performed at Williams College, then raised over $13,000 on Kickstarter to mount in New York City. 50% of its December box office is going to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. The show tells the story of a Waffen-SS officer who is trapped on the banks of the River Styx and is searching for coins so that he and his men can cross the river. It’s running December 11th through the 22nd at HERE. Come see it!

What inspired you to write and create Soldier?:
Woof. That’s a really big question with a really, really long answer…so, for now, I’ll have to do a stream of consciousness: World War I poetry, my grandfathers, Achilles In Vietnam by Jonathan Shay, The Shipment by Young Jean Lee, questions about the nature of good and evil, moral accounting, and compassion, Black Edelweiss by Johann Voss, definitions of honor, the Marine Corps, ghosts, and so many other things. This show is definitely a way for me to grapple with Questions (with a capital Q).

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I met a church youth leader on the subway when I moved here in June, and we got to talking about my show and the motivations behind it. He compared the theatre I’m interested in making to plowing: you really have to tear up the earth in order to plant seeds, you can’t just scatter them on the surface and expect something to grow. The same goes for people: if you want to plant an idea in them, if you want to change them, you have to break open the ground of their souls. This means a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from you…and probably from your audience too. That’s why my production company is called The Plowmen.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Daniel Day Lewis. I think it would be an adventure.

What shows have you recommended to your friends?: The Shipment by Young Jean Lee, "Breaking Bad", and "Project Runway".

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Robert Pattinson (yes, I know…I get it all the time) and it’d either be called “Ain’t Too Proud to Brood” or “He Dreams of Shadows”…that one would be an art house film with weird flashback sequences.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: The taco truck that parks outside of my apartment every night. Whenever things get tough, my roommates and I just look at each other and say, “I believe in Taco Truck”.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Indiana Jones. Or James Bond.

What’s up next?: I’m going to be raising money to produce two short films that I recently wrote, both of which deal with Questions. And I’m going to be helping my roommate Noah Schechter develop a clown piece based on Moby-Dick. Besides that…we’ll just have to wait and see what comes up out of the ground.