Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spotlight On...Jennifer Gill

Name: Jennifer Gill

Hometown: Oxford, NC

Education: B.F.A. from NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Favorite Credits: Elaine in Arsenic and Old Lace, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet

Why theater?: It's unpredictable in a way - you can rehearse all you like, but it's still humans being human directly in front of other humans. Anything can happen. Yes, I enjoy transporting people from their humdrum lives for a bit and all those lovely idealistic things, but the rush of it being live is pretty spectacular. People are so tuned into their screens these days (televisions, computers, tablets, smart phones...) that it's really almost old fashioned to have an audience sit down for a bit with a piece of live theater. It's thrilling if you think about it.

Tell us about I Shall Forget You Presently?: Our writers, Amy Overman and Eric Chase, have taken Edna St Vincent Millay's poems and letters (and some period music) and created a piece that gives a real sense of the woman she was. When I try to explain the work to people I often hear, "Oh I think I've read some of her poems, but I don't really know anything about her". We hope to change that. The first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Millay was a Jazz Age super star who embodied the spirit of the era. She has such an incredible story! I'll steal this bit from our promo materials: "funny and sexy, sacred and profane - a woman who captured love, defined feminism and shaped the 20th century"  I think it's such a shame that so many people have no idea who she was. Working on this we've all become a bit obsessed with her, and I think people who see it will understand why!

What is it like being a part of I Shall Forget You Presently?: I was a member of the cast of our original short production of this in 2012 and have really enjoyed watching this show develop. We've gathered frequently over the past year to read poetry, share ideas, and read drafts. So many of the cast and crew have been involved from day one and it's exciting to finally have a chance to share this long version. Combining my loves of literature and theater with some of my best just doesn't get any better.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: All of it. Musicals, Classical, Drama, Comedy... anyone trying to do something live is good by me. Amanda Palmer constantly throws out thoughts and work that makes me think of new things. She isn't afraid to have a conversation with her audience either. I follow her on Twitter for the conversations actually. Art isn't a one sided conversation - you need that audience and their reaction to make it complete.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I feel like I should have someone for this, shouldn't I? I probably had a whole list when I was 22 and fresh out of school. Look, I'm inching towards 40 now and am a stay at home mom.  Most days I'm just glad I get to make art that doesn't involve school glue and googly eyes.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
I don't get out a lot anymore (see previous stay at home mom comment), but when someone is looking for a recommendation I try to steer them towards one of the small, independent theaters around town. Try something new and small. It could be awful or it could be amazing! Let yourself be surprised.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: A long time ago someone said I looked like Keira Knightley. I think they were drunk, but I'm sticking with it. You can call the movie whatever you like, but in it "I LOOK LIKE KEIRA KNIGHTLEY".

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Nutella and a spoon

What’s the most played song on your iPod?:
I did a legitimate check on this and it says Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock".  My toddler requests it every night at bedtime. I worry about him.  Take that out and I'd guess Amanda Palmer, "Do It With a Rockstar" or "Ukulele Anthem"

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be_______?: Dreadfully bored

What’s up next?: Nothing yet, anyone hiring?