Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spotlight On...Asa Merritt

Name: Asa Merritt

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Education: Columbia University, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Favorite Credits: The street circus show my brother, Casey Matteson, and I devised and performed on Alaska boardwalks.

Tell us about True Believer: A young journalist returns from the Arab Spring hungry to build a more just society at home. Yet after she fails to publish her writing and can no longer relate to her apathetic peers, despondency sets in. Insomnia--a domestic terrorist group--reverses that. By recruiting her to write its manifestos the group gives her the agency she craves. Soon she is embroiled in an attack against her own country. As Insomnia moves closer and closer to taking action, a romance with another woman in the group, and a powerful conscience, threaten her commitment to the cause. Which will win out - her passion for people or her passion for justice? True Believer is a one-woman show about identity, radicalism, and the undeniable passion of youth.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Ironically, I'm really drawn to "director's theater." I admire the work of Thomas Ostermeier, and also love what Russian directors are up to. The European aesthetic prioritizes theatricality--something I'd like to see more of here. For this particular play, Conor McPherson was a primary influence. His one-man shows set the bar.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Miranda July. She blows my mind. The sandboxes of genre and medium don't exist for her.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hamilton. On the off chance that they find some way to score tickets.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The inaugural production of The Select by Elevator Repair Service.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I feel pretty good about most of my pleasures.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I do a lot of things besides theater. I think every story has a medium in which it is best told. Moments should be poems, dreams should be films, portraits of the IRA should be New Yorker articles (a few issues ago--check it out).

What’s up next?: Trying to get myself to Marfa, Texas for the summer to report on contemporary art and alien sightings.

For more on True Believer, visit